Sunday, September 27, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Today was the first day of school. Dante Alighieri is amazing and my Italian class is going to be a blast. It is going to be challenging but so worth it. Hopefully I’ll be able to study hard and start speaking well. The view from the school is amazing and I feel so blessed to be able to study in such a lovely area around so many good people. I feel like the luckiest girl in the whole world.
After class we went and got gelato (regardless of the freezing cold rain). White chocolate and mint was the flavor of choice for the day and it was so good. I now have an official gelato count going: 7. Every post I'll update it.
We ate dinner with my group tonight. The chef whom I will be studying under here in Siena prepared the meal and it was amazing. It made me ten times more excited to start working with him. We got the recipe booklet already - YUMMY!
Gelato count: 9
Sunday was great. We literally quadrupled the branch size - it’s so small that a missionary is the Branch President. It was neat to see that the church is the same everywhere (except the sacrament bread, it’s definitely more delicious here). We had school orientation later that afternoon - can I say back to school night all over again. It was fun because the cute man, Dr. Bonomi, showed us where our classes were and how to get to the cafeteria. The orientation took way longer than we thought it would and me and Elizabeth hadn’t quite figured out the bus system. We got on a bus but actually got on the wrong one. We ended up having to ride the bus to the end of the route, wait ten minutes for it to start again and then ride back to a familiar area to walk back to our apartment. It took us about 45 minutes on the bus and about 45 minutes to walk. We arrived at about 8:45 and dinner was supposed to start at 8. Our host father, Benny, was fairly disappointed with us and told us we should have called. We tried to explain that we didn’t have his phone number and also that we got lost. He was fairly understanding but I was still on the verge of tears. Disappointing somebody is way worse than anything else I think. Everything ended up ok and we feel a lot better. We still haven’t figured out the bus system (bus maps don’t exist here, you just have to kind of guess a general direction and get on the bus and pray really hard) but we are determined to figure it out.
Later that night we went to a dance party. Anna, our mom had asked us about going with her before and we were really excited. We told all of the girls in the group how cool our mom was for taking us to this dance party. We arrived at the party and it happened to be a senior citizen dance party. You would think that the party would be dead but it was actually quite hoppin. This old short man came and asked Elizabeth to dance and he wouldn’t let her go until she danced for 3 songs. It was so hilarious because he was relentless. I got asked to dance by an old man too but it was only for one song. He was a really good dancer and he smelled pretty good. Too bad he’s too old for me. I’m so glad this whole situation happened because it was a great bonding experience with Anna. We haven’t been able to communicate with her entirely with her until at the dance party. I have found that laughing is a universal language and I’m so glad. It was so awesome. Unfortunately I didn’t take my camera (the one night that hilarious things occur - Murphy’s Law right?) but believe me, it was so funny.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
On Thursday we had a free day to ourselves. First thing in the morning we went to a cute market where clothes, underwear, jackets, shoes, bed sheets, fresh produce, and basically anything you can sell was being sold. Then we hit the beach, played in the water, and tried our best not to look touristy (although the white skin, modest swim suits, and cameras gave us away).
I met the man of my dreams! He was rowing a boat into shore and was shirtless and good looking (always a plus). After he got his boat out of the water he started helping an old man get his boat onto the water. It was adorable. All of the girls nicknamed him Marco.
I did laundry from the tub - that was interesting. I left everything out to dry on our deck and right as we left the hotel the wind picked up. Of course it did - just my luck. I was praying that my personals wouldn’t be scattered all over the quaint town. I wasn’t too scared though - there’s always panties at the market. Sick.
I also saw two stray dogs and it made me slightly miss petting Max and Gus-Gus. I jumped directly next to the dog and he didn't twitch at all. Nope, not dead, just homeless and covered in fleas. Slightly more unloved than my little doggies.
We made our way to the Amalfi Coast after that adventure. The bus ride was beautiful yet very painful. We were driving in a very large tour bus through hairpin turns on what was basically a one way street. One girl threw up and a few others were very carsick. I was so thankful that this bus had better suspension than the cute Ford Transit we rented with Dad & Mom because in that case, I think I would have been the girl vomiting.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Monday we saw a lot of fountains and piazzas including some creepy men trying to steal things (don’t worry mom, I was very aware of what was going on and it was easily prevented - don’t send me home). Also, dad - I’m averaging one gelato a day (don’t send me home either because it’s not 3, I think 1 a day is moderate). We went to dinner and I got a table, ordered water and food, and asked for the check - ALL in Italian. Thanks Jon for helping me! Then we got gelato and ate it on the Spanish Steps at night - always a party. Funny events include getting smashed by the doors in the metro because of rush hour and the inability of others to squish in and standing in the sun for 20 minutes waiting for the bus to come, crossing the street to get out of the sun, then crossing the street 2 minutes later when the bus is arriving. I knew that the only way the bus would come was if I proved I was smarter than an ape.
Tuesday was bright and early. We went to the Colosseum where 2,000 lives were lost in the first 100 days of opening. Although it sounds gory it was actually very neat - the Romans were so advanced, no wonder they conquered everything. It must have been a planned gory day because we also went and saw underground catacombs near the Appain Way as well as remnants under a Cathedral. Tomorrow is our last day in Rome - whew! That means that the schedule is going to slow down a little very very soon!
Jamie - I found your note today in my luggage. It came just at the right time and I appreciated it very much. You are so sweet and I loved spending time in Italy with you. I love you so much!
On Sunday we were able to attend the Roma 4th Ward (possibly Branch). I could easily say that this was one of the most touching meetings I have attended. The 19 girls and family of 5 almost doubled the ward size. Although small in numbers these members here have very strong and abiding testimonies of the true gospel. It’s very neat to hardly understand their words and be forced to listen through the spirit. The feeling in the ward was amazing!
The cherry on top of the amazing Sabbath consisted of a cute little nonna (grandma) directing the congregation in a song. She started singing loud and clear and caused the whole congregation to sing their hearts out. When the second verse rolled along she somehow got lost and obviously started singing the wrong words to the wrong tune - very loudly at that. The bishop stood right by her and got her back on track. What was neat was her attitude through the entire event. Some in that situation would have turned 10 shades of red, some would be offended, but would everyone be beaming ear to ear with excitement and enthusiasm to fulfill a calling and worship through music? Not me, but cute nonna, you bet! This same nonna approached most of the girls after Relief Society and kissed their cheeks and told each and everyone she loved them. It was so touching.
The night before I was going to join my group I was looking through the itinerary just to see what I should expect for the first day. I was overwhelmed as I found the Vatican Museum and San Pietro’s Square and Cathedral on the list of things to do. From my visit the week previously I knew how tiring that would be. The Vatican Museum is gargantuan and the San Pietro’s is hot, humid, and busy. If you know anything about me, none of those things are even close to appealing.
I joined my group and immediately went for round 2 at the Vatican Museum. I was thankful for my previous visit there with an enthusiastic and very knowledgeable brother-in-law. I felt like I could capture more of each piece simply by knowing a few little tidbits. I was even overheard explaining the symbolism of the pinecone fountain in the courtyard and was pinpointed to repeat my words to the group. Thanks again Mr. Tourguide Curtis! I seriously wouldn’t have made it on the trip without him. Sidenote: pinecones symbolize fertility - a possible suggestion for a Halloween costume...
Mr. Tourguide Curtis