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June 26, 2011 / katrinatravels

Ready to leave…

Genova was nice… but I think I was ready to go. I would say maybe for a nice weekend getaway for an older Italian couple, it would be a great place to visit. Nice port and some restaurants and a beach nearby makes for a good time for a few days. But, for three weeks… not so much. One day, I talked to a nice French guy who worked at the gym I was going to. He said he didn’t like it there very much, because there are too many old people and too many closed-minded people. I agree. I was given the evil eye by more old Italian woman that I could count on every finger and toe. On the bus, walking around town, in a restaurant. Everywhere I went, people were hinting with their eyes that I was not welcome in their town. I guess I look very much like a tourist…or a non-Italian for sure.

Anyways, I was happy to go. As soon as I started seeing these beautiful mountains and valleys with their green fields and white washed houses, I felt at home. It was funny, actually once I was talking with Holly, the girl from UCF who also was in Innsbruck with me last year. We were talking about Austria with another friend of mine, and without realizing what I said, I referred to Austria as “home”. I said something like, “when I go back home…” and Holly and I almost started crying when she pointed it out to me. Haha funny

 

 

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June 26, 2011 / katrinatravels

La Sirenetta

June 15, 2011
Have you ever watched The Little Mermaid in Italian?!? La Sirenetta is what it’s called. Well, I highly recommend it! I thought the song, “kiss the girl” in this movie couldn’t possibly be any prettier. What a classic fairytale! It is definitely one of my favorite movies of all time and something that should be seen in Italian!

Baciala

I will find the link to watch it in Italian. Watch it! Even if you don’t understand a word of Italian, if you are having a bad day, this should turn it right around and put a smile on your face!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiG4epwwnX4

 

Tonight, my roommate and I went to dinner and walked around town, speaking only in Italian the whole time! That was nice! We had pizza… because what else should one eat in Italy??

June 11, 2011 / katrinatravels

Bocadasse!

It’s after 3pm and I am FINALLY sitting in the sun, listening to the water crash onto the rocks. I went to at least three different beach areas before settling on this one. It was pretty expensive to just have a spot to lay on the rocks. I settled on this one partly because I was tired of walking (I started on my way a little after noon), but also because it was only 7 Euro after 3pm, as opposed to 10 or 12 Euro.
    The older gentleman at the cash desk was very helpful. I gave him a 20 and he gave me a 10 AND a 5 back! And he winked at me! Do the math. You know what that means??? It means my Italiano ain’t so bad!


This is one little spot I found while walking around. You can see the people lying on the rocks by the water and there is a restaurant behind me. That little pool was being used for scuba lessons I think.


Look at these HUGE rocks! I had to do some readjusting to make it flat enough to lie on comfortably! From my spot here, I could feel the cool ocean breeze bringing the spray of the waves as they hit the rocks. I was so relaxed! And I got a little sunburnt.


This is a picture to show what it was you could pay for. It would either be a cabana area with an umbrella and a little table, or just a lounge chair thing to lie on.


O, the sweet smell of salt water! Familiarity! I stepped off the bus and immediately felt more calm and at home. Bocadasse is the typical little beach town; oceanside restaurants, constant sunshine, and Vespas! There were so many unique buildings here. Every corner I turned there was a street more beautiful than the last!

June 11, 2011 / katrinatravels

Trying to Fit In

I have noticed, after being here less than one week, NOBODY matches here! I have NEVER seen so many people wearing black with brown, and brown with green, and skirts with sneakers in my life! Its nuts! Even the men who have some sort of professional job where they have to wear suits are wearing black suit jackets with brown pants and blue sneakers!! So, I decided, to better fit in here I will no longer match anything I put on! I like it so far. I will pre-emptively apologize for those of you who will have to put up with the un-matching me when I return home. Haha

There was a point in my class today that I had to ask what a word was and describe it in Italian to the instructor. I couldn’t believe what I heard coming out of my own mouth! It was awesome! She understood me! And the word was il forno (oven)!

 

Piazza De Ferrari- City center

View up towards the hills from Piazza De Ferrari

Courtyard of a Museum I found when wandering. Those words written above the columns are cities in this region of Italy.

On the way to lunch

Lunch (il pranzo) I had Gnochetti with two different kinds of cheeses! And my Russian friend had a traditional pesto pasta dish!

The stairs up to my apartment- I think they look so antique-y and Italian!

June 7, 2011 / katrinatravels

This IS Happening!

I have to keep reminding myself. This whole experience feels like a dream. An awesome dream that when you wake up you are so disappointed and you try to force yourself back to sleep!

