Read about my trip to Florence, Italy where between my weekend travels throughout Europe, Italian language courses, fashion marketing internship and Tuscan wine tastings on the weekends, I'm not sure if I'll ever want to return to "The States"...

Sunday, January 31, 2010

One Small World.

Now that all 150 students on our program have arrived, along with the 7,000 other American students who study abroad in Florence every semester I was bound to run into someone I know soon. By that I mean I was expecting to see maybe one or two people, not the dozens I ran into at Yab last night. I am not exaggerating when I say I saw so many people. Everyone was there from the guy who interviewed me for my internship last week, to friends of friends that I’ve met, to people from my hometown. I even saw a girl who was on my swim team when I was five years old. It was so weird. We took a picture of all the University of Wisconsin kids that were there are there were at least 10 of us and all from different programs. I’m going to try to go to Italian bars more often because if it continues to be like last night I’m not going to even feel like I’ve left the country. Don’t get me wrong, it was fun to run into all those people, but I’m just going to try to get the full experience of living in Italy while I’m here and not the American version of it.

I start my internship tomorrow! I don’t want to jinx it by telling you about it right now since the last job they set me up with I wasn’t that great, but after tomorrow I’m sure I’ll tell you everything. Wish me luck! I’m going to need it especially since I’ll be taking a bus there and seeing that I’m not a very good traveler even in my own country, this should be an interesting learning experience. A domani!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Is this real life?

We have arrived at our new apartment. After stuffing three girls, nearly 20 suitcases of varying sizes, and one frustrated Italian taxi driver into the cab, we were dropped off two blocks away from our apartment. It was my job to stand and guard the bags while two of my roommates took trips back and forth to move our stuff in. We had just had just been given a warning about how common stealing is in Florence so I was having a mild panic attack with every person that passed. I realize now that they were probably staring at me because I looked like a fool standing in the middle of the street guarding all these massive suitcases and not because they were plotting the best way to steal our belongings, but it was nerve-racking all the same.

We are on the third floor of our building but it seems like the sixth with all the winding of the staircases so we took turns shoving suitcases into the elevator that fits about one and half people. When we finally have everything upstairs we are let into our apartment. Unbelievable. Five 21 year old girls should not be able to live in something like this. First of all, we are about ten steps away from the Duomo, Florence’s center tourist attraction because it is the second biggest Cathedral in the world (only to the Vatican). Our private patio just so happens to have a perfect view of this Cathedral which you can access through our kitchen with stained glass windows. The whole apartment is two stories, three bedrooms, two baths, and entirely covered in black marble floor tiles. We have had a couple of minor setbacks however. One is that with only having three bedrooms and five people, obviously only one person is going to get their own room. This wouldn’t be a big deal if the single bedroom wasn’t the largest in size and one of the double bedrooms didn’t only have one large bed in it to share. Laura and I decided to take the downstairs double which resembles a cruise ship bedroom (approx 6x10) so we didn’t have to cuddle in bed together for the next three months. Even though our bedroom is smaller than the walk in closet we all share, we can’t complain because we have a massive family room with floor to ceiling windows and couch that is more comfortable than my bed.

The other minor drawback is that we have already lost power five times since we’ve moved in. We’ve now become very close with Igor, our neighborhood electrician, which is a good thing because apparently there is a big issue going on with our electricity and he’ll be here all next week trying to fix it. I’ll be posting some pictures soon for your viewing pleasure and also in hopes of enticing you to come visit me. Like I said, our couch is more comfortable than my bed.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

"Dinner with Italians"

Yesterday on our orientation itinerary for the evening activity it simply listed “Dinner with Italians.” Since this was a rather vague description, the 7 other interns and I weren’t really sure what to expect. We figured it was going to be either one of two things. Option A: that our teachers were all going to surprise us and take us out to dinner again and make us only speak in Italian to assess our language improvement from the welcome dinner 10 days ago or Option B: that we were each going to be paired up with local Italian men and engage in a blind speed dating type event. While obviously keeping our fingers crossed for the latter, it ended up being neither of those options.

