Monday, May 30, 2011

Train station sprints: Go.

What a past few days it's been!! I think I'll go backwards! This morning I went on a beautiful run along the river down to Cascine Park. It's so beautiful that it doesn't even seem real to me. Then, I had my first class: Fashion Design: Sewing. I LOVED IT. My teacher is super nice and helpful and I can tell I'm really going to enjoy it. Yesterday we got up at the crack of dawn to go to Pisa and Volterra (yes. the place from Twilight). We took tons of fun pictures with the Leaning Tower of course and then had some pizza at a little restaurant nearby. On our way back to the train station we didn't know how exactly to get to Volterra. So after using Rick Steve's guide :) we had to take the train to one place and then switch to a bus. We we had approximately 5 minutes til the train was about to leave and we hadn't gotten tickets yet. Long story short...SPRINTING thru the train station to catch the train. It was hilarious. Then we got to the place to get the bus and we missed it by 30 minutes and the next one was in 5 hours...and we were in the middle of BFI no not BFE...BFI. So we decided to go to Lucca. We loved it!!! It was the cutest quaint town surrounded my a huge wall that overlooked the city and the mountains. We walked all thru the town to some open markets and a concert going on in the square, and also a cute circular square that was literally a circle. Then we had barely any time to get back to the station...enter sprinting yet again. Then at the ticket machine the coin thing was practically broken and I was frantically trying to get everyone's money while annihilating the machine...hilarious afterwards. And we watched the train drive away. BUT we got back safely!

Saturday was our first free day in Florence. Another beautiful run for me that morning! Then, we went to the central market. In the tents they have all the produce and no one speaks English. I loved it!! Really trying to work on some useful Italian while I'm here! Then we went inside which has everything from pasta, to meat, to olive oil, balsamic, wine, cheese, etc. We stopped at the supermarket for a few essentials and finally made it back for a delish lunch with all our fresh food!

Then we ventured to Zara, H&M, and the leather market. Haven't decided on a purse from the leather market yet but I bought some Italian hand-made leather oxfords!! They are soooo cute. Needless to say, Florence on a Saturday is quite eventful. We came back and cooked up some of our pasta with the pesto from Cinque Terre (more info to come) and some delicious wine. We headed out to meet our friends from our program and went to a place called Space. Interesting. but fun haha. and we met some Americans on the way who knew one of my friends from home! How ironic!

Friday API took us to Cinque Terre! It was beautiful!!! It was cloudy and raining though so I was pretty bummed but it was still great. We went to all of the towns by boat/walking/train. We bought the most amazing pesto I've had in my entire life and also had a big lunch by the ocean with pesto and pasta!

Thursday, they took us on a tour through Florence and we explored the city. Overall I absolutely love Florence. There are definitely some touristy areas but I really feel at home here! Tonight I have my illustration class and a cooking class! Can't wait! Ciao!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rooftop dinner


Today we finally made it to Florence! We moved into our apartment just near the center and it's so great! No AC but I can handle after no AC in NYC last summer! Just glad to finally have a place to unpack and get settled in. Then we met our entire group in front of the Duomo. OH MY GOD. It was unbelievable!!! Then.....they took us to a rooftop dinner overlooking Florence. The pictures don't even do it justice. It was so beautiful! And the food was amazing too!! Once Kirby gets the pictures up from tonight I'll be sure to include them! Can't wait for another exciting day tomorrow!


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rosary beads and 5 euro coffee

Our second day in Rome did not disappoint! We started the day off taking a bus to the Vatican! We had our same amazing tour guide and first visited Saint Angelo's Castle and then to Saint Peter's Church. St. Peter's literally made me lose my breath. IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL. Kirb and I bought rosary bead and little bottles to take the holy water! Then to the Sistine Chapel. Unbelievable.

