skyline of firenze

skyline of firenze

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

January 15th, 2013

So I realize that I haven't really been updating my blog all that often and I want to change that now. It's a new semester and I can start anew with my entries. I also just started working on the schools blog so since I linked my own blog to theirs I feel that I should put up stuff that could help with informing interested students about SRISA and life in Italy. So yeah..... :)

So this semester is really starting off great~! We have all been getting together quite frequently for dinners or just to hang out which is really nice cause last semester there really werent enough people to even do that.... the majority of the SRISA students were the girls in my apartment. Which of course I love them all very very dearly and miss them like crazy (except Jordan cause she is here) it is nice to branch out to other people and have a large group instead of 5 girls.

Yesterday was the first day of classes, and it felt like a really long day to me for some reason.... I had Italian in the morning and then went with my roommate Veronica to the central market for our fresh produce and then to Conad to pick up pasta etc. I got prosciutto which I am super happy about cause I was totally missing it when I was in the US over winter break. Then I had my contemporary art history class which is gonna be fun. Natalia and I went to the Clubhouse to get lunch, I wasnt planning on eating but we passed a girl having a burger and it just looked so good I had to get one. It was an awesome burger, the meat was really tender and it came with guacamole and bbq sauce to put on top (so naturally I did) and it was awesome!!!! and extremely messy. We actually ended up running a bit late to class, we are both in the same painting class, which is really weird for me cause I never am late for my studio classes.

I really like hanging out with Natalia, she's such a sweetie. The group of us SRISA students went out with her as our guide this weekend and it was such a blast!!!! we met up at the Clubhouse and then went to Uncle Jimmy's where I tried something called a Cherry Bomb which was really sweet and yummy. Then we headed over to Victoria which is this bar that is run and owned by these two twins that are super hot!!! like they look like Chris Hemsworth except not quite as buff. And they make amazing drinks!!! they are really fruity (at least the ones I got were) and decked out with fruits and flowers! Then we headed over to Twice which is a free club, and that was fun, I always love going out dancing. The group of SRISA students left at about 3am I think, Natalia and I stayed till about 4:30am and then headed to the bar that she works at. It was really small but nice and not so crazy as the other bars I've been to in Florence, especially on a Saturday night/Sunday morning. I met lots of people there and I am so excited that I actually remember their names! We ended up staying there just sitting at the bar talking to people till 7am when everyone was kinda leaving so I figured we might as well go too. We were both starving so we went to the McDonalds near the train station (since we knew it was open), and I dont think I have ever thought that McD's food was as good as it was that morning, prob cause I was just so hungry or because it was freshly made for once. So we hung out there for a while and talked and by the time I made it back into my apartment is was closing in on 9:30am. Needless to say I slept in all day sunday, I literally passed out till 5pm.

Yeah, so we also have arranged with the other apartments that each week we will do a pot luck dinner at a different apartment each week. We already had one last week and this week its gonna be on thursday. I think we are going to do the dessert, but maybe just the salad, who know.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October 10th

