Saturday, May 16, 2009


I can't believe it's my last day in Florence; I really can't. It flew by, but went so slow at the same time. Me, Lauren and Emily are the only ones left, as Stella, Paige and Amanda already took off. Our apartment is so empty and quiet. It's weird sitting here in this chair surrounded by memories. It didn't hit me until this morning when I woke up and I've had a pit in my stomach all day. Walking by Santa Croche for one of the last times was the weirdest feeling in the world. I'm sad to go but I'm ready to start/continue my life at home.

So I haven't written in a while. Last thursday, Jesse, Lauren Stella and I went to Dantes across the river. It was quite eventful. We were seated at our table by the waiter, and instead of the waiter bringing us our water, menus and bread, some random guy did, and thought that maybe we wouldn't notice? Didn't say a word, jus smiled and gave us what we needed and went back to his table. Five minutes later our waitress comes over with a note written on the back of a bill and four names and phone numbers. We laughed and put the note aside. Then they come over with an open bottle of wine and start pouring it in our glasses and proceed to talk to us for about 15 minutes. They were actually really funny and respecful and not like other creepy Italian men.

The next day, Stella and I got up early to get on a train and spend the day at the beach in ViaReggio. It was a gorgeous day and perfect for sun bathing, but I've never been bothered by so many vendors in my life. Like if my eyes are closed, and I'm comfortable and sleeping on the beach, dont wake me up to offer me some useless piece of junk that you know I'm not going to buy anyway. I won't miss that.

Saturday Stella, Jesse and I took off for our last academic field trip to the Thermal baths. It was unlike anything I expected. It was in the country side, very secluded and quiet and in the middle of nowhere. We stayed in like this little community type thing with pathways and thermal baths. Instead of staying in hotel rooms, we stayed in villas! There were about 4 of us in each one and it had a living room, kitchen, 2 bathrooms, and 2 bedrooms. I wish the trip had been more than one night. It was so relaxing-- we lounged out by the pool for hours at a time and even got a complimentary massage. It was my first massage and I definitely loved it. Funny that the first thing Dad AND Nick asked was, "was it a lady or a man that gave it to you?" haha. It was a lady.

This week I took all my finals. I think they went relatively well, and I think I managed to pull it off and do well this semester, despite what some people may have though (ahem mom) about me slacking off on my work and just soaking in the fact that I was in Italy. I have to say though, my Italian is no better than when I came here. But i DO have 2 "short films" to show people.

Thursday night was our last night all together. We decided to go to this hip place that only opens up in the spring because it is an outdoor club. We heard great things about it so we were like oh sweet lets go. Me, Nick and Lauren, being the cheap ones that we are walked (even though it was all the way across Florence) while Stella, Emily and Paige got a cab. We called each other for the entire night being like "where are you! I'm at the bar...I'm at the you're not..i don't see you". Come to find out we were at two different clubs, both outdoors and both in the park. It was still a great time..unlike anything I've ever seen in my life. It was amazing. There were like 5 different bars and different sections to dance with different types of music. It was so classy and everyone was dressed up. All the workers were in suits, there was flaming champaigne everywhere, and hired dancers to dance on stage.

Yesterday, four of us went to Ganzo for lunch. As soon as I walked in, one of the waiters was kind of staring at me funny as if he recognized me and was like "You are the the picture" haha it felt so awesome. Then he said something about somebody buying it?? but I didn't understand. After that Lauren and I went to go drop stuff off at FUA to donate for earthquake victims and we went to a little shop to find her dad a wallet. The guy that worked there was seriously the cutest old man I had ever seen in my entire life. My eyes are tearing up just thinking about him. So slowly and delicately packing up the wallet in tissue paper and a box, realizing that his old old cash register wouldn't open to give Lauren change, and then his eyes lit up when she had exact change and was sooo thankful. Cutest thing ever.
I'm also realllly really going to miss seeing the dog that lives on the corner every day.

Last night, Paige, Emily, Lauren and I all pulled our mattresses into the living room and had a big slumber party. We made sure that we stayed up until 2 though because that's when the secret bakery opens. It's in this hidden ally way and doesn't look like a place at all, but when you walk inside you walk straight into where they bake it and they have fresh and warm baked goods all ready for you to take, all for a euro. It was the best donut I have ever had in my life.

When we got back we laughed for about 45 minutes because Lauren was recording video tapes in her detective voice, talking about our adventure.

I have so many more pictures that I'm waiting to have people check back for a picture blog.

