andddd she's home.

i can't believe it's all over. i feel much the same way as i did before leaving; disbelief in how fast it came, except this time i wasn't ready to come back. i have never been so sad to leave a place. i think a large part of it had to do with the awesome group that we had at ADA this semester. but i also loved the language and food and the ability to hop on a train and visit a quaint little town in the tuscan countryside that's been around for centuries. however, besides my family and friends, i missed my room and bagels. my car and starbucks. smoothie king and reservoir drives with my top down.

so, despite having a great last week with my mom and sister, traveling to venice and rome, i am quite happy to be sitting in my room while i type this. so i'm home. and it feels good.


and she fights for her life.

this quote has been floating around in my head for a while, so as a way to further procrastinate and refuse to do my paper, i'm posting it:

Life is nothing but a race toward death in which no one is permitted to stand still for a time or to go more slowly for all men are driven forward with equal momentum and equal speed. -St. Augustine


an encounter on the bus... and then some

so the italian transportation system is pretty lax... you're supposed to buy tickets and validate them before you get on a bus/train/tram but since officials rarely check (esp on buses) we have gotten pretty lax about using the tickets that the ADA gave us for our busrides to and from ballet. eventually, it was going to catch up with us. and it did. monday after ballet. neither lizbie nor i have brought a ticket on the bus in a while, but monday, an official got on the bus and started checking that everyone had validated their ticket. we didn't have any money or passports on us and he didn't speak english as well as he thought, but in the end one of our friends used an extra bus ticket on us. really, it could've been a lot worse... like 40 euro in fines each. we'd been riding the free wave for a while; i'm surprised we didn't get in trouble sooner.

tuesday night i went to my very first wine tasting. what better place to first experience that than in tuscany? not much to say about that; we got a little lost on the walk there, but eventually found our way. then we tried 2 wines, one of which has a '93' rating from wine spectator magazine. i guess that's pretty bangin? they served some antipasti with our wine which was really good as well. i'm probably going to go back to the enoteca (wine bar) and ship a case home before i leave.

wednesday night was our last tramanto. tramanto means sunset in italian... don't really know why it was picked as the name for these events, but i digress. there's usually 3 scheduled a semester and the events core for that week has to plan it. this time around, the events core asked us, if we felt so inclined, to create a page for the memory book that is housed in the living room at the ADA. for those of us who did, we read aloud a portion or all of the page we created and then put it into the book, which is really a binder with page protectors. my contribution was inspired by the monthly "hey, it's ok!" in glamour, but fitted to be ADA specific. afterwards, the core surprised us with superlatives they had created for everyone and handed them out on certificates. i won "most likely to be hit on by an italian man," which is a fitting theme for the semester due to the blonde hair.

tonight was our last cabaret. i MC'ed with my "twin", eva, as well as performed. eva dressed in my leotard, goucher dance jacket and some leggings of mine, while i wore all black and her commedia act. we kept it simple, just introducing the performances, because sometimes, at previous cabarets, the MCs were a little over the top. lizbie and i decided to recreate the "daft bodies" video. it was fun, but now i can't completely wash away the words we wrote in PERMANENT marker on our bodies.

it's unreal that all this will be over so soon. in two weeks from tomorrow i'll be on a plane back to the us. i still can't wrap my head around it. but it is inspiring me to live even more in the moment, so i don't miss out on a single thing.


mystery hours

this weekend was full of leisurely adventure- the best kind if you ask me. i woke up on yesterday and decided that i needed to go somewhere in tuscany. i had heard good things about orvieto, so i decided to walk down to the market, buy my favorite panino, and then mosey my way over to the train station. i decided to go by myself- i read about women traveling alone across europe in rick steve's and figured that this would be a good way to ease into it. orvieto is only a little over an hour away, so i got into the city around midafternoon. went to the beautiful duomo and then just wandered the streets. it was great; if i wanted to stop, i stopped, and i didn't have to go into any stores that i wasn't interested in, something that is bound to happen when one travels in packs. it didn't hurt that the day was absolutely gorgeous as well, causing the whole town to look like a postcard. at one point, i grabbed some lemon and strawberry gelato and found my way to a church with this grassy area right on the side of the hill. i sat there for a while and by the time i was making my way back to the bus stop, the light was absolutely perfect- i got to see the sun kissed side streets with the laundry and flowers spilling out of the windows, just like in postcards.

