Monday, December 31, 2012

Vail Day One

So as usual, my travel days are full of fun and excitement! Setting out for Vail, my flight was delayed for 2 1/2 hours due to weather in Vegas (?) sure.... weather :) Then by the time I got into Chicago they had already boarded my connecting flight and I literally was the last person walking onto the plane. Whew! Lucky for me my luggage actually made it too. After arriving into Denver and not having anything to eat all day but some goldfish and water, I decided I should stop and get more water and something to snack on for my trek to Vail. Sadly, all the lines were too long and I was afraid I was going to miss my shuttle so I decided against it. Sad and cranky due to lack of food :) Once I got my luggage, I booked it on over to Colorado Express 30 minutes after my scheduled bus left, but as luck would have it they were still there and I got to hop on... not sure how happy the others were that I was late but who cares. It was awkward enough.
Once I got to Vail the nice shuttle driver dropped me off and Karen and her family were nicely waiting for me. We went straight to Vail Village and had dinner. I was famished. The food was wonderful and her parents couldn't be nicer! After dinner we headed back to their condo and as luck would have it, they were doing a puzzle! YAY! I made myself right at home and started with the puzzle, which is a picture of the Cinque Terre in Italy and 2000 pieces! So fun!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Final Count Down

Its about 4:30 PM my time and I just finished checking in for my flight, I have started the packing thing (even under much denial that I am leaving tomorrow) and now I really want to take a nap, but I am going to write instead. No nap for me!

Finals went well... I think. I made an A on my presentation and an A on my paper, so it's looking good, my other final... well who knows on that one. My award last night at our farewell dinner was something about the Pursuit of Happiness and I found it hilarious since I am no closer to finding the answer to that and all my papers on that topic I'm sure were way off topic :) I don't do philosophy well. Or at all.

Our farewell dinner was nice, food was ehhhh but we got free wine and iced tea. Happiness was found there :) After our dinner we broke off into groups and headed out for a drink or two. Then we lost half the group that went with us and it ended up being Scott, Karen, Sara (Dr.) Costello and I. We went to a cute little place on the Tiber Island and shared a bottle of prosecco. Yum. After that We met up with Jess and her crew at the Campo de Fiori and had a drink at Mercato and then headed out to go dancing. Jess, Macy, Luke, his family and I danced the night away in a loud, sweaty, obnoxiously lit club and I had the most amazing time! It was just what I needed. The music in the club was amazing, Houston clubs need to take a clue from the Europeans, they know how to do it right.

Today I slept in a bit and then Karen and I went to see the Pyramid and the cemetery where Keats is buried. It was a gorgeous cemetery and tiny. Then we went to Spagna and had lunch, and then walked home taking in all of Rome that we can before we head home tomorrow.

The dorm is pretty silent right now. Lots of people are out and avoiding being here because they know what tomorrow brings and no one is really happy to be leaving. Its sad. I may be slightly depressed and I haven't even left yet.

I will be happy not to see Italian food for a while though, while eating lunch I hit my limit and was like I just can't eat this anymore. Pizza and pasta are taking a back seat on the food menu for quite a while. Just saying...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


As Wednesday fades into Thursday, we are all working on our papers and getting ready for our finals. I am happy to be mostly done. I am 7 pages into an 8 page paper. All I have left is to do my bibliography and add some pictures. I feel ok about it. But I am getting anxious and for once its not about my grades, its about saying goodbye to Italy. I really truly am not ready. Yes there are things about being in a dorm and sharing a room and being with the same people for 5 weeks that I could do with out, but really I just want to stay.
If I could just beam my family, my dogs and a few of my friends here, I see no reason to come home.
But since I am talking about home I will tell you the things that I truly do miss.
After everything mentioned above, I miss my work out schedule . I think that makes me sound completely looney, but its the truth. I can't wait to get back into a routine with it. I feel lost and gross with out it. No matter how much walking I do, its still not the same.
I miss my dog rolling over into me all night long for snuggles, and the sigh she makes when she gets too hot under the covers and must get out of them immediately and its like I am in her way.
I miss seeing my mom and David every day.
I miss Zachary's nose in my face in the morning or him taking up my entire bed. I hope he knows the minute I get home we are having a massive dog pile on my bed and no one is allowed to leave. Until I want to go to sleep :)
I miss salad. Weird to miss something so basic, but here they really aren't that big or great when you do get one. Olive Garden and Barnabys... watch out!
I miss Emmie. I miss her laugh and her babble.
But even after all this... I still look at my suit case and get sad.
It makes me really wonder if maybe one day I will be able to actually live in another country all on my own. It makes me sad that I can do these things so easily.

