Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Lesson in Studying Abroad: Part I

Don't yell at me for venting. If you don't want to read it, then don't.

So this is a lot for myself, and I promise that I'll get back to updating you on my life with lots of pretty pictures and witty comments soon. But because I'm an emotional slob, I need to share this to. Or rather, I want to share this. It's been about a month in to my study abroad experience, so I think it's about time I introduce you to Part I of my feeeeelings. I'll do it every month, maybe if I feel like it.

Studying abroad so far has been awesome, as I'm sure you know by my blog. I'm having a great time, but I am wrestling so badly with homesickness. Now, I'm a pretty good wrestler, but I seem to be losing this one hardcore. So I'mma make this list. It's not organized at all. This is stream of consciousness, baby. James Joyce. (AP English, holla.) Maybe it'll make me feel better. Maybe not. But at least you'll know where I'm at and that Rome is NOT all pasta and gelato.

Even though a lot of it is.

You Will Eat and Cook A Lot: Now, this has been really exciting for me, because I love love love cooking. And I definitely have learned to shop the markets and shop with the seasons (I mean. It's only been hot but whatever.) more than I have at home. Which is really cool, because that's one thing I wanted to improve about my life. I don't really eat out a lot because I don't want to go broke. But I love cooking, and it's made my days so far coming back and cooking dinner. Because I'm a nerd. And a sap for that. BUT I MISS FALL BAKING. I keep seeing pumpkin flavored things on the internet and I literally ache for it. But. I'll be back for Christmas! Otherwise I would lose it.

This pizza we made doesn't make me feel so bad.

Italian is Beautiful: I love the language, I really do. I have wanted to learn Italian for forever and a day. And I'm learning it! But I HATE when I can't say what I mean. I HATE IT HATE IT HATE IT. It gets me so frustrated and I just wish I wasn't the equivalent of a five year old. I'm getting there. I have to be patient. But I'm not. Maybe that's my fault. Okay. That is my fault.

There is No Kinesiology or Theater Here for Me: Big shocker, right? English, Anthropology, Art History, and Italian. That's totally not what I am. Not what I DO. And I have all these huge plans and dreams with what I want to do with my life (saaaappy) and now I just feel stuck here. I want to do what I want. Not this anymore. They aren't awful. But like. BAH. I did this on purpose and I thought I could handle it. I can't as well as I thought, apparently. 

Money Stresses Me Out: This conversion thing makes me feel like I am flushing my money down the toilet. I'm going to have loans out my butt when I get back and graduate.

I'm Stuck in Pseudo-Vacation-School-Land: I'm in Rome. Like. Is this real? At all? I'm going to different countries and I'm headed to Florence tomorrow. I'm one of the luckiest people in the whole wide world. But school just freaks me out. I do my reading for the most part, but it's weird. Not bad. Just weird. And toying with my emotions. Tease.

JDSDubs teaching away. Me being sidetracked.

Communication is HARD: Not only from Italy to the United States, oh no. While that's nearly impossible, over here is tough too. Yes I have a cell phone, but it costs me money and I just miss my unlimited text Verizon plan and my purple phone. I'm shallow and materialistic. Sure. But I'm a social being. Sorry. I keep getting left out of the loop and it just drives me nuts. Because I'm needy and self-centered. SO SUE ME.

I Miss Philadelphia Sports: I miss them all. Temple, the Eagles, the PHILS. Jesus. This is a lot harder than I thought. If I were missing Super Bowl Sunday, I'd be strangling somebody. The playoffs/World Series are enough.

Unbelievable pride in my sports teams.

I Just Want to Run: I don't want to worry about getting lost. Or getting my stuff stolen. I just want to run. I just want to go to the gym. I want a yoga mat at the very least so my apartment floor doesn't bruise up my back. 

Making Friends is Hard: To all of my friends back home, YOU. SUCK. You are all so amazing I have set my standards WAY beyond what they should be. If they don't laugh at the same things or accept my antics straight off the bat, I just don't care. How awful is that?? I am an awful human being. And that's just the way I am. But I love my friends. And I have great ones here, don't get me wrong. BUT WHY CAN'T WE BE ALL TOGETHER!? I have separation anxiety.

My life does, indeed, suck without you.