Then we decided to hit up a little coffee/pastry place and little did we know the coffee the size of a golfball would cost 5 euro!! So annoyed. Then we ventured around the shopping by the Spanish Steps and dinner on the way back! Headed to Florence tomorrow! Kirby and I are planning on going to the market in the morning before we leave at 7:30!!!!! Pics will be up finally! Talk to you in Florence! Ciao!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Buona Sera

Buona sera!
We arrived in Rome yesterday and I am absolutely blown away, speechless, don't even know what to say. First, a recap of Paris! The first dinner we actually had in Paris I was a little disappointed, I had duck which was amazing but then in came with french fries ( I find it hilarious they serve such nice things with french fries!) ..and Kirb and I ordered a rose wine and it was super strong..didn't really like it but the confit de canard as it was called was delish! The next day we got up early and got croissants and espresso at a little bakery and felt very french! Then, we took the metro to the Louvre, of course did the audio tour, loved it! We got some sandwiches at a little vendor and walked down to the Champs Elysses down to the Arc de Triomphe! We went into Louis Vuitton and there was a man there looking to buy some 14,000 euro trunks...NBD! Next we went to the Eiffle Tower and walked up to the second tier and took the elevator to the top! It was awesome! Then, we went to this place called Montmarte which has the tallest church in Paris (Sacre Cour?) and it overlooks the entire city. Bayan from the plane told us to go here and there a little hidden restaurants to the left of it! We were really annoyed at first b/c some africans cornered us and tried to make us pay 5 euro for these stupid bracelets but oh well! So we went to a little dinner place there and I had some type of white fish with rice and sauce, Kirby got quiche lorraine, and we shared an apple tart!

The next day we got up at like 6 to catch the train to Versailles. We made it on the train and then there was a fire in the tunnel.... so they made us get out and then we were supposed to walk to another Metro station..have no clue where we are so I stop and ask and we get on a Metro bus and pretty much took a scenic tour there. We went thru a very residential area which was very cute! We finally arrived at Versailles and it was AMAZING!! It was def one of my fav places in Paris!! We were there for almost 5 hours!! Then we came back.... train back then we had to get off and take a bus to another metro station and then finally make one more connection and made it to Mass at Notre Dame! Can you believe it?! It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen!! Then we thought we'd try to find the Latin Quarter, ended up walking around for practically an hour before settling somewhere and we were both so freaking starving and all they brought was peanuts before our meal b/c most people were having drinks. But our meal was actually great I had this salmon with sorrel? sauce and rice and then the best part...we went to this little creperie and shared a nutella crepe. It was maybe the best thing either of us has had. Thennnnnn we went to the light show at the Eiffle tower! So surreal laying in the grass with a million other people just watching the lights!!

Needless to say we packed EVERYTHING in and had an amazing time. People were surprisingly friendly and helpful anytime we asked for directions! Also, I was quite proud of myself navigating Kirby and I around Paris! I was pretty savvy with the metro!

We shockingly made to the airport with no side adventures like every other freaking trip! We got to the hotel and the program director had suggested this place for lunch down the street called Insalada Ricca. (Side note: I don't think French people believe in vegetables..I was dying.) So there I got a salad with smoked salmon, corn, I can't remember what else, and the house dressing and Kirby got linguine with zucchini,pine nuts, basil and garlic. IT WAS UNBELIEVABLE. I was saying I don't think I've been that content in a long time!! So fresh and delish!! We walked around and weren't even seeing anything famous but were just so blown away by the architecture, buildings, and history! We came back and passed out, and then API brought us out to dinner for a full course meal. It was great!

Then today, we took a historic walking tour of Rome. We saw the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Colosseum, Forum all with a tour guide! SPEECHLESS. I felt like I was in a dream or disney world or something it was so unbelievable. Then we were done with the tour so a group of us decided to go to the spanish steps! I was feeling like the ring leader navigating the metro yet again! haha We loved the spanish steps and then went down past all the unbelievable shopping. Of course we were just walking thru trying to find Zara and a terrential downpour starts! Always an adventure! We sprinted thru the rain and made into an unbelievable Zara! I bought some really cute leather oxford shoes! The ones I've really been wanting! Then we walked back to one of the squares where the tour guide said one of the best gelato places is! I got some type of chocolate kind with nuts and pistaschio! It was delish!

