May 13, 2007

I'm home I'm home I'm home.

Been kind of a whirlwind of activity, running errands and unpacking and repacking. I'm picking up Cat from DFW tonight, then we'll spend the day here tomorrow, and early Tuesday we start our epic, epic road trip back to Maine.

Think I'm going to keep this going. Farm updates and stuff. Farm!

May 06, 2007

Alright, I go home on Thursday, very, very early in the morning. So, three days. I'm so so ready to get home. Today was perhaps the longest day ever, and I'm imagining that the next few won't be much better. Everyone is busy studying and taking finals, and it's been really stormy out, so I can't even go outside to study (on the upside, I love thunder...). I just seriously contemplated going to bed because I'm completely out of things to do. It's only 8:30, so that should give you a pretty good idea of the state I'm in right now. I should probably appreciate these days when I have essentially nothing to do, but nope, nope. Mostly I'm just anticipating being home.

Tomorrow I'll be scouring Florence for some creative way to present my photography final, oh, annnnnd studying, more, still, forever. Two finals on Tuesday, two on Wednesday, then out to dinner with some girls Wednesday night to celebrate everything, and packing somewhere in there. And then about 22 hours of traveling on Thursday.

Okay, I'm going to find something to do because, really, only small, small children go to bed at 8:30.

May 01, 2007

I went horseback riding through the Tuscan countryside last weekend and it was great and made me miss riding and also made me really, really even more excited for summer and the farm.

A few more days of classes, then finals, then home.

Got a house off-campus for next year. Fun.

April 23, 2007


I went to Salamanca to visit Cat this weekend. Summary: spent many, many, many hours in trains, buses, planes, cabs on Thursday and Sunday. In between, slept not a lot. Had lots of tapas (Spanish tortillas are good) and spent a good about of time in pubs. Made a friend (it's like I'm in elementary school).

I know, you feel like you were there. I'm too tired.

Colby-wise, I (of course) had a terrible, terrible number and so did all of the girls I'm living with. Almost went off campus but tried room draw. Ended up in a two room triple in West Quad. Could be worse. Quotas suck (I'm really very profound).

So, home in a little over two weeks, then road trip, then Senior Week, then farm.

April 11, 2007

Home in a month. Exciting.

It's already April 11?

Photos take forever to upload on here; apparently you can share Facebook albums with the whole wide world now, so if you're interested: photos!

April 06, 2007

Went to the beach today. Viareggio, it's about an hour and a half away by train. I ended up going alone, which sounds sad as I'm writing it, but was really nice in reality. I walked along the beach for a couple of hours. That's it. Stood in the ocean (way, way too cold for swimming). Collected a few seashells. Mostly just walked, though. Now I smell salty and beachy and my cheeks are sunburned. Viareggio itself isn't the prettiest place, but there are these mountains that basically rise right out of the ocean, with snow on top. It's really beautiful.

Easter festivities this weekend. We bought a dove cake and on Sunday a few of my suitmates and I are making a feast. I guess there's a big parade, and something about an exploding cart, near the Duomo. Florence is pretty much overflowing with tourists right now, has been ever since we got back from break, actually. It's hard to walk, it's so jam packed.

April 02, 2007

Lots of traveling this past weekend. On Friday, Erin and I went to Venice. We were planning on staying the night, but is again a piece of shit, and our hostel again ended up being in the middle of the ghetto and required a few buses and lots of walking to get there, so we decided not to waste time trying to find it, and just did the day in Venice. It actually wasn't a very nice day, chilly and rainy and really windy, but we walked all around the city, bought some Murano glass, ate a semi-decent meal. There's a piazza there where people sell birdseed and pigeons attack you, so of course we bought birdseed and let ourselves be covered in pigeons, which in retrospect was pretty gross, probably... who wants pigeons in their hair... but it was fun, anyway, so there you go. We headed back to Florence late Friday night.

Saturday it was raining and cold and windy in Florence, so I holed up in my room and watched movies on, literally all day. It was pretty productive.

