May 1, 2010
April 29, 2010
April 22, 2010
September 23, 2009
July 2, 2009
June 22, 2009
Early in the week, a friend from USC visited me. I took him to some of the big important sites that everyone has to visit, but we also enjoyed a good dinner and a fun night out.
Later in the week, while walking around randomly, I found the street with the hotel I stayed at 9 years ago! I was so excited. Also, oddly enough, one of the girls I was with had stayed there 5 years ago. So we stopped and reflected and took a cute photo.
Another day, I went with a few friends to have an aperitivo above the Spanish Steps. An aperitivo is like a pre-dinner drink with snacks intended to “open the palate" and give you a chance to socialize. It was nice and relaxing, especially with the view of the Spanish Steps! Ahhhh I love you Italy and your lovely food related traditions.
Too much happened this week, and I can not even begin to recap it. Given that this was my last week in Rome, I did everything and lost a lot of sleep. It was an incredible week. Family and friends, I will be home soon enough and then we can talk about all the fine details of my Roman holiday.
When in the US, I am a computer addict. My addiction manifests itself in three ways - through technology (the form and function), graphic design, and the internet. With this internet addiction I am usually up to date on most current events ranging from pop culture to politics. However, being in Europe I am usually a day or two behind. It kind of pains me but at least I still manage to get my news. Honestly, I have better priorities here. I have learned a lot of about restraint leaving my iPhone at home... but I still have my laptop, my child.
So here are my recent but probably not current internet discoveries. I love movies and I am excited for many upcoming films, but these promotional photos sold me. Get ready for Sherlock Holmes and Alice in Wonderland! These photos are striking, but what also got me is the similar composition. Many current films are showcasing the actors in simple but beautiful posters. I like the cleanliness of many of them, but then some do fail like the poster for Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. Well, it may also help that these two movies have some cred and the other... well, not so much. Did I just write cred?
Another great thing I found on the internet is this new Jib Jab Obama video. It follows along the theme of Jon Stewart's "Hope-and-Change-O-Meter," where he placed Obama between Gandalf and Wizard FDR. This video has Obama saving the day with super powers. He can do more than kill flies...
One more thing, family, if you feel inclined to buy me a welcome home gift. This would do the trick. I love the Onion store! (This is not necessary, because clearly I am living a gift).
Ciao! Soon I am off to Venice, Paris, Amsterdam, and Stockholm!
June 16, 2009
Again I fail with the updates...
So this past weekend I went to Umbria with my class. We went on what is called an agriturismo. Apparently these are popular with Italians. It is simply an agricultural holiday focused on relaxation and fresh farm food. We visited a farm, caught fireflies, climbed haystacks, picked cherries, and visited more churches. While in Umbria we also took a day trip to Assisi to visit good ol' St. Francis. The entire weekend was amazing!!!
This is my last week in Rome so I have been busy doing everything I have left on my to do list. There is just too much to do in Rome. I guess I have to come back.
A friend from school visited me Sunday and Monday on his way to Milan and I took him to the Trevi Fountain. If I throw multiple coins in the fountain during the course of one trip do they cancel each other out or does it mean I will be coming back to Rome sooner?
June 11, 2009
Ok, so last weekend...
I stated earlier that I had plans to go to Pompeii, but unfortunately (not really actually) things changed. Here is the story - So, one of my best personality traits is actually my biggest flaw. I love to do everything, making the most of life. As a result I am a very accomplished person, but then sometimes I am too busy. See the pros and cons? Well, being in Rome I want to "carpe diem" of course... Last summer I was diagnosed with celiac, a serious gluten allergy, and since then I don't eat wheat flour products. This is an unfortunate allergy to have in Rome, but I am still eating loads of wonderful food - caprese, prosciutto and melon, gelato, and more!
However, I know how great the pasta is here and I have been wondering for most of the trip - can I eat wheat for a little bit and still have an incredible time? At the start of my developing allergy, the pain and discomfort was not that terrible. I figured, I haven't had wheat in about a year so maybe a little wheat won't be that bad. So, last week I ate wheat. And guess what, I was horribly wrong. I felt sick the night after and then the morning I was suppose to leave for Pompeii I felt absolutely miserable. I will spare the details.
I'm an idiot. That morning I texted my friends and slept off the pain. I woke up a little before noon feeling better, but I was still depressed I missed the trip even though I have been to Pompeii and I remember it pretty vividly. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to be active and of course, carpe diem!!
So I went to the Vatican again, yes for a third time this trip. There is just too much to see there!