Goodbye Florence.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sicily Video

If anyone has 20 minutes, my teacher made a video about our trip to Sicily. I'm in it a few times. Check it out:
(just copy and paste)

I will update about thermal baths as soon as I get pictures. My camera batteries died so I have to depend on other people uploading them.

Monday, May 4, 2009


So at the last minute, the train schedule changed and we had to take a bus from Florence to Rome and catch the overnight train there. I wish that that wasn’t the case, because on the 4 hour bus ride to Rome, two seats in front of me, this kid randomly threw up on the floor. It was there for almost three hours, and we were all suffocating ourselves in our blankets. We got off at a rest stop to go to the bathroom and get food, and me being the squeamish and stubborn one that I am, refused to get back on the bus until it was cleaned off the floor. So I marched right up to the bus driver and told him so. He cleaned it, and only then did I get back on the bus. The overnight train was a good time. It was my first time on one and I felt like I was in Harry Potter. I was expecting the cart lady to come rolling down the aisles offering us pumpkin pastries at any second.

Lauren and I started this thing, where we talk like detectives and record everything we do by times. For example (and the reason behind us giggling for about 20 minutes in the dark while we were trying to fall asleep on the train) “11:24, we lay down for a snooze.” It’s not funny unless you do it in the detective voice from those old black and white movies. Anyways, we did this the entire trip, and needless to say, everyone was annoyed with it by the end of the trip.

The next morning we were awoken by Francesco and when we opened our cabin door all we saw was ocean. It was beautiful. We got off the train and all got cappuccinos and pastries, and walked to a beautiful garden in Taormina with stones and statues and gorgeous flowers(birds of paradise) and trees. Lauren and I took some immature pictures imitating statues and we found some mating caterpillars. Emily really wanted me to pick one up to take a picture of me with it, and just as I was reaching for it, Mark slaps my hand away and pulls me away and says “Honey, leave them alone, they’re having sex. How would you like it if someone pet you? The sock is on the door, just leave them be”. HAHAHA. About an hour after our morning pastry, Francesco took us to the best bakery where we watched them make canolis in the back kitchen, and then we ate them. It was the best canoli I ever had.

After this we take a bus to the beach and lay out for 4 hours. It was the most relaxing thing ever and it was quite a change actually laying on send rather than rocks. We got back on the bus and drove two hours to Syracusa where our hotel was, checked in, showered, and rested until dinner. These trips take a lot out of me so I went to bed early both nights.

The next day we woke up early, ate breakfast at our hotel and started our walking tour of Syracusa. We went into this cave and this dog was going absolutely crazy barking up at the top and like trying to climb up the cave walls, and then frantically chasing his tale. A picture was taken of the dog, and on several peoples cameras there was an or over the dogs head, so we agreed that a ghost was definitely messing with this dog. Afterwards we went to an amphitheater which was pretty cool and apparently Al Pacino has performed there. Above the amphitheater were caves and waterfalls and apparently people used to “make love” in these caves which looked really uncomfortable but it was weird because it actually looked like the shape of beds were formed in there.

We continued to tour the city, and Francesco was being completely inappropriate the entire time. Mind you this man has to be in his 70’s. He had a friend there that he knew that was helping him chaperone and show us around, and evidently he was gay because Francesco kept telling us to “follow the gay man”. We were in the catacombs which weren’t as cool as in Paris (all the bones were gone in this one), and Francesco lights up a cigarette and then tells us that when we were done taking pictures, to “turn around and follow the gay”. At one point when we were outside, sitting on the steps of the church this ADORABLE little boy, had to have been just about 2, kept running over to us and smiling and flirting and would get soo mad when his dad would pick him up and try to take him away.

The last thing that we did on Saturday was take a boat ride out into the ocean. I’m pretty sure everyone but me and Lauren jumped into the water, climbed a cliff and jumped off. Few had bathing suits. Most jumped in clothes, or underwear. I was satisfied just watching. The highlight of this boatride for me though, was when this poor bird was drowning—I was near tears until the boat driver pulled over and saved it. It made my day. My dinner was terrible. I basically had a plate of cheese. It’s ridiculously hard being a vegetarian over here.

Sunday we went to Noto. I loved the architecture there. It was soo clean and much different from that of Florence or any other place that I’ve been in Italy for that matter. After this we went to the beach again for another 2 hours, ate lunch, and were off to the train station. While we were waiting for our late train (it would be a miracle if a train was ever on time in Italy) I decided to fulfill a bet that I had with Lauren. I bet that Francesco would let me have a puff of his cigarette. She bet that there was no way he would let me. We bet a huge bag of peanut m&m’s because they’re 4 euros here and hard to find. I asked him, and he handed it over. I took a tiny puff and barely had it out of my mouth before pointing at Lauren and jumping around because I just won a bag of M&M’s.