So I havent written anything in a really long time..... sorry, just been busy, well not really actually, just keep forgetting to write. So since then has been day to day going to school and such. Umm, on the last weekend of September I just stayed in my apartment and relaxed and then went to the school for a bit.
I finished two projects so far in my painting class, the multiple earrings and the study of feet. Both of which turned out quite nicely, especially the feet, I did six pieces but only four actually worked together so I just used those. And when I showed them to mom over video cam she said that they all look like ballet feet :) and I can totally see that. Now in painting we are working on our midterm project which is to do a still life three times over, painted in different positions ways etc. So I am painting my little pomegranate that I got over the summer. Its gonna be really nice I cant wait.
Then for drawing we got our midterm project as well so I'm gonna try and get that all done this weekend so I dont have to stress over it. I'm gonna go to the Uffizi on friday and just spend a few hours there drawing the statues for one part of my project.
We actually did finally get into the Uffizi this past weekend, it was so unbelievably amazing. We spent over three hours in there and only made it through like five rooms, its so huge there and just chalk full of beautiful art. I literally almost started crying when I was standing in front of Cimabue's "Madonna and Child Enthroned," I was just so breath taking, and so much bigger than I thought it would be. I imagined it only being about two feet tall, max, but this piece was towering, probably over ten feet tall. I could just stare at the images in there for days. Also in the hallway you dont even really realize that around the border of the ceiling are tons of portraits, one next to the other, covering the whole building. It's just amazing, its like they have so much work but no where to put it. They also have four different rooms for gift shops. Needless to say I have found my favorite spot in Florence, and to top it all off we got in for free :D
We also had a bit of saddening news these past weeks, Jessi had to leave to head home cause her mom had been in the hospital for a bit, nothing serious but just to make sure. So this friday we found out that her mom had died, the hospital had misdiagnosed her, so we were all devastated for Jessi. But she is going to be returning to Italy in a few days!! I've missed her, I have photography with her and there is only one other guy in the class besides us so without her here it has been pretty much just me and the teacher. The guy, Oliver, has another class that runs into our photography class, and he is also doing an independent study, so he really doesnt even do the same work as I do so when he is in class I'm still the only one that Gloria, our photography teacher, really focuses on. It's fun cause Gloria is really nice, but also kinda intimidating cause I'm really far behind on stuff and she has me doing like 5 projects at once and they are all things that I have never done before and also digital so its kinda hard to remember everything that I have to get done.
This past weekend was Mustafa's birthday so we all went out saturday night to celebrate, we just walked around for a bit and went to this dance club but the music sucked so we left. It wasnt that long of a night out but it was fun while it lasted. This weekend I also went to IKEA with Jordan and Tess, mainly just cause Tess was scandalized that Jordan and I had never been to IKEA. It was fun and very interesting, apparently the store is set up exactly as the US ones are. I got a wash cloth, which is like impossible to find anywhere, and thats it. There was a free shuttle to and from IKEA and that was quite interesting cause the bus literally felt like it was made out of cheap plastic and then there were so many bumps in the roads because of the cobble streets, so it was super bouncy.
Tonight we are also going to sit down and discuss what we are going to do for the week and a half we have off for fall break, cause we need to make reservations now or never.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September 20-24th

