Thursday, April 26, 2012

The one about goodbye’s

It’s that time. My final post unless I decide to reuse this blog the next time I go on a world wind adventure. It is hard to write this blog. It’s possibly the hardest blog I have written thus far.  It’s hard to express through a simple blog post all the feelings and the elephant in the room that is truly felt everywhere. Not to mention I suck at writing these things down anyway. It reminds me a bit of camp, saying goodbyes as we all go our different ways back into the real world. As I pass my roommates, my classmates, the people that I have spent the past four months living and learning and growing with you can feel it in the air: the bittersweet.
I look back, four months ago, to the morning I left. I admit the nerves were getting the best of me. As we drove to the airport the emotions overwhelmed me and I am sure many of my classmates felt the same way. There was the fear of embarking on an adventure alone, the sadness of leaving family and friends behind and of course the excitement of going to ITALY and meeting new people. Eventually the excitement won out, but there were still so many what ifs.  Now it’s all about to be over. The questions were answered and now we have new questions like what have I missed for the past four months back in the States, but that’s not what this blog post is about…
I have met some truly amazing people on this trip. So many of my teachers are brilliant, and they are clearly so passionate about what they teach. It makes me want to have such passion for the subject I, one day, teach.  My Montessori students helped me grow in many ways. While preparing lessons for them wasn’t so different from the States, working with them was like nothing I have ever done before.  They taught us about the Italian culture while we taught them about the United States culture, and we truly had so much fun with them—laughing, dancing, writing and reading, listening and discussing, and learning…the ins and outs of one’s culture, the norms the taboos the common phrases—never did I think the American saying “you are going to throw a party” could cause so much confusion and excitement amongst teenage students…just think about it. But that sadly ended a week ago.
I will miss the Italians. They are a completely different kind of people here; in a good way. The hand gestures, the cheek kisses, the simple phrase of ciao ciao which I so often here as I am walking around Perugia. It will be weird, going back to a culture that is so different from what I have been in. The grocery stores will suddenly be giant no pun intended. The food will no longer be fresh, Italian cuisine. There will be lines, rudeness, less fashion, more fatness, servers up your butt when you are just trying to enjoy a good meal with friends and Dollars (which both are dirty and smell weird). But mostly, I will miss the Italian friendly hospitality feel—I won’t be able to jump in front of 50 people waiting in line at the airport because I am about to miss my flight (yes, this seriously happened…apparently if you ask you shall receive. “Scusa, ummm, stammer, we, flight, leave in dieci minuti…uhh…per favore” “Andiamo, Andiamo.” Translation—me stammering “can I go in front of you, my flight leaves in 10 minutes and I don’t want to miss it” in Italian/English and them saying “GO, GO” in a why are you even asking tone. But again, I am getting off track of this post. I am going to miss the Italian cultural way.
Lastly, I am going to miss my friends. They have been my family for the past four months. I have joked with these people, and taken stupid goofy pictures with them. I have argued with them, and been annoyed. I have travelled with them, experiencing new adventures and places for the first time. I have bonded with them, shared things with them, told stories about myself. Learned about their fears and goals, likes and dislikes, hates and loves, and what makes them tick. I have gotten under their skin, and they have gotten under mine. I have shared clothing and music.  I have studied with them, and watched movies. I have procrastinated with them. I have danced, and eaten lots of food. I have created inside jokes, cried, sang, with these people. We have bonded, both talking and listening. We have literally, laughed, loved, and LIVED. But sadly, the clothing and souvenirs are being packed away, the apartments are being swept, classes have ended and now so must study abroad. We all have heard it; all good things must come to an end. It’s true. These people have changed my life; I thank them for this semester they have given me for without them it wouldn’t have been so AMAZING AND UNFORGETTABLE.

To Perugia and my loves:  I will never forget you and the memories we made. Thank you. I love you.

Ciao for one last time, 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The One about Sicily and Rome.

Sicily for Easter. No Big Deal. Buon Pasqcua. It was beautiful in Sicily but different from what I have experienced in Italy so far…and oh right…I love the southern food. L-O-V-E IT! Not that Perugia food, and such isn’t amazing, but southern Italian food is deliziousa. It has more spices and is probably way worse for you, but I enjoyed it. There also seemed to be the “southern hospitality” thing. This was also where I was able to obtain my tan, and swim in the Mediterranean. Hopefully someday I will get back to southern Italy and the Med!