13 more days.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Amalfi Coast

Although leaving at 6:30 in the morning for the Amalfi Coast, wasn't my idea of fun, it was definitely worth it. I slept and read for the entire 6 hour busride, aside from the time that we stopped in Naples for a few hours for lunch and exploring. It was insane knowing that I could have been walking on the same streets that my great grandfather walked on. The city itself was sort of a poor country, but the coast was BEAUTIFUL. The farther south you go, the more beautiful and blue the water becomes. After eating a delicious pizza, walking the coast, and being entertained by a drummer in the street, we continued our journey to our hotel in a little town on the Amalfi coast. The hotel was definitely not as nice as the one in Lake Maggiore, but it had a bed and running water, and that's all I needed.

When we got in, we had time to relax a little bit, freshen up and then head off to dinner. We made some great new friends on this trip, Kara and Stephanie and they were a lot of fun to hang out with and we had several laughs at dinner. One of them consisting of our bet about whether or not flies poop or puke when they land. We tried to find out from other tables what the answer was by the majority, and someones answer was "they spit seven times". Thanks for the help. We attempted to go out that night, and all 70 of us found this empty bar and took over the entire thing. I was way too tired, so after about an hour, and no drinks, decided to just go back, and go to sleep. Good thing because we had to be up at 6:30 the next day. We took a boat to a ferry, and then an hour long ferry to Capri. It was too cold that morning to sit outside so we stayed inside and I finished another one of my books. Once I get going on one, I finish them in 3 days. Upon docking in Capri, I immediately fell in love. The water was like no water I've ever seen. It was straight up turquois. We got in line for a boat tour right away. Not all of us did it because it wasn't included but it was only ten euros. It brought us all around the ocean and showed us different grottos. We definitely got unexpectadly wet, but it was so worth it. I think that was my favorite part of the trip.

After the boat tour, somehow 7 of us got stuck with our chaperone Francesco, who is this old man that teaches at FUA. It's great because he knows where everything is, but I can't stand walking at someone elses pace. I just want to do things myself. We went out to lunch, and we didn't even have the privaledge of picking out our own food. He orders for us. It was good though, I really can't complain. After that we walked around Capri. He took us to these gardens on a balcony that had a wonderful view. Cristiano, (he's in charge of the academic field trips, he's a little older than us, Italian, maybe a grad student..i don't know his whole story), but he's walking around taking pictures and giggling, and I'm like what are you laughing at...and his only response was "my nation". HAHA i dont know why it was so funny to me, but it was. After following Francesco for hours, Stella and I were able to separate and go lay on the beach. That was an interesting experience in itself. Stella pretty much got hit in the face with a soccer ball, stones were inches away from hitting us, and some Italians walked by and took pictures of us sunbathing. I don't think they knew that we were peering at them through squinted eyes.

On the way back from Capri we stopped in another coastal town. We were only there for about 45 minutes, enough time to look around at little shops. Stella's highschool friend, Mark, sweetest boy you'll ever meet, he's gay which makes it SOOOOO mcuh better because I think they are the best kind of human being. We were walking around and he points out, in his boston accent, and cute little voice.."did you see this woman's breasticles..they got water comin outta them". Sure enough there was a fountain of a woman with water coming out of each of her breasts. On the ferry ride back I sat up top because I was convinced I would get more color, and I had a long and hilarious conversation with Kara, and this kid Addison. His way of breaking the ice was by telling Kara that she had a "killer lens" on her camera. After that we talked the whole way back about anything and everything. He said that I had the most contagious laugh, and that the day before he caught himself laughing from across the room, just because I was laughing and was like "I want to be her friend." I really didn't know that my laugh was so unique but it's pretty much one of the first things that everyone says upon meeting me. We ended up making a bet, because he didn't think that us girls would be able to get ready on time for dinner cause we didn't have much time when we got back. If we didn't make it downstairs by 8, we would have to suck on his socks. HAHA the next day he kiddingly admitted that "I love sucking on my socks. I purposely made a bet that would be win win for me." That night at dinner, all 70 of us packed into a restaurant, and the guests that were already there were not pleased about it. Obviously if there are that many people in a small room, let alone Americans, it's going to be loud. Our table was being quiet and somehow, we kept getting blamed for all the noise by this stupid woman next to us who kept giving us the worst death glares, and at one point came over and yelled at our table in Italian. I wanted to smack the miserable look right off her face. We were so exhausted from the long day, that after dinner, we just went right to bed.

