Friday, September 30, 2011

September 30th

WOW already the 30th of September? Gosh! Well I am excited to see what fall in Florence is like! I am excited to see the colors change on the near by Tuscan hills and to see the new fall fashions that the Italians will be wearing!

Today was pretty interesting! I woke up and finished doing my laundry and started working right away on my homework because I am going out of town tonight for the weekend. So I worked on completing a paper that is due on Monday and I went on a walk with a group from school to the Oltrarno district of Florence which is known as the artisan quarters which are nestled among the Renaissance palaces. We went to a leather factory, a stone factory, a jewelry factory, and to a print making shop. It was amazing. I wasn't able to take any pictures so I am super bummed about that but it was just really interesting to see the amount of skill that these people have. I think my favorite shop was the stone factory. The shop has been in the family for 10 generations and they have created tables and pieces of art work for countless royal families including the Medici family. It takes them 6 months to create a table and the one in the shop was being sold for 25,000 Euro. Ridiculous.

I came home and blogged and finished my homework while talking with Chris and Jes.

Ok so where I am going....
Last Sunday I went to a mass at the church that is a block away from my apartment because I was running late from our run. I sat in mass doing my rosary and after a woman came up to me and said in broken english "I am in charge of the youth here, would you like to go to a retreat this weekend?" I agreed and we exchanged information. This entire week I have been having a struggle with whether or not I was going to go and I had been praying very hard about it and trying to hear what I should do. I feel that God is telling me to go because I will regret it if I do not take advantage of this opportunity. It is something that is WAY out of my comfort zone but I feel He will be there with me telling me that I am ok. There will be a few English speaking people there and so she said I will be able to be with them. I am very excited and this is an adventure that I am sure I will not forget. I have my rosary with me for security so in case I am completely alone, at least I will be able to spend the weekend doing the rosary! Wish me luck, and more importantly pray for me!

I will tell you how it goes on Sunday night when I return!

Con amore, Ciao!

September 29th

Ok, so I have been going through a lot of mood swings lately (thank you Chris for dealing with me) and needless to say, the moodosaurus is in full swing. I have decided that I am not going to cut back on my blog but I am going to cut down on my facebook and time spent on skype during the daylight hours. That way, I can go out and explore and spend time doing what I came here to do, which is learn and grow.

So yesterday I woke up and started my laundry which I have decided is going to be my Thursday ritual. I think it is a good day because I have all morning to switch loads and transfer things to the drying racks and clothes lines. I worked on my Italian homework which was a letter to a friend, I chose you Yanney, and it was just writing about what we like about Firenze and what we have done. It is very difficult when my teacher assigns things like this because we have only learned two verbs so far, essere and avere. Those are I am Lauren and I have a cold and what the difference is between the two, which is actually QUITE confusing. Some situations it is very obvious as to what the correct verb to use is and other situations it is not. Oh well, maybe I will get it one day.

After lunch and finishing my homework I went to Italian class and got back our quiz and first assignment that we handed in. A on the quiz and B+ on the assignment, not too shabby Moore, not too shabby. I was very proud of myself and very thankful that I studied. The quiz was not as difficult as I thought it was going to be, but it was still difficult.

After class I came home and got ready to go start one of my other assignments for my lighting class. We had to go to a few different assigned stores and take pictures of their lighting fixtures and analyze what type of lighting they are, what type of bulb they have, and if they were the correct choice for the space. I took the pictures of the stores that allowed me to, Armani was not one of those, and then took pictures outside of the interiors of those that did not allow me to take them. The shop owners were very nice but made it very clear that I was not allowed to take them inside, but I was allowed to step outside and take them from the windows, oh well, I got the first portion of the assignment finished.

I came home and had more of my left over spaghetti, still not tired of pasta, for dinner and went to go meet up with some friends for dinner. I was going to get a coffee or something while they ate. I had to finish my pasta before this weekend because I don't want it to go bad and since I wont be in town, I have to finish it. I will get into where I am going later in the post.

I went to go meet with them but I wasn't able to find the restaurant. I walked around for half an hour trying to find it, tried calling, and even tried asking for directions. Nothing worked. I walked around for another 30 minutes trying to find it because I knew I was just around the corner from it, but was not successful. I took a long, slow walk home going into the different shops along the way. I made it home and spent the rest of the evening doing homework and watching some gossip girl. I had a lot of homework and I had to make sure I got it all done before I left for the weekend.

Con amore, Ciao!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

September 27th and 28th

Well, my faithful readers, it has been called to my attention, as I too have started to realize, that I may be spending too much time at my computer. This is something I started to realize over the weekend but a dear friend pointed it out to me last night. I have been using my computer a lot and I know that it has been putting a dent in the time that I could be out exploring the city. I have used it as a tool to be still attached to home and use it as my way to fee like I am still there in America. Well news flash, Lauren, you are not in America and you did not go through the amount of trouble you did just to feel like you are in America. So! I am taking this time to let you know that I might not be doing my nightly blog posts anymore. I think that instead of me posting every single little detail about my day, maybe I should just simply say what the highlight of my day was or if I did something new or, obviously, what I made for dinner. So, I am sorry if I am MIA for a day, but I am going to take some great advice, and find what he termed as my "la dolce vita" (just kidding, Dad, it is a metaphor, don't worry)

So today I have done well with not being attached to the computer and I can tell a little bit about my last two days and what the highlights were. Yesterday I had my first Italian quiz which I think went really well! I studied for it, and I hope it payed off. For dinner I had more of my spaghetti dish from Sunday and that will actually last me until this weekend! Courtney and I had a great bonding night over gossip girl, so addicting and I am going to limit myself to only one episode when I am in the mood to watch it.

Today I had my wine class and we were able to taste both table grapes and wine grapes. Table grapes we are all used to and wine grapes have a thick skin with only a little bit of pulp. My wine class is one of my favorites because it is just so dang interesting! I am learning so much about wine and it is great. For our final project I have to write a paper about my favorite type of wine that I have tried here so far, I am obviously choosing the gewurztraminer, which of course will require at least a bottle or two of research.

I went to la statzione and bought my bigletto dell'treno to Milan! I am going next weekend to visit Catie! Our itinerary is playing in Milan on Friday then going to Lugano Friday through Sunday! I can't wait and it feels like a dream that we are doing this. Oh, who started out her conversation in Italian? This girl. I then went to the post office to purchase my stamps for the post cards I bought. Who started out her conversation in Italian? This girl. The stamps were SO expensive. I spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening wandering around and then going to buy toilet paper. I also went into the Piazza della Signornia to read some of my book. Overall, a great two days.

I don't know exactly when my next post will be because I am still on my quest, but I do know it will be before the end of the week. Maybe I will try to do an every other day post.

Till then...

Con amore, Ciao!

Monday, September 26, 2011

September 26th

Today I woke up and had some cocoa puffs for breakfast and decided that I am just going to eat them until I get sick of them! It was only 1.19 Euro for the bag and it has lasted me OVER a week and I am still not done with them! That is pretty awesome! I swept and mopped the floors because the housing people were coming over today to inspect our apartment and I wanted the floors to look extra shiny!

After they came over I packed my lunch for school and got ready to go to my lighting class. We learned about a lighting company that is local to Italy and they are very environmentally minded. I had him look over my chandelier design and he loved it! I will start constructing it this weekend while Courtney gallivants off to France. Whatever.

