10 December 2009

needy projects

I am more excited to be done with this semester than anything else. That's making me EVEN MORE excited to be home. We're all cramming projects. Here is a taste. Yesterday:

12 AM- 4:30 AM :: projects
4:30-8 AM :: slept
8-8:30 :: got ready for the day
8:30-9 :: tram to studio
9- 6 PM :: studio
6-11 :: stayed at studio to work on projects
11-11:30 :: tram home
11:30-12 :: journaled / doodled / prayed

ready for a break.

08 December 2009

faces of rome

faces of rome

I took these photos for photography. They are inspired by Vivian Maier. She has an amazing story and fantastic work. Check her out. It was scary asking these people to take their photos when I could hardly even speak their language but I'm pretty happy with how these turned out. It's a start.  I hope to do more when the semester is over.

07 December 2009

Hey Paris and London, you're not so bad!

Paris // London

If you asked me a year ago if I'd go to Paris when I'd be in Rome, I would have snapped back a confident, 'Y.E.S.'. But...since being here, I realized I'd have to give up some trips because it's just not that practical. Then I thought, pshhht [+ shoulder shrug], it's probably OVERRATED ANYWAY.

Laura was probably our best trip planner / flight booker. When she suggested a trip to France and England over Thanksgiving break, I was all over it. It ended up being a short (only a day and a half) stay before we left for London.

Paris is so soso soososososo beautiful. I never understood the huge draw to the language, or why the city is supposedly so romantic. I get it. Please visit this city. This is a place everyone I know who's been there just adores. It's so magical. So many lights, pastries, museums, and black boots (fashion is superb- the posh women wear all black. Black boots, black tights, black/gray coat).

I can't forget to say the best part of the story part one- Karen bought the wrong flight ticket. She purchased one for the day before, so while we were waiting to check in in Rome to fly out, we were like, "OH DEAR GOD PLEASE HELP THEM TO SOMEHOW NOT NOTICE" while pretending to reassure her. She made the flight. Those crazy Italians apparently let anyone on a flight.

Paris  =
1. Musee D'Orsay
2. Notre Dame
3. Arc de Triomphe
4. Angelina's (best caffe I've ever been to. Known for having the best hot chocolate in Paris. Best I've ever had. Coco Chanel used to go there.)
5. Louvre Museum
6. Montemartre

Now for Londontown....

I knew this would be crazy because Justin had studied there for a year and loves the city more than he may love running water. Laura's cousin and friend, Genessee and Katy, moved there on a whim. They had the idea, bought the flight tickets the next day, and moved in the next month. We stayed in a pretty rank neighborhood. It WAS free though. We really didn't do a lot of touristy stuff.

1. National Gallery
2. Big Ben
3. Parliament
4. Buckingham Palace
5. English pubs...

Fact: it gets dark around 4:30 in London. You could sleep in, lounge around, and once you make it outside, possibly only have a couple hours of daylight. We found ourselves in that situation. We met a lot of Genessee and Katy's friends. Everyone is London was so friendly. They have a sharp wit and even liked us Americans! Wow!

Oh best part of story part two: Karen also bought the wrong flight for the trip home. This time they caught her. She had to spend the day in the Gadwick airport in London and buy a new flight for 150 pounds. She was not a happy camper. THEN when we got back to customs in Italy, we didn't have our permit to stay (because the guy in charge never gave it to us). We were supposed to have that to get back into the country...oops. Somehow they aren't very strict about that either...

Those were my last trips of the semester :(
I will be back in Dublin for a day because our flight goes out from there. I'll be home soon.

Not ready to leave, but ready to be home.

04 December 2009

watch these!!!

another video karen created!
these are from london / paris.

03 December 2009


barcelona 1

barcelona 2

i'm pretty behind on this stuff, so i'll make it brief.

i went to barceona on the 20th for the weekend. i had a flight ticket purchased a while ago, but i wasn't going to go so i could save money and work on projects. but then the day before everyone left, i thought. IT'S BARCELONA!!!!!

so i went. i had a ball.

beautiful. modern. best design/architecture. it certainly gives berlin a run for its money.

look and the pics and then purchase yourself a flight ticket. oh- one thing that there aren't pictures of is the picasso museum. look: we ARE scholastic away from school...

02 December 2009

Northern field trip.

switzerland, venice, milan 09.09.09

Holy goodness,
I am going to say this right now: I am still enjoying my life abroad.