So I realized that I really havent written in my blog in a long time..! I mean nothing that exciting has happened but still. So Thursday went well, not as I had hoped with the movie night but it was still amusing. Everyone wanted to go to the school till closing time (10pm) to use the internet so we couldnt start the movie till after 10, and Casey had to be picked up because she didnt know where our apartment is. So then we all cuddled on the couch and watched Death at a Funeral, the british version. The movie didnt end till about 12:30 and then Jessi and Casey got into a debate about tv and directors. Then at about 1am Jessi and I walked Casey back to her apartment and then we came home and crashed. Thursday during the day was really nice, I managed to hop over to Zecchi's right before it was closing to get some more paints that I was missing and then ran over to Salvinis to pick up some canvas, which was pretty cheap and already primed. (normally I would do my own priming, but I feel that its already quite expensive for canvas and then to add on the price of gesso, which is quite pricey, and also the time that it would take to prime and sand the canvas would just be a hassel.) And I made it back to the school with time to spare before my painting class. We just did critiques for class and then we were kinda dismissed but were told to brain storm what we were going to do for our next project. So Casey and I got into this whole discussion about all things asian, such as anime and dramas etc, and then Natalia got into the conversation cause she likes anime too and then Andrew (our teacher) jumped in and started to art it up and talk about the difference between eastern and western ascetics. So while he was doing that I ran to grab something to eat and then talked with Mustafa for a bit and he got me this wonderful app that allows you to call to the US for free as long as you have wifi. So I got to call my mom for a good half hour before my next class!!! I am SO happy about that!!! then for drawing class we went out again and drew some sculptures that were in these niches around a church, it was actually the church that I had gone in to the third floor that is only open on mondays. So it was quite fun to do the drawings in an area that is more of a walking area instead of a public tourist area. So when I sat down to start drawing people actually stopped, looked at my stuff and then really started to pay attention to the church, as if seeing it for the first time. Then we also almost got run over by this guy who wanted to park his shiny jaguar and didnt care that there were two students sitting on the curb or that his car blocked said students view of what they were drawing. So we spent the whole three hours out there and then came back to the school re-grouped and then got dismissed. Then I headed back to the apartment to get ready for movie night.
Friday of course I slept in, but not too late. Then I went to the school and just hung out literally for the whole day just hanging with friends and doing work. I decided what I am going to do for my next project so I stretched my canvas' and tinted them. Then at 9pm we all headed out to go hang with Natalia who had invited us to dinner and a club. It was all of us minus Avigayil cause she went with her mom to northern italy for the Yon Kippor weekend. So we all met up at the carousel near the triumph arch, then headed to Natalia's favorite bar and took a shot, which was completely free because she is friends with the bar tender! Then we headed to YAB which is this really cool place that you go, have dinner and then after dinner while everyone is drinking and talking they move all the tables and start playing club music, turning it into a dance club. So we went there and met a ton of italians who for the most part spoke english, we didnt know it but apparently we were also at the VIP table, which was pretty cool. Jessi and Tess left after dinner cause Jessi cant do flashing lights and Tess had spent the whole day in Milan so she was really tired. So that left Jordan, Natalia and I and we had a blast! while we were dancing they brought our whole group a bottle of Grey Goose that was on fire and glowing along with things to mix it with like orange soda, I didnt drink any, I just mooched off of other people and took sips here and there. Jordan and I didnt leave till about 2am, and there were people who were just starting to come in when we left. But what was really awesome about that night was that we got dinner, VIP treatment, unlimited wine and dessert, free drinks and access to the club for 10 euro. Thats it. So we are definitely going back there sometime.
Then on Saturday we all took it slow in the morning, then I came to the school to hang out and skype mom, grandma and papa which was really nice. I miss them. Then when the school closed I dropped my stuff off at the apartment and headed to the grocery store where I met up with my roomies. Then we made ourselves so dinner and just laid low. We were supposed to go out to dinner again with Natalia but none of us really felt like it after the night we had on friday.
Then on Sunday we all got up and went to the Bogili Gardens cause I needed to re-shoot my film and Tess and Jordan wanted to see it. So we stayed there till 5 just walking around etc, but it was super hot out, nearly 90 degrees Fahrenheit and humid. On our way back from the gardens we all stopped at the little chinese place that I had found and got lunch/dinner and then we all went to the apartment and tried to cool off. Avigayil came back later that night with her mom so we got to meet her, she's really nice.
Monday started off as normal, Italian class, we got our quizes back and I got 100% on mine (mainly cause I got 5 bonus points) but still counts. Then we went to get something call granita which is like a slushy but made with actual fruit etc. So I got a really good fragoli granita (fragoli= raspberry) and then we were allowed to leave so Jordan and I headed back to the school. Then I developed a roll of film from when we went to the gardens, and this time the images did turn out! except the camera or the developing tank is leaking light so a few of the images have a strip of black across them, but there are not many and thankfully were not on the good prints. Then I hung out at the school till I had class at 4 where the teacher taught us how to do solarization in the dark room and how to do infrared on photoshop. Then we worked through class time and Jessi and I stayed a good hour after class just working. Then we hung out in the painting room cause I had to teach Mustafa and Casey how to stretch canvas for class, which was quite fun and good practice for when I start teaching. Then at about 9:30 Jessi, Jordan and I headed to The Diner for dinner cause mondays they have free drinks for any purchase of a meal. So I got a chocolate milkshake and strawberry pancakes, which the strawberries that were in the pancakes were fresh and so delicious!! Jordan got eggs benedict with a strawberry milkshake and Jessi got fried chicken with a vanilla milkshake. We all ended up sharing everything and everything was really good. The Diner also offers free wifi and is open till midnight so we stayed till about 11:20, and Jordan and I got tea while we surfed the web and talked. It was really awesome cause our total bill for the three of us was only 20 euros! we didnt get out 10% discount as students but we got nearly 15 euros free of drinks, they didnt even charge us for the tea! It was awesome!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