After the Vatican I got back on the metro and noticed that one of the stops went to Appia Antica, the ancient Appian Way! I decided to stay on and get off at the stop, which is way off my map. I had no idea where to go so I stopped in a bar and asked a waiter where to go. He drew me a small map and it appeared that the Appian Way was just around the corner. Wrong again. I ended up hiking, forever! However, it was a nice gorgeous walk. See below.
After about an hour I finally reached the Appian Way, and one of the houses had this tile on the wall (below). So, I made it to Pompeii after all! For those of you that don't know, that cave canem mosaic is a very famous image from Pompeii. On the Appian Way there were many ruins and churches. I visited most of them. Including one with the first catacombs ever. The catacombs of San Sebatian is where the name catacombs originated from. It was very cool to see, but it was also incredibly creepy with tons of small caves. I had to bend down in many of them. A church was built over these catacombs, and in the church is the last statue made by Bernini. It was discovered in the monastery there in 2001. Or something like that. I honestly don't know how you can have a statue that beautiful and be satisfied without knowing the artist and having it tucked away. Plus, by looking at the details I think it is clearly Bernini, but whatever. Thanks tour guide!
After the Appian way I went to several other places around Rome. Like - Circo Massimo, La Bocca della Verità, Museo Castel Sant'Angelo, San Nicola in Carcere, and La Scala Sancta.
Scala Sancta, aka the Holy Stairs, are apparently the steps "that led up to the praetorium of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem, which Jesus Christ stood on during his Passion on his way to trial." Pilgrims walk up the steps on theirs knees and pray at each step. 9 years ago I visited these steps with my dad and for some reason I got very eager and wanted to do this. I kneeled on the first step and immediately lost my religious fervor. It hurt! They are wooden stairs. I prayed on the first step and left. I promised my dad I would do the second step on this trip. So, I did. And it still hurt. Not worth the pain. Sorry Jesus.
San Nicola in Carcere was just a random church that I decided to walk into. It looked interesting and it had some ruins around it. When I entered the church, a woman was singing Ave Maria with the organ. It was amazing. I just sat and listened to the music for about 15 minutes. I love days where you just wander around and discover new things.
I finished my Saturday by walking home. It ended up being a great day. Even better than the trip to Pompeii, according to my friends.
Sunday, I met up with some friends and decided to have a touristy day. We started by going to the very top of the Victor Emmanuel Monument. It was an awesome view even though the day was a little cloudy.
After, we took a bus tour of Rome. We sat on the top of a double decker bus and drank Chianti. It was very fun. We got off the bus in Piazza Navona and got something to eat. While there we were intrigued by the henna tattoo artist. Somehow we decided that it would be worthwhile to get a temporary tattoo in Rome. Two of my friends got tattoos with stars and I decided to get a tattoo related to Rome. So, I picked SPQR - Senatus Populusque Romanus. Yeah, kinda nerdy. My friends were confused because they didn't know the meaning (keep in mind we are studying Italian not history), but every local Roman I talk to either enjoys the tattoo or laughs at me.
Monday after class I went to the Vatican for the 4th time, but this time to climb the Vatican. It was a total of 1,102 steps. And some corridors were tight and angled. It was quite the adventure but totally worth it. I don't exercise and I am normally very lazy, but I would climb those steps any time for the view of the dome or the entire city.
Half way up you have a beautiful view of inside the dome. Up there you can tell that the "frescoes" are actually mosaics. They were replaced years ago in order to maintain the detail. Also, while we were in the dome, a small service was going on so we enjoyed some beautiful music while looking at the fine details of that amazing Basilica. The interior was incredible, but once we made it outside on the top, the view was spectacular. Hello Roma!
A few posts back I noted that I walk to school every day from the Piazza del Popolo to the Spanish Steps. In between those two sites is All Saints Church of Rome. I go to All Saints Church in Pasadena so it always makes me happy to see something familiar. Last week I noticed that the church holds Opera nights twice a week with the singers of the Filamonica d'Opera di Roma. I got really excited about this discovery, so I went Tuesday night. This was the incredible program:
Haendel - "Lascia ch'io pianga"
Puccini - "Ch'ella mi creda"
Mozart - "Voi che sapete"
Mozart - "Madamina il catalogo e' questo"
Puccini - "Quando me'n vo'"
Rossini - "Una voce poco fa"
Verdi - "La donna e' mobile"
Rossini - "La calunnia e' un venticello"
Hoffenback - "Barcarola"
Verdi - "Va, pensiero"
Bizet - "Seguidilla"
Puccini - "Si', mi chiamano Mimi'"
Verdi - "Eri tu"
Donizetti - "O mio fernando"
Puccini - "Nessun dorma"
Bizet - "Toreador"
Gounod - "Ah, je veux vivre"
Verdi - "Brindisi"
Below is a video of the "Nessun dorma" performance. It is my favorite song out of the selection. Being a graphic designer I think heavily about composition. I do the same with photography. And with those mediums you aren't usually limited by orrientation. I filmed the video vertically to get more of the beautiful background, but clearly a vertical orrientation does not work for a video format. So, unfortunatly you have to tilt your head to watch the video. The singer was a little tired from his previous songs and made a few mistakes, but overall it was a great performance of "Nessun dorma."