I have been a stinker about updating. I say that EVERY SINGLE TIME but i mean it EVERY SINGLE TIME. Where do I start. I'd like to thank my heaps of readers :)

I left off with Berlin. OLD NEWS. Since then, I've been to Basel and Zurich, Vitra, Milan, Venice, Barcelona, Paris, and London. The first few were with a school trip. We visited some gnarly poster museums, the oldest paper mill in Switzerland and made our own paper, listened to a special lecture from Rosemary Tissy, visited the Vitra Design furniture showroom. That was in Vitra Germany. Beautiful. I have a new-found love for great furniture. On our way back we drove through the Swiss Alps. It was so beautiful. I felt like I was on a magical planet that doesn't exist in real life- but it so so exists. I know mom would love it. Really really love it.

Obviously a class trip to Switzerland and Germany isn't complete unless...YOU EXTEND IT AND TRAVEL MORE! That is exactly why we went to Milan for a day and then Venice. Everyone raves about Milan. I did enjoy, but it was rainy, extremely crowded, and our "hostel" was rank. As long as we could save a few euros, we were in for the musty smells and creeky stairs.

It really was a beautiful city, though. The fashion was great. I noticed how polished everyone was compared to Rome. Especially the men. It was great fun. After that, we caught a a train to Venice. I don't know what I expected, but it was so wonderful. It was raining and miserable the whole time, but I loved it more seeing it in it's natural state. They have to put up mini bridges everywhere because it gets so flooded. You walk across these planks and hope the person next to you is nice enough to not push you into the sea of puddle. I remember jumping in puddles and getting myself soaking wet, then I had a thought, "I wonder if this is a good idea since I was JUST sick. Naaah. Puddle jumping is always fun!"

We got back to Rome after about 10 days [Berlin > Rome for half a day > Switzerland > Vitra > Milan > Venice ]. We were exhausted and rather happy to be back at our flat. It was nice to make my own pasta and sleep in my own bed. What wasn't so nice: the homework world. I must say, I don't know how I jungle all this school nonsense in with my fun, but I've found a way to manage...

Don't worry parents; someone will hire me. somewhere. somehow.


10 November 2009


watch this Berlin vid! compliments of Karen Mechler

watch this recap if Ireland vid too! (also, compliments of miss karen)

berlin, my love.


Hello hello.

It's been a while since we've last spoke. I don't know about you, but I've been busy the last two weeks.

After the lovely weekend with Kevin and Lindsey, I "had to" fly out to Frankfurt in the early AM on Halloween. Our flight to Berlin left that night so we got to hang in Frankfurt at the airport all day! We chose to think of it as a few girls hanging at a coffee shop doing some homework and getting in some quality chit chat.

So we get to Berlin, and Henning (an old friend from high school) and his friend Noah picked us up at the airport. The mayham began there. We got donors (mmm) then went to Noah's for some Beck's beer and and a German fiesta. It was lovely meeting all their friends. We went to a club and stayed out until the early hours. I don't know how we did it. Yes I do- beer and techno music. Sleeping in Sunday helped a lot too.

Noah was such a great host- he bought bread and tons 'o jams and spreads for us. It was the best German breakfast we could have asked for! We went to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp later that day; it was a moving experience to say the least. I can't believe that I walked the same ground as the thousands who suffered there. I never thought I'd see the badges, uniforms, or old photo albums up close. This stuff is real. I would highly recommend going to one of theses if an opportunity ever presents iteslf.

That night we went out for MEXICAN. #1 missed food: Mexican. The vegetarian enchilada and draft beer was enough to shut me up for a while. We walked all around finding that restaurant but it was so nice seeing the city at night. The architecture is absolutely fantastic. The Sony Center was great, so was "magic land". The downtown was so illuminated. It was beautiful. And cold.

Poor Henning and Noah had to go to classes on Monday, but not us crazy girls! We went to the Tiergarten, Brandenberg Gate, Berlin Wall, Bauhaus Museum, and Holocaust Monument on our last day. I can't describe how much fun we all had. We were freezing and wet but this was one of the biggest highlights of the semester.

Oh, one last thing. I thought it would be smart to just spend the night at the airport on Monday for our flight to Rome. The roomies decided that it would never work once we were so well accustomed to the airport on the way in. We ended up getting a double B&B for the night. Five girls in one bed sounds like quite the thrill. It was.

Then I woke up sick as a rat. TO BE CONTINUED.....

