Saturday, September 1, 2012

Back at the CC

My summer, as you can probably surmise, was uneventful, but certainly full of love, surprises, excitement, and friends. I don't think that I could have possibly had a better summer considering the circumstances, and I got to meet, and get closer to some really great people. I've even come to love my city even more than I did before, which is certainly saying something.
I have to say the single best part of my summer were the places that I got to see, the little hidden gems that would have totally evaded my radar had I not done my internship. I learned a lot about myself and the people around me and I can easily say that the people in Cleveland have proven once again that we are a city of love, even if we aren’t glamorous or fancy, or particularly exceptional in other people’s eyes.
The friends that I’ve made, and the ones I reevaluated and came to love more were also a great part of the summer. Just thinking about all of the amazing moments that I had makes my insides feel warm and fuzzy. One of the best nights was drinks and hookah with my girlfriends. It was the same group of us that it had been in high school, minus one, and for that moment, we all came back together and it felt right. Even though in many ways we’ve grown apart, it's still nice to know that we can get together, reminisce about old times, and talk about our lives now. I guess the idea that we still value each other enough to make room and time in our lives for each  other is really nice.
So, now I’m back at CC, and I feel like I’m in a totally different world. Seeing friends and acquaintances alike has been great and I had more than one moment when I was just totally overwhelmed by all the people that were happy I was back. It’s always nice to be missed, even if it is kind of selfish. There are the familiar sights, smells, happenings going on and it’s pretty comforting, but it’s also pretty exciting because there are still so many new things. There are renovations that I’m just now discovering, new things in people’s lives, my new apartment and my roommates. It’s all enough to make these first few weeks of being back pretty novel.
In my opinion, I’ve got a great year ahead of me. It’s going to be exceptionally challenging, and filled with so much more responsibility, but I think I’m ready. I want to be challenged and excited about the things that I’m doing. So here’s to being back at school, to summer slipping away with all it’s amazing memories, and to what is to happen in the future: getting older, wiser, making mistakes, and being forced to admit when you’re wrong and need help. Here’s to taking chances.
A dopo!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Summertime is Play Time

I have finally had an indulgent experience, I was beginning to think that I would not reach my goal this summer.

2 nights this weekend I was out until 5 in the morning. I met some awesome people, including a guy, and got to hang out with some friends, including the guy that I had been wanting to hang out with for a while. For a change things were going very well as far as my social life was concerned.

The guy that I met Friday night was probably as close to an intellectual match as I have ever had. It was kind of like kismet, as cheesy as that sounds. We talked for 3 hours and we had so many things in common, it was kind of scary that we were so compatible. He asked for my number and we’ve been texting back and forth, it’s insane how easy he is to talk to, it feels like we’ve been friends for ages. I’m thinking that this could be a really awesome friendship, who knows if it will become more than that. Either way I am quite interested in getting to know him better, and happy that I met him. Gives me hope that there are guys out there who aren’t just completely clueless.

Saturday was nice, I watched a movie with a guy I’ve been semi-crushing on for years. Again, it was kind of insane how comfortable we felt with each other and it turned out to be a great night. I’m hoping that we get to hang out more, but even if we don’t I’m still glad for that one night. I didn’t let my brain get in the way of how I felt and what I wanted. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

I also realized that I am in absolutely no position to be wanting a boyfriend, at least not a serious one. Although now I can see the benefits and the value in having one, eventually. I’m going to be starting my junior year and I want to focus on myself, and my friends, and not have a distraction. Also, is it so bad to want to be able to see what options are out there? I can’t be making up my mind about one particular person when I have no idea what I even want to do with myself.

So, here goes the final stretch of my summer, hopefully I’ll end it with a bang. I can only imagine how great the school year is and hopefully it is even better than summer has been.

A dopo!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

So much in my brain…

I, being an idea driven person, am always in my head. I think and think and think about things and often times it stops me from making them happen.

I have been feeling a wealth of emotions over that last few weeks, longing for my second home in Colorado, wanting to stay in Cleveland to see explore every inch of it, having the urge to runaway somewhere new and just stay there. All these feelings contradict each other and it feels like my brain is pulling in 10 different directions.

This summer, I have been doing a lot of reflection. Thinking about the future, the present, my current path in life, where I want it to go, etc. And I find that my desires, what I want to do with myself and what I want my legacy to be are going in divergent paths. The humanitarian in me and the artist in me are having a tug-of-war with my brain on what it is I should devote my life to.

On one hand, I absolutely adore fashion. If I could submerge myself in it 24/7 I would. I love that fashion can be grand, luxurious, and indulgent and be gritty, edgy, and down right dirty all at the same time. The culture, the cult of clothing is like the witch with the shiny red apple, only this time, I know it will inject it’s poison into every inch of me, and I still want it.

If I went into fashion, I know I would turn into “that girl” the one that lives and dies for the shoes in her closet, and can’t imagine leaving the house in anything that doesn’t have a print, a sparkle, or a pleat. I would give myself over to a world of shallow self obsessed poseurs who’s only goal is to be seen being seen. Oddly enough, I’m completely ok with that.

But, do I want my legacy to be that I helped the fashion challenged not to buy ugly clothes, or something more substantial? Enter applied social sciences.

I want to help people, I want to make my community an amazing place for everyone, even the people who can’t afford it, and unfortunately I can’t do that by preaching the evils of Croc’s. I don’t think that it needs much explanation, the humanitarian in me wants to help human kind. It’s not glamorous, no shwanky parties involved, I won’t make a lot of money, and I won’t be surrounded by the young and fabulous.