After lighting class I had my sustainable design class and my group finally decided what jobs we are going to accomplish. Our midterm project is to take an existing train station and turn it into a conference center. My job is to select the furniture and create the floor plan. It will be interesting trying to find different Italian companies, I am so used to my Herman Miller and Steelcase that it will be weird selecting someone else. I had the rest of the left over salad from last night for dinner and oh was it good. The only thing I would change would be to add more fresh bread, it was saugy from being in the fridge with the oil and vinegar. That is actually what the recipe called for, but I am a crunchy girl. During break from class I went and got some gelato. HOLY MOLY. The best flavors I have had yet. I tried a new place which is right next to my school building (which could be bad) and I got the woman at the counter's two favorites; nocciola (hazelnut) and santa corce (a specialty of the shop which is a cream base with chocolate drizzle and raspberry jam swirled in). I sat in the Piazza Santa Croce and enjoyed my santa croce gelato, needless to say, a ritual has been born of Monday night gelato.

I came home and studied for my first Italian quiz. I skyped with both Chris and Jes and I got great news of Jes having an interview tomorrow! Great job Yessi! Knock em dead!

Con amore, Ciao!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

September 25th

Today started off with our breast cancer run. I feel like the Italians don't understand what the purpose of a schedule is and it is quite humorous. We were supposed to start the event at 9. The gun didn't go off until 9:30 and even then, it took us about 15 minutes to cross the start line. The entire thing was just so unorganized that it made me really realize how the Italian culture is just so "go with the flow". I could keep going about the experience, but I would just end up rambling, if you would like more details, we can skype about it.

I went to a new church this morning because I got done with the run later than I had hoped for. This one was just a little church that is down the street from my apartment. I have often wanted to go to this one and see what was inside but had never taken the opportunity. It was obviously in Italian so I made sure I had my rosary with me and just said that during the mass until communion then I understood what was going on, sort of.

Lunch today consisted of a sandwich that had salami, bologna, cheese, and tomato. And after lunch I skyped with Catie and we figured out the details of my trip to go and visit her! I will leave Florence on October 7th where we will play in Milan for the day then go up to Lugano where she lives until Sunday. I am so excited! This will be such an adventure and I can't wait to see her.

After our great date, I went to the market and then to go grocery shopping for the dinner I made from the cookbook. I will go shopping for more things on wednesday but for now, I have leftovers from tonight's dinner. Freddy and Adrian came over for a dinner and it was delicious. I made a salad from my cookbook that had tomato, cucumber, red onion, and bread in it. (Sound familiar, mom and dad?) And the spaghetti I doctored up from what was in the cookbook. It had tomatoes which I stewed, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, and panchetta. It was so delicious and I am so excited for left overs tomorrow!

After dinner I was able to skype with Chris and hear about how Ronnie's birthday party went, apparently fun was had by all. I finished the night with homework, gross. I did so much homework this weekend, I forgot what it felt like. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

September 24th

I started the day with sleeping in until around 11:30 then got ready to go to the market to price shop. It turns out that the market we went to today is actually cheaper for fruits and veggies than it is at the supermarket! Not by much, but by about 50 cents a kilogram on average. I am definitely going back tomorrow to get my fruits and veggies for the week. I like the fact that it is cheaper and everything will be locally grown. I also feel like this way I am getting the true Florence experience by shopping at the open air market. On the way home I went by the train station to see if it would be cheaper to buy the tickets to visit Catie at the station vs online. Truth is, it isn't. I am so bummed because Courtney saved over half the cost of her trip by going to the station and I don't save any!

I got home and worked on homework and then skyped with my mom for about an hour! It was great to see her and talk to her for so long. We decided to have a weekly skype date and I love that. After skyping I did more homework until it was time to go to dinner.

We went with two girls that Courtney has class with to a restaurant called Quattro Leoni which was highly recommend to both Courtney and I from different people. It is by far the best food we have had here yet. The portions were a bit on the small side but the food was to die for. It was reasonably priced but the portions were smaller than we had hoped for. The food tasted so fresh and I think we will go back again. I got a ravioli dish with a tomato sauce and a cheese filling. It was delicious! On the way home we got some gelato. It wasn't the best we have had, but it was still very good!

Tomorrow morning Courtney and I have a breast cancer fundraiser run. It is only about a 5k but it will still be fun! I will be able to cross running off my list for tomorrow and it is for a good cause, a double whammy!

Con amore, Ciao!

Friday, September 23, 2011

September 23rd

Pretty sub-par day filled with miscellaneous tasks (again, I feel like I do that a lot). I started the day with breakfast of "cocoa puffs", coffee, and joghurt! Frutti di bosco was the flavor of the day and I have decided that of this brand, the fruit flavors aren't very good. So I think for when I get them again, I will stick to the cafe flavor because that was the most delicious out of the five flavors that I got this past week.

After breakfast I got my load of clothes into the washer and got ready to go to the gym with Courtney. She wanted me to do her ab workout with her and so I decided I would go! Why not? So, in conclusion, there is a reason why she has a six pack. I tried to keep up with her but needless to say, she left me in the dust! I did a little work on the treadmill on some super high incline and then we headed to off to lunch. Courtney got some meal vouchers at the school's restaurant and she has been trying to use them up. It is so much cheaper for us to cook than her to buy more vouchers and so we are using them up. I got a spicy salami, eggplant, and some sort of cheese panini and it was so delicious.

We went to the supermarket after lunch so Courtney could get some milk for her cereal tomorrow morning. It was a quick trip and we are going again tomorrow for everything and for an assignment for Italian class. I am making my first dish out of my cookbook and I am so excited! It sounds like it is some sort of spaghetti with bacon and I don't see anything being wrong with that!

Finished putting my laundry on the clothes line and I started doing my homework. I have so much homework for this weekend and turns out, vacation is over. I think I might have said that before, but now it is very official. After an afternoon of homework we had some dinner, which for me, it was leftovers. It was mushy rice with veggies from our last concoction, needless to say, it was not good as a left over.

We finished the night with a few episodes of Gossip Girl and some blogging. I am very excited for shopping tomorrow at the open air market because our teacher is sending us to the "cheapest" open air market to price shop. This will be good for me because it is going on an adventure to do something that I have been wanting to do. I have been wanting to price compare for a little while now but haven't had, or taken, the opportunity yet. This is an assignment and I am getting graded to do something that I have been wanted to do. Score Lauren!

Con amore, Ciao!

September 22nd

Gosh guys, I am sorry that I am really starting to drop the ball on these posts. I am funny, only a day late and I feel like I am failing everyone. Well in my defense I think I bombarded everyone with the novels yesterday so I wanted to give your eyes a break, doing you a favor, really. Ok avanti!

So yesterday was a pretty eventful day and probably the best day EVER! I got a lot of things done in the morning that I needed to do. I was able to organize my desk table, respond to a lot of emails (I feel like I am always emailing or blogging), washed our bed sheets, swept, and get a lot of homework done before my class at 3. I do enjoy having a class later in the day because it makes me concentrate on different little tasks that I want to get done during my day, it is like a nice little deadline. 

I went to my Italian class which went really well! I got almost all of my homework correct and I was thrilled. We reviewed for our first quiz which is next Tuesday, yikes, and did some more learning of vocabulary.

After class I went for a super quick run, and by quick I mean I was speedy Gonzales. I ran 2 miles in 17 minutes. Ok, I know that is slow, (that was a comment towards you, Rebekah) but for me, that was ridiculously quick. Granted I felt really nauseous and light headed after, but that isn't the point, is it?

I came home and got the best news ever, but I can't say what it is just yet, that will be revealed next week or after I receive permission. I skyped for a bit with Kelly which was great because we haven't been able to since last week. I miss seeing her face and texting her almost as much as I text Chris. Courtney and I made the same dinner again, but this time instead of sausage, we used gouda cheese which was almost as good as the sausage. The sausage gave it a little bit of spice and I really liked that, but the cheese made it super gooey!

After dinner I did more cleaning up around the apartment and skyped with Jessica for a little bit. Courtney and I got ready to go out and we had an amazing time dancing. In short, it will be hard to top last night.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

September 21st

I woke up and had the cocoa puffs again and this time they were better than the day before! I think that because I was expecting them to taste like American cocoa puffs I was disappointed, but truth is, they aren't too bad! I had pineapple joghurt and that was delicious as well! I am on a roll with this whole joghurt flavor picking business!

