Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My Love Affair With London Town

I knew it was love, London, when my easyjet flight touched down on your Anglo-Saxon soil. It was a total rush that came over me, a sense of joy that I had never felt on Italian soil. Even though the mean customs officials at the airport threatened not let me through, my moonstuck feeling couldn't be deterred. I was a sucker for you from square one. Our romance spanned three days and it wasn't enough. At the risk of being extremely tacky and cliche, when I got on the plane to travel back to Italy, my heart started to hurt. Although it may have been the first time I ever visited, I knew immediately that London was my city soul mate.

Bleh. I am so cheesey. But I can't help it, I truly love the place!

In all seriousness, London is fantastic. Few cities can mix such such past grandeur and modern splendor so seamlessly. In many places the mixture seems awkward and forced; like a clash of past eras (The city of Florence is a prime example, it just seems so wrong there.) However, London is able to do it flawlessly which in turn not only makes it beautiful but also makes it vibrant and real. What a lovely place and what a lovely trip. I got to spend some time with a very dear friends of mine and have some much needed rest and fun in a fabulous city. (That's why I lack so many mom photos; I was simply having too much fun in the moment to take tons of photographs! However, below is a silly shot that my friend Ceri got me to take with some awesome London graffiti :-])

Patiently dancing down the conga line until I can return to London,

The many angles of Amsty

Oh Amsterdam. You truly are such a strange city. In certain lights and weather conditions you can seem quite lovely and charming with just a hint of the exotic. And in others lights; well let's just say your flavor is much less wholesome.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed Amsterdam's strangeness and respected it. Not all cities have the courage or the character to be so dramatically different when looked at through different angles. All and all, it's a solid town. Extremely fun too, I had a ball there. The people are great, and the they speak one hell of a language. It's impossible to understand a lick of it but it sounds like it would make for some great haus music. A-Rink-A-Dinkin-Do-Dinkin'-Rinkin'

Tanti Baci,


Living Fairytale

People say that it is a fact that fairytales have give people unrealistic expectations about love and life; this is a debatable assertion (but I can't lie the story of Cinderella helped foster my shoe fetish from an early age.) What is a fact is that once you travel to Prague it will give you unrealistic expectations about cities. Because when you walk through the small city you feel like you have truly entered an enchanted realm. I was half expecting for talking animals to bust out of the astrological clock and start singing to me as I frolicked around the city.

*Now cue the sweeping Disney tunes*

The city is breathtaking. However, Prague's beauty is not only it's blessing but it is also it's curse. It is almost too beautiful, too perfect looking. It makes a part of you reject ever wanting to live there because you innately know you just don't belong.

Nevertheless, the enchanted atmosphere of Prague allows one from time to time pretend that all of those unrealistic expectations do exist.

Tanti Baci,

PS: My apologies for the lack of posts over the past few months. I have been swamped with school and am using my break to catch up on my posts! xox

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Livin' in Winetown

I wish every weekend was filled with wine festivals.

This weekend I stuck around Florence, got some work done and headed out to Wine Town Firenze. Different wine producers from all over the world came to the city to showcase their wines. Bet your bottom Bacchus I was in heaven. Not only that but the Florentine's sure do know how to set the mood- all of the wine spots were set up at famous places all over the city and filled with live entertainment. You can drink a Rioja while staring up at a Renaissance master piece as the sweet harp melodies floats around you. Not too shabble for a broke grad student eh?

A cheap but excellent date if I say so myself. If ever in Florence during the fall months, make sure to check out Wine Town Firenze.

Tanti Baci,

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

La rossa, La dotta e La grassa

Amo Bologna.

No words can describe how much I love this city. The surroundings, the atmosphere, the people, the shopping...THE FOOD!

Sconvolgente. Literally.

My good friend Sarah invited me to come with her to visit the city for a mini break, and wow am I glad she did. This city is home to the oldest university in the world, Università di Bologna (although an exact date is uncertain, it is believed that it was initially founded in 1088...doesn't that make Virginia Tech seem like an infant?!?) Despite being so rich in history, the city is extremely vibrant and alive. While there I was able to eat like I was going to the chair, shop like I wasn't living on loans and hang out with some locals who renamed me Marie Michelle (because LAUR-en MITCH-ell is difficult for Italians to pronounce.)

Tanti Baci, mi amichi. I need to go dream of Bologna.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Italian Time

Buona Sera Amici!