Yesterday we hopped on a train to Arezzo, which turned out to be great. They had this huge flea/antique market that we wandered around for a few hours. Had crepes and gelato for lunch, then took a train over to Cortona, which is this really tiny hill town about an hour away from Florence. The train only takes you to Comuncia (?), and apparently buses don't run on Sundays, so we started walking up. After a few hours we ended up at a really pretty, deserted old church about halfway up, where we met a nice Canadian family who offered to drive us up to the town, so we did that, then spent an hour or two exploring. Really, really pretty views. Had a candy bar (KinderBueno!) for dinner (I know, I've got a pretty balanced diet going) and started walking down. We decided to take a few shortcuts through olive groves and backyards, because the road was really twisty and we wanted to cut out a few loops. Got stuck a few times on the edge of cliffs. I was brilliant and wore flip flops, and now my feet are completely busted and cut up and covered in ant bites, which is great. Good day though.

Going through a homesick phase. I'm just tired of trying to speak Italian, and of being stared at by creepy men, and of, I don't know, everything... just a phase though, hopefully I'll snap out of it soon. I was feeling sad the other day, so I went to McDonald's and had some french fries. Great.

March 31, 2007

The trees have started blooming and it makes everything much prettier.

March 28, 2007

Chorale is here! Great!

Um, lately... wandered around Fiesole with Dorothy, found Il Parco di Monte Ceceri. Very pretty. Bought some really great boots that I will probably not be able to pack home. I'm going to Venice this weekend, then horseback riding through Chianti country on a wine tour (excited!), hopefully to visit Cat in Spain one of the weekends after that. Busy busy. Don't have too much more school stuff to do, a paper for one class then finals in May is all that's left.

So chorale! They showed up last night, I sat around their hotel for awhile waiting for them (yeah, I was the creepy sneak attack stalker girl) and jumped them all when they finally showed up. I realized how desperately few males there are on my program... seriously, I basically have forgotten how to interact with boys. Maybe not. Anyway, consequently, I spent the rest of the night clinging to Billy/Jan/Joel/Cliff/Liz (not a boy, but you know)/etc. It's so, so good to see everyone. I can't stop smiling and jumping around and generally just being incredibly giddy. I'm going to their concert tonight, which I'm also giddy about.

Okay. Basta.

March 21, 2007

The terrace woman has a husband. I was surprised and as a result he caught me staring at him this morning.

I'm working/living on a farm in Gouldsboro (a tiny rural town a little northeast of Bar Harbor), Maine this summer. Mandala Farm, specifically. I make very, very little money, but I'll be living in a cabin on the pond, and basically get all the fruits and veggies that I want. One or two others will be working there too, and there's another farm a few miles down the road that will have a few apprentices as well. The farm breeds horses (!!!), and has goats, sheep, pigs, a cow (that I will be milking), a bajillion chickens (that I will be slaughtering...), lots of veggies, and a few acres of strawberries and blueberries. They do a CSA and three farmer's markets, plus the husband brews beer and is a carpenter and the wife makes cheese. And I get to ride the horses, and learn how to drive them, through the part of Acadia National Park that the farm backs up to. Um, yeah, I'm pretty excited. I think people are getting sick of listening to me talk about it. People also think I'm insane. I have no idea how this will relate to the rest of my life but that's not really something I'm worried about.

In conjuntion with this, Cat is flying down to Texas at the end of May and we're doing the road trip thing back up to Maine, to visit Colby for Senior Week and graduation.

AND chorale will be here in less than a week and I get to see lots of wonderful people.

All really, really great things to look forward to.

March 19, 2007

So, spring break.

Started off with a train strike, so we didn't get to Nice until Friday afternoon. Spent the night there, left early the next morning for Paris. Only managed to get on the train due to Erin sweet talking the train man to let us on, because according to the ticket man there were no more seats, even though in reality the train was half empty. Paris Sunday until Wednesday, consisted mostly of baguettes and crepes. Lots of crepes. Took the EuroStar to London on Wednesday night and stayed with Erin's friend. Intended to go to Dublin on Saturday, but skipped it because we had no money and no place to stay. Flew home Sunday, train back to Florence from Parma.