September 17-19th

So I havent written in a while and I'm sorry bout that :) monday I got sick with just a head cold, stuffy nose dizzy-ness etc. not too bad. Jessi had something similar all weekend so thats probably where I got it from but I am feeling pretty much all better today. So monday was quite normal, italian class, hanging at the school etc. For photography we went to the Pitti Palace and photographed the Bogili Gardens which are beautiful and huge! then after that I headed back to the apartment and crashed.
Tuesday was pretty much the same, slept in and then headed off to class at around noon. Oh! and I dropped my history of Florence class, mainly cause I just dont need the credit and also I'd rather have that time to be in the studio or out doing other stuff that I wouldnt be able to do with that class like going to the early markets etc. I really love my painting and drawing class, and I dont mean to sound conceited but I am a really good drawer! I never even knew! I'm so proud of my drawings, I'm gonna take photos of them and post them up here (although the ones from tuesday are a nude model.....whatever). Then after class I went back to the apartment to get ready with the girls for Vogue's Fashion Night Out, which is pretty much a giant party at all the designer stores etc. There was tons of free wine and so many people!! Jessi and I also got randomly photographed when we were in this store by a professional, we have no idea why. But it was so much fun! and I found the shoes I wanted, they are 70euros but really cute and practical for walking. We were out till the stores closed at 11 and then all crashed at home, we also were able to snatch a few wine glasses that they were giving out with the wine so now we have good glasses for our apartment which we did not have before.
Then today we had our first quiz in italian, it was really easy, I was one of the first ones to finish. Then I came back to the apartment and hung out till class. Then for photography we were supposed to develop our film from monday and we did but apparently Jessi and I both made mistakes with our film so both of our rolls came out blank. yeah, so apparently I didnt load the film correctly and Jessi's battery died while she was taking her photos. So sucks for both of us, but we are going to go back this weekend to re-shoot. The nice thing is is that we can go back whenever we want to cause our museum card gets us in for free. So gonna go back probably on friday to re-shoot and Jordan is gonna come with me cause she wants to see the gardens. I was actually planning on going to Rome friday with the guys but I thought about it and I realized that I didnt want to go because they were only going for the day (as far as they know) and they werent gonna leave Firenze till about 10am so really they would not be spending much time in Rome at all. And if I go to Rome I want to do it for at least 2 days so I can take everything in without getting too overwhelmed. Also I'd prefer to go at a less touristy time, and right now there are still a lot of tourists around. So instead I think I am going to just work on my photography project and get a head start on my new painting project as well. Also probably do a couple touristy stuff too and maybe even go to the beach again on sunday to relax. Also tomorrow we are all planning on doing a family dinner and watching a movie and maybe even doing facials and manicures! total girl night!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

