Monday, August 8, 2011


Sorry about being late...way late.
I spent my last weekend at a farmhouse in Tuscany. It was everything I could have ever wanted. There were several small farmhouses spread around the area with one central farmhouse. This little area was in the middle of no where. You could turn all around and not see a building for miles. It was a very relaxing weekend that consisted of swimming, sitting by the pool and reading, napping on the hill in the grass and enjoying God's world. One afternoon we did yoga on the top of the hill as the sun was was the most beautiful and amazing thing I have ever done. If I had the opportunity to go back to this place tomorrow, I would, no questions asked.
The trip home was very long and tiring. I left Perugia at 1 am on Tuesday then left Italy at noon. I was in Dublin for a few hours then left at 5ish and (with the time change) landed 7 hours later in NYC at 7:30 pm....then had the 4 hour ride home and arrived at 2 am on Thursday.
I miss Italy so much and think about it often. I hope that everyone is lucky enough to get a chance to experience a different culture at some point in their lives. It is an eye opener and it creates memories that last a lifetime.
Italy will always be in my heart.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

June 13, 2011 Beware old ladies in need of groceries.

This morning we went grocery shopping. Again, we waited and were outrun byt little old ladies who wanted their cheese. We got more this morning than we usually do so we have food for a while. Ashley found Frosted Flakes and got very excited. We also got apricots and oranges. We came back to the apartment and I had a quick breakfast.
I got to the school around 10 and worked on typing up my blog until 11:15. Class was interesting. We talked about the pros and cons of the Economic Miracle, Vespas, read the story “The Vigil” and watched a bit of a movie.
I went back to the apartment and did some work for a while. My mom called to catch up. I miss chatting with her. She is my best friend and we usually talk every day.
By the time I got off the phone Ashley was back and cooking dinner for herself. I just had some bread and then I went with her to the art studio to use the internet. I got kicked out after a short time because apparently only fresco students can be there past hours.
I didn’t want to sit in the room so I went to walk around. I went to Bubble and the bookstore looking for something to get but didn’t find anything I wanted. But I found a cheap little knickknack for Ashley and Jill.
I had salad for dinner then we went out for gelato to balance the nutrition. I got Cremi de Gram which had pieces of cookies. I added whipped cream this time….it was crazy rich and creamy. Definitely only something to get once in a while. We sat outside and ate for a while and enjoyed the wonderful weather.
Bed early tonight. Tomorrow: Museum, shopping, paper writing, class, pizza workshop, out on the town for the night.

June 12, 2011 "The world is all gates, all opportunites, strings of tension waiting to be struck." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today was insane. After crazy dreams about being held hostage, saving the day, McDonalds and teaching, I got up at 9:30. Jill and I decided to go to church at the local Duomo. I got all dressed up and church was at 11:30.
I have seen a lot of churches in my time here but this one was my favorite. It had the “wow” factor of an ancient church but it still felt like a holy place of worship. Jill and I found a seat toward the back and watched as many different types of people came in. The organ player was my favorite. He was a little squirrely man with glasses that magnified his eyes, a hunch back and an interesting way of moving and talking.
A bell tolled and everyone stood. A cardinal was giving mass today. Instead of coming up the aisle like in America, they came in from the front. Mass was confusing, of course, because it was in Italian but I could follow what part we were at. I wish I could have understood the cardinal because he seemed like a very good speaker. My favorite part of was the choir. They sounded heavenly when their voices echoed off the big walls. I just closed my eyes as they filled my ears and I inhaled the incents.
The most confusing part was communion. In America, there is an order and people file out of their pews. In Italy, it is a free-for-all…yet somehow it works. Giving the sign of peace, I just mumbled as I shook hands….hey, it’s the thought that counts.

After we left we went to the café for a cappuccino and pastry….delicious as always. We then went to the apartment. I got changed, we waited for Ashley to get ready and then we went to Ciao Ciao’s for lunch. I got a pancetta panino with zucchini, eggplant and pesto on it. We ate outside until the school opened at 2.
From 2-5 we used the internet and put up pictures. We had giggling fits all day, probably because we actually slept last night. We got bored sitting in the library so we went to the market.
We got cannoli’s (we were fatties today) and sat at the overlook of Perugia to eat them. I can’t believe this is my life right now.
As I was walking I dropped my money and it went everywhere in the road. I was basically lying on the ground trying to get it and all three of us where laughing hysterically. The Italians must have some great stories from us visiting Americans.
When we got back the room we hung and talked for a while and then decided that we wanted kebabs. I told we ate a lot today. Jill tried a new drink. It was disgusting. It smelled like medicine and had a 10% alcohol content. We dumped it out but kept the cool looking glass container.
Things are winding down but we are still giggly. Bed soon.

June 11, 2011 "Much have I traveld in the realms of gold, And many goodly states and kingdoms seen..." - John Keats

We are running out of food (and toilet paper) in the apartment again. We have pasta, 3 eggs, nutella and cookies.
We left for Siena at 9.

When we got to Siena we walked for a while until we got to the Bascillica of Saint Catherine.

It was a pretty chapel except that it had her finger and actual head it in. That was gross and disturbing.

While we were waiting outside for the group, a bunch of High Schoolers got into a big water fight. There were water balloons and water bottles everywhere. Oh to be young.
We then walked past the Baptistery to the Duomo which is one of the biggest in the world.

