Thursday, April 24, 2008

The groove of things

I must say that I have gotten rather good at being away from my family and friends. But I think it gets harder when you cant call them on a whim. There is something about wanting to call your best friend or your mom and not being able to because you dont have a phone. Let's clarify. I have a phone, but I have no minutes on it. It's free for me if you call me. But I can't call out. No one has called my phone in a VERY long time. With Skype its easier to just get online. But sometimes its hard when all you want to do is talk to your family or friends. Oh well. You move forward and push along.
Italy is going great. My English professor is going crazy I believe (today he called Mother Teresa ugly and hunchbacked and questioned her true character because of some suspected political affiliations) and my Italian/Art teacher is cute and adorable. On Wednesday we visited the Villa Farnese. It has a gorgeous picture by Raphael painted on a fresco. It was just a gorgeous house in general. I was also able to visit the sepulcher of St. Peter. He came to Rome to visit the emperor that was in charge when Christ's death was decided. He came to teach. He was crucified instead. Although he decided to hang himself upside down because he couldnt imagine dying the same way Christ did. He felt he wasnt worthy. Interesting stuff for sure.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Loving Rome

So I am starting to wander around this city more. It's crazy just walking around because there is SO MUCH history everywhere. It blows my mind sometimes just looking at medieval and renaissance houses paired next to each other and knowing what is what based on their construction. I am already learning a lot about the history of Rome, its rulers and government. Yesterday I walked to the Trevi Fountain by myself (during the day mind you, im not stupid i dont go wandering by myself at night) and it was so fun to just watch all of these tourists so in love with this such. I think I am blending more into a local, at least I like to imagine myself that way. I think i still stand out though as an American. The trevi was gorgeous. We also saw some Caravaggio paintings today. WOW. My grandpa loves this painter and he tries to replica his paintings but seeing them in real life is amazing. they are SO realistic. Caravaggio decided to go against the rules of his master by painting idealistically and instead he painted real people with dirt and dust on their feet and wrinkles on their faces. So amazing. I love just walking into a random little church with my teacher and seeing a painting by RAPHEAL! its mindblowing sometimes....

Monday, April 14, 2008

Paris holds the key to my heart...

Does anyone remember the movie Anastasia where they sing that song. It was constantly humming through my head. Its partly true, but to be honest I think I like Rome better. So Thursday I embarked with my roommate Laura to Ciampino airport which is outside of Rome but I learned to use the bus and train and we managed to get there REAL early and so we had to sit around for awhile. We finally got into Beauvais which is an hour outside of Paris so we had to take a shuttle to Porte Maillot which happened to be near our hotel. YAY! so we arrived at our hotel dropped off our luggage and found a cute little restaurant and had some yummy food. She got this delicious mashed potato thing and I got some yummy duck. We decided to sleep and wake up early for some shopping before we met up with her friend Tammy. We got up and since we were close to the Arc de Triomphe we though...why not? so we took some pictures (for evidence you will have to check out facebook) and then got some breakfast. French breakfast consists of a croissant, orange juice, buttered baguette, and a hot drink. So naturally I got hot chocolate. It was soo cool because they gave you a cup of melted chocolate and a cup of hot milk and you mixed it yourself! of course i was like CHOCOLATE so it was a little strong at first and then i had a lot of left over milk...whatev. Then we found H&M! ok so this is a big deal to me. I love clothes and I have heard of this store since I was about 13 and I have dreamt of our union. What better than the fashion capital of the world to meet up. We found it and I was in heaven. I love clothes. especially cheap clothes. H&M is a dream come true...thankfully Seattle will be getting three next year. PHEW! anywho after I dudded myself up to look French apparently it worked because people kept coming up to me speaking French asking me for directions. I was able to help some (okay one who actually spoke english) because I am at metros. Seriously you should be jealous of my keen ability to get from point A to point B especially with transfers in between. So after shopping we met up with Laura's friend Tammy at hotel number two. We set out once again, this time for the Eiffel Tower. So we get off at the right stop and walk out of the metro and there is this HUGE building in the way and we are turning around and we are like where is it? then we take a couple of steps past the building and BAM! Tammy screams and we jump in excitement. The Eiffel Tower was before my very eyes. It was amazing! We bought some berets (duh we are in PARIS!) and took LOTS of pictures. We then got a french hot dog (they use a baguette) and some french ice cream and got tickets for a bus tour. We rode around for about 2 hours while the bus showed us almost everything Paris had to offer. It was freezing in Paris by the way. We went back to H&M (which i was JUST fine with) and after being in Europe I had noted a fashion trend. It's something I like call the Leather Jacket. EVERYONE HAS ONE! well i was cold and there was the cutest, cheapest (for a leather jacket) leather jacket at H&M so now I'm warm and happy. We go have dinner (escargot, steak, and creme brulee) and then go to meet Potato/Katie at the train station. We had a little time on our hands so we go the Eiffel Tower once more (its night now) and its the same reaction. We are jumping, arms linked laughing and smiling in amazement at the sheer beauty and power of this one monument. It really is gorgeous. Well we go get Potato and SHE wants to see the tower so we split up and Tato has the SAME reaction and we end up talking on some steps with the Eiffel Tower in view for awhile. It was amazing. We go back to the hotel and make plans for the next day.
I will start shortening this a little...I think I am rattling on a little too much. So the next day we hike UP the Eiffel Tower (literally we climbed the stairs ) and saw the 360 view of Paris. It's very romantic architecture still with the houses and everything. So then we go to the Louvre and see Venus/Aphrodite and the Mona Lisa and.......the winged victory. That was my favorite. She is just soo gorgeous and hope filled. We got some souvenirs and then walked along the Siene River towards Notre Dame but the line was too long so we didnt go inside but took more pictures and then we took a break because of our poor feet. We headed back to the hotel to have dinner at the CUTEST little French restaurant with Laura and Tammy. We then visited the Moulin Rouge and went to bed. Woke up at 450 to get to the airport which sucked but it was worth it.
Overall I kinda missed Rome but LOVED Paris. It's SUCH a romantic city, it makes you want to share it with someone special. I was glad I had Potato and Laura and Tammy. It will be an experience to remember forever.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