It will make me feel better about myself to choose the latter option, to keep my self-righteous attitude about elitism and equity. But what happens when all you really wanna do is sell your soul?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A New Philosophy…

Lately, I have been working a lot and talking with people who are a bit older than me and it has made me realize a few things.

The first, is that college never really ends, happy hours and function after parties ensure that you will have just as much potentially embarrassing boozy fun as you did in college. The bright side is you are legally allowed to have this fun, the down side, if you do something stupid and drunk, the consequences might be worse.

Another thing is that I’ve realized time is dwindling. This fall, I will be a junior, inevitably the year will go by in flash and I will be a senior with no more summers and no more time to be a mooch. I need to explore, be reckless, and shameful, and maybe even a little naïve while I can. This realization has created a spark in me, and for all the reasons why anyone would flee to the big city…

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Summer Daze

So, things this summer are looking up.

One of my best friends that goes to MIT introduced me to a friend of hers who will be doing research at Cleveland Clinic for the summer. This is a great start to reaching my goal of meeting new people. Plus, I got to hang out with some friends I hadn’t seen in a while, so that was nice.

This weekend one of my good friends from highschool is coming home for a few days, I’m really excited to see her.

This summer is turning out to be a lot better than I thought that it would be. If things continue at this trajectory, I’m in for a great time, before an AMAZING year back at school.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Afternoon Delight…

Or, more like morning delight. or morning reflection because it’s actually not that delightful. But like an afternoon quickie, this will be a quick one.

I can’t remember the last time that I read something that resonated with me to strongly. I read this Tuesday, and it still pops into my idle mind. It was eerily relevant to how I was feeling, and not in the ‘I heard a song on the radio that reminded me of something that happened to me’ way, but in the ‘I was literally saying/thinking this exact thing and it’s like the author pulled the thoughts out of my head and put them on paper’ kind of way.

Here’s the article, and I hope it touches everyone who reads it as much as it touched me.

A dopo!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Everything and Nothing…

I’ve been away for a while, but I’ve been busy working so at least that’s kind of an excuse.

I never knew how true the tired old “intern” stereotype was until now. I work 30 hour weeks (not that much, but in social servicec and development those days can be LONG) sometimes more, dealing with finicky people and difficult companies and get paid nothing. I go home frustrated, or exhausted, or just completely out of it, with no paycheck to show for it at the end of the day. When the weekends come, I’m too broke to do anything, and can’t even afford to go to chipotle let alone get dinner with friends. If I only I had the time/energy for a night job. Not having a car doesn’t help much either.

But I will survive, I will just have to be a freeloader and ask my parents for money, I’m still young and what else is college for other than an excuse to mooch off your parents for 4 years of your “adulthood”?

It’s very interesting working in a field where so many things intersect, I feel like community development corporations are like super heroes, at least the ones that are actually doing things in their communities. They are like event planners, code enforcers, politicians, volunteers, recreational planners, realty consultants, business managers, crisis consultants, social workers, and all in one, and that list goes on. I’ve really been able to see how intelligent and flexible the people that I work with are. They have to navigate so many different work settings, from crunchy granola grassroots organizations to fortune 500 international corporations. Everyday, I feel like this is the kind of work that I want to, but I will definitely have a lot to think about and a lot of work to do.

Otherwise, my life is pretty uneventful. All my friends will soon be fleeing from the Cleve to frolic around the world sailing and doing research and just generally being awesome. Hopefully I’ll get to see them soon, I miss them dearly.

I don’t want to spend my whole summer waiting for school to start, but I’m already feeling that way, and I can’t imagine the summer getting anymore exciting, unless I happen to meet some new people, which I’m totally down for. I want to enjoy this summer, because it is probably the last summer that I will be this carefree, I’ll probably move out of my house, for at least part of the summer and I’ll have to get a job in addition to interning or whatever else I do. I will be working myself to the bone, and my friends will probably still not be home (suburban kids, pfft!) and so I’ll be making do. Then it will be senior year. I don’t want all this amazingness to slip through my fingers and realize when I’m sitting in my cap and gown at graduation, that I didn’t take advantage of every bit of time that I had to be carefree and happy.

Hopefully it wo’n’t come to that, and now I’ve got a date with the kitchen.

A dopo!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Saturdays are great…

Today, despite the terrible weather, was a great day. I got up pretty early, I’m not sure why, and made breakfast. Eggs, toast, home fries, and bacon, it was pretty satisfying and I got to catch up on Sponge Bob. Afterwards I took a little nap and watched Man V. Food and then got dressed to go to the West Side Market in Ohio City. I made out with a lot of great things including some nice instagram photos and some carrot apple juice. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get what I went there for, a sausage that I tried yesterday in a steam bun from Noodle Cat. I literally have been thinking about this sausage since 2 in the afternoon yesterday.

After getting some great food and herbs at the market we went to Johnny Mango, a casual café/restaurant deal that has a lot of vegetarian and gluten free options. I got the fried plantains served with pico di gallo and the nachos with grilled chicken. It was so good, those plantains were out of this world.

