Sunday, January 30, 2011

011 - Andiamo in treno

Highlights of the last few days for your reading pleasure.

Thursday: Typical start to the weekend day. It's become our cider night down at Abbey Pub near Piazza Navona. I just had to get french fries, I needed something American.

Friday: Pretty low key, ended up walking around near the vactican and got lost. Had some gelato and took some pictures.

Saturday: Woke up at 4am to take a cab to the train station for the first train out to Firenze. Took about 4 hrs to get there on said train. Europe definitely has a better handle on the whole travel by rail think than the US. Upon arrival we walked into the city. First stop was the Duomo, freakin amazing. The color scheme is incredible. After that we saw the fake David statue in the piazza, obviously the women enjoyed this more than us guys did. Next, it was on to the Uffizi Gallery. Now I don't normally like art museums but this place was pretty cool.

Now as you all know Firenze is famous for leather, so what did we do after lunch? Shop. We found a really fun shoe store, the guy was real nice. However, the pair of leather sneaker shoes that was cool colors was not in my size. I did find a pretty nice leather wallet though, that was really the only thing I wanted from Florence. After a bit more of walking around we got dinner from a panini shop. Since it had been such a long day we decided to catch the earlier rather than last train back to Rome, not before picking up some wine and cannoli for the ride.

And after a good sleep last night, I now must hit the books, even though I have no motivation to do so. Ugh. Also I have a bit of a head cold. No one wants to do homework when they are not feeling well. I suppose I'll live.

Looking ahead at this week. Pope on Wednesday, Paris on Friday.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

010 - Is time for sales.

Not a whole lot has happened since my last blog post. Just had classes and whatnot. But tonight was a pretty good night so I will share with you the events.

We had the Mass of the Holy Spirit down at St. Ignatius church, which is super cool. Well first off its a decent size cathedral, and thus the ceiling is painted really cool. I did not bring my camera, silly me. But I'm sure I'll make it back there sometime soon.

So after mass we had dinner at a restaurant right across from the church. For about 20 minutes they kept bringing us antipasti. And I was confused as to if it was dinner or not, or what the heck was going on. So I ate and ate. Little did I know there was a main pasta dish yet to come. I could only eat a little of it as I was so full. Then they brought us limon gelato. Yes, mother, there was wine too. Something red from 2004, a blend of stuff. I didn't really like it, too fruity.

Afterwards, we walked around and headed towards a taxi stand. I should also mention that today there was a bus strike, they do this a lot here I've heard. But only from 8am-5pm. So people could still get to and from work, but just enough to piss everyone off. There is another strike on the 31st, plan accordingly. Before the taxi, we stopped at a cafe and sampled the house limoncello (like what I bought in Sorrento). The taxi ride back was probably the highlight of the night. The driver was really chill and had american radio on. Midway through the ride Ghostbusters came on, we all sang along, you really had to be there.

So now I'm just about to head off to bed. Don't have class til 2pm tomorrow, like every tues/thurs. So I'm probably going to explore Monte Mario and/or work out. We'll see what happens. Shout out to any phonathoners reading this, I miss ya'll, think of me when you call the Rome list (tell them I am here, they'll give, I promise).

Ciao regazzi!

(As for the title, you REALLY have to be was a bad translation on an italian sign in Sorrento)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

009 - A weekend of rain

Long time no update huh? Well we had our final orientation trip. This time it was a weekend trip to Salerno. So I shall fill you in on the weekend’s activities.

Friday we had to wake up realllly early to leave for the city of Herculaneum, which is at the base of Mt Vesuvius, even closer than Pompeii, and it was destroyed worse than Pompeii but not as many people lived there so that’s why not many people know about it. It was really well preserved, there was even wood in some shops that was perfect. We then went to a restaurant near Napoli that had the BEST pizza I have ever tasted thus far in life. It was on to Salerno, where our hotel was. It’s a small-ish city on the Amalfi coast. Upon arriving in the afternoon we checked in and most of us napped until dinner. After “cena” a few of us went to a near by wine bar and sat and chatted, it was a blast to explore the downtown area of Salerno.

Saturday was another early day, it was off to Paestum. It’s an ancient Greek city that was then inhabited by the Romans but then simply lost to time. Until it’s uncovering in the 18th century or so. There were 3 huge temples in almost perfect condition. One for Zeus, one for Hera, and a third random one. Really cool stuff. OH WAIT. I should mention it POURED rain the entire weekend. And stupid me forgot to bring an umbrella to Italy. So I bought a cheap one from a vendor. It was cold to, still had a good time. Saturday evening we had more free time for Salerno.

