Hi all, I’m not sure if any of you even read this, but I am going to write a post about my life since…well…graduating! Sorry for all of you who know everything, just don’t read this, the rest, get ready for a wild ride!
So, I graduated in May (BFA in Graphic Design) and spent the summer in Ames working out and applying for jobs. I lost 20 pounds this summer! Woohoo! I decided it was time to focus on my and my health so I did Farell’s Extreme Body shaping for 10 weeks and after that was over, got a personal trainer. It was hard, but I stuck with it and I think now I have more tools to be successful and get where I want to be weight wise.
After much “should I? shouldn’t I?” I decided to move to Portland, OR. So, I packed all my stuff, put Mia and Maggie in the car and off we went…until we got to Okalooloo, or whatever it’s called Nebraska, and locked the keys in the car. Three hours later, we were off again! Maggie and I took turns driving and three days later we were in Portland! We stayed with Sally and Bob (my good friend Lauren’s parents who moved out here about 7 years ago) and goofed around until Magnadoodle had to go back home to go to school. Lauren came out for awhile too and helped me get moved into my new apartment. It was great to have them both out here, but it was really sad to see them leave.
So, what the crap have I been doing in Portland? Getting lost a lot. Working. Going to the dog park. Working out. Hanging out. Sally (Lauren’s mom) got me a job with OHSU helping around the Pediatric Surgery office and I am also barista-ing at a little cafe. Both jobs are going well and are keeping me busy and out of trouble. :D I am doing some commission work for the office at OHSU which I am really excited about and can hopefully share with you soon. I have also been asked to do a logo for the band my coffee shop boss plays in as well as a few things for shop. I’m just working on getting my foot in the door out here!
So how do you like Portland? I get asked this a lot. I like it. I love it. There’s a lot to do out here and things to see, people to watch. I’m trying to discover new things every week so when people come to visit I can have a whole list of things to do (hint hint hint hint hint).
Why Portland? I also get this one a lot. A lot A lot. Well, let me tell you. I didn’t want to move to the east coast. Wanted to get out of the Midwest for awhile, didn’t want to go south where it’s hotter, and didn’t want to live in California. So, it was either Portland or Seattle and since I came to Portland five years ago and really enjoyed it I decided this was the place. Plus there’s also a really great art community out here. Also, it’s pretty. You can see the mountains. And there’s tons of trees. And there’s me. :D
That’s about it, give me a call, I love to hear from everyone. Or skype me. Or email me.
Also, Mia says hi!
So does Henry! (refer to previous post for this one)
I love Gernamy. Love it. It’s so friggin’ cute. I’ve been there twice now and am excited to go back one last time with the fams. I hope they love it too. Anywho, my roommate Kim and I took a small trip to Stuttgart last weekend. She spent the summer there doing Camp Adventure (it’s a summer camp thing for kids whose parents are stationed there for the military and you can do it all over the world where ever there are American military bases) so she had a few friends there and knew the town. We stayed with her friend Adria and her little dog Shaggy.
View from Adria’s house. That’s Stuttgart. Isn’t it cute?
How I have missed the company of dogs. I can’t wait to see my puppy in a few weeks. Woooo! Once again I am going to bullet point our activities that weekend because I am lazy and don’t want to make them each paragraphs:
dinner at a Mexican restaurant where I enjoyed two margaritas and a long island iced tea. I like to keep it classy.
another Mexican place where they had flamenco dancers. Kim and our new austrian friend got up a danced with the dancers on stage. they can really not move it like those dancers but hey, they tried and I wouldn’t even go up there because all I can do is shake my booty and that is not appropriate flamenco dancing style. I also enjoyed two more long islands and a shot of something sweet
after that we went to a techno (house) club of which the name translates to “Mothers Milk.” We spent five thousand hours there dancing to the same techno beat and looking at people who were standing out side watching us dance through the largest front windows for a club i have ever seen.
At 5 am that same night we took a cab home and went to bed. Glorious sleep.
The next day we went to the AMERICAN GROCERY STORE on the military base and I was stunned into stupidity by all the americanness going on there. I haven’t been in Italy for THAT long but I have gotten used to tiny little grocery stores and having to go without my Doritos and Mac n’ cheese and reeses peanut butter cups and Mountain Dew.