today, the weather wasn't quite as perfect, but i stuck it out and went to siena with some friends. glad i did, the city is beautiful as well. i've been reading 'under the tuscan sun' and at one point the author's husband observes that documentaries set in italy didn't impress him nearly as much as they did before purchasing a house in cortona. i felt that same way today; everywhere i've traveled in italy is so picturesque, i can't believe people actually live in these towns. in some ways, i'm so ready to head back to the u.s., but in others, i could stay in italy forever, speaking the beautiful language and just wandering through streets that have been there for centuries.


sunsets over the teatrino.

unfortunately, i really haven't had a lot of time to leisurely take in the sunsets here, as we're usually in class or rushing to or from another city. but a few days ago and then today i got to take in some gorgeous views.

after class, i went into my room and saw the most beautiful light streaming through a bunch of dark clouds. i grabbed my camera and literally ran to the roof so i could watch how the light adjusted itself. it was drizzling slightly, but i didn't care; the light was too perfect to miss. at first it threw all of arezzo in silhouette, throwing some backlight on the surrounding tuscan hills. slowly, the sun made it's way through the clouds and lit the valley below me. it was absolutely incredible to watch. sometimes, the simplest things are the most incredible to watch.


i got my philosophy

it's incredible that this program is going to be over in a matter of weeks. i'm a little disappointed that it's only 3 months instead of 4. ever since spring break, classes have felt so good and i think that's because we've finally hit our stride. i'm starting to understand the way giorgio works and why things that seem strange actually do work in his class. we are working on our final compositions for his class and the other day something funny, yet unexpected happened. part of our final presentation is duets. giorgio had instructed us to add humming to them for the next time we showed them in class. on tuesday, a couple was showing their duet and they hummed "build me up, buttercup." we all started singing along, so giorgio had us stand up and sort of act like an a cappella group behind the duet. we ended up doing it for 2 of the 4 pieces and i think we're actually going to end up showing them that way. he even talked to a professor in the theater track, kevin, who is going to work with us on the singing. i love how i never know what to expect with his class.


asleep on a sunbeam.

i don't know why, but sometimes i forget what a beautiful place arezzo is. there's not a lot to do here, so i haven't spent a lot of time exploring, but i stayed this weekend and was able to truly appreciate how pretty it is. liz, perry and jamie visited yesterday and maybe it was showing them around that helped open my eyes as well. i can't believe i've been in italy for two months now: it still seems surreal to me when i think about it. in some ways i wish i could've taken a year abroad instead because i can't possibly fit in everything that i would like to in just three months. at the same time, gotta try and live in the present and not worry about what ifs.

this week felt like it went really quickly: all of a sudden, it was friday. we had class up until dinner (ricardo served breakfast... mmm!) and then we got ready for the american decadence party that was being hosted at a discotheque called snob. admission was free for americans and costumes were encouraged, but none of us went the costume route. instead, we all dressed up (a few of us broke out the fanny packs again) and pre-gamed in the limo so we didn't spend all our money on drinks. the ADA was well represented at snob; we were some of the only people there for a long time, but we just had a dance party for a few hours, which was really fun.

yesterday, eva and i walked down to the market and got the most fantastic panini. whenever i'm here on a saturday, i make a point to purchase one of these sandwiches- that's how good they are. met up with the ladies at the train station and then gave them a brief tour of arezzo. we sat on the wall outside the duomo for a while, soaking up the view of the tuscan countryside. after a nice nap, we went back into town for life-changing pasta. it was actually pretty busy at the restaurant, so they sat us in this back room. i love eating there: the ingredients are just so fresh that even a simple dish tastes amazing. we got some gelato after dinner and ate it on our way to the bar. when we got back, we sat on the roof of the teatrino and took in the view of the night sky. bello bello bello.

after some coffee o'clock for breakfast and dropping the girls off at the train station, i took a leisurely walk back to the villa. put some chill music on and sat on a swingset in this park for a while. it's near the duomo, so there's a great view up there. i'm constantly with people, all of whom i like, but from time to time, i need some space. it was really peaceful sitting up there because most people were in church. might have to make it a sunday ritual.


this one's for you, al.

so i'm updating at allie's insistence, thus the title of this post.