This is not a good description but rehashing it all seems like too large a task. Basically, we left our hostel/couch everyday around 8, walked around all day, and came home after midnight. Traveled a lot, saw a lot, ate a lot, did a lot, etc. I've never been so tired.
From Cinque Terre:

The coast, and train tracks.




I like bridges.

Monterosso at dusk.

March 07, 2007

The train system thing decided to go on strike on Friday, which, coincidentally, was supposed to be the first day of our explore Europe by train Spring Break. So that's good. Thanks, Italy.

March 05, 2007

I miss people today. Specific people and also people in general. Ooh, I'm so cryptic.

Um, midterms this week? What?

March 03, 2007

Quickly, Pisa:


So Cat and I went to Cinque Terre while she was here. Might be the most beautiful place I've ever been. It's these five tiny towns in a National Park on the Italian coast, with a trail that connects them all. According to the brochure at our hotel, the trail:
...connects all the villages of the Cinque Terre, it turns out to be the most frequented of the zone and the stretch Riomaggiore - Manarola is the famous Via Del'Amore. It takes 5 hours to walk down the whole path (even if it's possible to walk by stretchs), but the fatigue is repaid by unique views, characterized by a typical mediterranean background falling sheer to the sea, by the scents of plants and herbs, by steep cliffs, by the fascination of isolated inlets. An experience to be done with calm, not forgetting a halt in one of the villages for a typical bite drinking the local wine.

So. We left Thursday after I was finished with classes and showed up in Monterosso, the largest of the five, around 7. It was completely deserted (off-season) but we found an open hotel and got a room, and set off for dinner. We both got fish that had most likely been alive probably minutes before we ate it, and was served as a whole fish, scales and everything, which was both ify and amazing.

Next day we left Monterosso and took the train down to Riomaggiore (the last of the five). We set off to hike the trail, both wearing very (not) appropriate hiking clothes. The first stretch (Walk of Looove) was a very paved, very flat walk on the side of the cliff with gorgeous, gorgeous views. Second stretch was closed (avalanche) so we took the train to the next town and spent a good amount of time being lost, trying to find the trail, which we eventually found next to an abandoned looking farm with giant chickens. We thought that the whole trail was like the first part, which is why Cat was wearing a dress and we were both wearing flimsy, flimsy shoes, but turns out this two hour stretch involved some actual hiking hiking... lots and lots of up and down and sort of creepy houses tucked into the cliff, but still so pretty. And lots of wild cats, everywhere.

We eventually made it to Vernazza, where we stopped and proceeded to accidentally get drunk at lunch. Found the trail again, and managed in our tipsy states not to fall off the edge of the cliff. Another few hours through hillside gardens and more abandoned cottages and cats. We met a man in one such garden who sold us a bottle of limoncello. I told him I was from Texas and he got really excited, and asked if we knew where Chuck Norris lived. No, I don't. I then got his phone number so that I would text him my address, to which he would send something related to his friend Chuck Norris.

So, continuing, we made it back to Monterosso in time for drinks then dinner. Damn Italian wine is sneaky and I spent much of the 3 hour train ride back to Florence not completely sober.

I wish I was a better writer and could do this place justice; it really is absolutely beautiful. I took about 8 million pictures so I'll post some of those when I put them on my computer.

February 28, 2007

Cat's here and it's great! We've mostly been drinking a lot of wine and eating absurd amounts of food. Tonight we started with a snack at the apartment (cheese and cucumbers and apples, which is basically just the random food that I had in the fridge) then went to an aperitivo on the other side of the Arno. Drinks, mini pizzas, bread, veggies, tiny sandwiches. After that, we found a wine bar - drinks at the bar while we waited for a table, then a very, very large 4 course meal. Cheese and pears, soup, bread, tuna, dessert, lots and lots of wine, and two shots of espresso that were ordered by mistake. We had a hard time walking home, I'm pretty sure we ate enough to feed a small African country, and now I want to never eat again, ever. But yay, Cat's here!