After entering the restaurant, La Finesterra, using what we considered to be the “VIP” entrance aka the back door since we got lost and came in on the wrong street, we were brought through a maze of rooms towards a ginormous table set for 16. 8 interns+8 empty seats? You do the math. Our table was at the actual entrance to the restaurant and apparently the entrance we had used was where the cooks entered. No wonder no one was there to seat us. It was good we came in that way though because the restaurant had different countries themed for each room and we got to see them all. Our table was set in the Greek room so we sat down and made ourselves comfortable. After patiently waiting while nibbling on what was probably the best restaurant bread I have ever tasted, our Italians arrived. They ended up being two of the young interns that work in the office at our school and some of their friends which was still very exciting because even though we didn’t score any hot dates, we all exchanged phone numbers and Facebook contact info. Now we have some real Italian friends to hit the town with instead of going to the Americanized bars that look like they were picked up from the University of Wisconsin and plopped down in the middle of Italy.

Most of the dinner was spoken in Italian. At one point though, since I was sitting between an intern who is of Cuban decent and an Italian who speaks better Spanish than English, we were literally speaking three different languages throughout one conversation. Thanks to my excellent high school Spanish teacher, Senor Diaz Lee (cough cough), I was able to keep up with most of the conversation. However, I’m sure that conversation didn’t help the fact that I often substitute Spanish words if I don’t know them in Italian since we were speaking what I’m going to call Spanglishian.

Tomorrow the rest of the students on our program arrive and we get to move into our new apartment! The housing director told us that we got the best one so look for some pictures soon!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

How to bargain in Italian

After allowing myself to sleep in today for the first time since I arrived in Europe about 10 days ago, my fellow interns and I decided to do some exploring through the Florentine markets. Florence is well known for its shopping on Ponte Vecchio (literally translated as Old Bridge) which houses some of the most beautiful original jewelry pieces I have ever seen. While most of these pieces were priced upwards of 350 euro and therefore slightly out of my price range, they were still fun to look at. The six of us came to the mutual consensus that we would just have to wait to bring our new Italian husbands here to pick out our engagement rings since we should be meeting them any day now.

We then ventured over to a small leather market where you could literally smell the fresh leather surrounding you. They also sold plenty of pashmina scarves at this market so I decided to treat myself to one. I’ve heard that at these Italian markets, no price is ever set in stone. So, after years of watching my dad bargain with ticket scalpers to pretty much any sporting event you can imagine, I figured I’d be pretty good at this whole negotiating thing. Being a blonde American couldn’t hurt too much either. Unfortunately I only ended up getting about 3 euro off the price of my scarf, but hey, that’s better than nothing.

Our interviews for our internships start tomorrow. While I’m still in the dark about who I am interviewing with, I’m very excited to begin this process. Hopefully I’ll find out more soon, but for now I’m just going to brush up on my interview skills in Italian. I figure that since I can say my name, where I’m from, and a few basic descriptive adjectives that were on our vocab sheet last week, I’ll hopefully be able to converse enough to convince them to hire me. Our internship coordinator told us that the main language spoken at all these companies is English and that they are just testing our Italian to see how much effort we are putting into assimilating into the culture. “A” for effort? Sounds good to me!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Exploring the Tuscan countryside

My alarm went off at 6:30 this morning. Why so early on a Saturday you ask? Well, the 7 other interns and I had to catch a bus to Siena where the other 150 students on our trip have been staying this past week. We were excited to see the rest of the group since they had been together bonding all week while we hadn’t seen any of them since London. However, apparently a little too much bonding was going on last night since all 150 of them went to the only club in Siena the night before and leaving us with the accompaniment of only 15 party goers brave enough to endure the early morning natural sunlight.

Siena is a city about 45 minutes south of Florence. It is bordered in by four square miles of brick walls and within these four miles the city is divided into 17 districts. Why you need 17 districts in the amount of space you could fit my tiny neighbourhood is beyond me, but apparently these districts were drawn up centuries ago and the locals still take the borders very seriously. Each district is represented by its own animal. They had panthers, rhinoceroses, eagles, dragons and even small, rather unintimidating animals as well. The hotel the students were staying at was housed in the snail district which is highly competitive with its neighbouring caterpillars. Siena is most famous for its Pallio di Siena which is the famous horse race that occurs in the town square twice each year. Each district brings in a jockey and a horse to compete for the much sought after pride winning silk scarf. This race can get pretty brutal, especially since it is not required for the horse that wins to still have a jockey on its back so you can only imagine the pushing and shoving that is involved. We also got a tour of Siena’s local church where we were lucky enough to view the actual head and finger of St. Catherine of Siena since those were the only body parts they managed to salvage of hers when she died 600 years prior. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one weirded out by this especially because her head was about the size of a grapefruit.