We got up the next morning, checked out, ate breakfast, and went off to Pompeii. We had this miserable tour guide on our bus that we all wanted to shoot, because we just wanted to sleep and she wouldn't shut up. She kept yelling at people, and it just made us want to ignore her more. It was an extremely interesting day, and not even because of the sites. The sites were pretty but got old after awhile because everything started to look the same. It was crazy because they actually had the people covered in ash, and preserved for us to look at. Stella made quite a special friend there, who kept staring at her and waving everytime he walked by. We think there might have been something wrong with him, so I started to feel really bad, and so did Mark. He was like "that must have took so much courage for him to wave!" What else happened..hmm we saw a little girl legit squat and start peeing on the ancient archaeological sites. The look on Marks face was absolutely priceless. He went on and on about how innappropriate it was. After our tourguide legit got into a brawl about who got to see the brothel first, we entered only to find a menu on the walls, where you could choose which position you wanted. It was really awkward seeing the like stone rooms and beds, just knowing what happened there hundreds of years ago.

Quite an interesting trip.
20 more days left.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Lake Maggiore & Como

So I can tell that my time here is coming to a close, because all my academic field trips were booked for the past 4 weekends, and they have begun. This past weekend Stella and I went to Lake Maggiore and Como and it was an absolute blast and sooo beautiful. We made lots of new friends and enjoyed lots of laughs.

The first night we got there, we checked into our gorgeous hotel and put on our bathing suits right away and took advantage of the indoor pool and jacuzzi. We went to dinner and afterwards our chaperone brought us to this really cute bar in town with an African type theme. We went to bed fairly early that day, and thank god because the next day was non stop.

We woke up early, ate breakfast, and were off to the dock to start our excursion from island to island, palace to palace, and garden to garden. I've never seen so many flowers or so many exotic birds in my life. There were these gorgeous white peacocks that were so elegant looking but ruined it when they opened there mouths and made the most atrocious and intimidating sound ever. We learned a lot of interesting stuff in the castles too such as the higher the canopy over a bed, the richer and more powerful the person that sleeps under it. It was sooo cool seeing all their marionets and puppet stages also. It reminded me of the scene in the sound of music where they put on the show. I filmed the entire day so I could put together a travel document for my film class. I'm one of two people that gets to do it.
I got lots of sun that day and I was so excited.

After a night on the town, and barely any sleep, we woke up to our friend Jesse calling us angrily and saying "Get on this bus NOW" only to realize that it was 8:52 and we were supposed to be on the bus and pulling out by 8:30. We got ready and down there in exactly 6 minutes...we ran onto the bus and our old chaperone Francesco looks at us with a cigarette in his mouth and says "I kill you." hahaha

It was a rainy and cold on Sunday, but we got into a boat and toured Lake Como anyway. We saw tons of villas all along the lake and they were beautiful. We saw Robert Dinero's, Versaces and his tomb, George Clooney, the villa where Mussolini spent his last night, Heinz ketchup, Napoleon's and his dogs tomb (he loved his dog). It was insane.

Such a great weekend and I can't wait to put together and edit all my footage.
I also finished filming my final project today so I can start editing that tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Happy Easter and such

So easter weekend was a blast. It started off Thursday when I got to be in one of my film classmates movie. It put me in such a good mood because that's when I'm the happiest, in front of the camera. Then I went back changed into shorts and sat outside of Santa Croce and did homework because it was so beautiful out.

Friday, Lauren and I went to Fiesole, which is basically part of Florence, but not really. We had to take a bus up a hill, and it was a gorgeous drive. It had a beautiful view, and I had a really great salad, but the fact that the ATM stole my money, and we had a huge bank issue, kind of ruined my time there.

Saturday was my favorite day. Got up really early and went on a day trip to Cinque Terre. SOOOOO beautiful. Definitely the prettiest place I've seen so far. It's a close runner up to Ireland. We legit like scaled a mountain side. The hike was so intense, but we followed the coast line and it had a gorgeous view. The water was sooo blue. I loved every moment of it. There were so many doggies around and I just wanted to pet all of them.

Sunday, I really thought that I'd be able to wake up on time to see the Explosion of the cart outside of the Duomo, but I was wayyy too tired, and instead slept until 12. When I woke up we had a feast with Amandas mom, and her, me and Lauren. We had eggs, easter bread, fruit salad, and a huge chocolate egg. After that I went up to Piazza di Michelangelo and layed out for hours. It was sooo relaxing. Then I came back and did homework for a long time.