After that we went to the CHRISTMAS MARKET!!! Ok, if you ever go anywhere in gernamy you need to go at the times when they have christmas markets and you need to drink gluwein (sp?) and get the cute little souvenir mugs. They have all the little german trinkets you could wish for as well as bands playing and singing and snow all over the place. It was great.
Me with the cutest souvenir cup of Gluwein ever.
After the christmas market Kim and I made dinner for Adria as a thank you for letting us stay there. It was pretty good if I do say so myself, I am a meaaan alfredo maker. After that we watched elf. The second best cristmas movie ever.
That was it for Germany. I get to go back in two weeks to see Linda again and have Christmas with her family in Lauscha.
A few weeks ago we went to London and it was fantastic (in we I mean the usual Ping, Anne, Brianna and I). We stayed with our friend Kinsey who graduated last year and married a guy with a hot british accent and moved over there. I just have to say that they are probably the most stinking cute couple I have ever seen and it makes me want to barf (in a good/jealous way). First thing’s first: HARRY FRIGGIN’ POTTER! It was amazing and the theater was ginormous. It had a whole curtain openy thing and made a whole show of the show (haha). THE MOVIE ROCKED. (We saw it again in Rome the next week). I don’t really want to wait six months to see the last last HP movie. I don’t think I can contain my excitement.
Here’s a rundown of other things we saw/did in London:
ate at a really good Turkish restaurant (I wanted to take that whole restaurant and put it in my pocket);
saw the Buckingham Palace at night;
walked around a lot;
went to Harrod’s department store where Kinsey got a new job;
went to a Christmasy market thing and drank mulled wine and met some more fantastic British people;
went to a bar and drank with British people;
had a very yummy Sunday roast made by Kinsey’s British husband;
rode the tube a lot;
saw Big Ben (which isn’t really that big but it’s cute!)
looked at Westminster Church from the outside
saw the movie Social Network (sometimes British people don’t get American humor so when we were the only ones laughing it was awwwwkawwrrddd)
ate a FANTASTIC english breakfast after a night of heavy drinking
drank some really cheap whiskey and had heart-to-hearts
talked to as many english speaking people possible
made fun of a guy who was passed out drunk at 10am on the top of those really cool buses… after all the passengers got off the bus I turned around and looked up and there he was, still passed out in the front of a double decker bus. Classy British Man.
All in all, London was great and I would really like to go back there right now…who knows… maybe even live there?
So we were sitting/hyped up on caffeine in studio today discussing our Milan trip and it seems I have missed many things that happened there. First of all “what happens in Milan stays in Milan…” but I’m going to post it anyway. So, here’s what happened/what we saw:
Hobo Park- we initially went here to drink wine but there were homeless guys so we moved to….
Joggers Park! Here we drank two bottles of wine, a bottle of rum, got very acquainted with the gravel sidewalk and talked about very inappropriate things that I am not allowed to repeat
Foliage in Joggers Park!- A few people had to pee really bad so they went in the bushes. They may have been sighted by the people joggin, but who knows.
The subway bathroom! - here we went to the bathroom in a very sketch bathroom that may have had a couch. We got the keys from the guys who ran the little coffee shop across the way.
The subway! - Picture this: One very drunk american, two moderately drunk americans, two slightly drunk/tipsy americans, tram full of Italians watching the variously drunk Americans being “typical Americans”
Frozen pizza place- we ordered pizza that they warmed up in the microwave and drank a bottle of wine…it was not very good and I got slightly tipsay
Red light district- this is where our hostel was. it contained several sex shops and questionable “clothing stores.” We also thought it was a very good idea to stand outside and talk and walk around when it was dark. I would like to think it was late and we were in a lot of danger from pedophiles and rapists, but since we were all in bed by about 10:30, it’s not likely.
Inappropriate talk that cannot be repeated but I do not have any secrets from these people that I can think of right now
A church- already told you about this, but there was also a statue of the saint that was skinned alive and it was creepy and it was really dark and gloomy
The mall thing with the fancy McDonalds and there was a band playing that was really fun to watch
That’s about it. You should totally go do the exact same things we did. Faaantastic.