After a light lunch on the town square where we proceeded to give ourselves away as Americans to the rather irritated waiter, we hopped on another bus to tour San Gimignano. San Gimignano is known for its towers that are built around its square, which are striking in contrast to the vineyard countryside surrounding it. I wouldn’t describe it as a town so much as a big cobblestone maze where every five minutes we would stop to “ooh” and “ahh” at the pretty scenery and take group photos. We all got free gelato at the end of the tour which made the last 5 hours of walking around Tuscan villages seem all the more worthwhile. By the way, I think I may have figured out the Italian secret to staying slim while packing in the carbs during their three hour dinners every night. Trotting around both cities was like walking on a stairmaster the entire time. Any by stairmaster, I mean slabs of rock that were thrown together almost a thousand years ago at treacherous heights. Now I’m off to the discotequa where my friend, Alissa, has told me I need to go to breath in the “fresh sweaty club dancing air” to get over my on coming cold. I’m pretty sure this is the first time I have gotten sick since the Fall of ’08 when about 80% of my sorority house was wiped out by the Norovirus, and I don’t think psyching myself out about Noro until I vomited once really counts as getting sick. You’d think my health streak would have at least lasted until I had time to get settled in Florence but no such luck. I’ll keep you posted on how Alissa’s remedy works. Ciao!

This one's for all you Art History buffs out there.

Ah, Florence: birthplace of the modern renaissance, old stomping grounds of Michelangelo and da Vinci, and home to many of original art pieces that are well over 500 years old. What trip to Florence would be complete without a tour of the Galleria dell’Academia or the Uffizi? So that is exactly what we did.

Yesterday, the art history professor of Richmond (the school I am attending while in Florence) took us to La Galleria dell’Academia. Our professor, Franz, is actually from Holland so he is trilingual in Dutch, Italian, and English. You might think that having English as Franz’s third language would be a problem when guiding us through the museums. Quite the contrary actually, it did not effect his ability whatsoever to tell us absolutely EVERYTHING there is to know about all of these pieces. In fact, his passion for art, while both intriguing and inspiring, led him to talk about each individual statue, sculpture, and painting for at least 20 minutes. Multiply that by the seemingly 100s of pieces we saw over the next 24 hours and you’ve got one hell of an informative tour on your hand. He purposely saved the climax of our tour for the end so we wouldn’t run off like the other students he has hosted (presumably after they began zoning out of his overly enlightening tour). Don’t get me wrong, it was wonderful to have such a knowledgeable professor to guide us through the museums. I just think we all would have been just as appreciative of learning around a third of the information that we did.

After about two hours, we were finally led into a long hallway where at the end, basking in the glow of the sunlight from the transparent dome overhead, was The David. I felt like Hercules when he goes to see the statue of his father, Zeus, for the first time in the Disney classic: awestruck. It was absolutely breathtaking. For those of you haven’t brushed up on your art history in awhile, The David is Michelangelo’s 99.9% anatomically exact replica of an average (but rather muscular) 25 year old man. It represent David from the Old Testament’s story of David and Goliath, right before he is about to slay the giant. This marble statue was almost 16 feet tall and still blindingly white even after celebrating its 500 year birthday back in 2003. Everything from the tendons in his hands to the curls on his head was carved into exquisite detail. Franz told us that Michelangelo studied literally hundreds of cadavers over the course of three years while working on this sculpture to make sure that every muscle, tendon, and vein, was anatomically correct in how it was carved into this particular stance. See the picture above for a view of his masterpiece yourself.

Today we toured the Uffizi. This tour was even longer and more informative than the Galleria dell’Academia because it covered over 500 years of Italian artwork. Franz taught us how to differentiate between each period of art from the Medieval all the way to modern Renaissance. I’ll spare you the details now, but if anyone comes to visit me in Florence (wink wink) I’ll show you how to as well. Oh, and by the way, this museum had a beautiful underground maze leading to the most amazing marble bathrooms I have ever seen. Just a little tid bit of background on what to expect in my upcoming album since this was the only place in the museum they allowed me to take pictures. Amattina I’m off to Sienna and San Gimignano bright and early “fare una gita piccolo” (to take short day/field trip, one of our vocab words of the day) so non usciamo a disquoteca a notte. Buona serata!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tu Conosci Roberto Cavalli?