Annnd Sunday, we visted Sorrento, also on the coast. The drive there was very cool, cliffside roads, woah! We got to do a bit of shopping and such. Sorrento is famous for its limoncello, so I got a small bottle, still haven’t tried it. And on the drive back to Roma one of the busses blew a tire. So we were stopped on the autostrade for a while. But we made it back and now I am blogging. Sorry if this seems hasty, I am tired and just finished watching the PACKERS beat the bears for to go to the SUPER BOWL. I hate that I am not in the states for this, but oh well. I’ll by the t-shirt/dvd highlights of the season.

Pictures will be up soon on FB. Gotta head to bed, class tomorrow. Hope everyone is well!


"A Packer fan, a Viking fan and a Bear fan are climbing a mountain and arguing about who loves his team more. The Viking fan insists he is the most loyal. "This is for the Vikings" he yells, and jumps off the side of the mountain. Not to be outdone, the Packer fan is next to profess his love for his team. He yells "This is for the Packers!" and pushes the Bear fan off the mountain!!!!"

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

008 - Classes begin

Classes have started. I've only had 3 of 5 so far (Art of the Roman World, Ital 102 & Roman Catholicism). The other two I have tomorrow (wednesday). Evolution of European Security and Intro to Acting. Having One-day a week classes is rough. You get a lot of reading and such. Just gotta get used to it.

Italian 102 is turning out to be harder than I thought, so I shall be studying a lot for that. I mean going out and speaking it will help too. I don't know that I'll be fluent by the end of the semester, but I hope to be close, at least in basic conversations.

Today I woke up ridiculously early, 8am! in order to sign up for the Greece spring break trip. But I'm going officially! The leader of the trip is this really hilarious professor Dr. Alexander Evers, such a cool guy, can't wait.

Not a whole else to report on, except that I went to get notebooks today (forgot to get folders too, ugh) and that was an adventure. The lady at the store thought we were just dumb americans and spoke english to us. Even though I was speaking pretty good italian, I know how to say quaderno (notebook). Oh well, at least I am trying to speak the language.

Now it's off to cena for me. I'm hungry. Poi, studio l'italiano e catholicism. (I know thats not future tense, but I don't know that yet.)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

007 - James Bond (I had to...mi scusi)

Woke up this morning to find out the Packers crushed the Falcons. What a great way to start the day. And just now found out the dumb ol' Bears won. So it'll be a great match up for the NFC Championship game. But that's not about Italy.

This stuff is: On saturday we went to the Forum and Colosseum. Real cool stuff, really old too. Duh. Took a lot of pictures as you may have seen on facebook. Afterwards we went shopping on the via del corso. (italians have this thing of not capitalizing things like we do here in the states.) It really fun and I got a bus/metro map, because believe me, you need one. Public transit is more of a headache than the CTA. We also had really good spaghetti at this quaint place, I forget the name, but its near the Trevi I know that much. I also had gelato twice.

Sunday: Day trip to Orvieto in Umbria. It was a chill little city on a hill, it had great views and great wine. I got a bottle of white, very sweet and not dry. I'm slowly becoming more aware of the taste that each kind of wine has. And I figure by the end I'll be an expert.

Classes start tomorrow (no MLK day over here). And I know once I've got homework and such I won't be able to blog as much, or as in depth but I'll do my best as I know there's a good number of you reading this. Also once I fall into a routine, the homesickness will get better (I hope) and the time will fly and I won't want to leave. I still can't believe I am here. I'm on the other freakin side of the world-ish.

One more thing, the spring break trip to Tunisia has been cancelled due to all out chaos there now. So it's off to Greece now! I'm very certain I will be doing this trip. It's a bit pricey, but such a great opportunity and what else will I do over those 10 days?

Ciao, buona sera.

Friday, January 14, 2011

006 - Va bene.

I am on fire with this blogging thing. A post each day?!?!?! Che cosa?!?!?! This pace will probably be slowing once classes begin.

Hookay, so... Yesterday, there was some general Italian stuff, lunch, and a shower (which by the way, this used to be a convent so i take minute showers, in. wash. out. no lallygagging). Around evening time, most of the students here went out for a group dinner at a local place. I and a few others however, did not register in time, it's a long story. So, we went on a little dinner of our own (cheaper). I had a delicious pizza with prochuto(?) on it, which is a weird topping (very salty) but awesome. Afterwards, we decided to take a little adventure downtown.

Stopping first in St. Peter's Square in the Vactican, they still have the nativity scene up in the midde (very cool). Other stops included Piazza Novana, Fontana di Trevi, St. Ignatius church and the Forum/Colosseo. Basically we walked A LOT. It's taking a toll on my back and feet, but I'm confident what doesn't kill me only makes me stronger.

Now, I think I am going to be a true Italian here and take a siesta (nap) before dinner. Probably going to have a low key night as we have some heavy duty touring tomorrow.

