My Italian is slowly improving everyday, I like to think it is anyway. I have Italian 4 times a week and everyday is a new load of useful phrases and words to use. It is nice to actually learn things that we are going to be using outside of the classroom, I feel more motivated to learn that way. I keep saying everyday that I am going to blog however before I know it I am back in my bed asleep for the night. Tessa (my roommate) and I always talk before we go to sleep, and we always say "I can't believe another day has went by and we are going to sleep yet again." Just like I can't believe I looked at my last entry before starting this one and the first sentence was "I can't believe I have been here for two weeks." It is now been a month since I arrived in Italy and perhaps the fastest month of my entire life. This majestic, historical city surprises me everyday with something new I have not seen yet. Wether it be a new sculpture in a building or passing a new restaurant we want to eat at. Speaking of eating, I still cannot decide if it is cheaper to eat out or cook dinner. We go to the grocery store everyday sunday or monday and stock up for the week ahead. However you cannot by things for meals because it will spoil unless you eat it that night. The main items I buy is cereal, orange juice, and milk. Those are what I eat at least once a day. Oh and apples, I am officially obsessed with apples here! They are so much better than the ones at home, they taste as if they have just been plucked off the apple tree!
After we went to Pisa last Saturday we visited Siena on Sunday. For all of you country lovers Siena is the place to go. For me it was not my favorite place, we walked around saw a few main piazzas(squares) and then ate lunch. It was very cold when we went so a few of us went back early on the bus. It was a nice get away from Florence, but somewhere that if you only visit once that is enough.
Last week we just hung out in Florence every night and studied for the quizzes that were at the end of the week. Sometimes it is hard to remember that I am still going to class here and this is not just a vacation. I have to really sit down and read my homework and make sure it gets done. Then on Thursday night we went to a school sponsored cooking class at this place called "In Tavola". It was the cutest little cooking studio across the Arno from our school. Here we learned how to make traditional Italian dishes such as Vegetable Millefoglie which is a fancy name for stuffed eggplant. Then we make Potato Gnocchi, I am still not sure if I am a fan of this Italian favorite. It might take some time to get used to, just like the wine and the espresso. For the gnocchi we made two different sauces. The first was a Tomato, Basil and Garlic Pasta Sauce and the second one (my favorite) was called Meat Sauce Bolognese. If anyone wants these recipes before I get home send me an e-mail and I will give them to you! firstname.lastname@example.org Finally for desert we made Tiramusu'. This was so good! If you are not a coffee fan (mom) I am sure you wouldn't have to dip the cookies in coffee and make it still the same way. It is not a strong coffee taste but you can tell it is in there for sure. This cooking class was such a great experience, it was so nice to learn how to make traditional meals of the culture you are living in. However non of these will be repeated here because I have no idea how to read the ingredients in Italian, good lord I would end up buying wild boar instead of beef. We are going to another cooking class in March to learn how to make Pizza and Gelato, that should be fantastic.
Now for our day trip to Verona! On sunday (Jan 30) we went on a organized trip to Verona with one of the travel companies here. For 60 Euro we got transportation in a private bus, two tour guides and a map of the city with some background info included as well. This city was my favorite place so far in Italy. It was where Romeo and Juliet was staged and where Letter's to Juliet was filmed. This city looked totally different from Florence, it was so much more modern and the feel was so different. It is a very rich city, the cost of living there is outrageous. It is weird to think that the play I had to read in high school (and I admit falling asleep during) was the place we spent a day at. I kept thinking that the whole time while we were there. When I was a freshman in high school I never would have thought in a million years to actually pay attention because one day I was going to be seeing where this all took place in Shakespeare's mind. It was also really cool to see where Letter's to Juliet was filmed. We saw the alley where she went in the first few scenes of arriving in Verona to find the letters. Located underneath "Juliet's balcony" is a bronze statue of her. It is good luck to touch her right breast. So like every other sappy women tourist I stood under the bronze statue and violated it just as thousands have done before me. And of course I have the picture to prove it. On the way home from Verona we stopped at Lake Garda which is about 45 minuets outside of Verona. It was dusk by the time we arrived there but it was still beautiful and majestic. There was fog setting in over the lake and you could see the mountains all around it with their snow capped tops. The water was crystal clear and looked like it could reach the other side of the world. If I did not know better I would have thought it was an ocean it was that vast in size. The town around the lake was adorable as well. We stopped in this cafe' to get wine before the 3 hour bus ride home. Me being me ordered hot chocolate. It was fantastic, there were about 20 different kinds to choose from, and again me being me I ordered milk chocolate. I don't want to get too crazy while I am here!
This weekend I am going with Tessa to visit her family in Monfalcone which is at the northeast tip of Italy. We are leaving by train on Friday morning and will return Sunday night around 4pm. This will be the first time I don't talk to my family for 3 days we will see how this goes, should be interesting. I am super excited to get some family time even though it is not my own. We will get home cooked meals and a house to wake up in which will be a nice change.
As for the lovely weather all of Ohio is experiencing. I just wanted to let you know that currently it is 58 degrees here I am wearing capris and all of the windows in our apartment are open! Sorry I had to say it!
And Mrs. Jones: don't worry I am still part of the "club" and have found many more members to join!!
Ciao for now!!