In wine class we learned about the north east region of Italy and their different types of wine. It is very interesting how different types of wine are produced and how different regions handle their wines. Interesting fact! A sauvignon blanc is of the best quality when it smells like cat pee. I think I will stick with my barefoot wine and go with not the best quality. Personally, I love barefoot. It will forever now remind me of South Carolina and the amazing memories I have from visiting the Marshalls.

After class, I went to the opposite end of Florence to the oldest train station they have called the Leopolda Station. It was abandoned for many years and is just now starting to be used again as a place to be rented out for fashion shows, parties, and concerts. We are "renovating" a private portion of the station for a project in my Sustainable Design class and it is AWESOME! The interior was gorgeous and I really wish I had my camera with me to take pictures.

After my visit there, I went to a nearby supermarket to get things for lunches because I still had not had the chance to go to get lunch meat and bread. After realizing that I spent too much money on my lunch meat, I was distracted and not remembering where I was walking. I got very lost. I had a map with me that was supplied by my sustainable teacher so we would be able to find the station, but the street names were blurry and I couldn't read anything. I started freaking out and it hit me that I had no idea where I was and I was in an area of town that spoke almost no English. I had a little break down but then I realized that that was not being at all productive or helpful so I went towards the sun and towards the direction where I knew the river was. I knew that as long as I found the river that I would be able to find my way home. I finally found the river and let me tell you, after about a half hour of walking along the river, I have never been more excited to see the Ponte Vecchio in my life. First time of getting lost in Florence? Check.

I made it home and had my first cup of coffee! I bought some at the super market for 79 cents and it was so good! I used my Moka for the first time and I spilled the first cup I made, but when I made it the second time, it was amazing! I had lunch of cheese, cherry tomatoes, peach, and my coffee. I know that sounds not good together, but it was delicious. I did some homework and emails before I started getting ready to head to the Fiorentina futbol game!

I went to the game with Freddy, Adrian, Conner, and David. Courtney was going to go but realized she had class right before we bought the tickets so she wasn't able to join so it was just me and the boys. I went to their apartment and then we went to get kebobs for dinner. The kebobs were SO good and I can't wait for my next one! It was 3.5 Euro for one and a drink. They are so filling and SO delicious. I can't even describe how good it was.

We went to the game and it was so much fun! Fiorentina played Parma and it was a great game! A very boring first half but in the second half Fiorentina scored three times and we won 3-0. Great game! I am excited for my next one which will hopefully be when Chris comes to visit but we aren't sure yet about what time his plane will land so we might be cutting it close on if we are able to go or not. We will find out soon enough though and obviously I will fill you all in. After the game, the boys walked me home which I was not expecting them to do. Not that they aren't nice guys by any means, but sometimes boys these days don't think of things like walking a girl home in the dark or opening the door for her. It is nice to know that I have made such nice friends and I am very thankful.

Con amore, Ciao!

September 20th

Sorry for these being delayed but I have just been so tired from not getting much sleep this past weekend to be able to post these. I have been keeping a short outline of what I do that day so I am not forgetting anything. I know for a fact that you are all enjoying my move by move detailed posts of what I do during my day; don't even try and deny it!

Ok, so I woke up and had my first bowl of the Italian version of cocoa puffs. They weren't good but they weren't too bad, I was just envisioning them tasting as good as American cocoa puffs, but they don't. I would compare them to an Aldi version. You know, not the original, but they don't taste horrible? Well, hopefully they will get better as I go through the bag. I guess that is also what I get for buying the least expensive cereal on the shelf! I had some apricot joghurt with it and surprisingly that was a lot better than I thought it was going to be. I am so happy that the joghurt tastes as good as it does, it was inexpensive and a great source of probiotics!

In my cad class I started to learn a program called Revit and (you are going to have to bare with me on this) it is the coolest program I think I have EVER used! It is a mixture of sketchup, autocad, 3d autocad, and photoshop. It is the coolest program next to sims and I CAN'T wait to continue learning it! The best part is that I am only at the beginning of using it; I still have so much to learn! It is going to be a great semester! After class, my teacher and I tried to go to a restaurant but it was closed for a private party so we will have to try again next week. It is really nice to have a teacher ask you out to lunch. I have never had that experience and it made me feel very special. Kind of like she doesn't look at me like I am just some student, she looks at me like I am a peer and I love that feeling. She is a very nice and patient woman who I am very thankful to have as a teacher.

After we separated, I still hadn't had lunch and so I went to a little cafe around the corner from my next class's building and got a prosciutto and artichoke sandwich which was mouth wateringly good. I am so excited to get artichokes this weekend at the supermarket so I can have these sandwiches ALL next week! YUM!

I had Italian class after lunch and I got almost all of my answers on my homework correct! I was so happy. I thought I was not doing well but it turns out that I am actually doing ok! I have been using the words that I know here and there and the Italians are a lot more friendly than people led me to believe. If you speak slowly and try to speak to them in Italian, they are willing to help you and are very patient with you. When I don't know a word, I simply ask, and then continue saying what I was saying or asking. Ok guys, obviously I am not fluent, but I have started getting by and my confidence in my Italian has started to grow. I am making flashcards this weekend so I can start practicing more and more.

After class I came home and got ready to go for a run. I went on my run and stayed near the river so there would be people around and also so that I wouldn't get lost. I was doing great on my run and when it was over I felt amazing. I am so thankful to God that he gave me the ability to be able to go on long runs and that I can use that time to go through my rosary and prayer cycle, it is amazing and I don't know how else to explain the feeling other than that. I got home and mapped out my run on google maps because I was very curious as to how far I ran. I RAN 6.213 MILES IN UNDER AN HOUR!!!! That is awesome! I didn't hurt after and my knees never once hurt! I guess that is the big Guy upstairs way of telling me to pray more and I am totally fine with!

After showering Courtney and I started our dinner which was an actual Italian dish! It was sausage, pepper, onion, garlic, eggplant and I had a little rice with mine, Court made herself a salad. It was SO good! I can't wait to have it for dinner again! It was so flavorful and SO healthy. Ok ok ok , I know sausage isn't at all healthy for you, but that was the only non healthy thing in there. Pretty good, right? I think so!

We finished dinner and the dishes then got started on homework. I was about to go to bed when a friend facebooked me asking a question about an assignment that was apparently due in the morning. I had totally forgotten about the paper that I was supposed to write so I had to do that before going to bed. It was a paper for my wine class where we had to pick a time period and say why they had the best wine. I argued in my paper that the Italian middle ages had the best wine. I have no idea why I chose that, but it turned out to be pretty good paper!

Con amore, Ciao!

Monday, September 19, 2011

September 19th

This morning was a good one! I was able to sleep in a little bit which was very nice because I went to bed so late last night. I started my laundry early this morning and made sure I was able to get it all out and on the drying racks before I had to go to class. I had a leisurely morning eating breakfast and working on some homework. I went grocery shopping and got some food for the week. The supermarket I go to was out of sandwich meat so I will have to go back either tomorrow or Wednesday if I plan on having sandwiches. Instead of getting a big container of yogurt (johgurt), I decided to try different flavors of their little containers. It is important for me to start trying new things and to get adventurous with my food because I know if I don’t, that I will regret it. I got a café flavored johgurt and let me tell you, I am going to stock up on that flavor next week. It was the one I was most hesitant about but it is seriously SO delicious. I wish I had gotten more than one of that flavor.

This week Courtney and I will be making sausage with bell peppers and eggplant. We are both very tired of carbs so we are going to try to stick with as many veggies as possible. For dinner I packed a salad that I bought which has corn, green and black olives, tomatoes, and I cut up a whole yellow bell pepper to put in it, I am very excited.