Ok, so, It’s been awhile since my last post and a number of things have happened. Things such as the north field trip where we went to Zurich, Basel, Milan and Venice. After that trip Anne, Ping, Brianna and I went to London! So here’s a breakdown of our fantastic adventures:
North Field Trip
After some very early but beautiful train rides we arrived in Switzerland. Northern Italy and Switzerland are some of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. We were there right around the time when the leaves were changing which was amazing since we haven’t really seen a lot of trees in Rome. It was very “naturey” and wonderful. Switzerland is known for it’s graphic design, they are highly regarded for their rigid style and outstanding typography. Swiss design is one of my favorite styles. Anyway, While in Switzerland we went to a poster exhibition showing some of the most famous typographic posters. They also showed us how they archive them (they have over 400,000 posters) and renewed my interest in graphic design. Not that it had been going away, just that it gets overwhelming sometimes when all you do is design and all you talk about is design. The second thing we did in Switzerland was go to a paper making factory where we saw how paper was made and even got to make some ourselves. It was more for little kids, but this group of twenty-somethings loved it. We also went to the Vitra Museum which is actually in Germnay. We went to a lot of carnivals. The German and Swiss love their carnivals. There was a creepy ass carnival museum with life size human figures dressed as clowns and stuff doing weird things. I’m not afraid of clowns but it was weird and really creeped me out. Switzerland was a beautiful place, a bit expensive, but beautiful. I hope I can visit again someday!
View from the Train.
Park bench in Basel.
Creepy-ass clowns in the weird museum.
Pretty trees in a park.
After Switzerland we were dropped off in Milan. My friends Anne, Ping, Brianna and Brian decided to stay there a night. We had booked a hostel…called the Scream House. Why stay somewhere called the “Scream House” you might ask. Because it was cheep. And creepy. We definitely got what we paid for. There was one single bathroom for about ten guests, my bed broke, Brian practically slept on the floor, and the cereal in the morning was dusty. But hey, it was only €10! We didn’t see much in Milan except for the mall thingy and a huge dark scary church in the middle of the city and got really drunk in a large park. All in all, Milan was kinda like Rome.
Blurry Brian. Anne was sitting next to him…where in the world could she be? Clue: Read the next post
Drinkin in the Park.
Really big, dark, scary church.
From Milan we hopped on a train to Venice! The hopping off the train part was a bit more complicated than we anticipated. We got all caught up in realizing that MIlan was an ISLAND IN THE OCEAN AND THE TRAIN GOES ON A LONG ASS BRIDGE TO GET THERE. We were supposed to get off the stop before Venice to get to our hostel which was in another city. Anywho, we realized this when we got off the train and tried to locate our hostel on a Venice. Our plan of attack was to get on a bus and get off when we got to our hostel. Harder than you’d think since on Brian’s little GPS iPhone thingy the hostel was located in the middle of an interstate. So we rode the bus into several different towns, got off, asked for directions, I very narrowly almost got run over by a car, didn’t have the right bus ticket to get us back into Venice but after fighting with the bus driver we got on anyway and went back into Venice. We decided to kill the outside of venice hostel and opted for a cheap hotel over five bridges in a questionable part of the city. After all of that we were a little exhasted and emotionally drained to say the least, but what are adventures for?! Besides that little road bump, Venice was A-MAZING. There aren’t any cars (duh) or bikes because there aren’t really streets, just canals. You’ve seen the movies and stuff but it’s so much more cooler in real life. My favorite part was when we went to the piazza in the beginning of the Italian Job. It was soooo cool! Then we had to go home. :( The train home sucked because I lost my ticket and got kicked off the train and had to buy another ticket and take a different train home. LAME. But besides that, great trip.
Sup Venice? We’re totally awesome.
Gondolas are real.
Venice at night.
Our creepy little hotel in a dark alleyway. Our room was acutally “over the wooden bridge, then left then over two iron bridges and then go right” which means…not actually in the hotel.
The next week and a half was filled with homework homework homework.
Then we went to LONDON! YAY! Anne, PIng, Brianna, and I adventured to London where we got to stay with a friend from school, Kinsey. She graduated last year and married a guy, Stephen, from england. They were great hosts and an incredibly cute couple. We saw HARRY POTTER AT THE OPENING THEATER. The theater was soooooo cool. It was HUGE and there was a curtain opening and everything before the movie started. Plus it was a great movie. After that we walked around and saw lots of Londony things. London was great and I would love to go visit again someday (or find a job there??)
Yesterday we had Thanksgiving dinner. Anne’s parents and sisters are in Rome this week, we don’t have class Thursday and Friday and so we cooked a gargantuan dinner for everyone in our miniscule kitchen. We sufficiently stuffed ourselves, waited three hours, and stuffed ourselves again.