Sorry it has taken me forever to update last week was filled with orientation, reading, Italian class and lots of running around the city. The picture above is me outside the European Union Institute; our program allows us to use it to do research and study. It is a beautiful old abbey that was once a place of reflection for Lorenzo de' Medici. Just amazing. (Also I want to note that shortly before this photo was taken there was a GIANT storm- like I literally could have made a birds nest in my hair from all the twigs that got stuck into it. But in true diva style, I was able to get myself clean up enough to take a mom photo.)

Needless to say all of this excitement means...Sono stanca!

It is hard to believe I have been here almost two weeks! In a lot of ways it feels more like a life time. Maybe that is because everything seems slower, more relaxed in Italy (well everything except for the traffic...Beltway drivers have NOTHING on Italians. Cross the street at your own peril.) Nevertheless, days leisurely drip by, each instant more sluggish then the last.

It may not be the perfect environment for an intensive one year graduate program- but hey I'm digging it for the time being.

Tanti Baci,

PS: Just some administrative stuff for those who have been asking. Trust me when I tell you, I want to update my photos as much as possible. However, internet here is touch and go cause like everything else in Italy it does what it wants. I promise to do the best I can this week to get a photo album up on facebook and my other photo album account. Hopefully, my Italian internet will cooperate or else I may need to enlist the help of the Mafia.

Ciao Ciao!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Huntin' Around the City

This city is amazingly beautiful, but confusing. I still don't have it down, but I am trying! (It gets kind of tricky because streets kind of look the same- but no worries I will get it down soon.)

I really love where I am living; the area around San Spirito (the church you saw in my last post) has a lot of local flavor and is really fun. But I am really glad I got a chance to strike out and see what the other side of the Arno has to offer.

{{A view of the river Arno from the Ponte Vecchio; so lovely}}


And of course...the Duomo's dome! Isn't it amazing?!?

I hope you all enjoyed that little "mom photo" it was from the scavenger hunt. Totally cheesey my I had to include it because of the view.

Well its Ikea time so I got to run!
Tanti Baci,

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ciao from Firenze

Ciao Ciao everyone!

I have finally made it to Florence (and finally have internet!) Let me tell you- it was not an easy journey. Reasons why:

1) Crabby old lady in front of me
2) Crabby old man behind me
3) Italian couple sitting next to me who liked to push the boundaries of flight PDA so much that a few times over the Atlantic I was pretty sure they were going to join the mile high club.
4) Charles de Gaulle is the worst airport I have been too! Avoid at all costs- EXTREMELY CONFUSING AND THE STAFF IS NO HELP! I almost missed my flight to Florence and barely escaped heart failure.

But none of that really matters anymore, because I am finally here (jet lag and all.) This city is so incredibly beautiful and I feel blessed to be here. The staff is so kind and helpful and everyone in the program is great. We all had a lot of fun last night just hanging out and getting to know one another.

Not much more to report right now- tomorrow we are doing tons of exploring because we have a group scavenger hunt! So I promise those pictures. For now, I hope you enjoyed the shot from my balcony (yes I have a balcony and one of the best views in the palazzo!)

Tanti baci,

Monday, July 19, 2010


And so here we are- my first entry. It isn't going to be very profound or fancy (hell I didn't even know how to set up the blog...I'm techie challenged so this is going to be touch and go for a while) Rather, I want to start this blog with thanks.

If you had asked me a year ago what I would be doing with my life after college graduation, I would not have known what to tell you. I wasn't ready to leave the security of Virginia Tech but I wasn't ready to become the female version of Peter Pan either.

I didn't know where I was going or who I was going to be. I felt like a loser. I felt lost.

Fast forward to July 19, 2010. Five weeks from today I will be sitting on a plane headed to Florence, Italy for 10 months to study Political Science and the European Union. I will get to soak up the beauty and the grandeur of one of the most beloved cities in Europe.

I am no longer lost. I am extremely lucky.

I am lucky because of the love and support I have received from family and friends to do this. They nudged me forward when I felt too scared to chase dreams of far away places. They gave me the confidence to do this when I thought there was no way in Hell that I was getting into a program like this. They helped me leap when I lacked the courage to on my own. And for that I am forever grateful. Grazie

This blog will be for you all, since you all helped me get to this place in my life. I couldn't be in Florence without you, so I must share Florence with you.

And so here we are, and so lets begin.

Tanti Baci,

PS: My first self portrait...I know I know how very 17 year old myspace of me. And I did have a bit of a shakey hand since the battery was dying and I was struggling. But I wanted to use my new camera to take a picture anyway! Better pictures next round I promise!