Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hey there!

Needless to say I have not blogged in a LONG while.  (Sorry!)

I am back in Rome now after a wonderful summer in DC with my family.  I was there for all of June by myself and then Ryan joined me in July.  We fit in a trip to Texas and Michigan to see friends and more family.  As much as I love living abroad the thing I miss the most is being with friends and family.  This summer was just what I needed to boost my spirits.  The happy hours, bbq's, lunches, and just hanging out were the BEST.  We are super lucky to have such wonderful families and fantastic friends.  The summer ended with Ryan having to return to Rome and me having to have surgery.  Everything went well and again I was reminded of how blessed I am with an amazing mother-in-law and incredibly caring friends.

This first week back in Rome has been a shock for sure.  I returned to hit the ground running.  I got in last Sunday and the Fall 2012 students arrived the next day.  They seem like an awesome group, if first impressions are accurate.  No one complained about having to carry their luggage up two flights of stairs or about the lack of A/C despite the almost 100 degree weather.  I am really looking forward to getting to know them better and hopefully not having to write too many of them up:)  Yesterday, when I was taking a group of students into Rome on the Cotral, a fist fight broke out right next to us on the jam packed bus.  They handled it like champs, barely flinching while they avoided being hit.

In other news, I have been Timelined by Facebook.  I knew this day was coming but still...  Now that I have Timeline I have to start thinking about what my cover photo should be.  I went through all our old trip photos and pulled a few.  It is my goal to one day decorate out house with pictures of architecture or random things from all our trips.  Here is a sampling...

A wool shop in Riga, Latvia

Riga, Latvia

Riga, Latvia

Riga, Latvia

Riga, Latvia

Riga is known for its Art Nouveau architecture.  I loved it.

Riga, Latvia

Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, Sicily

Statue of Icarus, Valley of the Temples, Agrigento, Sicily


Rock walls formed by the Fiume Freddo, Sicily

Taormina, Sicily.  Lots of people had these ceramic birds on their balconies.  They were so cool.

Duomo in Milan, Italy

Milan, Italy

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Roman Holiday...Christmas with the Reedy's

This year for Christmas Ryan's parents and brother came to Rome.

I must first start this post with the story of "The Secondary Meat/Beverage Fridge."  Before the arrival of his family, Ryan and I were busy cleaning the apartment, scrubbing our tiny bathroom, washing sheets, making up guest beds, and stocking up on food.  Especially around holidays in Italy you just never know which stores will be open and when so you really have to plan ahead.  The day before the Reedy's arrival, I had mapped out most of our meals for the week and I set off to the store to see what I could find.  When I returned home there IT was.  Ryan had been a busy little worker bee, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming...and moving a second fridge into our already tight kitchen.  He assured me that this rather large secondary fridge (which makes the constant sound of whales singing) was needed to hold all the extra food and beverages we would be consuming during his family's visit.  I could see his logic but had two major objections, aside from the whale noises.  One, it is tacky looking and crowds the kitchen.  Two, it is an electricity hog that makes it impossible to run more than one other electronic device without tripping the breaker.  For example, you have the two fridges going but it is hot outside so you also have the A/C on, if you turn on the stove to cook dinner...BAM!  Power gone.  Or try to run the dishwasher...BOOM!  Nothing.  You must choose.  You can turn off the A/C and then use the stove.  And when you are done cooking, if you aren't totally melted, you can turn off the stove and run the dishwasher.  My voice of reason was not heard however and the fridge stayed while his family visited us, and stayed after they left, and stayed, and stayed...AND IS STILL HERE!  I unfortunately cannot move it by myself because it is too big, and the other male RA's agree with Ryan that a fridge dedicated to beer and meat is the best idea ever so they won't help me move it...(sigh).  Just know that this is not over.

The rest of the Reedy's visit went very well.  (Except that I feel bad for poor Todd who had to sleep on the couch next to the singing whale refrigerator.)  This was my first time hosting Christmas and I was feeling the pressure.  While we didn't have a tree (sadness), I did decorate the front door and wrap some silver tinsel around a fake potted plant and it was surprisingly ok.  Ryan's parents had never been to Rome and it was lots of fun showing them around.  We mixed things up a bit, seeing the major sites in the city but then spending a lot of time touring the Castelli Romani, going to Anzio, and taking day trip to Orvieto.