It’s been an adventurous and exhausting few weeks. We only have three weeks left of class, which I can’t believe. My family is coming in December and are going to be here over Christmas and I can’t wait to see them all and show them all the cool things in Rome.
Barcelona was fun. No, it was amazing. I went with Anne, Ping and Brianna. After my first Ryanair experience and a late night getting into Barcelona, we saw lots o cool stuff. Sagrada Familia was freaking amazing. Definitely go there. Park Guell was fun and interesting. We ended up there after we took a bus going the wrong way and a very nice spanish woman helped us get back to civilization. At the park we climbed all the way to the top of this monument thing and had a fantastic view of the city. Not going to lie, there weren’t any railings on this thing and going down was a bit scary. When did I become afraid of heights? Anyway, there was also a man singing very badly dressed in skin-tight leopard print pants and tank top with star shaped sunglasses. He sang lots of bits and pieces of rock and roll classics (only the choruses, but oh well, everyone can’t be perfect) and was tremendously entertaining.
Brianna, Ping and I went out one night to a salsa club. That was fantastic. We danced until about 4 in the morning and then chatted up some brits in our hostel until 6am. We were all making fun of how each other talked. It was quite comical. We also went up to this castle thing and had some nasty beer and looked at the city and the ocean. It’s gettin pretty blue. All in all, I loved Barcelona. It’s a bit more modern than Roma and had a really cool artsy district and the people were so nice. I would go back, heck maybe I’ll move there. If you ever go to Barcelona, stay in our hostel because the people there were amazing and fun and helpful.
After Barthelona came a shitfest of schoolwork. I made a logo which I am pleased with. I made some business cards, letterhead, and envelope, which I detest. Friday a website is due. Yay! So much work to do… but next week is our north field trip for the entire week. So that should be fun and very educational.
Rome has very good public transportation. However, whenever I want to ride it, it’s so crowded that I can’t get on. When I do, everyone is packed like sardines and coughing and breathing on everyone and touching their hands on yours and “accidentally” brush up against you. I routinely get yelled at, for what I don’t know because they are yelling at me in Italian. Italian people are also very pushy. On the sidewalk, in the store, especially on any sort of public transportation. It drives me crazy. They brush past me on the sidewalk. It’s ok, I don’t need to walk on the sidewalk, I’ll just walk on the street. No biggs. I like dodging cars. Also, I don’t like the market. Yes, there are good things there and they can be cheap but the same thing happens as before and usually it’s like 20 times worse because they are SO MANY PEOPLE in a tiny tiny space.
Other than that I love the friends we have made in our neighborhood. Gelato man, who has the cutest little kids on earth. The guys at the Tuodi who like to tease us. The bum who sits outside our building who I actually don’t really like, I just like his dogs.
Anywho, still love Rome. Would love to have a bicycle or a Vespa of some sorts. That’s all.
Tourist bulletin: You are not on a Safari. You are not in the jungle in 200 degree heat batting away lions and tigers. Stop wearing safari hats with sun protecting vests and zip away pants. It’s Rome. Not the jungle.
I saw the best, I mean BEST tourist outfit I have yet to see. This fine young woman is sporting a foam visor with the curly strap to keep it securely on her head. That is followed by a flowered Hawaiian shirt secured with a fanny pack. On her feet are some hiking sandals accentuated bye bright white socks. Faaaantastic!
Our school planned a field trip last weekend was awesome! We took the train (all 60 of us) to Naples and then Sorrento and then Pompeii.
In Naples we went to a museum where they had a lot of old stuff. There was supposed to be an erotic art room, the only thing I wanted to see, but it was closed. Bitches. So was the mosaic room. Double bitches. So I ended up looking at some 2,000 year old frescoes from Pompeii and making fun of statues with Anne, Ping, and Brian.
Brian was fascinated with the statues butts. “Their butts are just so perfect! Look!”
To make our time in the museum more interesting, Anne and I like to make up stories about the paintings or sculptures or whatever we are looking at. Anne’s commentary on this piece: “Look here young man/woman! I have the receipt! Either you give me that tiger fur or I kill you whilst wearing a fancy red blanket. Can’t you see my lady friend here needs it?! She desperately needs to cover up and that see through white piece of shit isn’t doing anything for her. I have one crying woman on my hands, I DON’T NEED TWO!”