P.S.  I am disappointed of your (readers of the blog) attempts to skype with me. It's almost like you don't care. Nahh that's not it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

005 - The 34 hour day is over.

I've got a bit of down time here after lunch and before our first "Survival Italian" class. So thought I'd update again, after a decent night's sleep.

Quick recap of yesterday, what was it? Wednesday? Sure. Tuesday/Wednesday just kind of blended together for me as I really did not sleep. I tried to sleep on the plane, but it was wildly uncomfortable. We landed in Rome, duh. Took about an hour and a half for customs and then getting my luggage. Got to campus around 11ish, registered and all that jazz. Afterward, we went on a little walking tour of the neighborhood we are in. I tried to remember where we walked to, but again I was so tired I'm still confused. Later, after dinner in "Mensa" the dining hall here, we went downtown (apparently). Took a bus and stuff, and saw the wall to the Vatican and St. Peter's. Ended up at this Irish Pub, it was literally like I was in Ireland, so of course I had to get a Guinness. It took about and hour and a half to get back to campus, damn night bus. I then went right to bed, I was incredibly exhausted, and thankfully we did not have to be up until 11am.

Today, we have some paperwork for some weird Italian card or whatever. And we are planning on having dinner at a neighborhood place then going back downtown for the Trevi Fountain and such.

That's really all I've got to say now. Still very much missing the States and so many people. And that may never get better, but I would have regretted not coming more than missing home. So it's something I'll have to deal with. Once classes start, I feel like I'll be too busy to have all this time to sit and blog and let my mind wander.

Alora, ciao for now.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

004 - Let Jagged.

After a small snow delay in Chicago, and a 9 (felt like 100) hour flight. I am finally here. Maybe it's just the fact I am so sleep deprived, or the fact that everything is so new AND I am sleep deprived, but I do feel a little bit of homesickness already. Hopefully after a good night's sleep I will be alright.

I met a bunch of people in the airport and on the plane. But it has been such a whirlwind of a day that I can't even begin to process what has all happened. I want to go more detail and all that jazz but I need to concentrate on staying awake. It's going to take some getting used to, not being able to text and talk to people back in the states on a moments notice. I can't accurately gage how I feel about a full semester abroad until I am on a normal sleep schedule.

More soon.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

003 - All Packed

This Shih Tzu is getting real.

I decided today I would complete my packing, so I can more or less relax the last few days. My checked bag "checks" in at just under 50lbs. Whew. I really have my mother to thank for that; she was a major part of the packing process. I sat there and complained, someone has to supervise. I don't think I'm bringing enough t-shirts; if you know me at all, those are a big part of my wardrobe. Whatevs. I'll just buy some there, take THAT mom.

So yeah, I leave tuesday. For those of you who don't have a calendar handy it's 3 days away. I am excited beyond belief. I have no idea what this experience will do to me, I've been told it changes you and you'll see the world differently. I'm hoping that's a good thing.

Well, I don't want to bore you so I'll end it there. Not much more I can write until I am actually there.

Go Pack Go!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

002 - I'll miss American TV

As I sit on the couch waiting for Modern Family to start, I am just now realizing I won't be able to just sit and watch TV while I am there. I will have to rely on Hulu to watch the shows the next day. But then again, I'll be in a whole other part of the world, TV really won't be that important. I need to get out and explore, which I fully intend on doing.

I plan on taking a good deal of pictures, but not too many, as I was told to not worry about taking a bunch of pictures but rather concentrate on taking it all in. I'll put some pictures on here I suppose. But look to my Facebook for more. ALSO, if you'd like a postcard. Send me your address and I'll consider it because again, I'll be taking in all the sights and sounds. So really, just enjoy this blog and bombard me with questions when I return.

Lastly, you have probably already seen that I don't really know how to use commas correctly. So this blog might not be "grammatically correct", but screw that, I'll be in Europe.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

First post (duh)

I heard of so many who have gone abroad and have used a blog to keep a journal of their time. Hence, that is what I am doing here.

As it stands I am now just less than a week away from arriving in the Eternal City of Rome. This study abroad in Rome was one of the deciding factors in choosing Loyola for college. The fact that we have our own campus over there is very convenient. Moreover, I'm Italian and Rome seemed like the best place to go. But as the semester overseas draws near, I am realizing now just how much I am going to miss my friends and family and my college life in Chicago. But I know the European experience is once in a lifetime and will be great. So that's another reason why I want to blog about my time, so I can alleviate some of my homesickness and tell you all about my time.

So please, if you are interested, check back on this blog often. I will try to update as much as possible, but with traveling you never know. I think at least once a week is doable, but I'll try to do more.

Ciao for now.