February 24, 2007

Today, briefly: Took a train to Pisa. Saw the leaning tour of and took the cheesy "look, I'm holding up the tower!" picture. They sell a lot of leaning things there (mugs, shot glasses, lamps, bottles of alcohol). Really good gelato for lunch. Decided Livorno sounded like a neat seaside place to go, ran to catch the train. Turns out Livorno is basically one big car factory, but tried to make the best of it and find the ocean anyway. Talked to an old Italian man ("Scusa, dove il mare?"), who offered to take us there when his wife came to pick him up - turns out the ocean is pretty far, he thought we were crazy when we said we wanted to go by foot. Considered, but didn't want to get stuck in Livorno for the night, so ran to catch the train back to Pisa and try Lucca instead. Got to Pisa alright but missed Lucca because we got on the wrong train and the right one had already left by the time we figured it out. Met a crazy hyper middle-aged Italian man who basically sat on my lap while we were sitting like idiots in the wrong train, told us about all the places he was going to take us in Lucca or Via Reggio or London or something, then followed us while we tried to figure out when the next Lucca train left. Managed to ditch him, ate an orange in Pisa, got the next train to Lucca. Cutest town ever - maze of a wall, blooming trees lining the road, pretty piazzas. Best dinner (Trattoria di Leo), cheap and delicious 4 course meal, both Erin and I accidentally locked ourselves in the bathroom (silly Italian keys, or too much wine at dinner, maybe). Back to the deserted station, caught the last train back to Florence (;sfdlkgj w;eoifsdj Santa Maria Novella, what?). Bed.

February 21, 2007

A few pictures from lately:

A view of Siena.

Mercato Centrale, really good food.

So, this is my room. Great.

Me (happy Mom?) and the Trevi Fountain.

St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.

The Colosseum, partly.

February 18, 2007

So, Rome. It's sort of like what I imagine Disney's interpretation of an Italian city would look like, and it's full of punks, couples making out on every free surface, and cute old couples wandering down the street.

Erin and I took the train in yesterday and arrived around 1. Kind of a crazy weekend. We set off to find our hostel and drop our bags, and we ended up walking through this really ghetto part of Rome - no sight of the hostel. We asked for directions and turns out that's description of "centrally located" actually meant "centrally located in the middle of BFE." Since we didn't want to spend our whole day walking through depressing parts of Rome, we ditched the hostel and hopped on a bus/tram/trolley thing back to the center of the city, which promptly shut down because someone had parked their car across the track. So. Still in BFE, we followed the tracks for awhile and eventually hopped on a random bus that took us basically even further out of the city. Oops.

Few hours later we ended up near(ish) the Colosseum, so we grabbed lunch and started exploring, and basically walked around for many, many, many hours. Everything is so pretty at dusk/night. We found a random (sort of expensive) hotel near the Spanish steps, then hit some touristy spots - the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, gardens that I can't remember the name of (way up high, awesome view of the city), more ruins, and saw Vatican City from a distance. We found a cute place for dinner, followed by gelato from a crazy, crazy gelato place that stuck toys and tiny cones and sparkley things in their cones, then crashed back at the hotel in a really huge, warm, comfy bed.

Today, more walking. Left the hotel pretty early, went to St. Peter's Basillica in the Vatican. Heard the Pope speak! Cool! He addressed the huge, huge crowd in like 5 different languages, it was actually very emotional... okay. Afterwards, we wandered along the river, saw the Colosseum, the Forum, etc., all in the cold rain, then hopped on a train home.

So. I like traveling by train, a lot. Also, our hotel had free breakfast with really good chocolate pastries and little individual servings of Nutella (I stole a few). All good things. And now I have to sleep. And I'll do pictures later.