Now am at home trying not to fall asleep, but I’m thinking a nap is in order. The market was super crowded and crowded places are so exhausting.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Monday was my first day at my internship. I am working in the Ohio City neighborhood and, even though I haven't really done much, since I've only been working here 3 days I'm even more excited than I was when I got the position. I think that this will be one of the most rewarding work experiences that I've had. Not to say that I've had many, and of course, since my last work experience over the summer was working at Pizza Hut at the zoo, that's not much to compare. But really, I think that this really might be something that I can see myself doing for the long hall. I just have to decide exactly what it is that I want to do... I really am stuck between working with the residential side and working with people, and the marketing/events side. Both things I'm really into, I love planning events, I live for logistics and planning and organizing thing and then seeing them come into fruition, but I always love helping people and being involved with people directly, so I don't really know which way to go. I'll probably end up with the residential team, but I would love to volunteer at events and such, it's not like a have anything else to do at this point. 
I guess it's good that career/school wise everything is going pretty well, because as far as my personal life is concerned I'm pretty clueless. Things with a good friend of mine that have always been a little weird (i.e. we've always had a FWB kind of relationship) are at the height of weirdness, we'll see how long that lasts and a friend of mine from school seems to be a front runner in romantic possibilities. That being said, I can't shake the feeling that someone knew needs to, and will enter my life, and the prospect is pretty exciting. I just have no clue where this new person is going to come from. I would also like to make some new friends, seeing as all of mine are abandoning me, and by abandoning I mean doing great things with their lives in other parts of the world, so I'm gonna be here for most of the summer by myself. It's great but it's scary, I don't want to spend my summer hanging out with my mom. How lame would that be?
So, we shall see where the rest of the day, and the rest of the summer takes me. Hopefully I will be able to keep myself busy, meet some awesome people, and be happy this summer. Because even though I love Cleveland, and I made a bit of money last year, I couldn't wait to get back to school and that was only 2 1/2 months. I want to be happy this summer, I want to have a reason to comeback because at this point, the only thing keeping me here is the hope I have for the future of this city. Not to sound overly sentimental or anything...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I’m back!

First things first TWITTER and INSTAGRAM -  @omgwth92 and shay_g92 respectively. Add me? Far better way to keep updated than my blog.

I know have been absent for a while, adjusting to home life and figuring my summer activities out in addition to sharpening my huswiffery (housewife) skills.

This past week has been a pretty good one, got some major loot @ Nordstrom Rack at Legacy (Free People maxi-dress, Caslon cashmere blend cardi, and a draped Halogen top all for under $80). I got a position as an intern at a community development organization that I’ve wanted to work at for a while, and I also have another position in the works as well as a job. This girl’s on a roll!

Last night, to celebrate, I cooked Orange Chicken and Fried Rice from scratch which was fun as well as time consuming since each this took a ton of ingredients. Good think I made the sauce ahead of time.

I need to clean because my culinary explorations have left half of the kitchen in disarray and I really have just been to lazy to wash all the dishes and actually put them away. Hopefully when I start working I will have less of an urge to nosh.

Things with my mother have been iffy, although I adore her and we have fun together, I have been in the house/with her far too much and we have been budding heads a lot. I think she still sees me as a moody teenager and will not accept the fact that I’m 20, and I’m not going to agree with everything she says or do what ever she wants me to. Oh well, I’ll be out the house soon enough, and hopefully I’ll find a social life too. When Monday nights and Friday nights are one in the same, things are really sad on the social front.

This past Sunday, my mother, grandmother, little cousin, aunt, great aunt, and 2nd cousin went to Wasabi to celebrate my little cousin’s 17th birthday. Needless to say, I was feeling hella old while realizing that in just a year he will be graduating from high school. How weird is that? Hopefully he will get his act together and do something with himself other than watch anime and play video games.

Well, I’ll leave you with that since life as of late has not been exceptionally exciting. They will be soon though…

A Dopo :)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Who said you can’t go home…

I’ve hit the slump… the post-study abroad slump.

I’m back home, and sure it was nice to see my family, but I really just want to be back in Florence.

I miss the city, I’ve been back for a week, and I’m still referring to my host family’s apartment as “home”. Problem.

I just can’t figure out how to get out of this funk, maybe once I start working I won’t feel so lost in translation…

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


It is 8:11AM in the morning, and I am waiting for my flight to begin boarding, and for my worst airport experience ever to end. Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris will continue to be my least favorite airport in the world.

Upon arriving we were ushered off the plane and into the shuttle—standard procedure, of course—and then without any notice or inkling to let us know where we would be dropped off, since many people had connecting flights, stopped at a gate and rushed us off. We arrived at gate 2G, which we found out when we entered the terminal and were given know help or direction as to where we should go or what we should do  to make our connecting flights or find out where they’d be leaving from. Luckily, our boarding passes had the terminal on it so we knew what general vicinity we needed to be in.

Since we had an overnight layover, and there are two sections of terminal 2E we were pretty confused as to where we would need to go. After asking multiple people we were finally told that we needed to go to the other section of 2E we needed to figure out how to exit the terminal to take a shuttle to the other one. This took about 20 minutes until someone finally showed us how to get out.

Then we got to the right part of 2E and found out that since we didn’t have visas we couldn’t sleep inside the terminal where our flights were, even though we had boarding passes and were making a connecting flight. So we had to go to the airport entrance to sleep because at this point it was too late to get a hotel, and it was late enough that we couldn’t go explore the city and make it back before the trains stopped. We were stuck.

So, we set up camp in a café area right at the entrance, since there were no other viable places to sleep. As we sat there eating the few snacks we had (at this time it was about 10PM and basically everything in the main airport was closed) we watched homeless people come in from the outside and set up on the opposite side of the eating area with presumably the same purpose. There were other people there that had overnight layovers as well, and it was obvious that we were all equally disconcerted by this. True, all homeless people aren’t dangerous, but when you are in an airport late at night alone with valuable things like laptops, money, and passports, everyone is potentially dangerous.