I am looking forward to being home, I need puppy kisses and mom hugs!

Night Night and hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Don't wear those white pants!

Oh Scott, I had to dedicate this blog post to you. Even though I was out like a light Karen swears up and down that Scott talks in his sleep, and in true Scott fashion, he would be talking about fashion and what not to wear :) He is going to be my new shopping partner!
Saturday was fantastic. Karen and I slept in late and missed breakfast, Scott got some alone time down on the beach to do his "reading" for his research project and around 11 we headed to Sorrento to catch the bus to Positano. I think a few of us had a bit of fear in our hearts since we haven't had the best luck on buses while being in Italy. Most of them have been too crowded and not air conditioned. No thank you. After waiting for a bit in the hot sun our glorious fancy air conditioned bus showed up. We all piled on and syked ourselves up for a 30 minute twisty ride. Once we came around the bend and could see the sea with all the super expensive yachts you could hear the gasps and then shortly after heard the snap of photos being taken. It really does just take you by surprise. You know you are in for something pretty, but words just don't do it justice.
We finally got off the bus, taking pictures about every 5 steps and needed to find a place for lunch and then hit the beach ASAP. We walked all the way down the hill and found a great little pizzeria on the beach. The view really was great. The wind was perfect and our waiter was quite nice. Priorities people, priorities! We must go to the beach. Well, we soon realized we were quite unprepared. We didn't have beach towels, flip flops or water :) Up to the shops we went and back down to our home for the next 5 hours! The sand was even hotter at this beach, I swear. Me being cheap didn't want to buy 15 euro flip flops when I had a pair back at the hotel, so I used my cute new sandals I bought for this trip and prayed that they didn't get ruined or stolen. That would have been bad.
We had a pretty good spot and the water was amazing. It may have been even more beautiful than the water at Vico, and I didn't think that was possible. It was hard to stay out of the water. It even had a big floating barrier set out that broke a bunch of the waves caused by the boats, and it made me feel a bit safer about going out a bit farther in the water. Even Karen went past her comfort zone and fell in love with the water! I was so proud :) Us water signs must stick together in our love for the sea.
For dinner we decided to head back to Sorrento, the bus ride back was not as pleasant as the first one. They packed the people on and the 3 of us got luckily enough to be seated next to some young Duke students who didn't stop talking the entire way. I am pretty sure they had been drinking. On that road I would have for sure been sick if I had in alcohol in my system. No thank you. We had dinner at a quaint little red checkered place and proceeded to piss our waiter off by ordering out of order. He made a big to do out of it and said please order in order of what you would like to eat. Sorrrrryyyy! Shhhesh. Dinner was pretty good, the wine was even better and the walk to the train back to Vico was fun. Until we got to the train station. Little did we know the last train left at like 10:15 pm, so after waiting till about 10:30 they told us that we had to go and take the bus. Bus what bus? After waiting there for ever and not a single bus ever coming we decided to find someone who wasn't going to charge us an arm and a leg to get back to our hotel. We found a very nice taxi man to take us home and got stuck behind the slowest driver EVER! Fun times are always had in moving vehicles on this trip. :)
It was nice to be back at our hotel after a long day of bus rides and sun. Loved it all and wouldn't change a thing!

We can't eat here.