September 15-16th

So yesterday was saturday, I slept in a bit, but not too much. Then I went to school to get some work done, but of course I got talking with Mustafa and got none done, but did get some more movies. I skyped a bit with grandma, Sierra, Earl and papa which was really nice, I miss them so much! Then the school closed down at 5 so Jessi, Jason, Mustafa and I went to the Palazzo della Signoria so that Mustafa and I could get our drawing homework done with. Then we all headed to the library to use the internet, but the internet wasnt working so Jessi and I left, Jason and Mustafa stayed to work on their italian homework. Jessi and I decided to go get an appertivo, which was our first time doing it. An appertivo is like a small buffet dinner special that most restaurants do so people just getting off of work can grab something to eat before heading home to cook their actual dinners. You just pay one down price and you get a drink and all you can eat food, the place we went to was only 8 euro and the food was so good. The place we went to also had free wifi so we hung out there for a while before we got really tired and headed back to the apartment. By the time we got back it was about 8:30pm, and Tess and Jordan were still not back from Capri (which they stayed overnight because it was raining and they didnt feel like traveling). We phoned them and decided to meet them at the station at 9:30 so we could all buy our tickets for our Cinque Terre trip on Sunday. So that all went well and we all headed back and crashed for the night, we were all exhausted.
So today was soooooo much fun!! I woke up at 6 so I could grab a shower and be totally ready for our trip, our train was scheduled to leave at 7:45am. We didnt leave the house till 7:20 so when we got there we had some confusion with what track to go to and ended up getting on the train just as the doors were closing. The train ride was really long and it got really crowded when we got closer to the Cinque Terre's. We all decided to get off at Vernazza and explore since it is Jessi's favorite of the towns and I had heard great things from grandma about it. I loved it! the little rock beach was so cute, but also fun cause you got to climb all those rocks up and down and stand on them in the water. Unfortunately because of the recent landslide all the caves that you could go into were blocked by rocks so we couldnt swim into them. The water was amazingly blue and you could see down a good 50-60 feet and it looked only a few feet from the surface. It was beautiful. Then we decided to head to Monterosso. We got there and tried these ice drinks that were pretty good but of course I had to try something new and I didnt really like my flavor (I had chosen mint but it was a really sweet fake flavor). Then we just walked around and did a little window shopping in both the new town and the old one. Then we stopped for lunch/dinner at this little restaurant that Jessi loves because of the salmon pasta she always gets there. It was really good food, I got the Gnochetti della Casa which was gnocchi with shrimp in a red basil sauce that was amazing!! We all tried each other's dish and they all tasted amazing. After lunch we headed back to the free beach and on the way we got gelato (of course) I got chocolate and raspberry and it was so good! When we got to the free beach we set up our stuff and then Jessi and I got in the water. We swam for a bit and then we climbed up this rock that was a good six feet out of the water and we jumped off. Three times each. It was so much fun!!! such an adrenaline rush! and Jordan was safe on the beach taking photos of us jumping off. I so want to do it again!!! then we just sun bathed till we had to go catch our train. When we got on the train it was so jammed packed that you could barely even stand, luckily we had found some seats so we were spared from the mosh-pit. So after La Spezia everyone kinda vacated the train and we all regrouped so we were all sitting together, but turns out that the train was going to make one more stop at this little station and that was the end of its run.... so we were stuck there. Thankfully though there was a train coming to the station that was heading to Florence so we just waited an hour for the train to come. While we were waiting there was this older guy who came to ask which platform was for Milan and we told him which one but then he hung out with us for a bit and I was so proud of my italian speaking. I managed to talk to him, all in italian, and tell him that we were students from America that were studying in Florence and when he said that he was from Morocco I told him that the King of Morocco's nephew lived on my street in America (but I didnt know the word for nephew so I just said brother). And he actually understood what I was saying!! Then he had to leave cause his train came in, and we only had to wait like 20 more min till our train pulled in as well. It was kinda fun hanging at the train station, even though we had nothing to do and didnt know where we were, we just sat on the ground and talked and listened to music. We didnt get into Florence till about 9pm and we all just wanted to get home and take showers and have something small to eat. So we all showered and made something small, I just made some pasta and ate a banana, then I did my italian homework that I forgot to do yesterday (mainly cause I was really tired after dinner). So all in all a really really really amazing day. I'm thinking that maybe next weekend if it is still warm out I will return and just stay in Vernazza all day (cause I like that one the best), but thats probably not going to happen cause I know Mustafa and Jason want to go to Rome next weekend and I'll probably end up going with them cause I do want to go to Rome and then I'll have people to go with. Who knows :) and I also tossed around the idea of maybe going to Egypt during my vacation weeks but Jessi reminded me of all the shit that is going down over there with Libya and the recent assassination of the American representative there, so probably not gonna end up going but hopefully in the spring they will have settled a bit so that I could go and see the pyramids!!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