Monday, Lauren and I woke up early and went to the beach in Viareggio. It was pretty windy and cold, but the beach was big and sandy and pretty. We layed out until we felt raindrops and then went back and made dinner.

Video class was actually fun today. I pretty much editted the entire cooking show (almost done) by myself, and it's awesome if I do say so myself. I'm gonna start filming my own script on Thursday, and then I'm also bringing the video camera to Lake Como with me because my teacher said I could film there and make a travel video if I wanted. I need the practice to I said, sure!

I spent a lot of time outside this weekend. Every day. I hated that I was in classes all day today, and pretty much will be all day tomorrow too. But come Thursday, I'm right outside again.

Monday, April 6, 2009


I've finally completed the circle of seeing all three countries of my heritage. Germany was the last stop, but definitely nowhere near the least interesting or beautiful. Of course we saw it during its snowy season but it actually made it all the more gorgeous. This country side was much different than that of Italy or Ireland. As opposed to the rolling green hills that those two countries have, Germany is more like a forest. The mountains are rockier and more rugged and filled with pine trees. The second that you start your driving or walking excursion, you feel as though you are within the setting of Hansel and Gretel. Within the cities, everything is well manicured and maintained; everything cut to edge and prim..much different from Italy's uneven stucco buildings with laundry hanging out of windows everywhere you turn.

The eating habits in Germany were very difficult to adjust to, especially being a vegetarian. We had bread and meat for breakfast and dinner. Sometimes a big lunch, and cake and coffee in between every meal. One thing I loved about the food was the salad..for some reason the salad dressing was delicious and I don't know that I'll be able to find anything like that in America. I tried sauerkraut for the first time and loved it. Although it was homemade and I know for a fact that if eaten out of the jar, I wouldn't even get it past my lips. The apple strudel in Germany straight out of the oven is to DIE for.

One of my favorite parts of Germany was meeting the other side of my family. My Dad's side all live in America, but most of my mom’s side never left Germany. Most don't speak English so it was a little difficult to get things across, nonetheless, still an experience. Tante Ingy still looks the same, cute and witty as ever. When we were all talking about her hair, she says something in German, and Chris(our translator/Toni's grandson/Michaela's son) informed us that she said "What the hell is so great about my hair". haha. All of Toni's grandkids are so cute. Chris, the punk rocker and most like me, Florian aka Flo, the soccer player and definitely going to be the ladies man, and Timmy, the baby and has the cutest and biggest smile that is enough to win anyone over. I loved meeting Michael, who is now 36, because last time I saw him, I can't even remember. I was 5 months old, and he was visiting America and carrying me around on his shoulders.

One of the days that we were there we took a drive down to one of king Ludwig's castles. I can't pronounce or even come close to spelling it so I'll just describe it as the one that Walt Disney designed Sleeping Beauty's castle in DisneyLand, CA.
It was beautiful. All the way on top of a mountain and of course the bus was down, so we had to hike all the way up. On our trek, we saw a woman walking a dog that appeared to be a yorkie, so we were like awww a yorkie. Well, bad move. This woman was extremely offended by this and rudely shouts "NIEN YORKIE". We didn't let that down for the rest of the trip, and it never got old. Rolf took pictures the entire time that we were in Germany and gave us the CD of pictures at the end of the trip as a surprise, along with a book of Nuremburg, which was so nice of him.

So story of the trip. We left early enough to return our car, sit down to eat, and go wait to board. We got to the airport in about 2 and a half hours, returned our rental, and went inside the airport to find a place to eat. We're looking around for RyanAir, and figured we must have been in the wrong terminal, so we asked someone where the right terminal was. They replied that it was in a different airport, and not only that, but 90 miles away. We freaked out. I was about to cry because I was without a computer for a week and just wanted to get back and talk to Nick, but needless to say, a crazy cab ride on the autobahn and 170 euros later, we made it to our plane.

Mom and Dad went to Venice the next few days while I was in classes, and when they got back I was finally able to show them Florence. We went inside of Santa Croce where Michelangelo’s tomb is, I took them to the engagement spot, San Lorenzo's market, Dantes and Ponte Vecchio. We also went wine tasting on Saturday morning up at Verrazano's castle in Chianti. It was pretty interesting even though I don't like wine. It was absolutely beautiful up there and the true image that I had in my head of Tuscany.

Mom and Dad are gone now, but I enjoyed their visit and am so happy that I got to show them the lifestyle that I've been living for the past few months.