anyways, greece was fun. i think our plans changed approx 5 times... our final plan was made when we actually got to athens. and even changed again because there was a strike when we were there. luckily, avoided the tear gas though. some highlights of the trip included: getting into the acropolis for FREE without planning it, paying under 10 euro for dinner a couple nights, jumping in the sea and climbing 999 steps to get to the nafplion fortress.

in terms of classes, this week has been going really well so far. today was awesome because we combined with the other undergrads and did an improv theater class for 2 and 1/2 hours. we have it again on friday and i am so excited for it. we didn't really get deep into the art of theater sports, but it was probably one of my favorite classes so far.

our cool down song in ash's class was tracy chapman's in the dark. if you haven't heard it, check it out.


planning is hard.

tonight, our spring break group decided to meet again and finalize our plans, write down details, etc. good thing. because not only was a hostel double booked and we didn't have one for athens, but we realized there was no conceivable way to get from paros to athens and make it in time for our flight back to rome. good thing we decided to not just wing it. another valuable lesson learned while abroad: planning is hard.


back to rome.

had a great time in rome this weekend... i would just like to give liz and her roomies a shoutout for letting bie and me stay at their apartment. not paying for a hostel and the ability to leave our stuff in a place rather than lug it around is fantastic. that said, we had a very relaxing weekend. went to le fate (translation: the fairies) friday night for dinner. they had a student menu and for a mere 10 euro we had an appetizer, a pasta dish and tiramisu accompanied by the house red wine. baller. since there was a italy vs. scotland rugby match the next day, there were lots of men in kilts all over the city and two of them came into the restaurant with bagpipes. not something i would've ever expected to encounter in italy, but i liked the merging of the two cultures.

in campo that night we met quite a few scottish/irish men. one of the two important things i learned this weekend was how to properly pronounce the name "craig." apparently, i've been saying it wrong my whole life. saturday, the weather was absolutely fantastic and reminiscent of goucher in the spring. we soaked it up the sun in the area outside of the galleria bourghese before we were allowed to go inside. there, i made important discovery number 2: i liked bernini's david so much more than michaelangelo's... just goes to show you that some things get WAY too much hype.

even though we weren't in arezzo this weekend, the days seemed just as relaxed. which is perfect because starting tomorrow, we're about to get our asses kicked by a crash course in the fine art of butoh!


life is full of lessons, i wonder what i'll learn tomorrow.

things i have learned:

1. its hard to keep up with a blog. partly because i start posts in my head but when i sit down to write it, it's all gone.
2. i'm glad i took french... helps with italian.
3. i am capable of carrying on a rudimentary conversation in another language.
4. showing any sort of interest (ie a smile) is considered an invitation. gotta be rude to the boyz i'm not interested in.
5. boys will lie about their age and possibly their name or nationality just to seem more appealing.
6. however, lying about my name isn't that bad an idea because courtney doesn't seem to translate.
7. zara is cheaper here than in america. score.
8. the things i'm learning do not seem very deep.
9. except when it comes to philosophy class.
10. gotta let go of my inner perfectionist if i'm going to learn anything while i'm here. slowly, but surely it is happening.
11. my roommate is an awesome singer/songwriter. she will be famous someday soon.
12. merce was right. this is not for unsteady souls.

bonus points- name the movie my title is from. no cheating.


eyes wide open.

so monday was the festival of the madonna di conforto. basically, there were all these earthquakes in arezzo a couple hundred years ago but then the madonna appeared and made it all better. so they have a festival every year in her honor. monica told us it was "italian culture at it's finest." after modern, my roommate and i made the trek into town to check it out. it was a strange mixture of religion and festival atmosphere. it was hard to capture:

on the walk back from town, we encountered these:

luckily, the trip to venice had helped us avoid all the heavy wet snow for the weekend and by the time we got back it had almost all melted away. i also finally got a picture of the villa from afar. not the best photog skills right thurr, but it gives the general outline:


if the form vanishes its root is eternal.

so, venice. carnevale. absolutely ridiculous. our train arrived around 9, only for us to discover that our hostel was about a 20 min drive away from there. poor planning. anyways, it was pretty nice and not too expensive, so it was def worth the extra money for transportation to and from the city. pre-gamed in the hostel a bit, and then it we were off! friday night wasn't really that crowded, but we also didn't get into the actual city until maybe 11:15, so maybe most of the crowd had returned already. meet some other americans in our travels to the bars. one of the guys was named wolfgang, or so he claimed. his tongue was pierced. i interrogated him for a long time about that.