After a couple hours we were abruptly rounded up and forced to the opposite end of the terminal. Apparently, there was unattended baggage in the check-in area and it had been there unclaimed for quite sometime. Nothing says icing like a bomb scare in an airport. Fortunately for us they removed the luggage—sans bomb—and there is probably some poor schmuck who was so completely confused and disoriented by the CDG airport that he/she forgot their luggage. About an hour later, when we were finally allowed to go back to our sleeping quarters (haha.) we were all pretty over it and just wanted to go to sleep.

Clearly airport security had other things in mind and at about 1 or 2 in the morning came through with a security dog making sure all the people sleeping in the airport were actually passengers. Sure, this made a feel safer, but when we all had to get up early, and had barely gotten to sleep it was a rude awakening in every sense of the phrase. Finally we were able to go to sleep, it wasn’t particularly good sleep, but sleep none the less.

All-in-all, this has probably been my worse experience in an airport, fittingly it was in my least favorite airport, and I hope to god that this is the pinnacle of my bad airport experiences…

Au revior CDG, may we never meet again!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Arrivederci Firenze!

When I woke up this morning I was ready to leave Firenze. Partially because I was ready to not be surrounded by tourists and stuck with my mother all day, and also because of a bad personal experience I had with a Florentine friend Saturday night. I was so ready to get on the plane and leave Florence behind me, I even spouted off a 10 minute list of reasons why I wouldn’t miss Florence.

Then a trip to the market and a conversation with a guy I’d met several times through out my trip brought all the positive things about Florence to the forefront of my mind. All the amazing people that I’d met outnumbered the sucky ones, the good food, the awe inspiring places, and the fond memories all outweighed the bad and suddenly I was hit with a huge brick to my heart.

I was leaving Firenze. The place I’d called home for almost 3 months and learned to love and hate. And then I was wishing for 3 more months, 3 more months of sitting in piazze soaking in the sun, people watching, and eating great food, going to the marcato and getting clementini, and above all meeting new people and trying out my molto cattivo italiano.

I will miss Ponte Carraia, the bridge at the end of my street where I walked every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday to get gelato (my favorite in the city) before drawing class. I will miss our crazy British drawing instructors who always seemed so exasperated with us. I will miss family dinners with my host family, many of which were better than restaurant quality, and my host brothers bickering at the table about which James Bond actor was the best. I will miss the wonderful ACM people that I met and became friends with, whether we argued or not and the professors that were not only teachers, but mentors through out the whole experience. I will miss walking everywhere, thinking everything is just a 10 minute walk away, and wondering around the city at all odd hours. I’ll miss the shopping trips that always ended up at Zara and H&M because everything else in Firenze was just so expensive and the walks to class that always led me past all the stores I would die to shop in (they change the window displays every week.)

There are so many happy memories that I will take with me back to the states. As I sit here in the CDG airport, reflecting on the last time I was here waiting for a flight, I feel like I’ve come full circle. I can’t imagine my life without this experience, and I hope that all the things that I’ve done and the people that I’ve met stay vivid in my mind and don’t just fade away to a dream like haze.

I know adjusting to life back home will be a challenge, it already is a challenge and I’m not even there yet. Just knowing that all of these things are in the past, that Florence will never be the same as it was in these past months, and that what my future holds may not involve these people that I’ve met makes my heart sink. We grew to be like a family, and even in that short time I really came to care for the ACM group.

So, for all of you that might read this, I hope you have the time of your life whether you are going on to London or going back home. I hope that you look back on Florence with all the fondness that I do, and that at some point we shared some great memories. And above all I wish you great luck and success in your future, and that your lives are filled with more happiness than sorrow, and more amazing experiences to come!

Voi voglio bene,


Saturday, March 24, 2012


So the past couple days I’ve been in Viareggio soaking up some sun and enjoying the beach atmosphere. It’s been great, but to be honest I’m just glad to get back to Florence and enjoy my last few days there. All of this is started to sink in, that my time in Italy is coming to a close soon, and I don’t want it to be over. Sure, I’m sick of all the tourists and I really wish they would go back home (even though international student isn’t much better) so that I can have back the Florence that I first saw. Now, you can barely get down the streets because they are packed with people sightseeing and searching more stores to blow their money in.

I feel like I have a love hate relationship with the city, I’ve come to meet a lot of really awesome people and I don’t want to leave them behind, I’ve found some great places that have become really comfortable places for me, and on top of everything, I’ve learned so much about this city, it’s problems and accomplishments alike, that I have become attached to it in a far from superficial way. On the other hand the touristy nature of the city makes me feel like I’m in the airport all the time which makes me anxious, everyone in looking for where they’re trying to go, no one knows quite what they are looking for. I wish there were more Florentines in Florence…

And now, I’m sitting in a hotel room, feeling much displaced from my home (or at least my temporary one up the street from Piazza della Reppublicca) and thrust into the world of the tourist. It isn’t a particularly friendly one, and I miss the days of having an address, even though that was only about a week ago. I’m glad that we came in the winter before all the spring breakers and school trips arrived, it was a great experience and I’ll always have my nights—or mornings rather—where the streets were completely deserted and I felt like I was the only kid left in Disney World after the park closed.