I’m sure many of you have heard of a little designer called Roberto Cavalli. Well, did you know that he also has his own “modest” discotequa located right in the heart of Firenze? The six of us interns who have been living it up in the Florentine nightlife since we arrived decided to venture to this modest little joint located in Piazza del Carmine. The surrounding area looked a little sketchy until we reached the front doors which were basked in a neon pink glow. We walked inside where we saw this image above that I have provided for your viewing pleasure. We decided we were going to go out a little earlier that night so we could get our fun in while still getting plenty of sleep before our quiz this morning. Did we end up getting more sleep than usual after a night out on the town? No. Did we ace our quiz? Yes. And that’s all that matters right? The ratio at this particular discotequa of males to females was approximately 5:1 which left us with quite a large selection of Italian Stallion dance partners to choose from. I’ve been feeling pretty good about my Italian skills recently since we have been in class for 4 hours every day this week. This confidence is increased after un o due bicchiere di vino, so I decided to chat it up in Italian. Unfortunately, the “Italian Stallion” I was chatting with was actually from India and could barely understand my English let alone my new found Italian skills.

We then decided to head straight to the dance floor and ended up having one of the best night in Florence so far. Drink prices at Cavalli Club ranged from about one arm to one leg, so we figured we’d stick to dancing rather than hanging at the bar. There were a couple of VIP tables around us where bartenders were bringing over flaming bottles of alcohol that you could purchase for the price of feeding a small country. One of these tables ordered so many bottles that they were unable to finish them and left without even opening one. The bartender then asked if we would like to indulge in this bottle of imported rum that was left unopened at the table. Now, I usually am not one to jump at sloppy seconds when it comes to food and drink, but this was probably a £450 bottle of rum. At the current exchange rate of 1.4, we’re talking about $630 worth of imported alcohol. Come si dice, “duh” in italiano?
Look for my next posts on the museums we are visiting over the next few days. Don’t worry, I’ve been very good about balancing my life in Florence with all the different areas of local culture. Ciao!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ti Piace Cucinare?

Tonight we partook in what is probably the most sought after Italian secret of all time: cooking. After eating a small lunch around one, we were ready to take our cooking class at In Tavola which started at 5:30. We assumed we would be doing a little bit of cooking and then it would be like a show you see on the Food Network where the delicious meal you have created magically cooks itself and appears ready to eat as soon as you mix all the ingredients together. This unfortunately was not the case. After four and a half gruelling hours where we made ricotta and eggplant ravioli, seashell pasta with white wine tomato sauce, prociutto, pollo, e formaggio roll ups, and a delicious fruit custard cake that rivals our talented DG chef, Norm’s pref night dessert, entirely from scratch, we were able to feast upon the delicious goodness we created with a little help from our fabulous teachers, Fabrizio and Maurizio. We literally made this entire meal with nothing but flour, eggs, milk, cheese, raw meat, and fresh fruit and vegetables. Who knew you could make noodles from simply flour and water! You can imagine how famished we all were after our hard work and pretty much wolfed down this entire meal in approximately 8% of the time it took to make it. I am never eating tomato sauce out of a can again since I now know how to make it fresh in as little as five minutes. Ok, that’s probably a lie, but at least I know that I have the ability to do that if I ever desire to. Mom and Dad, I don’t know if I can promise to replicate this meal at home since we are lacking a top of the line “noodle maker” as I like to call it, but I swear that is the only reason. Buon appetito!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Let's Get Lost.

The title of this blog is the theme of our trip for the next two weeks. Simona, our internship coordinator told us that probably the best way for us to go exploring the city is to close our maps and just wonder around getting lost until we are ready to come home. It started with our adventure to the discoteca last night. This particular Euro Rave club was called Yab. It only took us three times asking directions to find it. After asking for the third time we found out that the club is in fact called Yab and not Y-A-B like we thought. The clientele at Yab ranges from a plethora of American tourists, to the albino looking under-ager standing at a towering 4’9” who was clearing the dance floor with his moves, to the balding 50 year old wearing stereotypical rave clothing including a pair of neon orange Nikes. Don’t worry though, they were also plenty of good looking local Florentines to go around. The particular Italian Stallion I was chatting with didn’t even speak English and I am proud to say I was able to converse with him. Even if I was only able to ask the basics such as his name, how old he was, and where he was from, I was still very pleased with myself. Once my ears stop ringing from the Euro-techno beats we were jamming to all night I’m sure I will be frequenting this club quite often.

One of the interns, Marissa, and I decided to take Simona’s advice even more literally today and went for a run to see more of the city. Even though the concierge laughed at us when we told him what we were doing and we got a few locals pointing and snickering “turistica” at us, it was well worth it. Apparently Italians don’t really work out. I don’t know how they all aren’t 300 pounds if the feast we ate last night was any indication of how they normally dine but hopefully I will soon learn their secret and share it with you. We found an excellent path to run on along the river which I am so excited about! We even found our way back without needing a map. So much for getting lost. Our view was beautiful and the weather was perfect for a jog. I’m so glad I found a place to get some exercise while enjoying the beautiful city I am calling home until May.