September 12-14th

So on wednesday I had my italian class which wasn't all that fun, mainly just cause we were going over our homework the whole time. But apparently next class if the weather is nice we will be going to a really nice gelateria and practice ordering in italian. Then I didn't have a class till 4, which was photography and that was actually quite fun and different. We are working on photograms which is when you just expose the photo paper with something on top so it makes a design. So we spent the whole class experimenting on how different things act when exposed etc. It was really different than I am used to in the dark room, but really fun too. Our class ran a little over, just cause you easily lose time in the dark room, so we were all late for our art and culture seminar. The seminar was just Lorenzo going on again about the history of florence etc, but I'm really excited for next wednesday's class cause we are going to be talking about Vivianne Westwood, who is my favorite foreign fashion designer. Then after class Avigayil and Jordan were going to go over to Casey's apartment and then go out bar hopping and exploring. I went with them, but I had to run back to the apartment to change cause I felt disgusting after working in the dark room. So we met up at Casey's and took some photos on her roof, and apparently I can dance so now everyone wants dance lessons. Casey and I even did some ballroom dancing on the roof, just cause we felt like it. Then we headed to The Clubhouse which is where we were supposed to meet up with Mustafa and Jason, but they were not there yet and Avigayil wanted to try out a different area of the city. So we headed out and eventually found this really cool bar, it was very vintage and had a ton of old couches etc to sit on. The drinks were a little expensive but good, I had some sort of green apple drink. Then Jessi and Tess met us there and we all walked back to the Clubhouse. On the way Casey, Jordan and I started randomly singing disney songs, it was so much fun! When we got to the Clubhouse Avigayil and Tess headed back to the apartment cause their feet were hurting etc and the rest of us stayed there. Jessi and Jordan got something to drink and Casey and I were going to split a pizza but the kitchen had closed five minutes before we got there so we couldn't get anything to eat. After we were done hanging there we went to this little kebab place, since it was the only one open and Casey and I hadn't eaten anything since lunch. So we got this cheese and spinach calzone and since the guy was closing up he threw in the rest of his kebab meat for free, he also gave Jordan and Jessi some free ice tea. So we hung out there till he had to close up, we walked Casey to her apartment and then the three of us headed back to the apartment, by the time we got back there it was a little past 12:30. It was such a fun night!
So thursday I didnt have a class till 1 so I got to sleep in quite a bit. Then I just made myself some pasta for breakfast/lunch and headed to painting class. I didnt whip through quite as many paintings as I did last class, but that was because in those I wasnt really concentrating on the background or the space around the earrings I was painting, this time I did. But they did come out really nicely. And then for drawing class we went to this church where there were late renaissance frescos, we were inside cause it was super windy and the wind made it very cold out. But it was really cool in the church, we focused again on the standing figures and then for a time we did nothing but hands and feet, it was super fun. Our homework for that class is actually for us to go people watching and do really fast gesturals of them. I dont mean to sound vain, but I think I'm easily one of the more advanced of the class, though I still do need to work on quite a few things. But doing all these drawings is so much fun and just makes me feel alive here in florence, and like I am truly appreciating being here.
So today is friday, I dont have school, so I slept in, but not that late. Avigayil left this morning really early for her trip, since it's Rush Hashanah weekend she is going with some jewish friends and family members to this town, i dont remember the name. And Tess and Jordan went down to Capri for the day, I really wanted to go but the tickets for the trip would have been more than 100 euro and right now I want to spend my money on food and supplies (and for fashion week). So now it's just Jessi and I and we are both feeling kinda low cause the temperature changed quite suddenly here so everyone is getting that head cold kinda thing. So we are just laying low, we went grocery shopping and stopped at this really cool vintage shop where everything is super cheap. Now we are just hanging out at the apartment.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11th

So I totally did not realize that today was 9/11 till around 3pm when someone commented on how weird it was to not see things in remembrance of 9/11 around since we are in Italy. So yeah... but today was really fun, I didnt have class till 12:15 cause Lorenzo pushed it back an hour. So I had the history class till 1:15 and then I had painting from 1:15 to 4. Everyone knows I love painting but I am going to reiterate it, I Love Painting! it felt so good to wield a paint brush again, I whipped through six small paintings within the class time, and unfortunately I did not bring a lot of earrings to go off of (cause I am making them all earrings) I only had three and then grabbed two from the internet. So yeah I did that and it was so invigorating. Then at 4:15 I had my drawing class which was amazing! We went to the Palazza della Signoria and just sat and did some quick sketches of the sculptures there, and also some really quick gesture drawings of the people around the sculptures (which were really fun but had to be done really fast because the people didnt know they were being drawn and would move). Actually I felt that I would have had a hard time with this drawing class since I really havent had a formal drawing class before and also because it sounded like there were so many people in the class who did have experience and were good at it too (cause we all gave our history with drawing in class on the first day). But when I was looking at my sketch book and then at everyone else's (not to sound vain etc) I felt like I really was good at drawing, especially at the gestural drawings we were doing. Then after classes I totally crashed, I mean I had classes from 12:15 to 7 straight, so I crashed for like 15 min on one of the comfy red couches at the school till Jessi gave me a really yummy apple and then we went to the 99cent store. After that we went back to the apartment and made dinner and did our italian homework, which was quite fun to do because four of us are all in the same class so we all did it together. Also for my drawing class he gave us homework to help us gain control of our pencil etc and it seems really fun, but also seems like something I can do during another class if my hand is feeling restless.