after only a few hours of sleep, we headed back into venice for the day. one thing i learned after this weekend: if i'm only staying for one night and i'm going to carry my bag around, then i'm not going to pack a heavy bag. i thought i had packed really light... but it turned out that wasn't the case. regardless, i still had a good time traversing the city and experience lots of other tourists, italians included, doing the same. although all 18 of the undergrads made it to venice, it was necessary to split up. i travelled around with a couple of other girls and for the most part, it was a really relaxing day. we bought breakfast, then went in search of masks. after finding them, we donned our festive attire and just took in the sights in sounds, slowly meandering our way towards the guggenheim. on there, i ended up running into my roommate (yay!) and our little group of 3 became 4. by around 5, i was ready to leave. the crowds had really picked up and everyone was just pushing, but there really didn't seem to be a destination in mind. we bought our train tickets, and that's when our real adventure began.

since there wasn't a direct train to arezzo, we decided to ask someone that was selling tickets. he had us go to bologna and then pick a train up there to arezzo. unfortunately, he did not do his job well and we ended up being in bologna for 5 hours. we decided to make the best of it and went to a bar for a caffeine pick-me-up and made some friends back at the train station. we got lucky on the train and found seats, although sleep was nearly impossible. finally made it back to the villa around 5:30 am. it was bound to happen sometime, so like they say in up, adventure is out there!


my thoughts create my world.

so i've been a bad blogger this past week. i kept thinking i would update, but then i'd get swept up in life at the villa or life back home (via skype). but i'm making myself update before going out of contact for 48 hours in venice for carnevale.

last weekend i went to florence on saturday. the main point of the visit was for the chocolate festival (at least it was for me) and that definitely exceeded my expectations. just a tent in the middle of piazza santa croce, it was packed with everyone who had a sweet tooth with an affinity for chocolate. got a lot of free samples just from walking around and i just finished my last piece of chocolate that i purchased there today. there were a lot of funny moments throughout the trip, which isn't really a departure from what it's like in the villa actually, but the best as probably when four of us were waiting for the train back to arezzo. we saw a very short train on the platform, but figured it was just too small and not ours. DUH. it was. luckily there was another 40 minutes later, but really? we were convinced it wasn't our train. of course the next one that came was the same size. lesson learned: take the short train to arezzo.

classes this week are pretty much the same; our schedule constantly shifts, but it's similar enough that i don't feel the need to delve into details. one class did stand out today though: we had tarantella, but it ended up as more of an improv day. francesco came and he, along with gianni, had each of us improv a short solo that expressed our idea of beauty. i was actually more impressed with what i saw today than the solos we did for giorgio last week. after mine, francesco said i had expressed both the pain and the joy of love. for someone who doesn't like to express feelings, i seem to have found the right outlet.


only so many hours in the day.

today was the first day i left the villa in over 72 hours. come si dici "cabin fever"?

its been crazy busy with classes and nighttime events. i guess the first week was to sort of ease us into being here and its only going to pick up from there. i already wrote a little about giorgio, but he is seriously awesome. he's really funny, but also seriously interested in teaching us as much as he can this semester. there are several differences between my teachers at home versus the ones here (obviously), but the biggest one i've noticed is this: they never tell you you've done something wrong. instead "is good, but not what i ask." i think it's a compelling distinction.

one thing that is awesome about this program is the crossover we experience with the students in the theater track. on wednesday, we got to join their voice class. there was some singing, but it was also learning about how to project your voice. we rarely work on that in dance, so it was a fun departure. watch here:

thursday evening, the theater track joined the dancers in tarantella. having a bigger group definitely changed the atmosphere a bit, but it was really a great time being able to show what we do, especially after having experience voice class. we do joint classes several more times throughout the semester, and after my first taste, i can hardly wait until the next one.

despite my excitement, i am completely exhausted from this week. (sono exhausto in italiano.) however, after a little recuperation this evening, i'm sure i'll be ready for tomorrow. the first weekend of every month, arezzo hosts not only the largest antiques fair in italy, but also the oldest. a brief stop there, and then off to firenze again, but this time for the night. there's a chocolate festival. a festival devoted entirely to CHOCOLATE? how could i not go?