I headed off to my lighting class a little late because I was too busy enjoying my johgurt to realize what time it was. I got there on time, however, which was a very good thing considering that this is the first time I have actually gone to this class. I transferred in so I missed the first week, they went on a field trip and the teacher didn’t email me for the second week, and so this being the third week, I was very happy to be able to attend. This class is going to be tough and is going to require me studying a lot. From my understanding, we will be having papers to write instead of tests, but the papers are pretty intense and this is definitely a class that will be important for me to understand because it deals so much with design and how lighting and your choice of lighting affect your designs. Our midterm is creating a new light fixture and building it in cad so I am excited about that. I already have a few sketches and ideas of what I want it to look like. It involves mirrors and glass bulbs; that is all I know for certain right now, but I will try to give updates as my design progresses. 

In my sustainable design class I am doing a report on the architect Zaha Hadid. She is such an inspirational woman and really inspires me. She was the first female recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize which is basically the Nobel Peace Prize of the architecture world. That is pretty awesome. In what seems like so much of a man’s world in architecture, it is great to see that a woman is able to compete with the boys and beat them. Yes, Dad I know, who is this and what has she done with your daughter. Seriously though, the more research that I do on this woman, the more she makes me want to do amazing things. The internet kept going in and out on the computers so it made for doing the research for the assignment very difficult. I got a lot of it done but I still have a little ways to go on the presentation. It is a good thing that it isn’t due until October 17th. I am almost finished with it, I finished her biography and now I just need to insert some photographs of her work and describe each one which will be easy enough. I will be able to finish it this weekend because the plan is to have a very relaxing, homework filled weekend for Courtney and I. Ellen and Miriam are going off to Paris to celebrate their birthdays, that sounds so wonderful. I personally, would still take my 21st birthday party over going to Paris. My parents threw me my party and my dad played bartender while my mother served the hors d'œuvre. Best. Birthday. Ever. It was amazing and I had so much fun celebrating with my friends and family. However, I can see how Paris could compete with that…sort of! 

I got out of class early because the internet kept crapping out at school so we weren’t able to do any further research on our projects. I came home and put away my laundry and skyped with dad a little bit which is always a great time. I am thankful that he knows how to do that and I also set up a date with my mom for Saturday, it is so exciting. I ended the night with blogging out a few novels! I hope you enjoyed! 

Con amore, Ciao!

September 16th, 17th, and 18th

This is going to be a monster of a post so I apologize ahead of time!

Sept 16th
Courtney and I got up and went for a run which was really nice and a great way to start the weekend. Since I knew I wasn't going to be able to go for a run this past weekend, I wanted to make sure that I went with her. After our run, we got a sandwich for lunch because we knew it would end up being a long time before we were able to eat on the excursion. I got a sandwich with tomatoes, lettuce, and cheese. When we got back to the apartment I put the rest of my prosciutto and salami that I had left from the week onto the sandwich and started packing for our weekend.

We made our way to where the group was meeting and waited for the bus. Once on the bus, I passed the time with teaching a few friends how to play crazy 8's, that helped the three hours to pass by a little easier. We made it to the hotel which was in a city that looked like a Californian beach town and it was very quaint. The single story, stucco houses and the side of the road restaurants would have made you swear you were in California.

After dropping off our stuff at the hotel and getting a little settled, we went to a beach town about 30 minutes away from the hotel called Talamone. It was one of the most beautiful places that I have been. We explored the little town and walked along the city streets in awe of what was around us. Between the sun setting and the yachts on the water, this town was breath taking.

We went back to the hotel after about two hours and had dinner and that was delicious. We had many courses and they were all equally scrumptious. First was orzo with shrimp, then split pea soup (gross, but actually kind of delicious, don't tell my parents I said that), gnocchi with a cheese sauce, fish, eggplant and pepper, pork and potatoes, and finished the dinner off with tiramisu. After dinner, I walked around the little town with a few friends and talked for a while. It was very fun and relaxing.

Sept 17th
Woke up and had some delicious granola and espresso, great way to start my morning. We all loaded onto the bus to go to an Etruscan town called Populonia and looked at the tombs that they had found during the first world war when they were digging for more iron. An interesting thing about the beach and the soil there is that because there is still iron in it, it looks as though it is covered in glitter, it is gorgeous.

We spent about an hour at the tombs and then about five hours at the beach. It was a very nice and relaxing day. When we finished with the beach we went back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. Before dinner, a few of us girls went to get gelato at the near by place because we had heard it was delicious and we knew we wouldn't be able to get any later that night because we were going to be at the dinner for a very long time. I got stracciatella and frutti di bosco which were both delicious. We went to a town called Porto Santo and went to a ristorante named "Il Bottegone" which was a really cute family owned restaurant. See if you notice any similarity between this dinner and the previous night's dinner. We had orzo with shrimp, fish with eggplant and peppers, and tiramisu for dessert. It was good, but not nearly as good as the night before. We went back to the hotel and went straight to bed. Everyone was so exhausted from being out in the sun all day.

Sept 18th
We got up for breakfast where I had delicious granola again and two cups of espresso, so delicious. Loaded the buses once again and made our way to a town called Fattoria which is in the Maremma region located in the hills of Tuscany. It was breath taking. Want to know what it looked like? Go watch Under the Tuscan Sun, seriously. Once we were there we watched an equestrian show about how their culture goes about branding the cattle they have on their organic farm by lassoing it and the hog tying it. We didn't watch them actually brand the cattle, but it was very interesting watching the process of how their culture does things. Even though it seemed very hurtful to the cattle, I still can't help but feel that they were nicer to their animals than American farmers. I'm not trying to start anything so please don't take it that way, I am simply just saying my opinion. After the cattle round up, we watched them play a game on the horses in which they have a rose attached to their arms and are divided into two teams. The teams try to steal the other team's roses and whoever's team captures all the opponents roses first, wins. It was quite amusing to watch big, Italian men on horses trying to steal roses.

After watching the game we went and had an organic lunch that was created on the farm where we were. The best meal I have had here in Italy. Our first course was a type of ricotta cheese thing (I am great with descriptions), turkey with a gravy and potatoes, and for dessert we had a pastry with either a custard or a peach jam. Obviously, I had both. The meal was delicious and the farm's villa was gorgeous. I want to go back again, but it was very expensive. One thing that I am very thankful for is that this program I am going through has a lot of included excursions in the tuition price. The past two excursions are both things that I would have never thought of doing and so it is really great that they have these trips planned out and that they are included in the program cost. There have been a lot of pros and cons to the SAI program that I am going through, but this has definitely been one of the pluses.

We took the bus back to Florence which for some reason seemed to take five hours to get back when it only took us three hours to get to our first destination. The time we traveled didn't make much sense to me but it isn't too big of a deal because I made it back. Once we got back my roommates and a few girls we met this weekend went out to dinner. I had a mixed salad and Fettecini pasta Bolognese style. Amazing dinner.

Went back to the apartment and started laundry right away. Even though we have only been here for a few weeks, after being gone all weekend, it was nice to feel as though you made it "home"

Con amore, Ciao!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

September 15th

Today seemed to go by in somewhat of a blur. I woke up and started doing my laundry right away. My first class wasn't until 3 today so I had some time to kill. I did some homework and got ready to go and get my first futbol tickets! It will be so much fun and I am very excited! I went with two friends of mine to go and get the tickets but the booth was closed for lunch hour when we got there so we walked around and went window shopping. We stopped in a book store because one souvenir that I really want is a cook book. I will use the book here and cook with it, and then have the memories of "oh I made that in Florence" when I am older. The book was only 8 euro so I was very excited. We walked around for a while longer and then went back to the booth. Turns out the booth was still closed so we went back to my apartment for a little while where I finished my homework and got ready to go to class.