So life goes on here in Rome. I have finally had all of my classes and my Italian/Renaissance Art teacher is the cutest thing alive. I mean that in the most grandpa-y sense. He is originally from Brazil and speaks english and italian and probably lots of other languages fluently. He takes us on tours of Rome. Yesterday we went to Basilica de San Clemente which was crazy because it has four layers of history. The top is an 18th century basilica, the next layer is a 12th century (this is going down into the ground btw) basilica, then a 4th century house/persian pagan temple, then down the FIRST century to a house with a courtyard that still has a running stream of water. Its pretty intense. I didn't know how to handle I hugged a first century wall. It seemed the best thing to do. I have been having a great time with my roommates, we laugh a lot. Good times.

Monday, April 7, 2008

General Conference

So this weekend was a whirlwind. It was my first church experience in Italy. I wanted to go to General Conference but had to figure out how. Well I was in contact via email with the institute teacher here and he gave me some info but when Saturday came I called him to clarify some confusion. Have you ever been nervous to call a stranger. Well its one of my biggest fears. Now add being in a foreign country where they dont speak english...ahhhh awkward phone conversations. Of course it wasn't awkward at all because turns out he spoke english very well. So Saturday came and I went to the bus stop with my roommate Katie (thank you for coming with me!) and we waiting almost an hour for the 916. I was scared it wasn't going to come. Conference started at 6pm and it was 5:55....time was running out. Well we see the glorious number 9-1-6 and board the bus. We counted the 21 stops that we passed and at 21 got off at Boccea and Bra. I was greatful that we got off at the right stop because its hard to find a map of Rome that goes past the historic center where I live. So we find the building and walk in. ITS IN ITALIAN! nooooo but then I see a familiar sight, an elder. Thank goodness for Elders. He showed me where it was playing in english. I walk into a room FULL of elders and about 6 sisters. Mia would have been sooo jealous : ) Well Katie and I stood out but we sat down as they finished the sustaining. Oh yea I forgot to mention that with the time difference conference starts at 6pm here (live) and the second session is at 10 pm so most go home and watch the recording at 2pm on Sunday and then the sunday morning at 6pm and then the 10pm online. Anyways everything worked out which was really neat, because I was so scared the whole time. Well on Sunday I did the whole bus thing by myself and made friends with the sisters missionaries in my ward and even some sisters from Peru. The church truly is a united church. I love it!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Just another day...

I think I am getting the hang of this Rome thing. I wake up in the morning to the hustle of the market. Every morning I look out my window to a sea of color. The fruits and veggies bounce of the slate gray street. Its like my morning rainbow. Its funny. I have told a couple of people my feelings towards city life. Coming to Seattle was a change, not bad but not ideal. I have found I enjoy the outskirts of places much more than the hustle and bustle of Seattle. However, Rome has proven a very good point. Campo de Fiori is buzzing with life (its funny because it used to be a place of executions) but its still so small and quaint and personal. I am falling in love with Rome every moment. Just yesterday I saw the Pantheon. It wasn't a formal excursion, we were actually headed over to a party with our classmates. They literally live right next door to it. Rome is crazy though because one moment you will be walking along tiny cobblestone streets getting nearly run over by vespas and cars and than BAM! you run into something with so much history. These ancient monuments and buildings aren't set apart. They are literally in the midst of everyday life. I love that. It's just so amazing to be able to discover something so beautiful everyday. The Pantheon is unreal. Its seems like it would be for a giant. If you have ever watched Hercules the movie and remember when he goes to Mount Olympus and he is so small amongst the pillars of his father. That is literally what its like. Except all around it (literally across a tiny cobblestone street on either side) there are apartments. This really is a magical city. I am growing VERY attached to it. I even say ciao and buon gourno and mi dispiache (im sorry) to the locals. Life is very exciting in the simple moments of this city.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Lucifer and the Colosseum

Awesome topics no? So we wandered by this cute restaurant called Lucifer's Tavern the other day and I had my first official Italian dinner there. BENNISIMO! The staff was soo cute and it was nice and small and we forgot to make reservations but they said for the bellas they would let us eat. We ended up staying there for about 3-4 hours. We had such a good dinner. I had this yummy spinach and ricotta ravioli with sage.... yummm and fondue for desert. Anyways it was just a lot of fun overall. Plus it helps when your roommates make you laugh. Today class was walking around Rome while our Professor talked to us about everything we saw. We went to a lot of the major places like teatro marcello and the colosseum and some other places. Its just amazing to hear how much history overlaps and everything that exists in such a small area. Its pretty crazy though... I like it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

First Night

So I am here and officially settled in. Our apartment is multo bella (very beautiful). I have 7 roommates and we have 9 beds. Lots of room. Its a big apartment in central Rome. Its probably ridiculously expensive. I am very thankful for it. My bed is very uncomfortable and right now we dont have consistent hot water (yay for cold showers) but the company is wonderful and one of my roommates knows italian. So basically she communicates for us while we stand back in awe. I am getting a bit more courageous and saying buon giorno and grazie and multo bene. so far i havent eaten any pasta. but tonight we are going to lucifers tavern. we liked the name.... so i will definitely get some pasta tonight.