I ate some pizza in Naples. It was delish. Naples is supposedly the birthplace of pizza, so I had high expectations. It was good, but it still tasted like pizza. My favorite is still Tomasos in Cedar Rapids. If you haven’t eaten it, you should.
After Nipples, I mean Naples, we hopped on a ghetto train (after some panic from our professors who weren’t sure which train we were supposed to take) and rode to Sorrento. Sorrento was beautiful! It had lots of lemons, lemon paraphernalia, bellissimo views, and mosquitos. We went to a lemon orchard and walked along the little path looking at all the lemon trees. At the end they had a little store thing that was selling lemoncello and other liquors. We got to sample them all! Yummy!
That night we went to a restaurant where we had one of the best meals of my entire life!
That waiter was dessert. :D
The next day we went to Pompeii. It was super cool, for like 2.5 hours. You know, I appreciate the place and realize its significance, but I’m done. And hungry. I wish they had some couches to take a quick nap on.
Then we hopped back on the train and went back to Rome. Yay!
Aight, so this has been a busy/interesting/stressful/so glad it’s the weekend week. I’ll just do this shiz in chronological order.
Last weekend we traveled to Assisi. It’s a small town on the side of a hill with a lot of churches. It’s the birthplace of St. Francis and the Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi (same guy as before). People from all over the world make the pilgrimage to this small community on a hill, oh and the church too. Assisi was SUPER CUTE and what I had imagined Rome to be like. The church was pretty cool with some frescoes by Giotto all over the place. While we were walking around inside the church God was telling us “SILENCIO! SHHHHHHHHH!” and “NO PHOTO!” His voice was a lot higher than I had imagined. Here’s some photos!
It’s a cute little stairwell!
Main street of Assisi. Also, I think I might want a Fiat. I can’t decide anymore between a Fiat or a Mini. Decisions Decisions.
San Francesco d’Assisi. Bellissimo!
AFTER ASSISI, THAT SAME WEEKEND
Saturday was also my roomie’s (Kira) birthday. Kim had gotten two(!) cakes for her while we were away that day and we celebrated when we got back. That night we went out for the first time in Rome (kinda). It was so fun! We danced at a club in Testaccio (a street where there are a lot of clubs and where people go to dance) for most of the night. The Italian men were dancing with us and trying to pick us up. It was pretty hilarious. A few tried to kiss our cheeks and we weren’t having any of that. I have permission from Ping to tell your about one particular sitch-e-ation:
We had moved inside to take a break from dancing for a little while. Ping and Anne went to get another drink (every drink was €10 btw. I only got one) and I saw her shove some guy away at the bar. When she came back over to the table, she said that he was trying to kiss her and it wasn’t the nice on the cheek kind, so she shoved him away. He came back when we were all sitting there minding our own business and tried to grab her arm…now when you mess with one girl in a group of seven, you are going to have seven angry girls after you. That’s just how the math works. So, he tried to grab her and we all pushed/slapped/poked in the eye/punched him away, then the bouncer comes over (who I noticed had seen the earlier incident) and was like “Oh no you di-iiiiint!” and takes him away. It was grand. And that’s that particular sitch-e-ation. (If you didn’t know, I was trying to be funny and say “situation” in a cool-er way.)
After that we tried to get into a gay bar and it was €20 cover, so no we didn’t go in. Then we got pizza and walked over the river and through the streets home. Fantastic night.
Until I woke up the next morning and felt like absolute shit. Not hangover style but like sick sick sick style. My ear hurt like a m-effer and I was sooooper tired and coughy and all nose runny. Not so good. That’s how I spent Sunday and Monday, mostly sleeping and eating a lot of saltine crackers and water. Soooo, when I wasn’t better by Tuesday (i.e. still can’t hear out of my left ear and all runny and coughy) I decided to go to the doctor. I asked my professor and she went all Mama Cheri on me and insisted that I go to the doctor right that instant. Since Cheri couldn’t go, the office lady, Beatrice (pronounced BEE-A-TREE-CHAY) went with me to the special hospital for not uber sick people like with limbs falling off and stuff. It was like a normal hospital/doctors office except for everything was super old school with no computers, so similar to one you would find in the 1970’s with the decor to match. After being checked out (not “checked out” you know, but medically looked over) he declared that I had (have) a viral infection in my nose, throat, lungs, and ears! So basically I suck. I explained that I probably got sick because the bus we took to Assisi was air conditioned and it was super dooper cold. The doc and Beatriche then gave me a five minute lecture on air conditioning and how I should wear more clothes. Ha. Oh, and fun fact: this doctor was the PERSONAL DOCTOR OF MOTHER TERESA. Mother effingTeresa. So, you know, I feel like I am in pretty good hands. He wrote me a prescription for about a suitcase full of drugs and sent me on my merry way. Currently, I sound like I smoke about 8.613 packs of cigs a day and still can’t hear out of my left ear. It’s a grand experience. I suggest you try it.