This past weekend Karen, Scott and I went to the beach and had sooooo much fun! We got up bright and early at 5 am to catch our 7:30 am train, and I can say with our a doubt that none of us are morning people. It was a riot watching us maneuver around that early in the morning. We had a late night (I was working on homework) and Jess and I ended up switching rooms for the night just to make it easier on Karen and I and so that we could get more sleep and not be interrupted.
The train to Naples was great, I think, I may have passed out a few times. I know everyone else did. The train to Vico... not so great. It was as we like to call here in Italy, a ghetto train. Covered in graffiti and no AC. That was a blast - no really it was. 25 stops later we arrived at Vico and jumped for JOY! It was beautiful and well really, we were finally off the bus and were slightly expecting something not so great.
Our hotel was really nice and had a great view of the ocean. We decided to go and grab lunch and then head down to the beach for the rest of the afternoon. It was such a delight. The water was beautiful and clear and just the right temp. The sand, not so much. Hotter than heck! I burned the crud out of my feet because I got so excited and started to take off towards the water and had to quickly turn back for my flip flops. OUCH! It was a great little dip, if you swam out a bit you could look up the cliff and see our hotel and next to it is the cities oldest church and then you could turn around and look the other way and see Mt Vesuvius directly behind you. Cool feeling.
Around 5 we went back up to the room to shower and to figure out how to get the AC on in our room; after many, many tries of pushing the buttons Karen saw that we needed to call down for our AC to be turned on. Yay for Karen and reading directions!
For dinner we headed over to Sorrento and did some shopping and sight seeing. While walking around we found a hotel with a stunning view of the beach and decided this is where we are eating... well no joke they took one look at us and said hold on a moment, then the guy then walked over to another guy and they started talking and I got all fussy over this. I threw a big ol hissy fit and decide that we were not eating here. I took a collective vote in my head and walked off, and I haven't heard the end of it yet :) I do not know what got into me since I am usually the person that will go right on ahead no matter what I look like, my money is just as good as everyone else's, but that place made me flip. Oh well, we ate at a not so great place, and then had to book it home because I thought I was just going to have to lie down in the middle of Sorrento and die from feeling so sick to my stomach. We got home and Scott and I passed right out and Karen went to Skype her parents, poor Karen, we told her we would still be up when she got done. Sadly the old folks hit the bed and were done for the day.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Italian Parliament, Papal Audience.....


For Real.

The past day and a half have been the most boring days here in Rome. Honestly.

So we were informed the night before, as has become usual on this trip, that we should prepare questions for the Italian Parliament because they have set up a big deal for us and we will get to meet a few of the dignitaries and be able to have a Q & A with them. Ok, well NONE of us saw that email until that morning, and you had 14 people looking like a bunch of deer in the headlights. It was atrocious at how unprepared we were. Lost puppies, and the sad thing was is that even though we met some really great people, to most, this wasn't their thing. A lot of us are not studying politics or social issues, and it was quite embarrassing to have nothing to talk to these important people about. Oh, and even more fun was we were there for 7 hours with only a short cookie break. Our director seems to forget that people need to eat. We almost lost Karen to the low blood sugar at one point and she actually had to go to the infirmary at the Parliament building.
However after that long day of most of us falling asleep at some point in some talk, we did get to see the parliament do a confidence vote, but honestly I forgot what it was on because we were food deprived and tired. But it was cool none the less, and then they put the most interesting speaker at the very end and he only had 5 minutes to talk to us. We were all a bit sad. He worked on the EU financial crisis stuff.
After that we had a group dinner for Eleanor since it was her birthday and it was a very nice and quiet evening out.

Today we went to see the Pope speak at one of the weekly Papal Audiences. It was interesting of course, but not up my alley. I tried very hard not to question or say things, but sometimes my mouth gets the best of me. Most of you know.
Then we had lunch at a cute little pizzeria close to St. Peter's square and then Karen and I joined the Costello family on their outing to the Etruscan Museum and it was so cool and totally over whelming in all sorts of ways. So much so that Karen and I staged another show of Karen and Camille: Life Imitating Art for our PBS show that they know nothing about. Then we got lost. A few times. In the same place. On the same 2 floors. Oh dear. Time to go. :)
After the museum we all took a walk through the Villa Borghesse park and headed to Morrison's for a pint and some much needed American food, and it was DELICIOUS! so much so that we are probably going back.... tomorrow :)

COME ON POSITANO!!!! I am so ready for our weekend get away!!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Oh Ice... Happy day Happy day!

Another thing I forgot to mention last night was the amazing ice that we were served at dinner. As Texans and Americans its something that we take for granted. Then you go to Europe and they serve everything warm. While we were munching on some bread our waiter brought over a bowl full of ice, and I am pretty sure I saw Scott tear up a bit. It was glorious. Happy day, Happy day!

Here is a picture from our night out in Trestevere, including one with the bowl of ice :)