Italian class was the same as it was on Tuesday, I couldn't understand a single word. I got my homework correct though so I must be doing something right! I will hopefully know what that is come test time.

After class I came home and I was so excited to open my cook book and start planning a meal for next week. Unfortunately, it turned out I bought the Italian version of the cook book, not the English version. So I ran back to the store and exchanged it for the English version, so you know, I could actually use it.

When I got back, Courtney and I left to go to our dinner party which was a lot of fun. We met a lot of really nice girls and we are going to try and get together with then in the next few weeks for either going out or just going to dinner. There are a lot of little cute dinner places that I really want to try so I think dinner is more likely. After dinner we went and got some gelato! I tried pistachio for the first time, and oh my goodness. It was too good. I paired it with fragola (strawberry) and it was a great combination.

After gelato, Courtney and I came back and got ready to go out. We wanted to try a different bar than the one we usually go to. It was a lot of fun and a lot different than what we have gone to before. It was an outside bar and it was so nice. There was a good mix of older, younger, creepy, and non-creepy people around so it made for a good time. We didn't dance much, but still had a great time.

Tomorrow I leave for my three day excursion with the school. We are going to the Mediterranean Sea and then to a few islands. On the excursion, we will be visiting farms and then also helping out with an equestrian show! I am so excited! It will be a very good weekend! Be prepared for a very long post either Sunday or Monday!

Have a great and safe weekend!

Con amore, Ciao!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

September 14th

Started off the day with my parfait then headed over to my wine tasting class. Today we had three wines, two white and one red. I have never really loved a wine, but I LOVED this wine. It was so sweet and in a word, perfect. It was 14% alcohol and I couldn't even taste the alcohol which is amazing because, as I have learned, 14% in a wine is rather high alcohol content. We are learning how to judge wines based on color, consistency, and also learning the history of wine. It is actually really fascinating and something I will remember for a long, long time.

After class and my delicious wine, I headed over to meet Courtney for lunch. There is a restaurant run by the culinary kids that attend my school. I had a pasta dish with creamy white sauce, cherry tomatoes, and arugula. It was pretty good! It was a little on the cold side, but it was still pretty flavorful.

After lunch I came home and had a really intense nap. I napped for about an hour and a half and it was a great nap. After my nap I had the rest of our chicken soup we made for dinner and Courtney headed off to class. Once she was gone, Ellen, one of my other roommates, and I went on a two our long walk across the river. We ended up at a place called Pizza de Michelangelo and it was gorgeous. You could see all of Florence and since it was sunset, it made for a really romantic setting; Ellen and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Pictures are on facebook, of course.

When we made it home I had a tuna (tonno), apple, and cherry tomato salad, it was good and my last night of it for the week. I did pretty well with planning out my meals for this week. Tomorrow Courtney and I were invited to our first dinner party at the apartment of some girls that we met last weekend! I am so excited! On our way home, of course we will be getting some gelato for dessert.

I ended the night with a skype with my dad. It was great and filled with laughter. I love him so much and miss him and mom a lot. I will see them soon though! Wow, only three more months left. I was talking with Courtney about this last night, even though we have only been here for two weeks, it seems like we have been here for two months. I know the rest of the time will fly by, but at the moment it seems like it is creeping. I love it here, don't get me wrong, but time is just a funny concept.

Con amore, Ciao!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September 13th

Alright. First I need to share something that is going to make me seem like a crazy lady. Last night was the third time this has happened since arriving in Italy. You all know the phase of sleep when you are starting to drift off, but aren't actually there yet? Well, I keep opening my eyes in that part and seeing neon green spiders spinning webs above my head. It freaks me out enough to wake me up and try to figure out what is going on, but last night, the spiders started to crawl down and come onto me. I yelled and turned on the light, obviously startling Courtney, and I just don't understand what this means? Liz, any ideas? Maybe ask Katherine, this seems up her ally.

Other than my crazy moment, I slept really well! I woke up and had my parfait for breakfast. I went to my autocad class and met with my teacher. This class is an independent study so I am the only student in the class. The teacher is there for an hour and we discuss what is going on then she leaves and I am by myself to work on whatever she has assigned. Today we decided that we are going to concentrate on Revit and just work on that for the rest of the semester so that I will be able to become a master at it! I am ok with this because she said that this is the more difficult of them to learn and that it will be really beneficial to me if we design the course to be this way. I was able to go home early because I had my projects on my home computer, not in my email.

Once home, I cleaned up a bit, had some lunch, and watched some Gossip Girl. One of my roommates brought season one with her.

I went to my Italian class and unfortunately, this is one of the ones that had to be switched. I really liked my original teacher but because my schedule changed, I was assigned to a different class. This teacher is impossible to understand and teaches right out of the workbook that is in Italian. Not one word is in English. Oh well, thank goodness they have tutors!

I came home and worked out and soon after I was able to skype with my mom, dad, sister, and uncle! It was so wonderful! I miss them so much. Today I was feeling very home sick so it was nice to see them. I had soup and salad for dinner then did homework and responded to emails.

Then looked at Chris through skype :) long story that doesnt need explaining

Con amore, Ciao!

Monday, September 12, 2011

September 12th

Today was a great day! I found out my final class schedule and I couldn't be happier! I got everything that I wanted.

Unfortunately though, I had to start out my  morning as though I still had class at nine, knowing that I might not. So I got up at 7 and had my parfait for breakfast, which was so good, I had vanilla yogurt, granola, strawbs and bloobs, and some juice on the side. Great breakfast. I walked to school and picked up my finalized schedule. I have three classes that will now transfer over as real classes to Harrington! How great! That makes me being here even more financially reasonable. I will have to take five in the spring, three in the summer, four in the fall, and three in the spring! Then, I am done, done, done! AHHH I am so excited! Unfortunately, the way my school is designed, I cant combine the and make it so I would graduate in the winter, I have to wait until spring. Oh well, I am ok with that though because it wont be a full course load.

My new schedule is:
Monday: 12 to 8:30
Tuesday: 9 to 4:15
Wednesday: 9 to 11:30
Thursday: 3 to 4:15

I am not used to going to school four days a week, but I am sure I wont have a problem with the adjustment. I went back to the apartment and made my lunch and dinner to bring with me. Dinner was a tuna salad with apples and tomatoes with oil and vinegar dressing.

I went to class thinking that, well, there would actually be a class, but they were on a field trip and the teacher never emailed me. He left a note at the front desk that I have an excused absence for today and that he looks forward to meeting me. Wow. He couldn't have just emailed? Oh well, I hope this isn't a preview for the semester!

I talked with a friend for a little while that I ran into at the building and waited for my next class to start. Unfortunately, my sustainable class was one of the ones that had to be switched. So instead of redesigning an old farm house in Chianti, I am going to be redesigning the old train station of Florence. I am a little bummed because there is no on site inspection needed, but at least I will have one of the classes crossed off my list from my Harrington!

So once class ended, finally, I was able to go meet Courtney for some gelato! We tried a new place that was highly recommended by our roommates and I also tried two new flavors. Amarena, which is a cherry flavor, and cioccolato al latte, which is chocolate with espresso in it. Both were very good and a great combination. The cioccolato was better than the amarena, but both were delicious.

Ended the night with a skype with Chris. I am very thankful we have been able to skype and have communication as much as we have, I feel very blessed.

Con amore, Ciao!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11th

Well, it is hard to believe that it was ten years ago that the greatest American tradgey happened. I can remember sitting in my drama teacher's classroom and not understanding what was happening. My friend posted on her facebook one of the most profound things today. In her status she said, "I didn't understand it then, but I will never forget." Thinking back on it, being in 6th grade, I had absolutely no idea what was happening, what it meant, and how many lives would be lost over the next ten years of my life. There have been countless lives that have been lost and affect from what happened on that day and they will forever be remembered.