Also going on this week was a packaging workshop with Primo Angeli. He’s a graphic designer who has done a lot of successful packaging for huge corporations like Sunkist, Guinness, Banana Republic, Wells Fargo, and Coca-Cola, to name a few. Initially I was very intimidated, but him and his wife Deanie we the nicest people! He was such a cute old man with lots of funny things to say. Adopted as another grandpa=done.
As a group we had to repackage and redesign a food item of our choosing. He helped us sift through ideas and designs and I think all the groups came up with a great solution. It was a bit stressful this time around working in a group I would have to say. I am not happy with our solution, so I will be working on that to maybe maybe make it into a portfolio piece. Here’s what the current solution is:
The original is on the left and the solution is on the right. Also, sorry for the crap photoshop job. I didn’t really care all that much. Oh if you were wondering, (if not then you can skip to the next part) the solution is part of a series that travelers would take home as a souvenir. It’s showcasing a mosaic floor in a church in Italy. There would be several different bars in the box with different mosaics and also have the info about that particular church on them.
OTHER ROME STUFF
I have also been out and about in Rome the past few weeks. Visits to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Capitoline Hill and Museum, Piazza dei Vittorio Emannuale II, and the usual Cat Pizza and gelato. Here’s some pretty pictures to end this monsterous post!
Nice view of a little of the Roman Forum and the Colosseum. (Did you know that there used to be a botanical garden in the middle of the Colosseum?)
Bernini’s Elephant. I wish I could carve like that. Then again, that would take entirely too long to do.
The police around here drive Alpha Romeos and their uniforms are designed and made by Armani. (Shhhh, they kinda look like Nazi’s) No biggs. Their government employees just have really cool shit. I also saw a cop driving a Maserati. Damn.
Ok, that’s it for now. Time to watch Glee, then go to bed!
AAAAnyway. I totally saw Micheal Cera(!) at the Louvre in Paris while looking for Ping. He was wearing a red hat and riding his bike and almost ran into me. He was too swift for me to snap a pic. Dang. I did google him though and he looked exactly like this except for on a bicycle in Paris. Hat and everything.
So when we were in Germany visiting Ping’s friend we decided to go to Maastricht. Those Dutch love their double letters. Maastricht is in the Netherlands=BANANAS. (I only said that because I was listening to that one song where they say that.) These people know how to spell shit. So. While we were there we went to a bookstore that was in a church. It was pretty cool. They even had english books in there. We walked around a lot. I saw some funny trees again.
Then we walked some more. We walked by a fair and some places that sell weed and then across the river.
We were hungry so ended up stopping at a little pub. They were playing an awesome/weird mix of american music. It went from old old country to pop to latin dance to electronica. I think they were trying to cover all of their bases, well done I would say. So we couldn’t read the menu (even Ping’s friend who speaks German who you would think could decipher a Dutch menu). I ordered something which turned out to be fried calamari which looked like onion rings, Ping ordered “Bitterballs” (hehehehe) which turned out to be meat mush with a fried outer shell. We found it on the menu and did our little hold up the menu to the server and point thing and giggled while we did it. Anne ordered something which we assumed were fried cheese balls but ended up being cubes of cheese with toothpicks with the flag of the city stuck in all of them. Hahaha. Comical. After that we got in the car and drove home via the autobahn. I didn’t die though. We were going 180km/h. That’s about 112 mph. Just so you know that was some scary shit. I want to drive next time though. In either and Alpha Romeo or Aston Martin thanks. And they have to be red JSYK.
So. To sum it up. Netherlands:
Like double letters. A lot A lot.
Germans can’t read their language.
Bitterballs are actually quite tasty.
Weird taste in music.
Tallerish than other European peoples. Esp Italians.
One more picture:
(That’s a staircase going directly down into a river just in case you were wondering.)