It was so beautiful. There were scenes carved into the marble floor an some of Michelangelo’s original work.

There were also ancient pieces of sheet music.

We then opted to climb to the top of one of the tallest buildings to see the view of Siena. This is one of the coolest things I have done so far. First we had to wait in line for a while and then only 8 could go up at a time. We had to climb a ton of tight marble staircases to get to the top. We were getting dizzy. Passing people who were coming down was very interesting and I got a little too comfortable with some Italians. But once we got to the top, the view was to die for.

You could see more miles. There was a perfect view of the Duomo and the main square.
We then made our way to the main square or Piazza del Campo as it is called.

It is one of the top 10 tourist destination spots but you would never know it because it wasn’t horribly packed like Rome and Florence were. The piazza is in the shape of a scallop with 7 sections that used to represent the 7 heads of state.

We were given free time so we went to eat. We found a pizza place that sells pizza by the slice. I got a piece with mushroom and sausage and Bacardi to drink. We sat out on the scallop and ate.
Then we went shopping until it was time to meet up. Our professor bought us gelato again. I went for something completely different and I got pink grapefruit and lemon. It was so tart and sour. The pink grapefruit actually tasted like I was biting into the fruit.
This was our last trip with the school. As we pulled into Perugia we heard our professor say “Great trip, regazzi” for the last time. It was so sad. This is going by so fast.

Monday, June 13, 2011

June 10, 2011 "O lands! O all so dear to me- what you are, I become part of that, whatever it is." - Walt Whitman

Today we went to the real La Verna (not the café on our campus) and then to Cortona. We left a little after 9. La Verna was so beautiful. We drove up twisty roads in to the woods. Everything was so green.

Rocks rose over the sides of the path and were hugged by bright moss. It was so peaceful.

We then came to a stone tunnel which we had to be quiet beyond because this is a very religious place and many come here for prayer. We came to a hallway with frescos depicting the life of Saint Francis.

There were ones of him embracing a leper, shedding his worldly possessions, his first time at La Verna, receiving the stigmata and his death.
We then waited in front of a door to see where Francis slept. I don’t know what I was expecting when I opened the door but it wasn’t a beautiful forest. We entered into a mossy crevice and could look up over the rocks and see the blue sky.

We then bent ourselves in half and into a cave where he slept. It was tiny but cozy. It had a small dirt indent where he would rest.

We then made our way to where Saint Francis received the stigmata. They built a chapel around where he received the stigmata and marked the actual spot with a beautiful candle arrangement.

I sat and prayed for a while and thanked God for this wonderful trip.
We then went to a tiny chapel of Saint Anthony. After that we went out to see a beautiful view of Italy and walked up a very steep staircase. There was also the spot where the devil dared Francis to jump from the cliff and see if God would save him. Francis backed against the stone wall and it gave way to save him.

We then went to see the real church of Santa Maria (there are replicas in both Assisi and Olean). They were very small and comfortable.

Before leaving we stopped at the gift shop and I got myself a rosary.
We then took a short bus ride to where we had lunch. Our one professor sat with us and it was a lot of fun. For lunch we had pasta with meat for the first course. Second course was French fries, salad and pork….strange but yummy.

We then got back on the bus for an hour and a half trip to Cortona where the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun” was filmed.

There we shopped for a bit and then our professor bought us all gelato. I got peanut butter because I have been craving it. They don’t have peanut butter in Italy!!

When we got back to Perugia there was a world market going on. Countries from all over had stand and booths selling different things. It was so cool. I got myself a handmade wire copper ring from the Slovakia booth. It is my favorite thing I have gotten so far and it was only 5 euro. Ashley got meat from Germany. Then we headed back to the room to chill for the night.

June , 2011 "Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and enjoy the journey." - Babs Hoffman

Just a day of midterms. The roommates and I went for cappuccinos again and I ordered correctly this time. I studied for my midterm from 10-1 and then got CiaoCiao’s for lunch and brought it back to the room. I got an apple to, in order to get a little fruit in me. The apple was super good and juicy.
I met up with my Renaissance Art class at 3 and we went to the Collegio to look at frescos. None of us could concentrate because we were all reviewing and worrying in our heads about the test. We then went back to the school to take the test. The first part was identification of art. She would put a piece of art on a slide and then we had to identify the name of it, who did it and when it was made. That was the hardest part. We then had four essays.
Ashley and Jill had class. I cleaned the apartment and danced around singing to my ipod. I also made dinner for myself (and everyone for the rest of the week). I sautéed pancetta with garlic and olive oil and then mixed that into pasta. It was super tasty.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


So last night I made my way through the storm and to the apartment. When I got there I flicked the light the entire apartment building. So I look at the instructions on the back of the door and went to the fuse box in the room.....all the switches looked in the upright position. So I went to the basement for the main power box for the building. Everything was dark and I had my roommates tiny flashlight (they were both at class). I got to the bottom and looked through the wire screen door down the creepiest hallway I have ever seen. I lost my nerve and went back upstairs.
After going back and forth to the school (My phone died so I had no way of contacting anyone) I was given the instructions of putting every switch in both the fuse box and the meter box in the down position. Then I switched the meter ones up and then the fuse box one up and we had power!!
I felt so hard core. The whole time I was thinking about the Jurassic Park scene where the girl is switching on the power for the fence.....and I felt very kick-butt Tomb Raider like.
I know....I'm weird.