I’ll have to make these last moments last, as I probably won’t be back to Florence as soon as I would like. This city will always be apart of me, as I have learned a lot about myself and the world around me being here. I’ve learned that America has too much influence internationally, that TV really will be the death of civilization, that despite the long standing rumors about Italians, they are NOT all well dressed, it really just depends on where you are, and that no matter how good or bad your Italian is, all that matters is that you try. Even if you don’t make sense... and if you're looking for grand breakfasts filled with all sorts of yummy goodness, you've come to the wrong place.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

And it’s over…

Well, as of yesterday I am no longer an ACM student. It’s very weird, and luckily for me I still have time here in Italy con mia mammá. The weather has been beautiful and I’m really excited to try out all the restaurants and check out all the stores that I have been avoiding to save money. Parents really are great…

Yesterday after my exam I checked my mom into her hotel and the we walked around town for a bit. We went to The Diner because I was craving a burger something serious, my mom wasn’t too happy that I wanted to get American food on her first day, but it was necessary. Afterwards I went home and knocked out because I was so terribly tired and then had dinner with my family. Afterwards I went and had a couple glasses of wine with my mom. It was nice and I got to try this cute little wine bar called Isabelle off of Piazza Santa Trinita… pictures after the jump!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The road is coming to an end…

So, my time here in Florence is coming to an end. I’ve been here for almost 3 months and it only feels like 2 weeks. Next week is finals week, I have an oral exam with Professor Mariotti and we have a final showcase of our work for drawing. Unfortunately, they moved the show case to Wednesday, so my mom won’t be able to come, but I will be able show her my work when she comes.

This weekend is our last weekend, it’s kind of bittersweet. I love going out with all the girls in the program, I’ll definitely miss them, but I’m also missing my friends at home. I haven’t seen them in months and it’s kind of killing me. Hopefully when I get home, I’ll be able to visit them.

I’m working on my final paper for Mariotti’s class and clearly, I’ve been bitten by the procrastination bug. I have been doing research though, so I won’t call it a completely lost cause. It should be an interesting paper, so I’m not too worried about getting it done in time.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Wild ride… e La cittá di acqua!

I know, I am getting really bad at this whole updating thing.

SATURDAY (Feb 25th) UPDATE – We ended up going to Twice and Babylon which was an AWESOME club, they played the most random music and we danced until our feet hurt. Haven’t had that much fun in a while…

The unfortunate thing is that I don’t have much to talk about from last week except my weekend in Venice.

Last week we visited St. Appollonia which was a convent for an order of Benedictine nuns in a cloister. In the refectory of this cloister is a fresco of the Last Supper (a tradition in Florentine convents and monasteries since the gothic period) by Andrea Castagno. It is a really beautiful painting and a pretty important painting. We then talked about Dominico Veneziano, another important painter, who according to Vasari brought oil painting to Florence from Venice.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

10 crazy days…

I know it’s been a while since I posted last, it’s been a crazy 10 days.
I got sick-ish again and missed another day of class, so I’ve been trying to catch up on all the notes, homework, and quizzes etc. It kind of sucked, but that’s what happens when you are sick, you miss things.
Last weekend I kind of took it easy, I didn’t go crazy, which is kind of sad since it was the last weekend of Carnevale. Some people went to Venice and they said it was amazing, it’s certainly on my bucket list now. The weather has been beautiful, so I’m hoping to make it to Viareggio for the last of the parades and enjoy a warm day on the beach (fingers crossed). Tuesday was Mardi Gras, or Martedi Grosso in Italian and it was a fun day, also because it was SO WARM outside.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Message from sick bay!

So, after a crazy weekend and a disgustingly awful sinus infection I am back in action!

I would like to that the lovely bartenders at Naima for making this weekend awesome. They are super nice and will give you free water if you ask for it!

There isn’t much to say about this week so far because I have been in bed for the past 3 days with a horrible sinus infection. The weather is turning for the better and I’m excited to leave the house and enjoy the warm (49 degrees Fahrenheit!) day and run some errands.

I have class this afternoon, cooking and drawing class tonight, I’m looking forward to not being attached to the bed. More to come later… hopefully.

Friday, February 10, 2012

This past week:

I went to some cool churches for class.

Started a new drawing in drawing class.

Found a new favorite bar, Naima.

Met cool people.

Went to an awesome club.

Made homemade pasta, roasted rabbit with potatoes, marinated peppers, and tiramisu.

Nothing else of note to add, it’s been great so far, we’ll see how the rest of the weekend unfolds. Also, there is a chocolate festival. Out of control.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Winter Wonderland… Roman style.

Well, what an eventful weekend!
Thursday, we ended up not going to the Baptistery because professor Jodie was sick. So, instead we all went to this bar/restaurant called The Club House that was really cool. We had some drinks and hung out with the new kids until some of us had to go to drawing class as Cecil. Luckily, I did make a lot of process on my drawing, however my drawing skills aren’t much better:
After class I booked back home for dinner and packing for ROMA! We had to get up at 6AM to get to our train at 7 for the speedy train. The ride was really quick and when we got to Rome it was pretty cold and pretty rainy, which was unfortunate since Rome typically has better weather than Florence. Our first stop was the hotel, and then we met at the caffé across the street for cappuccinos and brioche. Once everyone had a bite to eat we went to the Vatican (!) to see St. Peter’s Basilica, the necropolis below it, and the Vatican Musems. The necropolis was really cool, it was an ancient pagan necropolis that was there before St. Peter’s and the church was just built on top of it. It was also the sight where the St. Paul was supposedly buried by Roman Christians during the persecution of the Christians by Nero. It was probably one of the coolest things I have ever seen.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