Family picture at the cistern in the Due Santi Vineyard. (Just a little bit of rain.)

Christmas dinner!  It was a very exciting prime rib.  I used the Pioneer Woman's recipe and it turned out really well.

Grilling and making pizzas at the Forno.  Obligatory for any trip to the Rome Campus.


Mitch & Debbie at the Colosseum.

Our daily coffee.  It became a ritual to get a daily cappucino.  This was in Orvieto.

Boar's head in Orvietto.  Wild boar meat is delicious!

We really had a great time.  Come again!  There is so much more to show you!

As an aside, I would say that one of my highlights of the trip was Christmas mass in Castel Gandolfo.  I was thinking that just like in the States Christmas would bring out all those people who don't usually go to mass.  I convinced Ryan that we needed to go to the earliest mass possible (and that he could go back to bed after we got back.)  So we got up early and trekked up the hill to the 8am mass, except that I made Ryan leave the house at around 7:15am so that we could get "good seats."  Turns out that Christmas in Italy is NOT the same as Christmas in the States.  We arrived at the church and no one was there.  Slowly, slowly the church filled with NUNS!  Tall nuns, short nuns, Asian nuns, African nuns, nuns in fur many nuns.  And by  so many I mean about 30, and that was it, just us (oh and the Ambler family) and some nuns for a really beautiful Christmas morning mass in Castel Gandolfo.  And on our way back down the hill we got to see the sun rising over the ocean.  It was pretty sweet.

(Oh, and the campus fire alarm went off while we were at mass and there were no RA's on campus to turn it off.  A wonderful Christmas morning wake-up call for our guests.  Hatlie finally figured out we were gone and turned it off.)

Sweet Success!

I have passed the patente, well the written part at least.  I can only describe the feeling as that of having had a large boulder crushing you.  Once you pass the patente the boulder is rolled off and you are relieved and over joyed but still squashed.  Next up is taking the practical exam on April 23rd, the actual driving part.  I am not too concerned about it but I definitely need to practice my parallel parking.

And now, back to the blog.  Where to begin?...

Friday, January 20, 2012

No comment

I have so much to write about and catch up on, like the Reedy's visit for Christmas and Baker's visit for New Years, but for now all I can say is..............I  FAILED THE DRIVER'S TEST FOR A THIRD TIME!!! :(  And I am going to crawl into a hole and cry for awhile.  After that's done I will write about the Reedy's and Baker's visits in between studying to take the driver's test for the FOURTH time.  I am defeated.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Apartment tour!

I have returned.  And as promised here is a little tour of our apartment.  Since my in-laws were coming for Christmas the apartment got a good cleaning and was therefore picture worthy.

We live in the two bedroom apartment over the Mensa.  It is fantastic, especialy bc the students are not allowed up on our terrace.  The terrace is huge by the way and has views of Castel Gandolfo, Rome, and on a clear day the ocean.
Here is our view towards the Villa and Castel Gandolfo.

Our front door.  (The laundry adds a little human interest to the shot.)

The main room of the apartment is our living room/dining room/kitchen.  This is where the magic happens, and by that I mostly mean happy hours.

The living room.

Our new couch.

The kitchen.

Off the main room there is a tiny hallway that leads to the bathroom on the right and the two bedrooms.  We had to put bookshelves in the hall for added storage.  I bought a bunch of Ikea boxes and they are filled with  everything from computer wires to canned goods.  Not very pretty but they do the job.  (And my mop, more human interest.)

This is our little bathroom.  You can see the reflection of the shower in the mirror.

A view of the master bedroom from the doorway.  It is very much like a cabin on a cruise ship.  Small.

Another picture of the master.

The guest room.  When the futon is open it takes up almost the entire room.

And that's it.  Our small but cozy apartment.  We love it.  Though we have been married for three years, living in Rome is the first time we have lived alone together as a married couple.  It is all very fun and exciting.  My only complaint is the walls.  The walls here are made out of what appears to be concrete and hanging pictures etc. is very difficult.  There were some pictures already up when we moved in which I need to change up but once a hole is made it is there to stay.  For example...
So my problem now is how to decorate the walls the way I would like while covering up the holes left by the old art.  Great problems, I know.  Any suggestions are welcome.