fin. (yes, i know that's french. i'm trilingual, nbd.)


can't be anywhere but now.

yes, that's the title of my solo. and also the theme for my semester i think. we've talked a lot in class about how you're here because you're here... not because you're not somewhere else. i love that concept. (articulated by giorgio. i think i'll like him).

anyways, i'm up late and i think it's because i'm having a bit of a hard time letting go of not being at goucher this semester. it's strange because i've loved every minute of my abroad experience so far and i can't imagine being anywhere else this semester, yet i'm still letting myself get pulled into the news from across the ocean. i need to stop that and be here because i'm here. and how could i not love it here?

i mean, look at the view:

so new plan: focus on me for a while. which is a strange concept. it sounds selfish, but i think it's ok. i don't know if i ever really have.


vintage selection.

yesterday, i had one of the best days ever. i hopped the train to florence with some friends and my roommate. it took about an hour to get there... i love how easy it is to get around. one of the grad students told us about a place to eat in what was essentially a covered farmer's market. the food was AH-mazing. it was very busy and loud and we had to sit at a table with other people, but it was just such a cool experience. it was clearly not a tourist spot, which made it even better. the goal of the day trip was to go to this vintage market, so that was our next stop. it was set up in stazione leopolde... the old train station. it cost 5 euro to get in, but even if i hadn't purchased anything, it would've been worth the money. there must have been over 50 vendors there and you could get anything from 5 euros to over a 1000. vintage louis vuitton and chanel. ysl and lacoste. i was just in heaven walking around. it was like a fashion museum warehouse. i wish i had taken a picture.

there was this really cool chain belt that said "coco" on it, but i decided to buy a vintage louis instead. thanks, mom! i'm so excited to go on my first overnight weekend trip and use it. we probably spent 3 hours just wandering around. we then spent about another hour just walking back to the train station. it was such a nice feeling to just walk around. we also got to use some italian... i'm pretty excited monica's lessons are so helpful.

after getting back to arezzo, we ate at this gem of a restaurant, mazzoni. everything was just so good; i was in heaven. we also showed up at the right time for dinner and in a group of 4 instead of 12 so it was less embarrassing than our last dining out experience. i'm still getting used to the feeling of living in a foreign country, as opposed to visiting it. it's very strange, but i can't imagine being anywhere else this semester.

we've also started booking weekend trips, as well as spring break. chocolate festival in florence next weekend? sold. carnival in venice and spring break in greece. any other suggestions?


first day of school.

so this past weekend was fun. ricardo threw his party for us. he had a nice spread laid out, karaoke and tables for beer pong/flip cup. it was a nice chance for everyone to get together and just have some fun. although my throat did hurt for several days after from all the singing. on saturday, we went to the market, which reminded me of a smaller version of porte portese. after dinner we went to a dance performance. there were three solos: claudia catarzi, chiara orefice and stefano questorio. apparently we'll be working with stefano later this semester, so it was cool to see his work prior to the experience. afterwards, some of us went to aurora, a bar owned and frequented by communists. we were the only americans there but it was really fun.

yesterday was basically just a veg day which was great before we started classes. we had a major tourist moment though because we got to the city for dinner so early that we couldn't get into a restaurant for another 30 min after we arrived. it was kind of embarrassing, but now we know i guess.

today were classes! those of us on the dance track had modern technique then philosophy with everyone. then we had to take a bus into town for ballet. we had this really intense teacher, but she seemed to warm up to us, which was good. we were being observed by the other teachers from the studio as well, so it was a little bit intimidating, but hopefully they'll become friendlier as the semester progresses. tomorrow we have 4 hours of tarantella... i'm nervous.


oh, i almost forgot. the title of that last blog is a reference to this merce cunningham quote that i love and wrote in my journal that i'm supposed to keep for the duration of the program:

you have to love dancing and stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive. It's not for unsteady souls.

not for unsteady souls.

after two years of anticipation i have finally arrived in arezzo for study abroad. first of all, it is gorgeous here. actually, i can't think of word that begins to encapsulate how feel about the overwhelming charm and beauty of a town so old. a walking tour of the town today left me in wide-eyed awe. it's amazing how old some of the buildings are; i feel like they pulse with thousands of sordid tales. of course, this comes from living in a country where a building that is merely 100 years old becomes a historical landmark. the difference is just mind blowing. although it's not my first visit across the pond, i don't remember feeling quite as awed the last time. maybe it's because i can't seem to wrap my mind around the fact that i'll actually be living here for three months.