Well, I guess there is no real transition that I can easily make, but I thought that it was at least important to express the feelings I have about this day.

I woke up this morning and went to the Santa Croce mass at 11. I brought my rosary with me and said it during the mass because I figured that if I couldn't understand what they were saying, doing the rosary was better than starring off into space and thinking about other things than the mass. After mass, I came back and had a salami and prosciutto sandwich with some tomatoes on it! Delicious!

I spent most of my day responding to emails and catching up on different computer work that I had to do and getting ready for this week. After catching up on that, I took a quick nap then went for a great run. It felt great to run and it wasn't too hot out so it was nice. I am not saying it was perfect weather, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been. I ran 3.66 and it felt amazing. I really need to start running further distances again. I love running anything up to around six or seven but then after that it is just annoying and I want to just finish, it no longer is enjoyable.

After my run, we had chicken soup revisited! Even better the second day because all of the flavors were able to mix and soak up the other flavors. I can't wait to decide what we will make next week! This time, though, we are doing something Italian. I mean, after all, we are IN Italy.

Tomorrow I will be able to update everyone, including myself, on what is going on with my classes and have a final schedule. I am excited and I hope I am able to get everything that I want, that would be wonderful.

I ended the day with a skype with Chris, it was a wonderful.

Con amore, Ciao!

September 9th and 10th

Hello! Sorry this is late, but you will just get two posts today!

Friday was our cruise! It was really great, a lot different than I expected, but it was still a lot of fun. We started the morning off at 445 and went to the piazza where we were supposed to meet up. After the 3 hour bus ride, we finally made it to the coast where we were going to be launching off from to go to the islands. It was beautiful. Just google city coasts in Italy, and that is what it looked like. The colorful buildings all lining the hills, the breathtaking views, the yachts in the harbor, everything, so beautiful. I took so many pictures! We were at the dock for about 30 minutes waiting to board our boat which allowed us to take a lot of really beautiful pictures. After our 45 minute boat ride we finally made it to the island of Giannutri. Saying that the island had nothing on it is an understatement! We walked around for a while before we finally decided to sit and lay out in the sun. There was a ledge where people were jumping off and at first I was too chicken to do it, but then I finally did! I jumped off the cliff! Mom, all the other kids were doing it...... It was about a 20 foot drop into the crystal clear water and I am so happy that I did! How many chances do I have to jump off a cliff? Not very many is the correct answer! So after jumping off a few times we got back onto the boat and crossed the Tyrrhenian Sea to the next island, Gigilo.

Once we were docked we at lunch which was orzo rice with crawfish which was really delicious! Second course was fresh shrimp and fried calamari. The calamari was a little on the greasy side but it was still very, very delicious.

When we were finished with lunch we went and walked around the Isola del Giglio and got some pesca (peach) gelato. It wasn't the most delicious flavor I have had so far, but it was not the worst. We walked around the little island for a long time just taking pictures and enjoying the beautiful surroundings.

Our boat ride and bus ride home were pretty uneventful, mostly just filled with thoughts of what I was going to eat when I made it back to the apartment. Once we were walking home, Courtney and I realized we had no food left so we would have to go out for dinner. We decided on a little place around the corner, I got lasagna and she go chicken with peppers. It was SO delicious.

We were planning on going out but I was way too tired and I wanted to just go to sleep.

I woke up around ten which was wonderful! I haven't been able to sleep in since I got here and so it was very refreshing to have that much rest. We had a late start to the day because I was moving rather slowly, but once I got ready to go, we were very productive. We walked around a lot and then went grocery shopping. We decided to make Chicken Soup this week for our dinners so I was in charge of buying the chicken and Courtney bought the veggies that went into the soup. With chicken included, I spend 30 Euro on food for this week, not too shabby in my opinion.

Once we finished shopping, we came back and started the soup. I boiled my very first whole chicken! It was so exciting! We cut up the carrots, onions, garlic, mushrooms, and noodles to the broth once the chicken was done. We pulled the chicken meat off the body and we added that back into the broth with the rest of the veggies. We let it simmer while I made an attempt to go to the Duomo for mass. An American woman said that I wouldn't be allowed in because my sundress didn't have sleeves. I was dressed like a harlot according to her! So, with my head held high, I thanked her and said "well, looks like I am coming back tomorrow".

We ate the soup and it was so delicious! We each added a little bit of salt, but the soup was so good and I cannot wait to have some the rest of the week! After dinner, we went out with a few new friends and had some drinks at a bar then went out dancing. Overall, it was a very good Saturday.

Con amore, Ciao!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

September 8th

Today I had a big to do list because I had no class, I wanted to try and get a lot of misc things done. I had to do a few running around things today which involved me still trying to get my classes fixed. I had an appointment with the Interior design department chair and the president of student services. I will finish that topic tomorrow once I know the full details of their decision. Nothing bad, but hopefully all good and positive news.

I started the morning with a run with Courtney, came home to shower, then went to that meeting.  On my way back from my meeting I stopped by a little sandwich shop and got one for lunch and one for dinner, totally 5 euro! I was pretty impressed; they were big sandwiches too! I came home and started working on laundry and my to do list. Long story shot, I did a lot of email responding and laundry today. My lunch was a tuna sandwich with tomato and lettuce on it. Then for dinner I had my other sandwich which was ham, cheese, and eggplant. I wish I had heated it up though. It was really good, but would have been better heated up. I started to heat it up in the pan but was too impatient to wait for it to finish/properly heat up. It was very good though. I plan on going back to that shop because they were very nice, good sandwiches, and at a great price!

Tomorrow I am going on an all day cruise to the Tuscan Archipelago. Here is the description my school gave me: With its seven pearls, forms part of the largest protected marine area in the Mediterranean. Join us to discover these two jewel-islands of the Tyrrhenina Sea: the islands of Giglio and Giannutri.

How fun! Sorry for the short post but I didn't really do anything too exciting today other than skype with Chris! It was a well deserved chill day. The next posting will be longer for sure because I will tell you all about my first excursion!

Also, thanks for the comments guys, it really makes me feel loved :)

Con amore, Ciao!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

September 7th

Today was my last day of class and it seems like it went by so quickly! I woke up and had my last two eggs (looks like only toast and pb tomorrow for this signorina) then went to my first class of the day which was Table and Wines of Italy, an Educational Tour Through Vineyards. Too cool. On my way home I passed through a flea market in the Piazza della San Lorenzo and ended up purchasing a cute little fedora! One with black ribbon! It is so cute. He was selling it for 20 Euro, then offered it to me for 17, and I said I only have 15 (which was honest) and so he sold it to me! Great buy! The one I wanted to get was from JCrew and was $45 which is obviously too expensive. So, not only did I get a great one for 15Euro, but now whenever anyone asks me where I got my hat from, I can smile, and say "oh a little flea market in Florence". I feel so cool. Also, I have gotten so many compliments on it today that I have practically gotten it for free! Every compliment knocks .5 Euro off the price right? Is that how it works?

After my amazing purchase, I came home and finished off my salami with a sandwich I made for lunch. Then headed off to my Italian language class which is the only class that I have twice a week. After class I went to the registrar's office to try and get signed up for a class that would transfer back to Harrington as an actual class, but was not successful. The information I was given in the first place was not correct so the course was actual never reopened after it had been closed. I was totally bummed because I walked all the way there with the thought of crossing one more class off of my Harrington list. Oh well, such is life.