Rome. Brit and I went to Rome, and I was able to see my friend Amanda from Arcadia who is studying abroad there. In just two days we managed to fit in the Vatican, Sistine chapel, Spanish steps, collesum, forum, pantheon, trevi fountain, and a wholeee bunch more thanks to Amanda’s awesome tour guide skills! I really really really loved Rome. It might be just as good as Paris! The city was awesome and I liked the Italian feel! Will I return? Well…I did throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain!

Trevi fountain


That’s all folks


P.S. One more post tomorrow fingers crossed. Tonight is my last full night in Perugia with everyone, tomorrow night people begin leaving for trains, planes and automobiles (okay really just trains to get on planes). Anyway, and mama is coming tomorrow! Should be fun!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The one about Gubbio, Spoleto and Assisi, Naples, Pompeii, Herculaneum and the Amalfi Coast and adventures with Lisa…

This will be short and sweet and to the point.

Gubbio is an awesome place. Bird cages anyone? Yup when you go to Gubbio (which I highly recommend if you ever get to do a crazy Italian adventure) you get to go on what looks like a bird cage, and go up a mountain similar to a ski lift and look at the whole world. Amazing? YUP! Pictures? YUP!

Gubbio-the first time I went, in the snow!

View from the top of the world. Gubbio without snow!

another view shot, and to the left of the picture-the bird cage!

I went to Spoleto and Assisi with my Pagans and Christians class. We got to see the cute little Italian towns that are on mountains and only a short bus ride away from Perugia for only half a day each, but they were cool. We mostly got to see the views, and learn about the Churches and historical context that fit with the class. It was amazing, and I really enjoy field trips that connect to what we are learning.

My friend Dani and I looking out over Spoleto

Assisi, the famous church--and my classmates are in the shot

 Naples, Pompeii, Herculaneum and the Almalfi Coast were all part of my Roman Civilization field trip. It was a three day field trip (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). I am really got that I had the opportunity to go on this field trip. Pompeii and Herculaneum were really cool because they put what I had been learning in class into context. Naples=delicious Neapolitan pizza. ‘nuff said. We got to go to the Almalfi coast for fun, and while it was just a few hours, it was beautiful and I am glad I got to see it!

Pompeii Amphetheater

Walking the Streets of Pompeii

Amalfi Coast

Lisa, my friend from Arcadia, is studying abroad in Ireland. While I REALLY wish I would have had time to visit her, I ran out of weekends. Despite my lack of visiting, she got to visit me! The weekend after spring break she came and it was sooo fun seeing her! We went to Gubbio and Florence. But of courseee I gave her the grand tour of Perugia. Can’t wait to see her when we both get back to the states!


Lisa and I in Gubbio


Florence at night



p.s. Finished my last final today! So nice to be done, spending the next two days living it up in Perugia. Mom--see you soon! (that's weird to say)

Monday, April 23, 2012

The One about missing…

So, I have officially been here for 109 days. We’ve entered the last week. Sadly only 4 days to go, followed by a 10 day adventure with my mom and then…Home. The view is amazing. The people are wonderful. The language I am finally learning. The classes aren’t bad. The food is to die for. The experience is the best adventure ever. I have grown a lot, learned a lot, seen a lot, and experienced A LOT!  So it will be sad to go home, and not that I don’t want to see friends and family, but it will be hard leaving this amazing place behind. I’ve decided to make a little list of those things I will miss, but the things I can’t wait to come home to…so hear you go!

Things in Italy I will miss once I’m home:

10. Walking and Public Transportation. Despite the crazy numbers of hills here, I enjoy walking, and although public transportation sometimes sucks it’s not that bad and makes getting around cheaper. Plus look at the environmental benefits haha.

9. The language. Even with the struggle of learning it, and lack of Italian I have, it is easier to learn a language when you HAVE to speak it…and sadly I will probably not be speaking Italian again anytime soon once I am home. I will miss conversing with some of the natives
8. Classes and Teachers. Okay, mostly the teachers not so much the classes. It’s not like in normal college or even high school, where despite moving on you can still run into past teachers, and I guess as much as I don’t like some of my classes it’s much cooler learning about things that you then go see (Field trips)!