i haven't updated in a few days because after the whirlwind of rome, it's been pretty slow paced here. i took a train into the town, then got a little disorientated and couldn't make it out of the train station for several minutes, but then i made it to a taxi and up the hill. i was the first undergrad student here so i got the luxury of settling in slowly while waiting for everyone else to arrive. for the last couple of days, we've just done basic orientation stuff. last night, about 20 of us made the trek into town and to the "american" bar for a taste of the nightlife. it was fun, although different from rome. tonight, ricardo and the rest of the facilities staff is throwing us a welcome party... everyone chipped in a few euro and i think it'll be a good time.

as for the program, there are 18 undergrads and 12 mfa students. there's only male among us undergrads, which i think must be as much a curse as a blessing for him. there are 9 students in each track: dance and theatre. i have a great roommate, who is also a dancer and actually spent her last semester in florence. she plays guitar and has promised to teach me... new skills here i come! i already have plans in the works for international travels, but what i'm most excited is a chance to explore the town on my own as well as for classes to start... i can't wait to learn italian! pictures to follow soon. meaning, once i actually take some.


food & fun in roma.

well, much has happened since i last posted, but i will try to keep this update from being too overwhelming. after a siesta, liz and i went out for dinner sunday night in trastevere. there were these two heartbreakingly beautiful guys that were literally STARING at us as we choose a table, but unfortunately they left without introducing themselves. oh well, such is life eh? liz had been telling me all about this after dinner liqueur called limoncello, so after dinner we went in search of it. we ended up at a bar and sipped on our limoncello which basically tastes like a super-concentrated lemon drop. burned my mouth a little bit though. one of the workers liked us, so he brought us free shots, completely unprompted by us. who can complain about that? met some italian men that were sitting nearby, but they were a little older and not quite as beautiful as our missed connection at dinner so we declined a ride home.

after some research, i found that the angels & demons tour costs 56 euro: a little steep for our tastes. instead, liz and i went to the colosseum and then i bought a cheap phone. after lunch, reading and a nap, liz arranged for her friend andrew to pick me up because i had mentioned my wish to ride a moterino. touring the city at night on the back of a moterino was amazing. we met up with liz and a great little pizza place and then had chocolate shots at this place after dinner. so yummy. i finished my book after dinner... i had gotten to a really exciting part when andrew came to pick me up, so it was satisfying to come back and finish it.

today was vatican day. before getting there, we had cappuccinos and croissants at a little place near liz's school/apartment. after a short bus ride, we spent several hours exploring the museums and st. peter's. the amount of artwork that the church owns is absolutely staggering. also got hit on by a vatican guard. not something that i would've expected but i guess the blonde hair works in mysterious ways. had some really delicious salami and cheese sandwiches for lunch while my pictures uploaded to fb and now i'll probably go read slash gather up stray belongings because tomorrow i'll be going to arezzo!

ps: looking back, it sounds like much of what i do here is eat, but it's just all so good, i can't help but include it!


lots of walking.

so yesterday i ended up taking a 3 hour nap after i posted. then liz and i lazed around. i drank some tea and read my italian guidebook while she made a fabulous dinner. we had spaghetti with tomatoes, sausage and onions in pasta sauce and it was quite delicious! after dinner, we went out and walked around trastevere (which is the area liz lives in). then we wandered through tiber island, the jewish ghetto and all the way over to piazza venezia. bought some chocolate and came home for a relaxing, if somewhat low key night, with wine and reading. audrey niffenegger, the fabulous author of the time traveler's wife, has a new book out, her fearful symmetry. it was 1/2 off at border's so i couldn't resist purchasing it. good thing too, as i'm loving it so far.

this morning, we went to porta portese, which is basically a giant flea market that opens every sunday. it reminded me of the street fairs in new york, only more crowded and about ten times the size of any i've been to. you can buy pretty much anything you want there: from lightbulbs and makeup to furniture and pets. spent a couple hours walking through a large part of it. i was able to purchase some nice gloves, along with band-aids and batteries. i am unfortunately suffering from a HUGE blister on the back of my right heel, which is making it difficult to walk. this is a problem in a city that requires much more walking than ohio, for example.