On top of those things, I am still speaking lots of Italian, visiting fun bars and restaurants, and getting to know more of the people on the trip. I can't believe it is almost over!
June 4, 2009
Monday I saw Angels and Demons again... the movie is ok, the book is better, BUT the movie is better when you see it in the Piazza del Popolo. For those of you that have not seen the movie, that spot is kind of important. (It's the first altar of science!!)
Tuesday was a national Italian holiday, so we didn't have class. Instead I planned a trip to the catacombs of San Callisto. Apparently 5 Roman catacombs are open to the public and I happened to pick the same one that I visited with my father 9 years ago. That place is so cool! Just go. After the catacombs we stopped by the Basilica of St. John Lateran.
And yesterday, I went with my class to the Vatican Museum. Drool.
So, this week has been great. However, I have a test tomorrow. That always brings down the fun. I am convinced that studying while in Rome is a sin. I should be out exploring, but I am doing that tomorrow, after my cooking class.
June 1, 2009
For those of you that care about grammar (including me) I would like to apologize for everything but mainly this list with it's lack of parallel structure and incomplete sentences.
Here is my weekly update:
-Speaking Italian more, go me!
-More amazing food, even with my food allergy
-Food deserves two bullet points because there was a gelato party at school... I had 4 cups
-Discovering cute little Italian markets and stores
-Learning more about Italian culture
-Wine tasting with school, aka wine drinking, but I learned a lot surprisingly
-School trip to Florence, so incredible!
-Weekend reunion with the Morphy family (practically my family) in Tuscany
-Ok, one more food point because with the Morphys I had a 6 course meat meal prepared by a famous butcher!
Now, here are 5,000 words.
May 28, 2009
May 26, 2009
May 24, 2009
May 22, 2009
I finally made it to Rome. On my way to Rome I experienced the worst flight of my life (I was delayed for a total of 25 hours, I sat next to a crying baby for my longest flight, and my connecting flight lost my luggage - actually no, they put one of my bags on a different flight arriving in another terminal so I confused Italian security when I tried to get through without a boarding pass and with a large bag...) but despite those problems, the little time I have spent here has already made up for it and then some.
For this trip, I signed up for an apartment and that is all I knew about my residence. I told the taxi driver my address and from there on it was a mystery. When I arrived at my residence, I saw this...
So beautiful! I buzzed the name that matched my assignment and this student came down to help me carry my luggage up the 6 flights of stairs (I will be getting lots of exercise on this trip!). She gave me a tour of the apartment and I was thrilled. My living arrangement is perfetto! I live with a mom, her daughter, and this young teacher. I signed up for an apartment, but technically it is a home stay but with less restrictions. I have my own room, my own bathroom, and I am allowed to eat anything in the kitchen. Feels like home already.
Here is the living room.
Here is my bedroom.
And here is the view from outside my bedroom. Yes, a Hitchcock poster! They knew I was coming.
It is surreal walking around Rome knowing I will be here for 5 weeks learning Italian. I love history, so seeing the incredible sites of Rome every day is fantastic. One girl in my class got lost yesterday near the Pantheon. My response was, "Oh so sad, the Pantheon..." incredible! When in Rome!
Here is a photographic tour of my path to class every day.
I take a bus from my apartment to the Piazza del Popolo.
Then I walk down a beautiful street to the Piazza di Spagnolo.
Then one block past the Spanish steps is my school!!!
After the first day of class we visited the Trevi fountain and ate gelato. Last night we went to the Campo dei Fiori for dinner and experienced the Italian night life. Strangely enough though, I didn't talk to many Italians... I found a group of Irish people from Belfast!
So, I love Rome. I could stay here forever. And yes, I am learning a lot of Italian. My friend forgot his address last night and he is in Italian 1, so translating directions for our poor taxi driver was certainly a fun experience for me.
Ciao! Off to the Coliseum.