Travel Buddies Save Your Life: It's really nice when you have somebody that's along on your trip that wants the same thing out of a study abroad experience as you do. And it can be anybody, I'm not just saying the boyfriend title is a special help. Even though it is. That's not what I'm focusing on. There seems to be a million people milling about and going in different directions and it's just nice when you want to do something else and somebody else wants to do that something else. It's nice. Fine. Hate me.

Dancing Isn't the Same: Whine. I'm rooted in Philly. Complain. I miss it. Angst. End of that story.


Rest Days Can Save Your Life: Anybody that's met me for more than twenty minutes probably knows that I get cranky when I am (a) tired, (b) hungry or (c) sick. Today I was all three of those things at once. RIGHT? I bet you would have run in the opposite direction. Please, ladies and gentlemen, take your rest days. As with running, they will cause you less pain and suffering.  

Christmas is a TEASE: I want it. I want it now. I guess this isn't only studying abroad. But the weather here hasn't changed at all. And I don't even have Halloween or Thanksgiving to hold me over this year. OOF. This is a LONG HAUL, people. I kind of can't wait for all things winter. And ice skating. And snow. And warmth. And hot chocolate. And music. And Christmas with my sister. And the princesses. And my friends. And my family. And my family. And my family. (I think that's all the families?) 

There's Christmas music playing.
Prancer misses her reindeer.

Princesses always keep it classy at Christmas.

So. I think I might have whined enough, yes? I'm sure you all want to slap me in the face, and maybe it's justified. It probably is justified.


So, Philly, I miss ya. And everybody there. Even that one padiddle I called that one time which was not the classiest thing I've ever done in my life.

Maybe I feel better. We'll see.

My face looks like this a lot. This was our goodbye party.

I'm such a whiner. Shut up.

Tomorrow I leave for Florence. Then when I get back, we should return to normal blogging as usual. 

Oh. Trivia question. How do you know when you've watched too much How I Met Your Mother?

This is probably disrespectful.

How about when your Art History professor describes the ancient She-Wolf statue of Rome as the Roman "Liberty Bell," and so you decide to take a picture pretending to lick it. Just like Ted and Barney.

Come on guys. I have a life.

And no pictures? Did you actually believe me?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Well, Well, Well

My immune system strikes again. Regardless of the fact that I've been a VERY GOOD GIRL and have taken rest days as I see fit, I find myself curled up on the couch in our living room. My apple is half eaten and turning brown because my stomach doesn't want to eat anymore and I'm coughing too much for me to believe I am not annoying Leann.

I should have brought my gummy vitamins.

So instead of galavanting around today, I'm simply going to sit here. Which might be fine for an hour. But we'll see.

In the meantime, I would like to present you will my Fall Break. Fall Break (important enough for capitalization) starts on October fourteenth and I have to be back at school by the twenty-fourth. I think that is PLENTY of time to do some exploring.

We even have rest days at the end built in, so hush.

From tumblr

Side note. If you want to see more amazing pictures, PLEASE go to that tumblr. It's making my travel bug bite itch. Side note over.

That is MADRID, SPAIN, people. I'm so excited, it's insane. I happen to have a very special friend who studied in Spain over the summer, and I am SUPER glad to be visiting where she was. Cough. Kaitlyn. Hi, I love you. :) Also, we're visiting Michelle while we're there, so that's pretty exciting too!!

So we're doing that for some amount of days. And then we found a veryveryvery cheap flight somewhere else.

Stole this from my sister and I'm not ashamed.


Yeah. That's the Eiffel Tower. In Paris. Yeah, I'm really excited. Doesn't even begin to cover it. First and foremost, I get to see somebody that I looooove with all of my life.


I AM SO EXCITED TO SEE HER AND STAY WITH HER, AHHHHHHHHHH!! We gave ourselves more time in Paris than Madrid and I'm just super excited. Probably doesn't make sense because I can actually function in the language in Madrid. And in Paris I can ask them to go to bed with me, tell them to shut up, or shout ballet terms at them.

I don't think they appreciate any of those things.

So besides struggling with French and going around Paris and exploring, we have some other things planned.

So much chocolate, I'm going to go crazy.

Chocolate festival with chocolate from around the world that only put me out about thirteen euro? Worth it.

This is somebody else I've been missing. He's French, too.

I am legitimately ready to cry with excitement. I'm sure my sister is ready to cry with anger. I'm sure Paul is ready to cry because he doesn't know what he signed up for. And it's sort of expensive, but not really in the grand scheme of my LIFE ACCOMPLISHMENTS. But we saved a lot on flights and hostels, and really I don't know when I'll be back in Paris. And. And. And.