7. My Apartment. It may be kinda small. It definitely isn’t something you would see in the United States. It’s poorly decorated. The heating/air is weird. It gets dusty real fast because of the walls. It’s missing some “comfort” things like lack of pots and pans etc. But it has been my home for the past 3 months and will always have a place in my heart! (Corny)

6. Montessori. I’m doing an education internship here in Italy. Every Wednesday I get to go to the local Montessori school and work with high schoolers, and let me tell you, it’s awesome! We have focused mostly on music and dance, comparing the two cultures, but we have also looked at food, daily routines, traditions and other cultural aspects. The kids are awesome, and it’s cool to hear authentic Italian perspectives.

5. The Views. Everywhere you go in Perugia there is something beautiful to see. The center has a beautiful fountain, the buildings and streets are old and beautiful and most of all there is a landscape view around pretty much every corner! Not exaggerating.

4. The trips. Whether they are school trips or ones of my own doing I have seen some pretty cool places. In Italy: Perugia (lots of things to do and see within the city), a vineyard in Tuscany, Pisa, Siena, Gubbio, Assisi, Florence, Spoleto, Amalfi Coast, Pompeii and Herculaneum, Naples, Bologna. Outside of Italy: Paris, Nice, Amsterdam and Barcelona. Places I will be getting to before returning home: Sicily, Rome, Milan and Venice. All in all I’d say this time abroad was a success filled with history and culture!

3. Papa Ciao Ciao and Danieli. Wonderful people. see my “ciao ciao” post over…wait for it…wait for it…here.

2. The food. Enough said.

1. My friends. Once we leave, we will be living throughout the country. North, South, East, West…many places of the United States are represented and it will be weird not seeing these people every day but instead being miles apart!

Things I miss from home:

10. Dare I say it…Swimming. Yes, I miss it…so I went to the public pool and that was an adventure within itself. As a student I get a discount and signed up for this last month. It was a little overwhelming the first time I went because of my lack of Italian. More on this story later. All in all though, it was a successful swim. Ohhh rightttt I realized after I was done it was meters (go me swam a lot more than I thought!)

9. Familiar products. Shampoo, conditioner, soaps, toilet paper, body wash, face wash. It’s hard when you have to go into a store and figure out the product first before buying it. Then you get home and it’s not conditioner its shampoo “ughh back to the store”. It’ll be nice to go into Target when I get home and buy what I need and get out!

8. English and “dollars”. Sometimes it’s frustrating when you can’t get your point across because of the language barrier. Also, constantly converting euros in to dollars can be a pain sometimes!

7. My Bed/Shower. Despite my bed being one of the more comfortable ones here in Perugia, It’ll be nice to be home in my own. The shower (which also isn’t bad here) is in the grand scheme of things quite small so a normal sized one will be nice!

6. My clothing. Can you say “repeating outfits?” Always.

5. Dryers. Hang drying EVERYTHING is hard. Our apartment is so small you have to get creative as to where you can dry stuff, and it’s never soft so I guess I should throw in softener too as a thing I miss from home!

4. News and other pop culture things. I am pretty out of the loop here with everything. The news, new popular music, TV shows and movies, celebrities and even in many ways my own life back home! Don’t get me wrong I am not one of those people who reads gossip magazines but I couldn’t even tell you what is going on in the election really, or HIMYM, or at Arcadia etc. etc. etc. and that’s just sad.

3. Food. Specifically Breakfast and other non-Italian dishes. Waffles, Pancakes, Bagels, Eggs, Bacon (although Panchetta is a sweeeeet substitute), home fries, hash browns, coffee, Chinese, Mexican (Guacamole or chips and salsa), apple pie, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate cake, chicken pot pie and chicken pie, or meat pie, funny cake, sho-fly pie, meat in general, sandwiches, moms mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese (although I have successfully made that here), cheese burgers, hot dogs…and pretty much mom and dad’s cooking!

2. Friends. You know who you are ;-) You are DA BEST!

1. Family. All of who have been extremely supportive of this adventure…Thank you. And lots of things remind me of ya’ll, wish you could be here to see some of Italy!

Mom- Who doesn’t miss their mother? I miss venting to her because for some reason she always listens (or at least pretends to). I am pretty sure I have adopted your laugh, the one when you just can’t stop hysterically laughing. Pedicures when I am home! Can’t wait for you to visit.