I ate dinner with Courtney and walked with her to class because I had nothing else to do. After getting back home I decided wash my comforter and put my other clean clothes away. I was able to organize a few other things before Courtney called to tell me that she was done with class and was ready for some gelato! We went to our favorite place which is just around the corner from our apartment. I got nocciola (which is hazelnut) and fragola (which is a small fruit) OH MY GOSH I found my favorite flavor combination. And also possibly my favorite flavors since I have been here.
Con amore, Ciao!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

September 6th

First and most importantly, I have an address!!!!! It is:
Lauren Moore
c/o FUA-Florence
University of the Arts
Via Magliabechi, 1

I know no one would, but please don't send any packages. I have to pay at least 300 Euro to receive a package and it takes at lease 2 months to go through customs. However, letters take only a week so please send as many as your hearts may desire!

So today was a rather emotional day mostly because of classes. I am moved into an independent study class due to lack of enrollment. I am not even sure if my teacher is teaching me the correct program or not either. I will find out though once my teacher from Harrington emails me back. It was just scary to think that I could have gone through all the trouble of coming here, and then having the one class that I truly needed not even be taught to me correctly. Hopefully it will all work out though, but I will find out soon enough.

I came home after that class and took an amazing power nap because I am starting to feel sick. Mostly, I think it is because of the lack of sleep the first week and also being home sick doesn't help me much either.

Then I went to my Sustainable Project Design class which is going to be AMAZING! We are designing a school house for some culture of our choice and making it sustainable. The only requirement is that the structure is made from a metal shipping crate. How cool is that? So cool. That is the correct answer. Oh, and get this, for our final project, we are getting to redesign an existing 1200 sq foot 1500 year old farm house in the south of Tuscany. Which of course we must go do an on site verification for. :)

After class I came home and did an intense workout which felt awesome! Then I made dinner, a repeat of last night, but it is so good that I am still not tired of it yet! Next week I think I am going to go for a more Italian dish with olives, cheese, cherry tomatoes, and a few other things. They had it in the deli at the supermarket and it looks super delicious.

Following dinner, I went to a meeting for a program that my school offers to be placed with a local family. From what I understood from the meeting it is a bartering system. For example, I babysit and they teach me how to cook. Sounds good to me so far! I will be filling out the application and finding out soon to see if I am one of the few chosen who get to participate.

I finished the night with popcorn! SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOD. It had been too long since I have made it and omg it reminds me of home and mom  :) Oh, and my first little batch of homework, which I didn't mind doing at all. Also, I got to skype with Chris and his amaaaazing coworker, David Cox, owner of Flo-tography. David also helps me get a hold of Chris when Chris is refusing to get on Facebook :)

How was that for a shout out, David?

Con amore, Ciao!

Monday, September 5, 2011

September 5th

Today was the first day of classes and it good! I was wrong about my classes when I posted yesterday, I had my Special Event Management class this morning and then my Italian language class in the afternoon. I even had a big enough break to go back to the apartment to eat my sandwich! Awesome! So SEM class was good, exactly what I expected it to be. The teacher is really nice and there is a girl who is sat next to me who was really sweet. Later, I found out she is also in my Italian class. Since this week is syllabus week, it was a pretty easy class and the teacher just went over what we are going to learn this semester.

After class I went back to the apartment to have a salami, mozzarella, and red onion sandwich which was super delish! YUM! I feel started to feel guilty about eating out because it was getting sort of expensive, but now since I am still cooking the food I bought the other day, I am very happy and not feeling guilty.

After my lunch I went to my Italian class and good Lord is that one going to be tough. I could barely understand the teacher when she was speaking in English. I understand that these are not supposed to be easy classes, but I just was hoping that the teacher would be easy to understand, you know, like they are in America. Oh well, I have had to tell myself many, many times so far that this is most definitely not America. I am going to try my hardest and spend my Thursday afternoon in the lab since I don't have class on that day. Obviously, I will be giving updates on how it goes throughout the semester.

After class I came back to the apartment and decided that I wanted to venture out by myself across the river! I took my camera and I got on my big girl confidence and did it! It was so beautiful and I got some AMAZING pictures. Make sure that you are all checking my facebook for all the pictures! I will figure out how to add them to this and maybe start putting them up!

Since it was too warm for a run this afternoon I turned that walk into my work out. There are so many hills across the river that I definitely felt it! When I got back I taught Court how to cook sausage in a fry pan while I made my dinner. Tonight I had spaghetti again but this time I put salami, red onion, red pepper, and mozzarella cheese into the sauce! SO GOOD. Next week I will start getting more adventureous with my cooking so if anyone has any good ITALIAN recipes they would like to send out please do!

After dinner, since Courtney and I are both starting to feel home sick, we decided some gelato should help solve our woes. Unfortunately, mine wasn't the best I have had. The chocolate flavor was really delicious, but the vanilla flavor I got was really watery tasting. Oh well, this wont be my last gelato :)

I skyped with mom for the first time tonight! It was so great! Since I am starting to feel really home sick, it was great to see and talk to her. Dad quite literally scooted her chair out of the way and started talking to me too, it was really funny. After skyping with them, Chris and I got to chat for a little :)

Con amore, Ciao!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

September 4th

Today was a very boring day. Courtney and I started out for a run which was great! I did a run and my 100s work out which was a lot harder than I remembered it being! We finished the run and I showered then went to the Basilica di Santa Croce for mass. I thought it was going to be in English because that is what the sign said, but unfortunately, it was totally in Italian. At least I knew what was going on! Oh well! Next week I am going to try out the Duomo mass on Saturday evening because that one for sure is in English.

After mass I came home and had some lunch and took a nap! I was so excited for my nap because I have been running off of so little sleep for the past three days. It was nice to be able to catch up on a little bit of it.

I woke up and we went to look around the city to try and find out where our classes are. During our journey, we were caught in a rain storm. While in the rain storm we ducked under an awning and had a great conversation with a couple from England. People here, Italian or foreign, are so nice. They are always willing to chat or to help with the pronunciation of different words. We did a pretty good job of going the right direction and shockingly, we were able to find the buildings we needed to.

After finding our buildings we came back to the apartment and I took another nap. I sound so lazy! However, in my defense, I have been adjusting to a new time zone. I skyped with my sister Jessica after my nap. It was so good talking with her and to see her. After the skyping I made my first dinner! I made spaghetti and sauce. The sauce was just a regular tomato base and I added in fresh red pepper, red onion, and mozzarella cheese from the open air market. It was so good! I do need to get some more basic things like seasonings and such. I was nervous with food shopping this week though because it was the first week and I was not sure how much things would cost or how quickly they would add up. I did great though! Only 15 euro for 5 days worth of food. Not to shabby Gabby!

Well, tomorrow I start school! I am so excited! I have two classes, my 3d autocad and my Italian language class. I am both excited and nervous! It will be a great first day.

Also, today homesickness kicked in. I listened to songs that reminded me of people (obviously this was a good idea, not). Skyping with my sister did help though because I was able to see and hear a familiar voice from home. I am missing my mom and dad a lot too, church this morning was lonely. I get to skype with mom tomorrow so I am VERY excited for that!

Alright! Better get going to bed, I have a very big day tomorrow!

Con amore, Ciao!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

September 3rd

Today was a good day! We were so productive that it felt amazing.

In the morning we started off with breakfast where I had a tuna sandwich that was very juicy. It was really good and I am glad that tuna is so common here because I love eating tuna fish sandwiches. We then wandered around looking at different open air markets and finally found one that was very good with prices and quality. I did a little bit of vegetable shopping so that I am able to start making sandwiches from home and also cooking my dinners. After not finding everything I was interested in, Courtney and I went to the super market and finished our shopping. Personally, I feel like the super market is less expensive. Here is the best example, at the open air market, green beans cost 8 Euro for a kg, however, in the super market, they were only 2.5 euro? It seems like it is hit and miss on what is cheaper where. I didn't get any green beans but I am hoping to start being adventurous in my cooking adventures soon! Maybe next week though.

After the super market, we were able to finish all of the shopping that we needed to do for supplies and we went back to the apartment to relax. Tomorrow, I am going to post pictures starting at the front door and have you all walk up the stairs with me. It is getting easier for me and so now it is a little funny when others come over and they have to make the climb themselves.