Now I've just got to get to Florida. Those priorities, I tell ya. Not ashamed. 

This will be a nice hold-over until I can get home for Christmas.

Sorry, Dad. It's happening.

Happy three months until Christmas! Felice tre mesi fino a Natale!

Which is probably wrong because I typed it into Google Translate. But whatever. I tried. I can handle goodbyes!

Ciao, adios, and au revoir. :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lots of Catch-Up

Life is still awesome. I know back home, I've talked to some of you that have those "college" moments. Where you walk down the street and you're just like, "Oh. Wow. I'm in college." Well, I'm having them, but in Rome. And it's really cool and actually making me super happy instead of sad. So that's really nice. Since I last left you, I've been eating delicious things, doing some fun things, and going to school.

School's good, I'm participating, doing my homework, you know. The school stuff.

Last Friday night (good lord, I'm sorry) was date night! A bunch of my friends went to Venice last weekend, but I decided to stick around Rome. This was partly because I'm in Rome and figure I should get to know Rome, and partly because I'm trying to save up my money. But I might be going on a trip next weekend.

Side note: I still haven't gotten my fall break plane tickets. It's frustrating and dumb. It's coming though, I swear.


We went to a place called Trastevere to eat and walk around and do all that fun stuff. I will not harass and bore you guys with date nights, but I tell you. This one needs to be brought to your attention, because it was SO FREAKING DELICIOUS.

This is where we ate.

Bruschetta con ricotta e pesto.

Pizza con pomodori, mozzarella, e salame picante.

Calzone con ricotta e NUTELLA.


This dessert was absolutely amazing. We got a small one and split it, otherwise I'm pretty sure I would have exploded afterwards. Nutella would be everywhere, and nobody would like it. We cleaned our plates hardcore. And I'm not one bit ashamed.

After that we wandered around a bit. We wound up at the Trevi Fountain where I subsequently missed on my first two wish tries AND got hit with somebody else's wish. But I still think it'll come true. Nothing to worry about. There were people EVERYWHERE and we were there at 10:30 or so. It was fun to see everybody making their wishes. It was also fun to discuss Disney World, because that's my favorite topic. Well. One of them.

It was so pretty. :)

Second dessert? I can deal. We walked an awful lot.

We finished it no problem, don't worry.

Just now as I'm uploading pictures, I realize this is going to have a lot of pictures. So sorry if you don't like my face. Or Paul's. Or Rome. Get out. :)

The next day was fun! We went to the Stadio Olympico and got our minds blown by how amazing it was. We also went to Scholar's Lounge to watch a certain game that I will not mention. Lots of shouting and being obnoxious. For nothing. But I digress.

Here. Look at the happy part of that day.

This is the ground. The detail ON THE GROUND. It's nuts.

The globe? Maybe? At one time?

Pictures are never going to do it justice. So ready for 2012.

Getting crazy with the statues. At least he's clothed.

I'm close enough to an Olympian.

I spent the day pretending I was in the business school.

I LOVE THE OLYMPICS. SOMEBODY GET ME TO THE OLYMPICS. It will be on in my apartment all day, every day this summer. You wait. If you think I'm joking, you've got another think coming.

Is it think or thing? Because I always thought it was thing. But then I saw it with think used and it got my mind wondering.


Sunday: homework, gelato, eating, chilling, HIMYM
Monday: school, blah, more school, HIMYM (always)
Tuesday: freaking art history, school


Last night at nine, we had a round table where we all crammed into a classroom and Gianni brought us a bunch of Italians. We asked each other questions of all sorts. Found out where to go, what they thought of Americans, brought up the bidet issue, all kinds of stuff. Then afterwards we got more food (I swear, I'm not ginormous. Yet.) and got to talk to the Italians on a more one-on-one level. It was nice! And we learned some words in Italian, so that was cool. 

Our new friend. I'm such a creep, asking to take pictures.

They also decided this would be a good time to debut our flash mob video. It was hilarious, and I was literally in tears the whole time because I was laughing so hard. But it was great and I loved it. LOVED IT.

Just in case you haven't seen it. What up?

Tell me it's not stuck in your head after that.

I'm super proud of everybody that did it, and I had a great time making it. I love dancing.

But you probably already knew that.

Now today I'm lazing around a bit before class. I figure I'll shower and run to the market. Those seem like big girl things to do.