29 October 2009


that whole mystery veggie thing is going to have to wait, as i have not made it yet. moving on:

kevin and lindsey's stay was wonderful. they were enthralled by the cheese and wine from the start. in only two days, we managed to hit campo di fiore, the vatican, piazza navona, my studio / jewish ghetto, pantheon, capitoline hill, venetian palace, and back to the vatican for a last minute tour.

we sprinted to the museum, since we heard they closed at four. "run like rabbits" they told us. they didn't think we'd make it. ha! its pays to jet past an english speaking tour guide...who just so happened to give us a great tour.

sunday morning we hit mass at st. peters led by...you guessed it- the pope himself. what an adorable man. after the mass, we somehow managed to make the porta portese flea market. i was certainly with the right crew: deal-dinosaur [kevin] and price-penguin llindsey] raised hell as they bought a pipe and some coral. it was a great learning experience for bargain-bear [becky]. those two aren't amateurs anymore; they've moved up to estate sales and auctions. a flea market must be a joke to these legends.

we went back to their b&b [great location, by the way. only 15 min from my apt!] then tried to hit the colosseum. we did make it there, but just a wee bit too late. since they closed at 3:30, we never made it in, sadly. They also wanted to go in the inside of the pantheon, but there was a wedding going on. A WEDDING! WHO GETS MARRIED IN THE PANTHEON??!!

anyway, they will be back tomorrow, when they will be able to hit those last two sites. i'm sure they'll have enough energy after florence and barga to do it all.

becky now tired.

pope said that purple is fine. it's best to wear it if you're a winter. the cool tones look best. he said to try and not over do it though. it can be so easy with the way the world [rome] is right now. i see what he's saying. this will be continued. it kind of has to be, since it's a blog.

we're going to berlin this weekend! an old friend from high school, henning, is going to be showing us around the city. we can't wait to hang out with a real live german! the day we get back we leave to go on our northern field trip. then my crazy friends and i will be staying in milan and venice before we return to rome. this life isn't so bad. vacation from october 31- november 9.

here's my next few crazy days:

sat (oct. 31): rome > frankfurt > berlin = halloween in berlin ! meet henning at airport.
sun: concentration camp tour, holocaust monument, whatever else the germans find noteworthy.
mon: bauhaus museum! > frankfurt > spend night in airport
tues: frankfurt > rome [back for 7 hours], rome > bern overnight
wed: basel
thurs: zurich [swiss paper museum]
fri: can't remember. i'll fill you in later.
sat: end up in milan. stay night.
sun: milan > venice
mon (nov. 9): venice > rome

23 October 2009

happy friday

snapshot of the week:

1. 4 day weekends. still. this may be news to some of you, but being a full time student out here in roma, i've been blessed with the luxurious life of classes on wednesday, thursday, and friday. this makes it easy to plan trips, or do absolutely nothing at all.

2. i could do absolutely nothing at all, but being a design student, i am actually always working on homework. it's actually quite pathetic.

3. since we had the loss of one of our art history professors, that class was canceled this week (supposed to be vatican visit). my gal pals and i made use of that thursday morning time and hit a museum to see the futurismo dada exhibit. though i am surrounded by timeless classical art living in rome, i haven't felt as inspired as i did here. seeing the doodles straight from the sketchbook of Duchamp or Paul Klee was thrilling. of course, the infamous "fountain" was present (Duchamp's toilet he simply signed, "R. Mutt. 1917". caused a ruckus in the art world).

4. i got bangs! i don't have photos yet, plus i feel silly posting photos of myself. however, i am trying to get over that. i should probably have a few pictures of myself over here. how will my grandchildren believe i too once wore a bikini?

5. kevin and lindsey are visiting! they should be contacting me in less than two hours! i. can't. wait. i have been looking forward to this day ever since lindsey told me she bought the flight tickets. those two crazy kangaroos will be here until monday when they will depart for florence and the rest of their italian tour. i just hope they enjoy their time in my neck of the woods. It will be just like high school cheerleading again! kind of!

6. i made homemade noodles. big deal, you say. i know. i just wanted something else to put on this list.

7. weather is almost as menopausal here as it is in iowa. we think it's going to be cold and rainy- and then- my neck starts to sweat from the beating rays that follow the rain. that secret weapon you just can't be mad at- the sun. rainy-sunny-cloudy-colder than the arctic-sunny-warm-just kidding it's freezing again. i can't complain. it's beautiful and it's still not that cold. IF i was going to complain, i would complain about the fact that it's illegal to turn heaters on until mid november. but i'm above that.

