21 September 2009

real live italians

I think I write best / enjoy the old keyboard a bit more when I should be getting my beauty sleep. Why rest when I can tell you about my day? I actually sleep better knowing you sleep better knowing what my day was like.

This four-day weekend has been full of homework, geese, family fun, and most importantly, construction paper.

After a day of school, /Always Sunny in Philadelphia / Italian class / a visit to the Colosseum, I decided to bite the bullet and visit my site for another round of sketcheroos and photos. Good thing I did, because Tiber Island is the peach in my fruit bowl. It’s beautiful and really dirty. There is so much history to this place that is always overlooked. I just want to shake the tourists walking by who are confused because there is just a hospital and a Basilica on the patch of land.

Enough of that Roman junk that you probably don’t care about. Let’s talk about the bars. We went to Scholar’s Lounge, a lovely little Irish pub in the middle of the city. It was a delight meeting other Americans and getting the chance to yell over the noise, shower in others’ sweat, and pay a tibia and a fibula for a decent drink. Nah, I’m just kidding. None of those things happened. I just wanted to say them. I was in a bad position, because I thought it was funny, but I can’t lie. So here I am wasting Internet closet space.

The weekend just got better and better after the Scholar’s Lounge. Karen and I made the gals dinner: Thai lettuce wraps, fruit salad, and Pinot Grigio. I hope you are proud of me, grandma. As if that wasn’t enough to wrap up (note the great lettuce wrap pun) a swell Saturday evening, our lovely two neighbors, Claudia and Lucrezzia, invited us over for a party. These Italians know how to throw it down. Friends drove from Naples (couple hours) for the house warming party. Claudia’s mom made the tastiest food for everyone. They fed us well and kept our glasses full. After that party came what we did not expect- the disco.

The ladder part of the evening could be a blog in itself. I really feel like I have outlived myself now. €20 got me:
1. A floor to dance on.
2. A sound so melodic and nutritious for the ears—it could only be one thing: techno music.
3. A big glass ‘o fun (vodka tonic).
4. Hundreds (?) of men with unbuttoned shirts, gelled hair, and slick dance moves teasing me with their chests of hair.
5. The chance to hang with new Italian compadres.

Oh, and about the homework, geese, family fun, and construction paper:
1. I did homework.
2. 2. Part of my homework still involves making that volumetric container inspired by a goose’s head. I wanted to be so inspired that I made it my desktop background.
3. We (the 7 of us gals living together) called it family weekend. We played together (homework), ate together (two cooked meals. Leah rocked the Sunday brunch), we even put our mattresses together in the living room (three of us anyway.)
4. We all have these boxes that are due tomorrow. Laura’s is inspired by a daisies and something else circular? Car’s is a propeller! Leah’s is a tree. Bethany’s is Hawaii and ha hose. This is why our lives are filled with construction paper.

Have a great day and be sure to give someone a good wink for me please.

17 September 2009


one of the three fake david statues in the background. this was outside the uffizi museum.

karen! my lovely travel companion. i wish my battery didn't die halfway through this trip. i don't have picture of the rive/bridge we went to saturday night, or the wine tasting day.

so so many vespas and bicycles in this city.

14 September 2009


This thing is getting harder and harder to update. I am starting to hate being on the computer more and more and more. I think that's healthy though, right?

Rome is still great, everyone. No worries. This little American girl is settling in just fine. A few of us went to Florence this weekend (awesome), and I had a sad thought: I realized that there will be times this semseter where I will have to work and I can't have fun. I know that probably just killed my parents to read because I am just having too darn much fun.

Laura just pointed out today that we've been gone for three weeks already. It feels like a while, but not that long. I feel like I've lived a lot of life in those three weeks. Irelnd > gettting settled into a country with a different culture and language > spontaneous vaca > back to classes.

Let's talk about Florence::

Kare-bear and I were like, "Let's do Florence.". Okay. Neither of us exactly wanted to do any planning or researching, or booking, so we just really didn't. She did book the hostel sometime last week and found us a SWEET place to stay for two nights. Florence Plus = amazing. What hostel has a black light pool, spa, sauna, rooftop terrace, bar, disco, restaurant, and girls only floor?? It was so great. We met a lot of cool people (Australians, Canadians, and even Southern folk!).

We left around 7:30 and got a ticket to jump on the cheap train to the city and before we knew it we were there. We were in the city known for it's leather as much as Michaelangelo's Statue of David. We did some shopping at the markets, had lunch at a darling diner (I had the best smoked swordfish), bought a bottle of wine and went to Piazza Michaelango to overlook Florence at night. It was really cool to see the same skyline I used for a project sophomore year in person.

The next day we walked around Florence some more. We saw some cathedrals, two fake Davids (does that count for anything?), and the Uffizi Gallery. They say it's the next best art in the world next to the Vatican. We saw the Birth of Venus, Madonna with Long Neck, and tons of other work by Botticelli, Caravaggio, Da Vince, etc. Not surprisingly, we went after some more leather and scarves before we made our way back to the hostel.

Monday was possibly one of the most fun days of this trip. A big group of us went out all day Monday to the Chianti Region, and lucky for us, it's harvest time. We "got to" pick the grapes (turned into a grape fight with some Aussies), drink the vineyards favorites with lunch, and then we went to a wine tasting class. We enjoyed the Super Tuscan, truffle olive oil, and balsamic vin. Om nom nom. It was all so amazing. Honestly, the best I will probably ever have in my life.

I must do my studies now, after all that's why I'm here, right? ha...