anyways, after a quick stop back at liz's apartment, we headed over to the roman forum and the palantine hill. it was so fantastic to walk through the ruins and imagine a bustling ancient rome. during our whole tour of the place, i was just so excited to be in a place that's steeped in history. our ticket included entrance to the colosseum, but we didn't have enough time to make it there today. luckily, it's a two-day ticket, so we're going to hit that up tomorrow. liz and i started talking about dan brown's angels and demons and decided to look for a tour that takes us on the path of illumination. so i think our day is pretty much planned out for tomorrow.

for now, the plan is to take a siesta then go out for dinner and roman nightlife afterwards. i'm loving the later eating times here... much better than sticking to a strict 6 pm eating time at the gouch.



so kids, i made it! liz is making me update, even though my hands are shaking really bad, so here goes...

on thursday, my mom dropped me off at the airport rather early because i was nervous about lines/its an international flight. of course, barely anyone was there. the bag i wanted to check was 9 lbs over so i had to do some shifting around, but that went fine, except my backpack got rather heavy. then i was a hot mess going through security... forgot to take my laptop out, forgot to take my belt off, they had to rescan my purse after searching it for mysterious, invisible liquids. yeah, i was THAT person. and even though there was no one there when i got to security, it filled up right after so a bunch of people witnessed that mess. my flights went smoothly and i had nice seat mates each time; the first was a physical therapist on his way to london and the second a woman who was visiting her daughter in rome. the only bad part was that the in-flight movie options were bolt and cloudy with a chance of meatballs, both of which looked cute, but i wasn't that interested in seeing either one. i also wanted to sleep, but that proved difficult. flying into rome was a beautiful experience. for the whole descent, i just looked out my window (luckily, i had a window seat!) and soaked it all in. it was interesting to notice how different the country looked from the sky than america does. when flying over the states, the land is divided much more evenly and into very distinct patterns; not so with italy. there was some order, but also some chaos. it was nice. i couldn't help but wonder what implications this had for differences in lifestyle. i guess i'll find out soon.

after making it through customs, liz met me at the gate and then we were off... only a train, a tram, a bus and a short walk separated us from her apartment! quite the adventure with my gigantic bag, but we made it. we went to the market and ate fresh fruit on the way to the grocery store. then i took a nap before we went out for the night. liz took me to a beautiful fountain and we watched the sun set over the city. then we meandered through this piazza and that, liz showing me some of her favorite sites while i ate my gelato. we at dinner at a fabulous little place where the owner gave us postcards to send home and then we went to a bar where i had my first experience with an italian man hitting on me. he didn't speak english and i don't speak italian. as you can imagine, we were doomed from the start. went to a few other bars and met some guys. after several problems with people pronouncing my name, liz and i decided that i would be sofia for the evening. it went much better after that. we met some italian guys who took us to a salsa club, but we couldn't get in because there was a list. FAIL. went to one last bar, but the italian guys disappeared and we were tired so we came home.

right now, i'm sitting on liz's couch and contemplating my next move. my body is rejecting me for going out last night. and punishing me with a wicked headache/the shakes. can't separate which is from drinking and which is from just jetlag. hopefully i'll recover soon and go experience the great american pastime: shopping!


my bags are packed, i'm ready to go.

okay, so that's not completely true, but i did start the tedious process of packing today. i have two suitcases: a small one with all my clothes for the short stay in rome and then a large one for everything else. i am a little nervous about navigating through the train station with a couple large suitcases (especially since there's apparently a lot of stairs) but i don't really think i have any other options. at least they are of the rolling variety.

as the day of departure fast approaches, i am increasingly apprehensive. i know when i get there i'll settle down, but right now i'm nervous that i'll forget to pack something essential or have flight delays or something will go wrong. but i guess i get that way before i travel anywhere. it's just exacerbated this time because i'm not going on vacation... i'm going to study for a whole semester in italy. i'm also nervous because i really don't know what to expect. i've become comfortable with what i do, who i am and where i fit in at school. but, in 36 hours, i'll be throwing myself into a foreign country where i don't speak the language. and a few days after that i'll be participating in a conservatory-style program in a little town in the midst of the tuscan countryside.

at least i have my travel outfit picked out.
roundtrip flight to rome? $840. landing with confidence? priceless.