I was able to skype with Chris and my dad today so I feel a little bit like I connected with home. It was nice being able to skype with people.

Dinner was really, really delicious. Courtney and I decided it would be fun to do a last-night-of-spending-money-at-a-restaurant dinner so we went with our friends Melanie, Harry, Freddy, and Adrian. It was great food and good company. I had tortellini panna e prosciutto and gosh it was delicious and so worth it!

After dinner, us girls thought it would be a lot of fun to also go out dancing again as a last-night-out-before-school-starts kind of celebration. It was a fun night but the music was not the best which was very unfortunate, near the end it did get better.

Overall, it was a fun night and a good way to end the first week here! Tomorrow, I have work out, church, and lazing about! If any of you have skype, please find me! My contact name is lauren.c.moore

Con amore, Ciao!

September 2nd

We started off the day with breakfast which was DELICIOUS! I had an egg, ham, and spinach sandwich with a cup of fruit. The fruit was so fresh and sweet that I wish it were a never ending fruit cup.

After breakfast we were sent on another wild goose chase by the locals to try and find a copy shop. We needed to have a copy submitted of a form we had which none of us knew about. Once we found the copy shop we were able to head towards orientation. Orientation was pretty boring but the women who are running this program are so funny that it is worth while to listen to them. The orientation was all just normal things about what services the school offers and other things like that.

After that, a few of us wandered around a little bit looking at the city and just discovering new things. We came back to the apartment and waited until it was time to go to the reception. We had dinner there and it was really good. I am definitely getting my servings of carbohydrates here and my goodness, i love it! However, I have discovered one thing that I do not enjoy about Italy, the grapes have seeds and the olives have pits.... this is not something that is good to have as a surprise!

Once we ascended our 14 flights of stairs, we were able to start getting ready to head out to the disco! It was definitely fun getting ready. I love getting ready to go out. Sometimes, I love it even more than the actually going out part!

We went to the apartment that the boys live in because we were all curious as to what it looked like. Their apartment is very large with what seems like 30 foot ceilings. Ok, obviously they are not that high, but they sure seem like it! We waited there while the boys got ready and then headed out to the disco!

It was a lot of fun dancing and just being silly with everyone. Courtney is so much fun to dance with and she is a really good time. The only difference between Italian discos and American clubs is that the Italians seem to love Shakira, I heard about 5 Shakira songs in 3 hours! It is great because she is easy to dance to and has just fun songs in general. I had my first malibu and pineapple drink and I have decided that it is my new favorite drink! SO good! After dancing our little booties off we walked home and had another great surprise.

Chris and I had our first skype date :)

Con Amore, Ciao!

Friday, September 2, 2011

prima post!

Aug 30th and 31st

So let’s start at the very beginning of my day! We went to church in the morning and then went to coffee with a few of dad’s friends. They were very nice and of course interested in hearing about the trip. After coffee, mom and I went to Urgent Care because my ear was still really hurting. Turns out, that I did have swimmer’s ear but because we didn’t catch it in time, it turned into an infection. We got the medications for it and went on our way home to race around finishing packing and race to the airport. We stopped by Stones Jewelers on the way to replace my watch battery, which of course the band broke as soon as I stepped onto Florence soil. We made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare and I ended up sitting and waiting for two hours before my plane took off. It was obviously a tearful goodbye but it was a good one. Hilary was able to come with us which was a great thing to have her come along. Having the two hours to wait was actually nice because I was able to talk with Kelly for such a long time. She is such a great friend and I am so thankful for her. Chris took a few minutes out of his day, as did Ronnie, so it was very nice to talk to them and hear their final well wishes. Ronnie was telling me to drink wine so I could fall asleep, such a good older brother.

My flight to Amsterdam was great and it went pretty quickly. I sat next to this lad from Dublin and he was really nice. Don’t worry Chris, he loved your joke. Unfortunately though, I wasn’t able to sleep. I am not sure what the reason was, but this girlfriend was not pleased.

Waiting at the Amsterdam airport went slowly, I was able to skype with Chris but mom and dad were too lazy to wake up and remember their daughter so I wasn’t able to tell them that I arrived safely. Amazing how quickly they forget the little one… 

I slept almost the entire flight to Florence which was very nice to be able to take a nap finally. One of the best feelings in the world is when you see all of your luggage come rolling around on the conveyer belt at the airport. I have never actually been nauseous with the thought that the airline could lose luggage. Well, I guess there is a first time for everything. After picking up all of my bags, I went to the office to find out where my apartment is. Turns out that our apartment is RIDICULOUS. It is so beautiful and we have gorgeous views! We can see the Tuscan hills and also the red clay rooftops of our neighboring buildings. Since our building is one floor higher than our neighbors, we are able to see almost everything. We are only a few blocks away from the Duomo, only a hop skip and a jump away from the Piazza Repubblica, and on one of the best streets, Via Calzaiuoli. AMAZING! We are so blessed to be so close to everything. It is awesome! Only problem is that we have 14 flights of stairs to climb. No joke. It took me 45 minutes to climb the stairs with all of my luggage. It is so worth it though. Seriously. 

After a few hours to myself, Courtney got here and she is amazing. She is so great and everything I hoped she would be. We went out for dinner followed by my first gelato. So here is the thing. I had real Italian Lasagna for the first time and even though it was good, it was nothing like my mom’s. Dah mamah moore’sah famousah lasagnah is toah dieah forah! I have been learning Italian as I am sure you all can tell! After dinner we walked around for a little while and then headed back to finish unpacking. The other two girls were almost to the top of the 80th flight of stairs when we caught up to them and helped them with their luggage. Ellen and Miriam are both so sweet and such great girls.
So that brings us to today! September 1st. It has been a great first day in Florence and the city is AMAZING! It is so beautiful and still so surreal that I am here. There were so many bumps along the way and I am just so thankful to the good Lord that I am able to be here and experience this amazing opportunity. Today we had orientation and then went to out to lunch with two boys (Freddie and Adrian) that we met and they are so nice. I had a sandwich on ciabatta bread with artichokes, tomatoes, ham, and some sort of cheese/mayo/delicious dressing. Omg. I might have a new obsession with artichokes. SO good. Then we walked around for about an hour trying to find a supermarket but with no such luck. We are going to have to google that sucker to figure out where it is. We asked seriously 20 different Italians and none of them knew where it was. After our walk, Courtney and I went for our first run! It was great! Unfortunately, I got light headed near the end so I had to walk for a little and then finished running. We came home and showered, separately of course, and then discovered we had internet! Such a wonderful invention! We are actually grabbing the wifi of the girl across our ally/courtyard. It is not either, but more so a combination of the two.

 We then went to dinner and had DELICIOUS food. It was sooo good. The best thing we had was an eggplant parmigiana dish. Oh I want to learn how to make that sucker. It was too good. Then for dessert we had tiramisu, WHICH was so much better than any other I have had. I have never had tiramisu with coffee actually in the lady fingers, and let me tell you, it was so good. After dinner we walked around for about three hours trying to figure out where this one disco was. One thing I have learned about Italians, no one really knows where anything is. It is SO frustrating. It was Adrian’s birthday so we wanted to go out dancing. We ended up going to a bar called Slowly which had some good music so of course I turned it into a dance floor. That is one thing that I am not afraid of, being the first one out there and making a fool of myself. I love it. So we stayed there for a few hours and it was awesome! I danced like a crazy person, so for those of you who know me very well, equals me having a great night! AND now you are all caught up on my first few days of my Florence adventure! I promise to be better about posts but it was so difficult because we were without internet.
I am not at the point of missing home yet; I do miss the people though. It still feels like I am on vacation so it will probably hit me in a week or two that I am here for a while.

Con amore, Ciao!