Today, after my second day of class, I went grocery shopping. Very exciting, I know. I found some cookies that are called Abbracci which means “hugs”. They are made by a company called Mulino Bianco, “white mill” and it says on the bag, Questa storia inizia con… ABBRACCI! This means “This story begins with… HUGS!” and there is a picture of two cows on the bag. …????…. I don’t completely see the significance of this but I figured, if the story begins with hugs, these cookies MUST be real good!

Something I noticed today is that all these Italian women seem to smell the same. When they walk past on the street or get onto the bus I smell the same smell. There must be only one kind of laundry detergent in this città! Or maybe a new perfume just came out. Or maybe the same woman is just following me everywhere! HAHAA

I bought some post cards today from a little tabbachi hut store thing. The man working asked me if I was Tedesco (German) and I said no. He asked if I was Hollandese (Dutch) and I said “No, sono Americana.” Is it weird that I was flattered he didn’t immediately peg me as an American! Woooohooo!!!

June 5, 2011 / katrinatravels

Finally in Italy!!

It only took three days…

But I am here, safe and sound, in my new apartment that couldn’t be in a nicer location! Check out these pictures!!! More to come!

My roommate is a Japanese girl who speaks no English. So, that’s a good thing. It means the only way of communicating with her is in Italian! She has been studying here for 6 months now so she is definitely better than me! But, of course, I take that as a challenge. She cooked pasta (duh) with salmon and asparagus for me tonight! I am a happy camper! J

I spent the earlier part of the day wandering around Milan… in the rain… by myself. There really isn’t that much to do in Milan. But, as I have said before, since it was a Sunday and everything is closed, it’s hard to say what the regular hustle and bustle of the city would be like. The upside to spending a gross rainy day in Milan is that everything you want to see is indoors. I went to the Cathedral in the city center and it was AMAZING! And because it was a Sunday, there was a service that I crashed. (Can I call it that?) A group of young boys were singing a hymn in Italian at the front of the cathedral that harmoniously filled the entire cathedral with what sounded like angels. The priests let smoke rise up from the pulpit and drank something out of a skinny vase. This whole ritual was probably symbolic of something, and one day when I understand Italian, I will know what the heck was going on. There were signs that say “NO TOURISTS!” but I don’t think anyone cared. At least I was respectful to the Catholic what-not that was going on, which is more than I can say for a group of Asian dudes standing next to me. Pssshhhh tourists.

I also walked in the Louis Vuitton and Prada stores in the shopping area in Milan. How many people can say that!?!? That was cool. I saw a wallet I liked from the Prada store. It was 328 euro, which would be like $500. No thanks.

Too bad my camera was dead…I have no proof of all of this.

Classes start tomorrow!

 This is what I see when I stand on my little balcony thing off my room!

I went for a little walk with classmates one day.

This is the strange tunnel thing that leads to my asciensore (elevator) that takes me up to my street. I could walk on the street that zig-zags up the hill or the stairs that cut it in half…but there is an elevator…

This is one of streets I take to get to my apartment from the city center.

June 5, 2011 / katrinatravels

Waiting to begin

June 3, 2011 @ 7:30pm local time, Chicago O’Hare Airport

As I have now been waiting for this flight to Belgium to leave for about 2 and a half hours now, and there is no sign of take-off anytime soon, I decided now was as good of time as any to start a blog. Let’s see how this goes.

The shaky flight from Orlando to Chicago was one of those where I frequently think to myself, “When (not if) we start free-falling to our doom, will I scream? Will I stay calm? Maybe I’ll just WOOOOOO like I’m on a rollercoaster!” hmmmm….

I suppose, with the meager amount of money I can throw down on a flight at the current time in my life, I should expect no more than a large metal tube to sit in with some Gourmet Cracker Mix and a cup of water. Whatever gets me across that pond!

So, now I’m sitting on the plane that is becoming less and less occupied by the minute, waiting on certain airplane “parts” that “shouldn’t take very long to arrive” and we will be leaving “soon”. My confidence in the safety and security in this flight is diminishing quickly.

 

June 4, 2011 @ 11:15am local time, Chicago O’Hare Airport

It has now been an entire day of travel…and I am still in the same country! This has been the most distressing, complicated, and discouraging last few hours of my life. At least I had a nice hotel room to crash in last night. Igam, the super nice Albanian guy at the desk of the Hilton was kind enough to give me his sympathy in my frustrations of the day and a complimentary internet code for the room. YAY Hilton!! You always have my back! While I’m at it, let me acknowledge all of those who have impacted this mess of a trip so far. Mia with the rebooking number for American Airlines, Colleen at the AA ticketing desk and her coworker Kathy, Igam the nice Albanian desk guy and Darota at the Baggage service desk. Thanks to all of you.