8. inglorious bastards. grrreat film. i would recommend it to anyone who hasn't had the viewing pleasure just yet. funny. gruesome (ish) but somehow tasteful. i loved it and i only understood a third of it. between it being filmed in english, german, french, italian, and the italian subtitles the whole time, it was nice when brad pit was in a scene, to say the least. "arreeevaderci."

9. new sweatshirt + new boots. did i mention purple is THE color of the year /probably decade over here?  the bug bit me and i finally found a black hoodie with my mom's favorited color plaided all over it. nothing more cozy than a hood up and some yoga pants after a long day.

10. i had to do ten, well, because it seemed right. since i can't think of anything else from this week, i should mention that i saw the pope a weekend or two ago-heeeyo! we were going to get some drinks after he said the rosary, but then he remembered he was going to hang with some bishops and cardinals. i let them have a boys night and told him i'd see him again. which i am. sunday i got the three of us (kevin and lindsey) some golden tickets to the papal mass at st. peters.

TO BE CONTINUED: what the pope has to say about this purple trend, adventures with kevin and zindzey, and what i do with the mystery vegetable i bought- how i will cook it, that is. i'll give you one clue: it's lumpy and fully of starch.

21 October 2009

up then down

the last week has been a sad one for us in rome. one of our professors, terry kirk, decided to end his life. we [students] officially found out yesterday and had a little service for him tonight. i never had him for my art history class (60 of us are divided into three groups). i was looking forward to going to the vatican with him tomorrow- looking forward to it all semester.  that was the one time i was supposed to experience one of his famous lectures. you don't understand how magnetic this man was; every single student who had him was captivated out of their wits. i really missed out. naturally everyone's best qualities come out in a time like this, but there was something so unique and impressive about his demeanor.

it was good to step back from my routine and just admire the life of a great man with my classmates and professors. someone so engaging, charismatic, and kind hearted deserves to be remembered.

we're just given a millimeter of eternity on earth. i do not believe that this life is all there is. it can't be. it is far too short. it's worth your time to think about. think about priorities, meaningless worries, and the people you love. tell them. i need to remember some things [many] are well worth investing my time and words. everyone deserves a basic layer of respect and more. if for no other reason, we [you/me/parents/celebrity idol/waitress/school secretary] were hand crafted and molded by a perfect creator. now go be happy because life is / can be. that. good. 

14 October 2009

pish posh and such got a makeover

somebody's got the cooking bug... it's not obama. it's not gayle the snail, and it's certainly not mary kate olson. you guessed it- it's becky murphy.

i've never been MUCH of a cook. i CAN do it, i guess. i eat well enough but why make homemade sauce when you can just buy it? these ladies [roomies] have been so good for me. i'm enjoying new dishes and taking the time to cook the perfect something whenever i have the chance. pasta dishes, thai lettuce wraps, and vegetable shepherd’s pie are a few of the things we enjoy. i'm going have to snag that last recipe from them; it’s the heartiest meal i've had in italy.

Check these out:

yesterday: mashed potatoes & zucchini + sautéed red onions + chives. it was like pay day for my taste buds.

i didn't know if i should reveal that extra tablespoon of information or not. the last thing i need is high expectations in the kitchen when i return. Yeeesh!

just thought you should know.

the top are those mashed potatoes i mentioned. the middle picture is our makeshift shelf in our kitchen. we only have a few feet of counter space. all those veggies needed a better place. so, we put the ironing board in. hope nobody actually needs it. it's worked out quite well so far. oh- and that other mushy looking food is my tuna salad. tuna + red peppers + garlic + basil + tomatoes on toasted bread.

12 October 2009

now i'm really caught up

here are some pictures of naples, sorrento, capri, and pompeii. sorry they're out of order but i think you get the idea. keep reading- there is a another post in that october folder over there ----->

caught up!

I am so happy I'm finally caught up on these photos! I'm just going to call it even and move on.

School has been going marvelously. Even though I'm only in class for 3 days, I promise I do work hard (ish). But really- last week we had a typography workshop with Oded Ezer. He is a brilliant typographer from Isreal. ISU was lucky to snatch him. We're the first group of Americans he's ever taught. It was an inspiring and encouraging three days.