This weekend I failed miserably at my goal to go to the outlets and to check out other markets, I did however succeed at equally, if not more awesome things so I’ll still give myself a pat on the back.
On Sabato we went to Pranzano in the Chianti region to try out Mac Dario’s the restaurant of the famous “Poet Butcher”. Can I just say it was the best burger I have had in my entire life, it was a medium rare patty of the best beef I’ve probably ever eaten and the people and atmosphere were amazing as well. All the tables are family style so you sit with other customers and it bright and really welcoming. After our delicious lunch we split up and I went with Katie to an Enoteca to try out some wine. I got a classic chianti that was made in Pranzano and it was DELICIOUS. I bought a bottle for dinner that night and my host family also gave it their stamp of approval. For the win!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Last week of Gennaio

Since our Italian final is tomorrow I am tired from cramming, reviewing, studying, etc… so on and so forth. I do not have the will or the time, or, to be honest, the mental capacity to write something witty and thought out. Then again I’m not particularly witty when I am at full capacity. Anywho… 
Here’s a breakdown of Monday and the subsequent days of this week:

Sunday, January 22, 2012

M.I.A., definitely dropping the ball

Since I haven’t blogged much this week, I’ll give you the rundown of the happenings.
Wednesday was not a particularly exciting day, although we did go to the Museo dell’Archeologia which was pretty cool. There were a lot of Etruscan artifacts from forever ago, and some amazing sculpture. IT was definitely a worth it visit and I would recommend it to everyone!
After the museum we hit up a couple stores and Christina got a pair of REALLY cute boots. After that I made my way home and had a pretty early night because Thursday would be a long day.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

An exciting weekend!

Friday was a big day of nothing, I went to the market for lunch with my friend Christina and my roomie Callie. I ended up getting clementini, pane (bread), formaggio (cheese), ciaccolate and frugole (strawberries). It was great, and then I went home and chilled for basically the entire day. For dinner we had beef with anchovies, carrots, salad, bread, wine, and pasta pomodoro. The beef was a little salty for my taste, but it was really interesting to say the least.

I ended up staying in for the night because my roomie wasn’t feeling well and I was a bit tired and we had to get up @ like 6AM to be at the Santa Maria Novella station.

Yesterday, we had a mandatory field trip to Siena. We went to the Duomo in Siena, the museum, and the palace at the Piazza del Campo. It was amazing and there were so many things that I just couldn’t believe were real. The cathedral was one of the most immaculate ornate places that I’ve ever seen. It was insane that half of the things we saw were created my masters like Michelangelo.

My roommate and I grabbed lunch at this cute little restaurant on the piazza. We sat outside because it was outrageously sunny and warm and I got a pizza that was so delicious. Then we went to the Palace and after we left we got these amazing Siennese almond cookies.

We headed home on the train after that (at about 5PM) and when we got home we crashed.

For dinner we had pasta with tomato and pepperoncino sauce, then a salad with potatoes and a frittata. It was delicious and then we had different Siennese cookie and fruit for desert.

Afterwards we chilled and then went out to the Irish Pub for some cider, and then left for Space discoteque at around 11. It was great time and I was so glad that we went. The girls that I went with were a blast! We got home at 2:30AM which was much later than anticipated, and on the way home met a Norwegian and a random guy who lives in Venice, but is from Montana. Interesting night to say the least.

This morning we got up and ate breakfast and then headed out to the countryside to go to our host family’s country house. It was beautiful, there were fruit trees and olive trees every where and you could see mountains covered in olive trees in the distance. The view was unbelievable.

For lunch/dinner we had antipasti (cured ham, cheeses, bread, and crostini with liver) and some focaccia with olive oil salt and rosemary. And then the pizzas began!

We had like 5 or 6 different kinds of pizza, margherita pizza, one with fennel, onion, tomato sauce, sausage, and mozzarella. Another with pancetta and garlic, a bianco pizza, just so many types and they were all fresh from the pizza oven. After we had cecina, which is a dish made with chickpea flower, and then we had cheese, fruit, and dolce for desert. I was literally in a food coma, I had to take a nap to digest all the food. But actually.

Now, I’m sitting in my room procrastinating on my homework.

A Domani :)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Since last we conversed…

So, I’ve been away for not very long, but lots of things have transpired. I will chronicle them by theme as opposed to chronologically because things are just simpler and make more since that way. Lets start with the most important: My homestay!

Callie, one of the girls on the trip, and I were placed with a family that lives on Via Della Vigna Nuova, which is near the Piazza della Santa Maria Novella, the Uffizi, the Ponte Vecchio, and the Piazza della Republicca which is where the major shopping is (We are talking Gucci, Prada, Etro, Bottega Veneta, etc.) The apartment is amazing and the street is like 5th avenue if it was a thousand years older. We are walking distance from the river, and consequently within walking distance of a ton of really chic caffés, bars, and discotequas.

Our host mother does translation work and is a cooking instructor, and our host father is in advertisment, dabbles in product design, interior design and decorative arts. I couldn’t have asked for a more awesome placement. Our dinners have consisted of:

ravioli nudi, stuffed peppers, roast potatoes, salad, rice and cabbage soup, roasted fennel, and really good turkey that I have no idea what was on it…

Excited for tonights dinner!

Also, I had the best gelato ever tonight, espresso and dark chocolate, it was so good! Grom is certainly the best gelato in the city… a must try.

We walked around today for forever, and by forever I mean 3 hours… but it felt like forever.

Classes have been going really well, Luigi, my professor is awesome and really funny. I’m hoping that pretty soon I’ll be able to understand more at dinner conversations.