BUT BEFORE I GO. I have a very important message, to a very important relative of mine.

Disney. <3


Best picture of our liiiiiives.

Even though it's a really uneventful birthday party-wise, AT LEAST YOU'RE A BIG GIRL NOW. Although, I'm twenty and it hasn't set in yet. So good luck with that.

It's sparkling apple juice, calm down.

And hey, last night I told Adam I'd make sure you were twenty-one before I was married so you could have a nice time at the wedding/pre-wedding festivities.

You're in my thoughts, chick-a-dee.

Freaking A. More Disney.

And even though our attractive pictures are not on the plentiful side, I love you and miss you SO VERY MUCH. HAVE AN AMAZING BIRTHDAY AND DON'T SMOKE BUT BUY A LOTTERY TICKET OR SOMETHING. What else can you get? 

Oh. Don't buy that. That's gross.

I'm sorry I'm ruining your life by using Disney stuff.

It's lurking around every corner. I know you're afraid. Don't forget last year. Say happy birthday to my sister if you see her, people.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Did It Explode?

Guess what? My Tuesday was better too! :) I'm super enjoying life, and that always makes me happy and stuff, you know? I decided to head into my rough class day with a good attitude, and it super payed off. I made some sandwiches and silently cursed anybody who tried to steal my bag today, because they would steal an amazing lunch. Nobody tried, so it worked or something.

This Tuesday, we went to some old Roman baths and one of the National Museums of Rome. And somebody actually had time to take notes and pictures at the same time. So I'm pretty proud, not going to lie.

Our meeting place for class. Nice morning, yeah?

This was SO PRETTY inside. But I won't overwhelm you.

This was my favorite statue. I'm a nerd. But it stuck with me and stuff.

Pretty fresco. I had to show you because my flash went off. Big no-no.

So I got through Tuesday. And it was good stuff! After we came back from class, my lovely roommate Leann had a special Philadelphia treat for us. She made us CHEESESTEAKS WITH FRENCH FRIES. I gotta tell you, it was amazing and delicious and all those other adjectives and it made me miss Philly for a tiny bit. But only slightly so. I also figured out my classes for the rest of my college career and hopefully I'll only graduate a year late. WOO!

Fast forward to Wednesday morning! Hooray! Another day of classes, but my 6-7:30 class was cancelled and I was super happy about that. Today was really nice for me because I had the morning to myself really. I travelled to and from school by myself. And you must understand, I really needed some Amanda time, so I enjoyed this thoroughly. And also, during my English class, I felt like such a nerd. There I was (getting sunburn through the window, but I digress), sitting in class, CONNECTING WITH DANTE'S INFERNO. So I suppose you could say I'm enjoying the class. I felt enlightened. Something special. Haha.

So with a cancelled class came another special treat. I got to see a dance opera in the Roman forum. No big deal, really. Gianni used to dance with their company, so we got to meet the choreographer. It was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. The lifts were spectacular and every time somebody left the ground I was in awe. It didn't matter that I couldn't understand one word of it. It was amazing. And I was in the forum. No big deal.


My favorite dancer in the show. Also no big deal.

Good end to a Wednesday night. Thursday was my one class day so Paul, Adam, and I decided to use our museum tickets to visit some of the other museums that are included in the admission. We also decided to go to another aperativo, so I was super pumped. We went to a place called Fluid. It was priced really well and SUPER worth it. The food was delicious, and our drinks were quite tasty as well. Somebody didn't have their camera, so I need to give one hundred percent credit for these pictures to Paul. I am not trying to steal them or sell them off as my own, and I am not posting them on Facebook. And done.

I can't understand Italian. No idea what I'm reading.

Some china patterns for us to pick out.

Standing in the center. Being a star, you know.

This is where my five pieces of Tiramisu went. No shame.

This is our drinks exploding.

You see, we got delicious daiquiris of various fruity flavors. Through the course of our getting up numerous times for the food, Adam's drink somehow fell over and spilled. Also, the glass broke. Even though it didn't make sense where it broke at all. So Adam and I tried to explain to the waitress what happened. We were managing quite well actually! She asked if it exploded and we both got very confused. Apparently because of the candles on the tables, sometimes the glasses shatter. So there you have it. Keep frozen drinks away from fancy tea lights. And that's that. 

Also, I'm really proud we struggled through an English/Italian conversation.