What else is new? I'm just compiling a list of things that are different from the US. Here are a few:

1. toilet flushers are different. Not bad. Not that diffferent. Just different. It's more of a button instead of a little lever.
2. public bathrooms are dirtier. sorry, europe. they just are.
3. speaking of toilets, you have to pay up to .75 just to use one sometimes.
4. they have trains. wow! you buy a ticket, validate it, and ride it. they're more common anyway.
5. everything runs late.
6. black socks galore! (that's how i know someone isn't american)
7. few flip flops
8. less obesidy (we could have guessed that one)
9. also not surprisingly, nuns and priests run rampant. like soybeans in iowa.
10. smart cars. everywhere. on the streets, in my salad, on my computer. everywhere. they have infected the whole city.
11. fiats.
12. less peanut butter more nutella.
13. water isn't free at restaurants. first, make sure it doesn't have gas. then pay €3 for a big bottle. woof.
14. funny three-wheeled work trucks.
15. more smokers > more raspy voices.
16. beggars are more assertive.
17. beaches have less tops.
18. gypsies.
19. dining experience is longer. you must ask for the check.
20. talking with hands. i swear i am right now. you just can't see it.

keep reading for more. i know you will. sooner or later. please eat chips and salsa for me. i miss them dearly.

11 October 2009

a few weeks ago...

I know I'm so behind! I finally got Picasa so you can check out my online albums. More pics + less time.
Here are some from Assisi and Cinque Terre
assisi + cinque terre

10 October 2009

italian friends from that one party

aventine hill

Posted by Picasa

06 October 2009

quite the trip

My goodness I am becoming quite the seasoned traveler. I am going to say this once and get it over with: I am too tired and unmotivated to reread this post before I publish it for the whole Internet nation to read. I am just going to tell you about my last five days in a concise fashion so you can keep an eye on those noodles.

After our glorious trip to Cinque Terre, we got back to class for a day. We learned about these new projects, blah blah, ate pizza, and packed. Our class (and the interior design chaps) headed for Naples Thursday morning in the early hours. We went straight to the archeological museum so we could check out the Pompeii findings before going to the site. After the museum we jetted out of dirty Naples pronto so we could enjoy the rest of our afternoon in a posh restaurant and get ready for our dinner at this lemon tree restaurant. Best meal in Italy. I think it was four courses? Best noodles and fish I’ve had in Italy.

Friday was rainy but perfect for a great day of shopping in Sorrento! We exhausted the leather shops. Laura came out as a champion with her hot new leather boots. We can all learn from her this semester.

Saturday we decided to take the ferry to Capri. Fabulous. This is probably the best place I’ve been next to Cinque Terre. This is where people spend vacations when they can go anywhere in the world….like Bill Gates! We boated past his “fun boat”, as well as the Todd Shoes owner’s yacht. I figure if these guys love Capri- so should I. We took a boat tour and saw the grottos and the coral on the side of the island.

I’ll hop to the next juicy part of the trip: Pompeii. Normally we would go with our class on Friday, but since it was rainy they let us go on our own later in the weekend. I’m so glad we went yesterday because it was so sunny and breezy. I never gave Pompeii a whole lot of thought since fourth grade when we read about it in class. I remember it being so surreal to me- the idea of a volcano erupting and frantically running for your life to escape its path. Being there made me think about how it must have felt to see a cloud of dust come over you and know you only have moments to live. I would have dropped to my knees and froze. We saw Mount Vesuvious from the ruins and I just can’t imagine what it would be like to live a normal life and then in an instant you, your family, your whole town, and your existence are completely forgotten about forever. THEN rediscovered a couple thousand years later, but that is even being generous.

All in all: good trip. Better to be back home, in Rome.

04 October 2009

merry cinque terre

Rome is good. Assisi was wonderful. Cinque Terre is the BEST. Thank God we got the chance to go there. It's comprised of five small towns (Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarla, Riomaggiore) by the Medeterranean Sea. Kind of a crazy trip. We got there at 5 AM and slept outside for a couple hours. This was the first trip that the seven of us roomies took by ourselves. Cinque Terre is very merry. Thank God we got the chance to go. It was super-female-bonding time.

So we get there, and find a nice spot by the dumpsters (don't worry rents, it was clean AND safe) This sounds worse than it is...We did that for a bit, then we relocated so we could get a better view of the sun rising. That's when Karen sat on a cactus. The poor thing had such a good attitude despite there being needles in her booty.