After dinner tonight we all got gelato for the first time since arriving in Italia. Oh. My. God. Delicioso! Next time you are in a “gelataria” try the hazelnut. You won’t regret it. I consider ice cream to be my favorite food at home so now I am officially in heaven. Every single item of food I have tried since I’ve been here has been amazing. Everything from the cheeses and pastas at dinner last night to the banana yogurt I had for breakfast in my hotel. Yes, even though yogurt is something to rave about.

First day of class tomorrow! Wish me luck by saying “En boca lupa!”

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Final Destination.

Viva Firenze! After waking up at 3:30 a.m. to catch our early flight (which didn’t even matter because I currently have no concept of time), waiting on the runway during a 2 hour delay, flying over an amazing view of the Alps, arriving in Bologna and taking a beautiful bus ride into Florence, I have arrived. UNBELIEVABLE. Mom, Dad, Gammy, Granddad, Meme, and Bobbob, I cannot thank you all enough for making this trip possible. If you have ever seen Florence in a movie or even pictures, you can picture exactly where I am living-only better. For the next two weeks, all eight of the interns are living in this amazing hotel right on the Florentine equivalent to 5th Avenue in New York. Looking out our window I can see the storefront windows of the headquarters of Prada, Gucci, and Roberto Cavalli. No biggie.

Our internship coordinator and three other professors just took us out to a THREE HOUR meal where we feasted on Tuscan cheeses, meats, pasta, and dessert, each of which were expertly paired with wine and champagne. Florence is already a place I feel like I know my way around and will definitely be able to call home for the next 4 months. We’re about to hit up a discoteca so more on Florence’s nightlife tomorrow. Ciao Bella!

Friday, January 15, 2010

London Calling

Day 2 in London. Time for some real touristy adventures. Our group of 150 students is shuffled onto 3 different coach busses where our tour guide is going to show us all the major landmarks. We pretty much saw the entire city over the course of the next three hours: Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace with the guards, The London Eye, Tower Bridge, London Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and a few highlights from the Harry Potter films such as the bridge that gets blown up in the 6th movie and Gringott’s Bank! Look forward to a thrilling Facebook photo album of purely monuments since Spinks and I aren’t in a single picture.

That night Spinks and I hit up Piccadilly Circus which is basically London’s version of Times Square where we shopped at Top Shop, Kate Moss’ store that is basically like a bigger, better, and nicer version of Forever 21. We went to dinner at a local tavern and each got the Venison Pie. My first time eating meat since my declaration to be a vegetarian back in September, and let me tell you, it was well worth it. We then tried to meet up with my friend from high school, Kate Lamberta, but again, this lack of phones thing is really starting to be an issue. We must have looked extremely American during this search because we kept getting club promoters coming up to us asking if we were looking for a place to “have a good time tonight.” One guy even tried to get our attention by saying “Hey, didn’t I meet you girls the other day? Yeah, yeah, you are the two American girls! Of course I met you, otherwise how would I know you were American?” Nice try, buddy but I think our lack of accents just may have given that one away for you. We did get asked for directions once though which was kind of exciting. Now I am getting ready for my long and peaceful 3 full hours of sleep tonight before catching an early flight to Bologna. Next time I write I’ll be at my final destination in Florence. Cheers!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Spotted: An American Tourist in London

Well, it’s official. I have arrived in Europe. My dad dropped me off at the airport on Wednesday night and I’ll admit my eyes welled up a little but my hands were shaking with excitement. I walked inside to see everyone else with their parents anxiously waiting to weigh their bags, which I passed through with an entire pound to spare! Once I went through security I decided to try to get some dinner before the long flight. My options? Chips, candy, or duty free vodka. Luckily they fed us on the plane- twice. During this lovely 7 hour flight, I was seated between two businessmen who were friends but apparently neither of them wanted the middle seat. Lucky me. It actually ended up being pretty helpful though since they were both from London and told me a lot of great places to go.