I don’t particularly have the energy to continue talking about the last couple days, I have homework and want to take a nap, hopefully I will be able to get everything in before dinner. Ciao!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Primo Journo

Today was the first day of classes. We are staying in Hotel Duca D’Aosta and Italian class was at 9AM so we had to get up at about 8 to get ready, eat breakfast, and get to class.

ACM students aren’t the only students at linguaviva so in the mornings the school is pretty busy. It was definitely cool to see some of the other students that were studying at the school, there were people from all over, Japan, Brazil, Sweden, etc.

My professor, Signor Luigi, is awesome! He is really funny and gave us a lot of pointers about things to look for and things to do while in Florence. He’s really nice and I think he’s going to make it very easy to pick up Italian.

At break we went to a café around the corner called Lazzi, they have coffee and a lot of fresh foods, plus Linguaviva students get a 10% discount which is really nice being on a budget and all. The place seemed to be pretty crowded when I went past after class so that’s always a good sign.

After break we went back to class, and then afterwards there was a small reception for all the linguaviva students. Afterwards I stopped by a little café in the opposite direction of Lazzi and got a crudo e fontina sandwich which was delicious, of course, and then I walked around for a bit just to people watch and ran into a group of ACM students on their way back for the beginning of our orientation meeting.

Dinner was great, we had lasagna, a roasted turkey dish with black cabbage (tastes like a cross between kale and collard greens) and then for desert we had panna cotta. It was all SO good!

Afterwards one of the girls from the program and I walked around in search of an aperitivo, we found a nice with wine dispensary with a lot of inexpensive but quality wines and got 2 mini bottles to sample some of the local fairs while we did homework in the hotel.

So far, today has been great, tomorrow we get our bus passes and we got our museum passes today, we also get our home stay placements tomorrow so it should be an eventful day. There are a lot of fashion events going on this month, and one going on very close to the school tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll get to check it out before we get too busy.

A domani!

1st day of the program

Today was the first day of the program, I met the professors and the other students and so far it seems like its going to be a really good time. The professors are all really interesting and seem very relatable, I’m so excited for classes to begin.

Tomorrow morning is our first italian lesson and I’m kind of nervous about how well I’ll pick up the language.

I already feel like I’m gonna make great friends with some of the people in the program, and hopefully I’ll make some local friends as well. Only time will tell how things will turn out but so far everything seems like its going to be amazing. More correspondence later…

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Past 2 Days, part due

So, after a great dinner we headed out in search of somewhere fun to spend our night. While we were walking past the train station, a guy stopped us and handed us a flyer for a pub that we’d heard about The Fish Pub. It turned out to be a really cool place, there is an upstairs and downstairs and lots of great music. The bathrooms were also  very clean, always a good thing for bar toilettes.

After a couple ours we wanted to check out some other places where we could dance so we ended up at a club after asking some locals where we should go. Club Twice is where we ended up, a swanky little club that was WAY too crowded. It would have been awesome had we been there 12 and not at almost 2AM. One of the girls I was with got her wallet stolen, so that was a damper on the end of the night. And then some of the kids staying next door to us didn’t believe us when we said all you had to do to get into the hostel after close is ring the doorbell. They decided to scale the wall, needless to say they set off the alarm and that was an interesting time.

The next day the jet lag caught up with me and after being woken up at 6AM by the girls in the bunk next to me, who got up and left everyday by 6:30 to do god knows what? I hadn’t been that wired is such a long time, I literally slept until almost 2. I got up and acted like a real person and ended up going to the Duomo and climbing to the top of the dome with some of the girls I met. 8 euro, 15 minutes, and 456 stairs later we got to the top just as the sun was setting:

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It was so worth it!

We booked it down the stairs and back to the hostel, stopping to get some food on the way. I got a crudo and fontina sandwich which was beyond delicious and then we got back to the hostel and I took a well earned break. At 7 I met up with the rest of the group to go to dinner which was delicious. that night one of the girls and I sprung for the Bistecca Florentina which is the traditional Florentine T-Bone steak that is huge and absolutely delicious.


Along with the steak we shared a salad and some potatoes, it was probably one of the most awesome meals I’ve had in a while.

After a few bill snafus (we got overcharged 23 euros) we were ready to hit the town and ended up going to a club called Space Electronic Discotequa. We were nervous and had no idea what to expect, when we got there we honestly could have been at any ultra trendy club in a big city like NYC, London, or LA, it was ridiculous. There two floors, and huge buff bouncers, and plenty of girls in skin tight barely there clothing with 6inch stilettoes. We all felt under dressed but didn’t care because we wanted to have a good time. Apparently a lot of clubs have a card system, you get a pass upon entry, and they keep track of all your purchases while there, like drinks and coat check, etc. The crazy thing is that if you lose the card you get charged 50 euro. Luckily none of us lost our cards and we had such a great time.

Unfortunately the group left today to go back to Venice, next weekend we are trying to meet up in Rome, which would be awesome. Hopefully I see those kids again!

Today, I checked out of the hostel and into the hotel we are starting the program at. There are 5 of us in the room which is a little cramped with all the suitcases but I’m excited to start getting to know the people I’ll be spending the next 3 months with. Hopefully I’ll find some fellow explorers! Adieu.

The Past 2 Days

So, as I mentioned before there were some people that I met from NY that were in Florence for the weekend. They are studying for Winter Term in Venice and took a little gander Firenze to check out the sights and such. Of course, being me, I ended up being adopted into the group some how, and now I can honestly say I made some friends in Florence.