We were too exhausted to do anything once we were able to check into our hostel. It was a long five hours on a train without any seats for us (another story). We crashed in our honeymoon-for-seven-Italy-meets-Saudi-Arabia room. Once we woke up from hibernation, we went straight to the beach. It was beautiful. I have never ever been to water so clear. I thought it was clear at Ostio Lido, but this was unlike anything I've ever seen. I was disappointed when I saw the color on my computer because it didn't translate well on screen. The colors were so magnificent. Really. The buildings were yellow, pink, green, blue, etc. You see these towns from afar and can't help but imagine them in a fairy tale.

The next day, we went hiking! We hit most of it (probably 4-5 miles?) It was tough at some points, but it makes me want to try it out more often. We met cool people on the trails too. Lots of pictures, lots of sweat, and lots of stairs.

That night we drank a few bottles of wine on the beach. We were the only ones (Vernazza). It was too good. Those girls are what made Cinque Terre so great for me. There was this local artist we had met earlier in his studio. He was an accomplished guy. I bought a great print and I can't wait to hang it up in Iowa. He saw us sitting down there and he bought us a bottle (nice stuff). People are still good.

We ended up taking the train back that next day. I skipped over the cracks on this post because I'm so tired. I didn't mention Karen slicing her toe, running down the mountain to catch the train, meeting the lovely couple, shop-shop-shopping, etc.

21 September 2009

real live italians

I think I write best / enjoy the old keyboard a bit more when I should be getting my beauty sleep. Why rest when I can tell you about my day? I actually sleep better knowing you sleep better knowing what my day was like.

This four-day weekend has been full of homework, geese, family fun, and most importantly, construction paper.

After a day of school, /Always Sunny in Philadelphia / Italian class / a visit to the Colosseum, I decided to bite the bullet and visit my site for another round of sketcheroos and photos. Good thing I did, because Tiber Island is the peach in my fruit bowl. It’s beautiful and really dirty. There is so much history to this place that is always overlooked. I just want to shake the tourists walking by who are confused because there is just a hospital and a Basilica on the patch of land.

Enough of that Roman junk that you probably don’t care about. Let’s talk about the bars. We went to Scholar’s Lounge, a lovely little Irish pub in the middle of the city. It was a delight meeting other Americans and getting the chance to yell over the noise, shower in others’ sweat, and pay a tibia and a fibula for a decent drink. Nah, I’m just kidding. None of those things happened. I just wanted to say them. I was in a bad position, because I thought it was funny, but I can’t lie. So here I am wasting Internet closet space.

The weekend just got better and better after the Scholar’s Lounge. Karen and I made the gals dinner: Thai lettuce wraps, fruit salad, and Pinot Grigio. I hope you are proud of me, grandma. As if that wasn’t enough to wrap up (note the great lettuce wrap pun) a swell Saturday evening, our lovely two neighbors, Claudia and Lucrezzia, invited us over for a party. These Italians know how to throw it down. Friends drove from Naples (couple hours) for the house warming party. Claudia’s mom made the tastiest food for everyone. They fed us well and kept our glasses full. After that party came what we did not expect- the disco.

The ladder part of the evening could be a blog in itself. I really feel like I have outlived myself now. €20 got me:
1. A floor to dance on.
2. A sound so melodic and nutritious for the ears—it could only be one thing: techno music.
3. A big glass ‘o fun (vodka tonic).
4. Hundreds (?) of men with unbuttoned shirts, gelled hair, and slick dance moves teasing me with their chests of hair.
5. The chance to hang with new Italian compadres.

Oh, and about the homework, geese, family fun, and construction paper:
1. I did homework.
2. 2. Part of my homework still involves making that volumetric container inspired by a goose’s head. I wanted to be so inspired that I made it my desktop background.
3. We (the 7 of us gals living together) called it family weekend. We played together (homework), ate together (two cooked meals. Leah rocked the Sunday brunch), we even put our mattresses together in the living room (three of us anyway.)
4. We all have these boxes that are due tomorrow. Laura’s is inspired by a daisies and something else circular? Car’s is a propeller! Leah’s is a tree. Bethany’s is Hawaii and ha hose. This is why our lives are filled with construction paper.

Have a great day and be sure to give someone a good wink for me please.

17 September 2009


one of the three fake david statues in the background. this was outside the uffizi museum.

karen! my lovely travel companion. i wish my battery didn't die halfway through this trip. i don't have picture of the rive/bridge we went to saturday night, or the wine tasting day.

so so many vespas and bicycles in this city.

14 September 2009


This thing is getting harder and harder to update. I am starting to hate being on the computer more and more and more. I think that's healthy though, right?