Task: design a box that represents a goose.

Fact: my room smells like leather. Good day.

08 September 2009

roma roma roma

Just stoppin by the Trevi Fountain on Karen's birthday

spanish steps!

a view from our apartment

venetian palace


tiber river

jewish ghetto

capitoline hill

piazza della bocca della verita

more tiber river


Hello friends, family, and stalkers:

Cheers and buon giorno from Rome, Italy. I made it! Who knew little beckeroo from little Iowa would end up in the heart of the heart of the heart of the Roman-Catholic-wine-gelato-beautiful-people capitol of the world.

I wish that I would take more time to write to everyone and say exactly what has been going on, but I just haven't mustered up the energy. It’s hard to believe I’m here.

A few observations:

1. Ancient everything. At orientation they were telling us how things break down and don’t always run efficiently over here, “Some of your apartments are 800-900 years old….” Whoa.
2. Color. All the buildings have a beautiful antique stain. The sky is always bright blue. Everything is stone and palm tree. It’s exactly how you would picture it if Bernini was trying to get someone to go in on a bottle of wine with him.
3. Food. Everything from the sandwiches at the cafes, to the gelato, it’s all really really good. The produce is great. Fresh. Local. Cheap.
4. Walking. This is a double-edged sword. Never have I walked so much in just a few days. I better keep it up if I want to swim in as much gelato and wine as I plan on this semester.
5. Apartment. We got so lucky. I expected to be crammed into a little run-down flat. Nope. We have 10-foot ceilings, 3 balconies, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and 1 big happy family of the greatest gals in Rome, Italy.
6. Modern + ancient everything. It’s just how it should be. New black Mercedes parked next to the embassy. I always wonder what important person needs that ride.
7. Language. No surprises here. I T A L I A N. The language is beautiful and it’s not one of those places where everyone also speaks English. It’s a friendly obstacle.
8. Tourist haven. Even though I too am essentially a tourist, I can’t believe how many people are. Hopefully I’ll know the city by the back of my hand so I can help the poor little binocular bodies.

All in all, it’s beautiful here. I will use that word a lot, I’m sure. I want my words to have meaning. If I say beautiful, I mean beautiful. At what other time in my life did I go from Ireland to Rome and within Rome, the Venetian Palace, Pantheon, Capitoline Hill, Trevi Fountain, Mediterranean Sea, and then back to class in the Jewish Ghetto?

I just want to wake up everyday and be grateful that the sun is shining and that I’m living with six other fabulous girls. This is a dream.

01 September 2009

"pictures only mean you can't convince"

oh look-- more Ireland.
Glen Hansard and Lisa Hannigan at the National Concert Hall in Dublin.



Cliffs of Moher! Send me back!!!

Some castle we saw when we drove to the Cliffs of Moher.

part of the bus tour through the contryside.
A tower at the Blarney Castle!

adventures in ireland

Hello blog and followers.

So sorry I have been lagging on this update things. I promise things will get easier for all of us soon. Traveling around Ireland made internet findings a bit hard. Plus, who has time to BLOG when they are drinking beer and visiting castles?

Ireland is the best place I’ve ever been. It’s hard to compare to others, but it’s my first European experience and everything came together so flawlessly. People say it’s beautiful, but it’s sort of this enchanting beauty I didn’t imagine before. The grass is a brighter green. The country side has stone fences, random castles, herds of sheep, rolling hills, and the most darling cottages.

The cities blend modern and classical. The design here is so beautiful. Little things are better too. Like, at the bathrooms, instead of looking under the stalls to see if it’s occupied, the locks say if it’s vacant or not! Wow!

This week in Ireland::

Dublin had good pubs. Good ones. Local ones. I enjoyed me some Guinness, Murphy’s, Beamish, and Smithwick’s this week. We also fancied ourselves to the Dublin Castle. A fine little tucked away treasure. The highlight of th week was definitely the Glen Hansard and Lisa Hannigan concert. Best in my life. Indescribable. I don’t care who you are, you would have been moved at this show. He’s a pretty big deal there, and it was sort of a homecoming show. Four standing ovations. Beautiful.

Galway had more pubs. More Americanized. We danced the night away, and like always, gave the world a snippet of an Iowa good time. During the day we walked around the extremely quaint town and took photos by the bay. Cutest city + loveliest scenery. It was so small but had so much to offer. Like Central City? Hmmm…

Oh! I forgot about the Cliffs of Moher. A sight that cannot be described. Look at the pics. Just imagine BEING THERE. Since I’m jumping around a bit anyway, we did visit the Blarney Castle, and yes I did kiss the Blarney Stone. It give the gift of eloquence. I’m sure that you will observe from reading this text, that uncle Blarney gave just what the doctor ordered.

We had high hopes for Cork. It was dirty. We liked it. But it was dirty. Poor Cork didn’t have the advantage of the sunny weather like the others did. It rained the whole time. We walked around the hopping area and enjoyed the many characters the city had to offer us. We met a nice young gent named Fergle one night. We tried to drag him with us on a quest for ice cream. He lasted for a little while, then the power of the club swooned him away from our group. We wished him the best.

Basically Ireland was great. I spent less money than I thought I would. We had less problems navigating and finding our landmarks. It would rain and then shine. I would spend more time writing about this, but I didn’t have much Internet while I was there so I’m just lumping all this into one. I also don’t have the energy to re read this and make it more detailed and proofread.

Just got to Rome today. Exhausted. That’s another post for later.

Tanks for reading everyone [mom].

Miss you.