The men who work in the Tuodi grocery store. Picture this: Three American girls with handfuls of groceries. Two Italian men doing a movement with their fingers and saying “steeekleeng!” Apparently that means tickeling, and no I would not like to be tickled with armfuls of groceries. Anyway, they are nice and our new friends.
An abundance of Boxed Wine
An abundance of Cheap Wine
Looking like a tourist even when I don’t try
CAPPUCCINO (the best everrrrr)
Old women yelling at me in Italian on the packed tram in the mornings
The bum on the way to the tram in the morning who says hi (actually he says “buonjiorno”) everyday
Being within walking distance of the coolest things in the world (Pantheon, Colosseum, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, etc)
Wonderful foooooood (hello Pastrami sandwiches)
Being with the coolest people I know (well some of the coolest, don’t worry, you’re in the cool group too, you’re just not in Roma)
Kind of knowing Italian (not really, I just like to think I do)
Art History consists of walking around to different historical sites. No more boring art history lectures!
Being close to everything else in Europe (kinda)
Did I say cheap wine and good food? Oh yeah. I think I did.
WARNING: The following story is about two girls trying to kill the biggest spider they have both ever seen. There is photo documentation. Also, keep in mind that this happened late at night so this was all done in whispers.
Anne and I were standing in the corner of our room talking about this and that when I looked over and saw the biggest spider of my life. I gasped and immediately stopped listening to what Anne was talking about and stood staring in disbelief at the mutant spider. Now, I feel the same about spiders as I do peas. I hate them. Although I will never ever ever eat a spider.
Anne looks at me quizzically and turns to see what I am looking at. She screams and does a scared little dance. At this point I am thinking that no way in hell I am going to kill this mutant monster spider. Anne doesn’t like spiders either and can’t even kill the little tiny ones. I can’t do it because I hate the crunch they make when you smush them.
Caren, Ping’s friend, was coming up the stairs so we asked her to kill it. She looks at us like, “No problem, I am not afraid of spiders.” She goes into the kitchen and comes back with ONE SQAURE of paper towel. Caren comes into the room and we both silently point at the spider. Caren looks at it and suggests that Ping might want to kill it. She rethinks the one square of paper towel and opts for the more appropriate 736291 squares. She fetches Ping who walks into the room with the gait of a person capable of killing a spider. She looks at us like we are ridiculous because Anne and I are standing in the corner fretting about the spider, looking like total idiots. I would like to think that she said, “Fer fucks sake,” becuase that is her new favorite line, but I might be imagining that. We point to the monster in the corner and Ping exclaims, “Oh Shit! That’s a huge effing spider!”
We then thought it would be a great idea to fetch Caren’s older brother. I don’t remember his name. He came in the room all macho and you know what he did? Chased the spider behind an unmovable cabinet. He had one job: kill the spider. Did he do it, NO.
There was no way I was going to sleep in that room knowing that the biggest spider I have ever seen in my entire life was hiding behind a cabinet right next to where I was sleeping. Her brother stuffed some towels between the wall and the cabinet and declared, “There. Now the spider won’t come out. He will stay there.” Ya. Right. I was not convinced, neither was Anne and neither was the spider. 15 minutes later he was back and lounging in the corner. Everyone else had gone to bed, so it was up to either Anne or I to kill this thing or neither of us were going to be able to sleep that night.
After a lot of excited whispered planning we decided that I would kill it. See now, my mind is very irrational when it comes to killing bugs. I didn’t want to get too close to it for fear that it would jump on my face or scurry up my legs and bite me. You never really know what these things will do to you. Anne did a very good job of pumping me up repeating, “You are bigger than the spider and he’s more afraid of you.” I asked for a gun. I know this is impractical, killing a spider with a gun, but it was a big mother-effer and there was no way I was going to get closer than 10 feet. The next idea was to vacuum it up. Brilliant! My face wouldn’t have to get close to the thing at all and I would have to touch it at all! Problems with that idea: no idea where the vacuum is; it’s 1:30 in the morning; Caren’s parents are in the room next door; it would be really loud. Scratch that idea. Next down the list: shoe. Perfectly good weapon. Kind of like a sword, I don’t actually have to touch the spider or feel the crunch and there is less chance of it crawling up my arm. Excellent weapon.