And that's what's been going on in my life. I've been taking advantage of today's lack of class. A few episodes of How I Met Your Mother later, I'll be going out to the Trastevere area with Paolo this evening. It should be exciting! In other news, I really miss running and doing my workout-y sorts of things, and now that we're more settled in, hopefully I can get my butt back into gear. Maybe that's why I get so ansty so easily. I miss those endorphins, you see. But I hope you all have wonderful weekends and keep your glasses from exploding. :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Better Than Jersey

So we're back. Last Monday I was full of angst and I was hungry all day and just generally upset. I am happy to report that this Monday has been much more of a success! But before Monday comes Sunday, and before that comes Saturday.

Saturday was an early morning, but I was willing to actually move in the morning because I knew I had the promise of the beach waiting for me. I was a little unsure about my level of energy, but I knew I was taking Sunday off so I decided to set the alarm anyway. We set off on a public transit adventure to get us to the Mediterranean.

On the way we made a pit stop at some ancient ruins. Ostia Antica is known as the harbor city of Ancient Rome. Now, you see. I love Rome, I really do. And I love learning about the ancient ruins and seeing how things progressed and why they progressed and whatnot. But it was hot. And I had my bathing suit on. And let me tell you, I just wanted to get to the freaking beach. 

BUT I DIGRESS. Shallowness aside, it was really cool to see everything that they've uncovered so far. We even saw a team doing an excavation type deal. It's cool stuff, it really is! And it's beautiful, I'll give you that one. So clearly I wasn't stopped from going picture happy.

See? It's crazy if you think about it.

My life in ruins. HA. HA. I've been waiting for that one.

Rome hasn't made me more mature. Sorry.


Clarice and Schmal sitting in the nosebleeds.

Paul on the steps of the capitolium. Big stuff.

So yeah! It was really cool and I promise I appreciated where I was and all that. 

I might have liked this a tiiiiiiny bit more.

Yeah, that's right. THAT'S THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA RIGHT THERE. HOW FREAKING COOL IS THAT?!?! Guys, I cannot even tell you how beautiful this beach was. The water was amazing, the sand was amazing, the SUN was PERFECT. I swear if we stayed longer, it would have set in the absolute perfect spot. I am in love with this beach, just as I am with every other one. OH MY GOD. Except for this one was in Italy. And. I mean. Some ladies didn't have their bathing suits on. But  I mean. It's Europe, and I just ignored it. I wish I could be mature, but as I stated before, I seem to have an issue with that.



My feet are gone :)

Reading Cosmo because that's what we do.


Our view. With no naked ladies in sight.

There's a really cool picture of me jumping with Nathaniel, but Leann seems to have better things on her mind. Like homework. For real?


Sam Krone, I hope you are reading this and seeing this.

So we left the beach after too short of an amount of time, but what can you do? Leann, Sarah, Paul, and I had a date with a whole bunch of food. There's this thing, I'm not sure if you've heard of it. It's called an Aperitif. So here's the deal. You pay nine euro or something like that. You get one drink of choice and then you can help yourself to as much food as you want from the buffet bar. I took HUGE advantage of this eating opportunity, as did the others. Sarah was a lovely date and taught me how to make sounds with the glass her beer came in. I felt like Sandra Bullock. :)

All of our choices. 

I got a SoCo with ginger ale. Hopefully making mah biff proud.

Sarah in a thing we found. Maybe a spaceship, I'm not sure.

So Saturday was a super busy day and I was absolutely exhausted. Went to sleep, did the whole crying thing, watched a lot of How I Met Your Mother, did homework, slept, woke up, and it was Monday!

As I said before, MUCH BETTER MONDAY. 

I switched into my English class, which was not so bad at all! Also, I ate a whole lot better today, so my belly wasn't as angry at me as it usually is. And I didn't cry once today, so thank goodness for small things. It was a really lovely day for being a Monday. The weather was beautiful and I was in a wonderful mood. I went to the supermarket and the market successfully today as well! That's probably why I was so happy to eat. Sarah and I also were super productive with our Italian learning.


Breakfast and Italian. :)

I am super happy. I'm getting a handle on this and everything is wonderful. It's nice to think that way. Hopefully I'll have the same result with Tuesday as I did with Monday and tomorrow is brilliant as well. We'll see! Also, my fall break plans are in the works. So keep an eye out. As soon as my debit card gets unfrozen I'll have plane tickets...:)