Once I arrived in London, after a minor scare in which I thought they had lost the precious 49 pounds of luggage which encompass my entire life for the next four months, I met up with my group and we hopped on a bus to our hotel. There are 150 students with our group here in London and 142 of them are staying in a hotel together. Guess who is part of the lonely 8 students who were put in a different hotel? I can’t complain though because my hotel is much “posher” and only a block away. From my window I even have a lovely view of KFC, Starbucks, and Burger King. Have I really left Chicago? Since I was the first of these 8 students to arrive, I was brought to my hotel, the Baiey’s Millenium in Kensington (see picture above) and ended up losing track of the precious few friends I met on my flight. Here is where the fun begins. Laura Spinks, my friend from school who is partaking in this European adventure with me, has no phone for me to contact her on. Mom and Dad, I have no idea how you survived college without cell phones. So here I am in London, by myself, ready and willing to take full advantage of the city. I then meet some other students on my program but they all want to stay in the hotel to recover from their jet lag. Lame. Now, I don’t want to get lost exploring in a foreign country by myself so I decided to take a walk along the road my hotel is on. This road is spelled Gloucester but actually pronounced “Glouster”. This is the first of many “language barrier” problems I run into in London. More on that later.

You would be proud, Dad, because I can cross off #17 on my list of to-dos you wrote me for Europe: see Kindergartener’s at school and note the differences from American students. This line of 5 year olds were all dressed in matching forest green pea coats with red plaid scarves. They were such adorable little nuggets and I wanted to take a picture but then I remembered I was alone and didn’t feel like giving myself away as a (possibly creepy) tourist within my first 5 minutes in London. I’m also pretty sure that I saw Susan Boyle driving by in a limo while on this adventure. However, since I was alone I don’t have any confirmation on my first European “celebrity” sighting.

After another hour or so of lonely touring, I finally find Laura and we went to the famous Harrod’s department store. Surprise, surprise that this is the first major “landmark” I choose to visit in London. We then come back to the hotel for the party that our program is hosting for us and make some friends to go out to dinner with. We decide to venture to a local gem called Hereford and here is where the “language barrier” problems get really fun. Hereford is actually pronounced “Hairahferd” not “Here. Ford.” like our lovely American accents make it sound so the concierge is laughing at us when we ask for directions. We finally make it over there and I decide to try, what else but Fish and Chips. I then ask the bartender to recommend a good local beer and he asked me where I was sitting. His accent was so thick though that I thought “wherer ya si-ing” was the beer he was recommending so I just said that sounds good. He rolled his eyes and basically shooed me away after that little mishap.

Next we decided to take the Underground to Camden for a little night life. Apparently Camden is known for its eccentric crowd which is probably why the pub we stumbled upon was a place that Amy Winehouse frequents on the weekend. We had a good time meeting some crazy locals with accents so thick that I mostly just smiled and nodded while they spoke to me. The cab driver on the way home thought I said Lancaster Street since I was still pronouncing Gloucester wrong but we eventually made it back to the hotel to get some sleep for our big day of sightseeing. Look for my next post on London’s hot spots. Cheerio darling!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

It's almost time...

T-24 hours until my flight to London. I did a lot of packing this morning knowing that my bag was to be subjected to a 50 pound weight limit before boarding the plane. 4 months in a foreign country with only 50 pounds worth of personal belongings? Let me tell you, that is no easy task.Check out the rather unflattering picture of me here and you will see what I am dealing with. At approximately 11am my suitcase weighed 37.5 pounds. Yay me! I then decided to call over my partner in crime, Samantha, to help me make some final decisions. After much discussion, we made the "final" approval on what to pack. The weight of my suitcase after she left? 50.5 pounds. Thanks for the help, Sam. Do you think they will charge me for the .5 pounds? Let's keep our fingers crossed that they'll let it slide...

Friday, January 1, 2010

Preparing for my trip across the pond...

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to my Blog Space! As you may know, I am about to embark upon the excursion of a lifetime: a four month trip to the lovely Firenze, Italia. Florence, the birthplace of Italian Renaissance, is known for its fabulous Chianti wines which I can thoroughly enjoy now that my 21st birthday has recently come and gone ;) Not only will I be taking classes in marketing and the Italian language, but I will be completing a fashion marketing internship with a t.b.d. Italian designer which I am very excited for!

From Florence I will hopefully be traveling all over Europe. I want to do everything from rolling around in the "hills that are alive with the sound of music" in Austria, to potentially meeting my future yacht-owning husband while vacationing in the South of France, and everything in between. My new year's resolution is to experience Europe to its fullest and hopefully be (somewhat) fluent in Italian upon my return. Come back and visit this site if you want to keep up with my travels, as I will hopefully be updating it weekly with pictures and tales of my adventures across the pond.