Rome is still great, everyone. No worries. This little American girl is settling in just fine. A few of us went to Florence this weekend (awesome), and I had a sad thought: I realized that there will be times this semseter where I will have to work and I can't have fun. I know that probably just killed my parents to read because I am just having too darn much fun.

Laura just pointed out today that we've been gone for three weeks already. It feels like a while, but not that long. I feel like I've lived a lot of life in those three weeks. Irelnd > gettting settled into a country with a different culture and language > spontaneous vaca > back to classes.

Let's talk about Florence::

Kare-bear and I were like, "Let's do Florence.". Okay. Neither of us exactly wanted to do any planning or researching, or booking, so we just really didn't. She did book the hostel sometime last week and found us a SWEET place to stay for two nights. Florence Plus = amazing. What hostel has a black light pool, spa, sauna, rooftop terrace, bar, disco, restaurant, and girls only floor?? It was so great. We met a lot of cool people (Australians, Canadians, and even Southern folk!).

We left around 7:30 and got a ticket to jump on the cheap train to the city and before we knew it we were there. We were in the city known for it's leather as much as Michaelangelo's Statue of David. We did some shopping at the markets, had lunch at a darling diner (I had the best smoked swordfish), bought a bottle of wine and went to Piazza Michaelango to overlook Florence at night. It was really cool to see the same skyline I used for a project sophomore year in person.

The next day we walked around Florence some more. We saw some cathedrals, two fake Davids (does that count for anything?), and the Uffizi Gallery. They say it's the next best art in the world next to the Vatican. We saw the Birth of Venus, Madonna with Long Neck, and tons of other work by Botticelli, Caravaggio, Da Vince, etc. Not surprisingly, we went after some more leather and scarves before we made our way back to the hostel.

Monday was possibly one of the most fun days of this trip. A big group of us went out all day Monday to the Chianti Region, and lucky for us, it's harvest time. We "got to" pick the grapes (turned into a grape fight with some Aussies), drink the vineyards favorites with lunch, and then we went to a wine tasting class. We enjoyed the Super Tuscan, truffle olive oil, and balsamic vin. Om nom nom. It was all so amazing. Honestly, the best I will probably ever have in my life.

I must do my studies now, after all that's why I'm here, right? ha...

Task: design a box that represents a goose.

Fact: my room smells like leather. Good day.

08 September 2009

roma roma roma

Just stoppin by the Trevi Fountain on Karen's birthday

spanish steps!

a view from our apartment

venetian palace


tiber river

jewish ghetto

capitoline hill

piazza della bocca della verita

more tiber river


Hello friends, family, and stalkers:

Cheers and buon giorno from Rome, Italy. I made it! Who knew little beckeroo from little Iowa would end up in the heart of the heart of the heart of the Roman-Catholic-wine-gelato-beautiful-people capitol of the world.

I wish that I would take more time to write to everyone and say exactly what has been going on, but I just haven't mustered up the energy. It’s hard to believe I’m here.

A few observations:

1. Ancient everything. At orientation they were telling us how things break down and don’t always run efficiently over here, “Some of your apartments are 800-900 years old….” Whoa.
2. Color. All the buildings have a beautiful antique stain. The sky is always bright blue. Everything is stone and palm tree. It’s exactly how you would picture it if Bernini was trying to get someone to go in on a bottle of wine with him.
3. Food. Everything from the sandwiches at the cafes, to the gelato, it’s all really really good. The produce is great. Fresh. Local. Cheap.
4. Walking. This is a double-edged sword. Never have I walked so much in just a few days. I better keep it up if I want to swim in as much gelato and wine as I plan on this semester.
5. Apartment. We got so lucky. I expected to be crammed into a little run-down flat. Nope. We have 10-foot ceilings, 3 balconies, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and 1 big happy family of the greatest gals in Rome, Italy.
6. Modern + ancient everything. It’s just how it should be. New black Mercedes parked next to the embassy. I always wonder what important person needs that ride.
7. Language. No surprises here. I T A L I A N. The language is beautiful and it’s not one of those places where everyone also speaks English. It’s a friendly obstacle.
8. Tourist haven. Even though I too am essentially a tourist, I can’t believe how many people are. Hopefully I’ll know the city by the back of my hand so I can help the poor little binocular bodies.

All in all, it’s beautiful here. I will use that word a lot, I’m sure. I want my words to have meaning. If I say beautiful, I mean beautiful. At what other time in my life did I go from Ireland to Rome and within Rome, the Venetian Palace, Pantheon, Capitoline Hill, Trevi Fountain, Mediterranean Sea, and then back to class in the Jewish Ghetto?