After a lot of positive thinking and repeating “You can do this. The spider is way smaller than you,” I finally got the courage to kill this mutant arachne. I stood with one foot on the bed and the other on the floor in a warrior stance with my shoe-weapon. I had my shoe in my fighting hand, closed my eyes and took a deep breath picturing me killing the spider. I opened my eyes and…it was still there. And it looked bigger. Damn. “Ok, this time I am going to do it. I have to sleep sometime tonight and I am not going to do that with that spider alive. Be brave and just doooooo it,” is what I told myself. So, I took another deep breath and with my heart racing, smushed that MF’er. I did a few extra little turney things with the toe of my shoe just to make sure it was dead. I took the shoe away and the crumpled spider tumbled to the ground. D.E.A.D. Just the way it should be.
I would like to think I was very brave and warrior-like, but I am afraid that would be a lie. I looked pretty silly, we both did, but thankfully no one else was there to see it.
This is a very blurry picture of an old guy without a shirt on trying to sing a song in an Irish pub. Needless to say the band kicked him off.
"Run swiftly that way"
Every exit sign has been a little bit different in each country. However, they all have this funny little running man, in Germany he’s a little more buff and bent all the way over trying to run. In France, he is thinner and not running as fast. I find the difference in the running man amusing.
Anne and I all hot and smelly in the basement of a pub listening to a very good band. Oh Dublin, I miss you.
This picture is appropriately blurry taking into account of the night. From the left it is Sara, Sonya, Ping, Anne, and me. Sara is a friend of Ping’s friend (I hope that makes sense) and Sonya is Sara’s friend. I kept getting free drinks from the bartender for some reason. Ping had a few drinks and doesn’t remember some of that night. Anne found out that she loves Carlsburg/Bulmers which is a cider. Sonya did some crazy dance moves. Sara kept getting hit on by the shirtless man in the first picture. It was an excellent night.
Beautiful “Movie Ireland.” We hiked in Wicklow National Park at Glendalough. It was beautiful and nice to get out of the city for a day.
Upper Lake at Wicklow National Park.
Yummy. Guinness. You can’t go to Ireland without having a Guinness. They are delicious.
Ireland was great and a nice transition into the other non-english speaking countries. I love Dublin and can’t wait to go back to visit our new friends there. I also want to travel to Cork and the Aryan Islands and the Cliffs of Moher. I am adding that to the list of things I want to see!
So we made it to Dublin! Wooo. We got here yesterday at about 7 am Dublin time=really tired Claire time. My first real experience with an Irish fellow/chap/lad was our taxi driver. A very nice man although I could make out about every third word or so. Apparently the word “quay” is pronounced “key” and the cabbie kept telling us “like the Florida Keys!” I still really don’t understand the similarity except for the pronunciation of the word key. I kept thinking “this in no way is like the florida keys. It is not hot. Not humid. No scantily clad leathery tan women running around. I don’t get ittttt.” It was just me in my zombie-like daze.
This morning we took a wonderful FREE tour of Dublin (pronounced dAoblun, and you have to say it really fast, also, no nasily sounds). I learned all about this history from our very animated and excited guide, Fiona. Fiona likes to yell really loud, made scary flailing hand gestures and talk in the third person. She was great though and very knowledgeable. We also got to see the Book of Kells. It was amazing! I’ve learned about it in a few of my design classes but to actually see something I learned about was even cooler. I also say the Long Room, where if you didn’t know this has been in several movies. Indiana Jones and Star Wars. It’s made of all wood and I was very concerned about the flammability of the library what with all the books and wood and stuff.
Tonight, we met a friend of Ping’s, Sara, and her friend Sonya and went to an excellent little restaurant. Sara is a graphic designer here in Dublin and her friend designed the identity system for this restaurant called Green 19. Here’s the link to the website: http://www.green19.ie/ We then went to see a comedy show, where I understood/got about half the jokes. There was a long going joke about biscuits. Me being the ignorant little American that I am, was trying to come up for a reason that anything about biscuits would be funny. Then I realized they were talking about cookies… and it still wasn’t funny. The emcee did get cookies (biscuits) while a comedian was on stage and those were actually good.
I am working on my Irish accent. It still sounds either british or australian. So, it’s somewhere between British and Australian, I just have to figure out where. I am determined by the end of my stay here that I will get it. I WILL!
Hopefully I will get to post some pictures in the next few days. That is counting on me getting my computer charged. (All of the converters I brought are either wrong or they don’t work. Go me.)
I hope everyone at home is doing well (I’ve only been gone a few days, you better be!) I miss you all!