Archive for the ‘Study Abroad’ Category

Venice

Venice is gorgeous! I think it may be my favorite city in Italy. It’s almost like it’s out of a fairy tale book. The small alleys, the gondola boats, and the beautiful blown glass shops make the city something special. There is really no point in carrying a map around because it will not aid you. The trick is to follow a sign as far as you can and then ask for directions. Some of the signs were so discrete that you needed eyes like a hawk to spot them. Despite the city being a maze, it was overall very quaint and had some tasty cuisine. We found a (literally) hole in the wall pizza place that served slices as big as my head for 2 Euros.

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Posted by on January 5th, 2011 No Comments

Buon Natale

Christmas in Italy! I never thought I would be able to say I spent the holidays in another country. The traditions are a little different. My friend Ingrid’s mother cooked us a mix of authentic Italian and Romanian dishes. The food was amazing. When she offers you seconds and you say there is enough on your plate, she will give you double what you want.

Christmas day was one of the first days we got to sleep in, which was quite a treat. I sure needed the break from waking up at the crack of dawn. We had another outstanding lunch and watched movies during the day. For dinner, we made brownies (or should I say Samir and I watched as the girls made brownies) and that was just enough to put ourselves in a food coma.

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Posted by on January 5th, 2011 No Comments

Delicious

I have been to many places, but I must say that Italy has some of the best food I have ever tasted. The pizza, the pasta, the gnocchi, and more are delectable. They also have very good sweets. Spain had good ice-cream, but Italy has gelato and excellent chocolate.

The gang went to Milan where we got to see the Duomo. The church’s architecture was gorgeous. We also had the rare opportunity to attend a concert at the famous Skala Concert House. Tickets often go for thousands of euros, but because it is a quiet period and we bought tickets to view the museum, we were able to sit in the booths for a great view. I always enjoy a good orchestra and choir performance. It is a nice taste of music for me while I am away from the jazz band and my saxophone.

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Posted by on January 5th, 2011 No Comments

Buongiorno Principessa

We made it to Italy! I left my hostel at 4:00 in the morning and waited at the bus stop for an hour with an array of sketchy individuals. I met Samir at the airport, where he was choosing which items he wanted to throw out from his suitcase. We were flying with Ryan Air, a budget airline which is very finicky about the size and weight allowance of baggage. They have a measure mechanism at the check-in gate and if your bag appears to be too large, they will call you out and make you fit it in. If it fits, you’re fine. If it does not fit, you must pay an extra fee to bring it onboard. Samir had a huge duffel bag and I had a very large backpack. There was a man at the gate scoping out the crowd, so I strategically placed myself out of his sights. From the front, my backpack looks like a normal backpack. However, when I turn sideways, it looks enormous.

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Posted by on January 5th, 2011 No Comments

Barcelona!

Barcelona has been a blast. I don’t know the name of everything we saw, but we covered a lot of ground. One of my favorite visits was to Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. This was one of the prettiest churches I have ever seen. There really is something to be said about stained glass. The colors were out of this world. We also went to a casino where I doubled my money playing roulette! Now when I say doubled, I mean I turned 5 euros into 10 euros, which was just enough to pay for my cab home…

I bought a new camera as well. I went to a Kodak store to see if they could fix my old one, but the man said that it was so ancient that it would cost more to replace the lens than to buy a new one. So, I purchased a sleek new Kodak cyber shot. I am very happy with my purchase.

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Posted by on January 5th, 2011 No Comments

Adios Seville

I left Seville this morning and headed to the airport to catch a plane to Barcelona. Rain was coming down pretty hard. Perhaps Seville was sad to see me go. I was not expecting to be this shaken up about leaving, but I guess it is to be expected. The last 4 months were spent living in a new city with a new family, making new friends, meeting a nice girl, and overall experiencing a completely different way of life. In such a short period of time, my Spanish language skills have improved immensely, I have found myself capable of being able to survive various challenges, and I have changed my opinions on how I wish to approach certain elements of life in the future.

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Posted by on January 5th, 2011 No Comments

Crazy Few Days

The past few days have been interesting. Manuela and Fernando got delayed from returning home due to floods in Seville. Nick has been sick, so I’ve been playing doctor. I bought him some mystery antivirus powder which seemed to do the trick. We’ve been amassing a serious amount of Chinese food containers and garbage since they’ve been gone. Our greatest creation is our plate of fruit remains, which has turned into fruit Jenga. The first person to knock it over has to clean it up.

 

Last night around 1am I heard a big crash, which I assumed was just Nick shuffling the dishes around. I open my bedroom door to find that a big chunk of the ceiling near the front door decided to collapse. This was not good. The ceiling broke, there are food containers everywhere, and the T.V. didn’t work from a power outage. I was at school when they returned home, but Nick told me that they could care less about the mess. The only thing they were concerned about was the T.V. not functioning. If they don’t have T.V. then they have to talk amongst themselves, and that just isn’t an option. So my host mom was on the phone with her son-in-law and after an hour of instructions regarding which buttons on the remote to push, the 30+ year old T.V. came back to life.

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Posted by on December 10th, 2010 1 Comment

Morocco!

The night before leaving for Morocco, I tried my luck cooking in Manuela’s kitchen. I planned to sauté some chicken in a sauce pan, so I doused it in olive oil and tossed on the chicken. I have not had much practice cooking in the past, and I learned that night that olive oil likes to shoot everywhere when it is heated up. However, it didn’t make too much of a mess. After that, I used the leftover grease to cook scrambled eggs. Best dinner ever or best dinner ever?

I woke up early Saturday morning to get everything packed up as our bus was going to leave at 9am. After walking into the kitchen to make breakfast, I noticed it was a war zone with jams, cookies, and other dishware scattered on the counter. Apparently my housemate, Nick, had enjoyed himself the night before. Anyway, I got my things, headed to the bus, and we were on our way due south towards Gibraltar.

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Posted by on December 7th, 2010 No Comments

Done Planning!

Yesterday was a greaaaaaaat!

I have officially booked all of my hostels and flights for my winter vacation. All I have left to do is purchase a train ticket while I’m in Vienna to get to Budapest. It really take a lot of time researching which hostels is best, based on location, environment, how sketchy it is, etc. When I am in Amsterdam, I will be staying in a Christian moral hostel. I think it’s kind of funny that my hostel won’t allow drinking, while 50 feet away at a café people will be using recreational drugs. But, it has reviews stating clean and safe, so it sounds like a good pick to me.

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Posted by on December 3rd, 2010 No Comments

Victory!

I finally won! Fernando made the claim early on in the semester that nobody can ever guess the color of the suit worn by his cousin the news anchor. Well, the other day I beat the odds! I guessed that it would be gray and sure enough, it was. It did take a long time though. She has quite the wardrobe.

Today marks the countdown with only 18 more days left in Seville. I’m definitely going to miss Manuela, but Fernando… not so much. The other night at dinner it was just the boys and Manuela, and she told us how she doesn’t like how strict he is with the electricity. It was very funny to hear her rant about it. Most nights Fernando watches what he wants on TV during meals. Yesterday was Manuela’s turn and she enjoys watching Las Chicas de Oro (Golden Girls, Spanish style), but Fernando wanted to watch the news while listening to the soccer game on his little radio. Simply ridiculous.

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Posted by on December 1st, 2010 No Comments