Dad- I miss your cooking for one! I miss fishing (which I had forgot about). When Billy Joel comes on my iPod I think of you! “Home can be the Pennsylvania Turnpike.” Germany next summer!?!?!?!? haha

Gideon- I even miss my big brother. Despite you picking on me and saying boom boom Italy (or was it bang bang Italy), either way you are my amazing older brother and I want a hug from you when I am home (because you give the best)! Also, we don’t look alike regardless of what my friends here say.

Ashley- I wish you were here to take all of this craziness in with me! And capture it all on film. It would probably be real inspiring for your artsy-ness! Can’t wait to catch up once I am home

Gracie- Wish I could have been there for her first birthday, but gonna make it up once I am home! Love you.

Ironically a lot of my “things I will miss” and “things I do miss” go hand in hand, but not matter what, it is going to be sooo bittersweet going home.



Sunday, April 22, 2012

The one about Papa Ciao Ciao’s

Located in Perugia, approximately 30 feet from my apartment and right next to my school, is possibly the greatest place in the world—Papa Ciao Ciao’s.  It is a tiny little shop that sells groceries such as fresh fruits and veggies, meats and cheese, pasta and sauce, bread and wine and some other things such as toilet paper, soap, cereal etc.  But the store also sells some delicious “homemade” food. After class around lunch, it isn’t uncommon to see a huddle of students outside the store enjoying a Ciao Ciao panino. Preferisco un pannino con pollo, pomodoro, mozzarella, lettuca e salsa picante (My favorite Panini is with chicken, tomato, mozzarella, lettuce and a spicy salsa thing).  But they have many different choices; you can get prosciutto, other meats and cheeses, eggplant, pesto and many other options. They also sell hot food! I haven’t tried too much hot food from the store, but one day in my food class, Simon (my professor) had two forms of eggplant to try. Both the battered kind and the breaded kind were amazing and we tried a marinated kind that wasn’t from Ciao Ciao’s but was still delicious nonetheless. We also had polenta from ciao ciao’s in our food class! I have also had a zucchini and cheese concoction from the store, green beans, bread, broccoli and a few other things…awesome! And I have had this great donut type thing; it reminded me a bit of a fashnacht with honey on it.

Anyway, the store is awesome but not just because of the amazing food and proximity to my humble abode. It is awesome because of Papa Ciao Ciao himself and his son Danieli! You see, the store isn’t actually called Papa Ciao Ciao’s and too be honest I don’t know what it is actually called. Some crazy Italian name I am sure, but it got its name because when you walk in the store you are immediately greeted with “Ciao Ciao” (insert Italian accent here) and of course a big smile!!!! And when you leave you get the same thing “Ciao Ciaooo”!! Papa Ciao Ciao is a cute older man with white hair and he is super sweet. Sometimes he will give us a free chocolate or something (and I am convinced he under charges me sometimes). No one knows his name so he is simply referred to as “Papa Ciao Ciao.” Danieli (spelling?) is also super sweet, attractive and always greets you with a smile. They know we speak hardly any Italian, and they speak very little English but they will help you and I have yet to have any problems figuring it out eventually. The best part is because we live so close we have become “regulars”. They know our faces super well and will wave to us when we walk past the store. We have started to be greeted with “hugs” because we are known so well! And whenever we need to pick something up, it is just a quick trip down to Papa Ciao Ciao’s! I will miss this store A LOT when I go back to the states!


p.s. hopefully I can fit 1 maybe 2 more blogs in before the dreaded leave date!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The one about Bacio

Perhaps the greatest chocolate in the world…to be honest, it’s not THAT special…but I love it. I often get a free one from papa ciao ciao or danielli (more on them later), and that is beside the point. Bacio chocolate started in Perugia, and has become a worldwide hit! It has a similar concept to that of a Hershey kiss, since Bacio translates to “kiss” and they use that as one of the selling techniques. The bite sized candies consist of a chocolate hazelnut mixture and a big nut on top. They also all come with a little quote inside. Each quote is on love or friendship, and it is in Italian but translated to English, French, Spanish and some others....? A few days ago, in my Italian class, I had the privilege of going to the Perugina chocolate factory.  There we were able to learn about the chocolate making, (but the tour was in Italian, despite the fact that we could have gotten it in English). I was able to understand a lot of it and it was interesting! Also, Perugia has a chocolate festival every October where there are crazy amounts of chocolate and in 2003 they made the world’s largest Bacio. I can honestly say I am going to miss this chocolate when I get back to the states, maybe I will bring some home and hopefully I can find it once I get home.