Needless to say I've been having the greatest time! I'm just really trying to be present in the moment and let everything around me sink in! Tomorrow we go to the Vatican!!!!!! I'm totally buying Roserie beads! Va bene,

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Let the adventures begin

Picture this: Kirby and I sprinting (yes, I mean sprinting) through the Chicago airport with 50 lb backpacks, weaving and huffing and puffing until we reach the gate with no plane.....International travel can be luxurious...or hilariously eventful when looking back of course. In the moment, I'm frantic and freaking but of course now can laugh about it.

Our flight originally was supposed to leave Ktown at 12:30. Kirb calls me at 9:45 to say our flight's been cancelled and they put us on a 4:05 flight which was cutting it close for the 5:55 flight in Chicago. We go through security only to find out it's been delayed again to 4:50...really cutting it close. We leave at 5:10 eastern time and arrive at 5:50 central time...our plane leaving in 5 minutes. Sprinting through the airport and we miss the flight. THANK GOD! They put us on a flight to London!

So now we're in London waiting on the connection to Paris! The girl sitting next to me on the flight was amazing!!! She was from Iran but lives between Paris and Phoenix because she's working on her PHD in Management and her husband is in his residency in internal medicine in Phoenix! No big deal! She was super nice and smart and I was able to ask her tons of questions! She basically planned out an itinerary for us and told us the places to go and when, and the little places that not many know about but that are amazing! I can't believe we're not event there and already meeting people like this! Then on the shuttle we met a man who was from Seattle travel with 10 of his neighbors to Istanbul! I couldn't get comfy on the flight so I only slept a little and am pretty tired but that's what coffee's for right! Will hopefully keep you updated! Can't wait for the fashion, wine, sights, coffee....wait....I really just can't wait for EVERYTHING in Paris! Good day!


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Rosetta Stone

Hi loves!

So of course it's been a while and a million things have happened since then. Let's see epic bachelorette party at the lakehouse, Formal, Finals, Bridal Luncheon at the Farmers', Rehearsal Dinner at the Skyboxes at Neyland.... me and jess getting tipsy off 1.5 glasses of wine and giggling like school girls and then me giving my speech which I made up in the tanning bed that morning that 1: people were raving about and 2: made Blake cry :) success, andddddddddddddd the absolutely and undeniably most perfect wedding evaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Exactly one week and a day ago, we officially named Mr. and Mrs. Blake Lewis at St. John's Lutheran Church and a ballin reception at Holsten Hills Country Club, motown band and all. Needless to say my already crazy life has been even more eventful as of lately!!! The newlyweds will be returning tonight from Mexico!

All that being said, I'm currently at work trying to learn Italian on Rosetta Stone b/c.......I'm leaving for Europe in 2.5 days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My bff Kirby and I will be traveling to Paris for 3 days, then to Rome to meet our program directors and other students, spending 3 days there, then to Florence where we will be taking Fashion Design and Illustration for 5 weeks!!!!! We'll take excursions to Cinque Terra, Venice, and Verona. Then, my mom, sis, and aunt will meet us at the end of our program where will again return to Venice. Kirb and I will then venture to Milan together just b/c it's definitely necessary. Thennnn, my bff from hs Lauren's dad lives 1 hr outside of London, so I'll be going there for a week with her!!!! I CANNOT WAIT and am slightly freaking out that it's on Wednesday! Of course feeling unprepared but soooo excited!!! So hopefully for the next 7 weeks I'll keep up with ezisa kairos a little better!

Ironically enough, i began this blog really holding true to ezisa kairos's real meaning: live in the moment. This year I've tended to drift from this logic either dwelling in the past or just constantly thinking about the future (and who can blame me when I'm going to Europe!) but all that being said, I think it's time for me to really focus on this. The time is now. I WILL BE IN ITALY. No more worries, anticipations, fears. It's here. My 1st and main goal for this trip is to LIVE IN THE MOMENT! EZISA KAIROS!! So I hope you will join me in this fabulous adventure and I embark on my own "eat, pray, love" story and hopefully also inspire you to do the same. live in the moment. appreciate all that god has to give you. never take for granted, acknowledge, and be thankful for all that you have.