February 16, 2007

Tomorrow = Rome!
Sometimes I wish things weren't so ridiculous.

Also, timing is always wrong, for everything. Always.

February 11, 2007

I went to mass this morning at the Duomo. They were singing (chanting?) Gregorian chants (I guess chanting...) for about a half an hour before the service started and it was incredible. The acoustics were amazing and the chanting went in this circular kind of pattern and echoed beautifully. The mass was in Italian, which I can't completely follow, and I'm not really into religion anyway, so I spent most of the time people-watching. Very worth it.

February 07, 2007

Something I have learned: if you stand timidly on the side of the road, waiting for a break in traffic, you'll never get one. You have to make a mad dash and pray that you don't get hit.

The most frusterating aspect of this program is the campus. They sell you on this idea that you'll be going to classes "on a magnificent estate covering 57 acres of open fields, formal gardens, and olive groves," which admittedly is true, but we're not allowed to go anywhere. We're restricted to two villas connected by a long, straight gravel path. You get yelled at if you step on the grass. It's such a tease to be surrounded by all this beautiful scenery. You can see this little fountain circled by trees off in one of the fields, and yesterday I stood there looking at it longingly for a good three or four minutes; all I wanted to do was go sit under one of the trees.

February 05, 2007

Every morning the woman who has the terrace right outside my window spends a few minutes out there, feeding her dog and taking in the clothes that have dried during the night. She always looks at me, and I always smile, or wave, or both, but she just looks away, which is frusterating. This morning, she smiled back. My life is complete (or something a little less extreme).

February 03, 2007

I got the double kiss on the cheek greeting last night. Yes! Been waiting for that to actually happen in real life.

So still having a good time. Spent the day today wandering around the Uffizi, saw Boticelli's Spring and the Birth of Venus. Getting to see such famous paintings in person really, really makes me appreciate my high school art history class. NYU gave us all cards that allow us free entry into all the musuems in Italy for a year, so that's really great. After the museum we explored Mercato Centrale for a few hours; I bought a bracelet and some boots.

This city thing has been fun, but I don't know if I could ever live in one, long term. I've only been here for two weeks, Florence is a small city, and I already deperately need a break from all the people and traffic and smoke. My photography professor (who is fantastic, by the way) is hugely into the outdoors and environmental conservation, etc, and has told me about a ton of good hiking that's not too far away, so I'll be checking that out the first free day I have.

January 26, 2007

We made the best meal last night. Really, the best. All of the food here is so fresh and so good - it was just chicken and veggies but it was amazing and I'm sure that if I had made it at home it wouldn't have been near as good. We also found an actually good bottle of wine for 2 euros. I know, it can't be good if it's that cheap but it is, really.

The last few days we've all just been getting into the class schedule thing. I am going to have an amazing ass by the end of the semester, the walk to campus is a 20 minute hill, then to get to the actual academic building you pretty much walk up a small mountain. So yeah, I've been running around buying books etc, but I'm excited about this weekend. Tonight we're checking out a jazz club, then tomorrow my program is taking a trip to Siena. Next weekend Erin and I are going to Rome, then it's just madness and traveling for the rest of the semester.

January 24, 2007

Almost forgot that it was winter. Today is cold and rainy.

I went to a chocolate festival the other night. We got free samples of chocolate and a free cappucino and free tea. Doesn't get much better than that.

Running down to the post office to get my Permesso so I can legally live here.

I love my photography and psych classes. The others are fine.

January 21, 2007

So this is pretty much the first time I've sat since arriving. There's so incredibly much to do here. Like I said before, on Friday Erin and I walked up to Fiesole. The center of town was a little dead when we got there - things here close down in the middle of the day and don't open again until dinnertime, which starts around 7 or 8. We walked around town and took this smallish road out into the country, past gorgeous villas and olive groves, just generally exploring. On the way back down the hill we stopped for lunch/dinner at this cute little cafe, where we had the sweetest waitress. We got this huge assortment of food - a bowl of different vegetables, a block of cheese and fruit, a plate of bread with some different kinds of spread, and a huge pile of sliced meat, along with a basket of bread and the most delicious olive oil. Seriously, a ton of food. At the end of the meal there were still piles of meat left, so our waitress tried to explain to us in Italian that we could bring it home to make sandwiches, then brought us out extra bread and cheese and tomatoes, such a great experience.