Bacio. wrapped and ready to be eaten

The inside of Bacio!

Bacio through the ages...1922



...and most recent...2003

The factory!

a hugeee Bacio!

Bacio flavored gelato anyone?


Monday, March 26, 2012

The one about miscellaneous things…

Well here is another blog. I struggle with writting blogs...never know what to say or what to write about. Mostly, I suck at explaining things...I need to speak and use my hands to convey the coolness I have been seeing. But here is a post on some little things I have done/been doing throughout the semester. I have a couple more blog ideas up my sleeve so hopefully in a few days another one will be coming. This one is on some very MINOR things and a few bigger ones...but hey its whats been happening while I am abroad!

The Opera… 
A few weekends ago, on a Thursday night, we decided to go to the opera. It was the very first opera I have ever been too and I really enjoyed it. I’ll be honest, I had no clue what they were saying but the story line was a comedy and of course there was a romance plot. Between my friends and I we were able to figure out basically what was going on. But the best part was the singing. Everyone had such WONDERFUL voices. The whole show was epic between the costumes, the singing, the dancing and the Italian! Long story short, I think I am becoming a fan of opera!

The theater

me and marissa

me and brit...being classy at the opera

the actors/actresses!

Smurf cups… 
So when we first got here, we had a cabinet full of cups. Ironically most of them are old Nutella containers (glass) that were turned into cups. My favorite was the Smurfs one (to be honest I think it was because it made me think of the big bro…yeah yeah that’s right I miss him…) Anyway, so I generally used this cup. One night, Amanda was drinking out of it and I joked with her that she had to be careful with it because it was my favorite. Of course she was like “oh yeah, no big deal”…and approximately 5 minutes later…crash…smurfs cup down. It was a sad night, but no worries I plan on going out and buying a jar of nutella so I can have another smurfs cup! Haha luckily I managed to snap a few pics of it before it broke. On a side note, this morning when Bethany was putting the dishes away, I watched a glass fall out of the cabinet, bounce not once but twice and then shatter to pieces. It was actually really impressive and sadly as I write this I realize that I am rambling on about a story that none of you will fully understand (wish I could have capture that moment of time on camera).

I love breakfast. Waffles, pancakes, syrup, bacon, eggs, toast, home fries/hash browns, muffins, cereal and coffee are all AMAZING. But here I don’t get that. Nope. Italian’s generally don’t eat breakfast, and when they do it’s just a cornetto (croissant) and a shot of espresso. So needless to say my roommates and I have been craving breakfast. Solution: make it! We had “brinner” the other night aka breakfast for dinner and it was amazing. Amanda made pancakes, eggs, pancetta, applesauce and whipped cream. We then recreated the meal Friday for breakfast. I made whipped cream and the eggs, and helped out with some preparation. Amanda worked on the applesauce, and pancetta and pancake mix. Bethany made the pancakes. We turned a sad day consisting of no breakfast into a great one! 


applesauce cooking



I am working with the local Montessori high school. It is awesome. Essentially my fellow classmates and I (Sarah, Ciera, Jordan and Amy) come up with a ‘lesson plan’ and we speak in English so the students improve. It’s for an English class. I love working with the students because they are a lot of fun but we also get to compare our cultures and such. This is probably one of my favorite classes (going to the school, not the class that I have to go to for the program…if that made any sense). Anyway, I can’t wait to be able to tell people about this experience in person!

My daily life…
It is getting a lot nicer here. The weather is warm and sunny and beautiful. We can sit out on the steps by the fountain, and sun bath or just walk around without jackets on and soak up the warm fresh air. It is becoming harder to do school work but unfortunately I still have to! Gelato has become a staple food now that the weather is nice! Classes are going well! I love it here and still have a few more trips to go! I am reading the Hunger Games (ADELE…) I love it. My Italian is getting better! Food is still great! People are fun. Making lots of memories. Life is good.

Long story short, and the point of this post…Italy is amazing and I never wanna leave!

Thanks for reading!!