I just want to wake up everyday and be grateful that the sun is shining and that I’m living with six other fabulous girls. This is a dream.

01 September 2009

"pictures only mean you can't convince"

oh look-- more Ireland.
Glen Hansard and Lisa Hannigan at the National Concert Hall in Dublin.



Cliffs of Moher! Send me back!!!

Some castle we saw when we drove to the Cliffs of Moher.

part of the bus tour through the contryside.
A tower at the Blarney Castle!

adventures in ireland

Hello blog and followers.

So sorry I have been lagging on this update things. I promise things will get easier for all of us soon. Traveling around Ireland made internet findings a bit hard. Plus, who has time to BLOG when they are drinking beer and visiting castles?

Ireland is the best place I’ve ever been. It’s hard to compare to others, but it’s my first European experience and everything came together so flawlessly. People say it’s beautiful, but it’s sort of this enchanting beauty I didn’t imagine before. The grass is a brighter green. The country side has stone fences, random castles, herds of sheep, rolling hills, and the most darling cottages.

The cities blend modern and classical. The design here is so beautiful. Little things are better too. Like, at the bathrooms, instead of looking under the stalls to see if it’s occupied, the locks say if it’s vacant or not! Wow!

This week in Ireland::

Dublin had good pubs. Good ones. Local ones. I enjoyed me some Guinness, Murphy’s, Beamish, and Smithwick’s this week. We also fancied ourselves to the Dublin Castle. A fine little tucked away treasure. The highlight of th week was definitely the Glen Hansard and Lisa Hannigan concert. Best in my life. Indescribable. I don’t care who you are, you would have been moved at this show. He’s a pretty big deal there, and it was sort of a homecoming show. Four standing ovations. Beautiful.

Galway had more pubs. More Americanized. We danced the night away, and like always, gave the world a snippet of an Iowa good time. During the day we walked around the extremely quaint town and took photos by the bay. Cutest city + loveliest scenery. It was so small but had so much to offer. Like Central City? Hmmm…

Oh! I forgot about the Cliffs of Moher. A sight that cannot be described. Look at the pics. Just imagine BEING THERE. Since I’m jumping around a bit anyway, we did visit the Blarney Castle, and yes I did kiss the Blarney Stone. It give the gift of eloquence. I’m sure that you will observe from reading this text, that uncle Blarney gave just what the doctor ordered.

We had high hopes for Cork. It was dirty. We liked it. But it was dirty. Poor Cork didn’t have the advantage of the sunny weather like the others did. It rained the whole time. We walked around the hopping area and enjoyed the many characters the city had to offer us. We met a nice young gent named Fergle one night. We tried to drag him with us on a quest for ice cream. He lasted for a little while, then the power of the club swooned him away from our group. We wished him the best.

Basically Ireland was great. I spent less money than I thought I would. We had less problems navigating and finding our landmarks. It would rain and then shine. I would spend more time writing about this, but I didn’t have much Internet while I was there so I’m just lumping all this into one. I also don’t have the energy to re read this and make it more detailed and proofread.

Just got to Rome today. Exhausted. That’s another post for later.

Tanks for reading everyone [mom].

Miss you.

31 August 2009

no worries gang:: there will be updates soon.

life is good.

24 August 2009

goodbye north america!

well...here it is. i leave for chicago tomorrow morning and in 48 hours i will be walking the streets of dublin. this is undoubtedly the biggest hop i've ever taken. i love love love traveling, but there are so many unknowns. will i find my way around? will the europeans scoff at me? could i pull off a legit irish accent after a week? will the pasta in italy be as good as i expect? is it THAT bad that i don't exactly speak the language? will my wisdom teeth behave? should i bring my old navy fourth-of-july flag tee with the puppy on it holding a flag in his mouth? fun fact: i do not own a fourth-of-july flag tee with the puppy on it holding a flag in his mouth. but what if??

i want to walk a lot when i'm there. i want to cease opportunities i wouldn't have in the states. i want to be a savvy shopper. i want to pray a lot more. i want to see the pope in a coffee shop and be like, "hey...are you the pope?? i feel like you look familiar...." then i would say the sunglasses didn't disguise him well. he should really take off the hat if he doesn't want people spotting him like that. he's just a normal guy too, right?

enough writing. more packing.

miss you all already!