Yesterday we spent a lot of time just walking around Florence. We checked out the Mercato Centrale, which takes up a couple of blocks and sells everything from purses to whole dead chickens (really, they look like those rubber ones) and pretty much anything else you could think of. I bought some really good olive oil, I've become a huge fan. We also went on a walking tour of our neighborhood with a bunch of other people from the program, which was mostly annoying because there were so many of us, and because we've pretty much gotten our neighborhood down by now, but we got free gelato at the end so all's good. Later later that night I went out to a few pubs with some of my roommates, which was fun, but Florence totally caters to the American student crowd (one pub we went to holds flip cup tournaments on Tuesdays and beruit on Thursdays), which I'd like to get away from. Further from the center of the city it's more Italian, better.

Today - more walking. We did a bus tour at 11 then spent the rest of the day basically getting lost. I bought a Eurorail pass, and we've planned of bunch of trips for the semester, which I'm really excited about, and I'll hopefully get to visit some Colby kids.

La Pietra, on campus.

Il Duomo.

On the way to Fiesole.

An olive grove, they're everywhere.

Florence at sunset, from Feisole.

January 19, 2007

Italy is beautiful.

I’m living in Piazza Isidoro del Lungo, right near Piazza della Liberta, in a third floor apartment. It’s really nice and huge and airy and great. It houses 10 other girls (big change from last semester) in 7 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a living room with a tiny study niche and fireplace, and a whole hallway of closets that we haven’t even begun to fill, even with 11 of us. A few of the bedrooms and the living room have small balconies that overlook a tiny courtyard. I have a single in the apartment, which is nice because it helps keep me sane among all this estrogen, and I have a window that looks out to the interior of the apartment building, so I can spy on all of our neighbors and judge them by the laundry they have drying out their windows.

NYU owns a villa (La Pietra) on the outskirts of the city - the city itself isn’t actually that big, it’s very walkable. The walk to La Pietra is only about 20 minutes, and there’s a bus line that runs from right around the corner up to campus, but the walk is really pretty so I think I’ll probably skip the bus unless it’s raining. The campus is gorgeous, all stereotypical Tuscan villas and gardens. There’s this really pretty, long gravel drive up to the main building that’s lined with tall skinny trees - it looks like a movie set. La Pietra itself is a historical landmark with 5 acres of gardens (we have a formal dance there at the end of the semester), and then there are also 4 other buildings on campus, which is where I’ll take most of my classes. My photography class meets in a different part of Florence, in a photography studio (imagine that), so this weekend I’ll try to figure out my way there.

Most of the people I’ve met are pretty nice. I’ve become pretty close with one of my roommates, Erin. We, and occasionally another roommate, have been spending a lot of time exploring Florence because being in the apartment for a long amount of time with this many people is a little wearing, not that we wouldn't be out wanding around anyway. Our first night we went to Il Duomo, which is about a five minute walk, and found a really cute gelato place, and decided that it’s completely acceptable to have gelato for dinner… The food here is generally delicious, lots of really fresh fruits and veggies, and really, really great bread and cheese. A crowd of us went out last night and spent about 3 hours eating dinner, pasta.

Today was our first really free day, we’ve had a few days of orientation, so Erin and I went to Fiesole, this really quaint little hillside town right outside of Florence. There’s a bus that goes up there, but we wanted to explore so we walked, which ended up taking a few hours. I loved, loved, loved it, the countryside here really is very, very beautiful. Pictures later.

I miss everyone, but I feel like this semester is going to go by much faster than I want it to and it won’t be long before I’m back in Maine.