The first night they came by my room at about 5 and told me everyone was meeting up at 7 to go to dinner and then to go out. I took an epic power nap and then got ready and bolted down stairs (because I hadn’t eaten a real meal in 2 days) to find a group of 20.

Little did I know that almost half of their program came down to Florence for the weekend. I knew then that it was gonna be a fun time.

We walked a little ways and found a little hole in the wall family restaurant that had a special menu. One thing you’ll learn about Florence, and Italy in general, is that a lot of restaurants have a special menus that are set price 3 course meals sometimes with wine and water included in the price. Some are a list of antipasti, primo, and secondi piatti (appetizer, first course, usually pasta, and second course which is usually some meat and a veggie) with a choice of the house wine (red/white) and mineral water (you pay for H20). Usually there is bread and depending on the restaurant the serving sizes are more than sufficient. Other restaurants have specials depending on the day, or they have multiple special menus that usually go up in price depending on the items offered or the number of courses.

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At this restaurant I got the Palledeccio Special Menu, which was an antipasti of chicken pate, prosciutto, hard salami, and fennel salami, with bread. It was SO good, I usually don’t like liver but it was like god on a piece of bread. No lie.

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The next course was Pasta Pomodoro, or pasta with tomato and basil. It was delicious, I’ve never had pasta cooked so perfectly in my life.

My next course was Porchetta with roasted potatoes. It was divine, pork roast wrapped in pork belly with perfectly roasted potatoes with rosemary and olive oil. Wine and water was included in the price and it came out to 20 euro flat, which is roughly 25 USD.

One thing that’s amazing about the restaurants as well, is that they all have seemingly TINY stores fronts but the doors are like the gateway to Narnia, it’s absurd how huge some of these restaurants are compared to their tiny entrances.

In the interest of time and attention span, I’ll make a part two, SO much more to tell. And it was only 2 days :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Guess who’s in Florence?

After god knows how many hours, 3 plane rides, and a taxi, I’ve finally made it Florence. Better yet, I made it to my hostel as well, I’ve never been so happy for free wifi.

Downsides to ridiculous amounts of air travel:

- My ears are ringing and they are still popping even though I’ve been on ground for almost 3 hours now.

- I’m extremely jet lagged, but I’m still on Ohio time, which means 2:44PM here is feeling a lot like 8AM at home.

- I feel weird sleeping horizontally.

- I’m now surprised when I hear an American accent, and it hasn’t even been a full day.

There are so many things that I want to do, but I’m way too tired to want to do them right now. I took a stroll around the blocks near the hostel. Of course, I got myself a little lost, but happened upon a market selling jewelry, bags, scarves and the like, so I count that as a success. I wanted to keep walking around, but the sleep wall hit me and I just wanted to get in bed. As we speak, I have no desire to get in bed… dilemma!

UPDATE! Literally walked out the door and met some girls from NY staying down the hall from me. They seem like a rowdy bunch and invited me to hang out with them later… seems like I might have an interesting night ahead of me. Perhaps I’ll try to sleep so I won’t be dead tonight…

Paris, je t’aime…

Finally in Paris, only 4 hours until I’m in Florence. It’s surreal… time to practice my French skills :)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

In Min… In transit

So, I’m sitting here @ Gate G9 at the St. Paul airport in Minnesota and it’s finally hitting me that I am leaving for 3 months.

What a time for it to finally sink in…

My heart is literally pounding at a million beats per minute as I go through all the things that could possibly go wrong during my trip. I’m a worry wart, I know this, but that doesn’t make me worry any less. All my friends have told me I’ll be fine, my mom said I’ll be fine. Everyone seems to have confidence in my ability to travel to Florence by myself. I know that I can… but when flying, even domestically, there are so many things that are out of my control.

Being a control freak you can see how that’s an issue.

Now, I’m totally fine with spontaneity, I embrace it for the most part, but when it comes to travelling alone so far from home, with few ways to communicate with my mother and no ability to speak Italian, it’s a little too spontaneous for me. I know that chances are everything will go well; I will catch all my flights, I won’t lose anything, and I will find a taxi outside the airport with a driver who can understand my confusion and won’t take advantage of my naiveté as far as travelling alone is concerned. But for me, as long as those things are possible, I will worry about them. I’ll finally be able to breathe when I reach the hostel. fingers crossed I get there in one piece and don’t go into cardiac arrest from being a complete stress case.

So close, but so far away has never been so relevant.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Only one more day, strange.

I’m leaving Thursday at 9 in the AM for Florence. It still hasn’t sunk in, and it making me kind of nervous because there are things on my trip I’m sure I have yet to anticipate. I’m travelling alone, which isn’t particularly strange to me, but once I get to Florence, I’ll be completely alone. That’s the strange part.

I’m staying in a hostel, Ostella Archi Rossi, which isn’t far from Hotel Duca D’Aosta, so I’m not too worried about logistics, but I am worried that I won’t meet any people at my hostel, it could be a very boring 2 days until other people from the program arrive. I have a ton of places that I’d like to go, but they wouldn’t be particularly fun alone. So fingers crossed for exceptionally friendly hostel mates!

There are a lot of things that completely slipped my mind in preparing for my trip. Converters and and adapters, figuring out what to do for ridiculously long layovers, communication with my parents when I get to Europe… etc.

I’m excited to leave, but mainly because it means there is less for me to worry about, pre-departure preparations are probably the most stressful things ever. Soon it will be over, and I’ll be in Italy and I won’t have so much time to think about all the things that might go wrong. But until then, I’m a complete stress case…