“Little Town… It’s a Quiet Village” (7/10-11/14)

The town of Gaeta… It was so beautiful!!! It was a little town on the coast of Italy. We traveled there as a class and had dinner together and went on a few walks, but other than that we were free to do what we wanted. We stayed at a really nice hotel; I had different roommates there than I normally do. I love my roommates in Rome, but it was nice to have a change of pace with different roommates, even just for a night.

We got there at about 1:00 in the afternoon after taking a bus to the train station and then traveling on a train. This was my first train ride by the way; besides the Disneyland Railroad. Once we got there and got into our rooms, we went straight to the pool. It was so refreshing and relaxing! That is the coolest I have felt since getting her; it has just been so hot for so long. After the pool a bunch of us went and got dressed to go for a walk with our professor who went to school there and grew up in a town near there. We were all dressed nice because as a class we decided to get dressed up because we hadn’t had a chance to do that yet. Our walk around to see the town was really nice. It was a sweet little town. It is actually the place Italians go on vacation… So basically everyone there were tourists.

After the walk, we did a huge group dinner in the restaurant of the hotel. Our dinner was really good. We had good conversation and a ton of laughing (that happens a lot with our group). The meals here are much longer than they are at home. Here they sit and enjoy the company and the food, at home we rush through both. It didn’t end there. A huge group of us decided we still wanted to hang out so we tried to get on the beach but it was dark and we couldn’t figure out where we were going so we just sat where we could see the moon and hear the ocean and called it good. At the beaches here you have to pay to get in/sit in a chair or under an umbrella so they close at night. (Probably safer.)

The next day a group went on this long hike. It is probably the most beautiful place I have EVER seen. The sky and the water were the bluest blues that exist. We visited this chapel that was built in a crack in the rock that is supposed to have split when Jesus died. Then we went down to the grotto to see the water in that same crack. It really makes me realize the beauty in this world! Here I am ranting about beautiful it was and can’t seem to get pictures uploaded. Sorry about that.

“This Is What Dreams Are Made Of…” (7/6/14)

(I had a really great picture of me that was going to go here, but all of my picture files are too large to upload on this site…)

Today was our trip to the Colosseum. I learned so much about the history of it and its inner workings. Did you know, back in the day it was called The Flavian Amphitheatre? Well it was. The Colesseum is actually a reference to the colossal statue that used to stand next to it. The emperor that had the amphitheater constructed also had the large statue of the old emperor moved to be near it. He was trying to do it out of spite to the previous emperor that he had taken power from. Basically, his plan backfired.

I am already full of little fun facts about Rome. (Sorry Sarah!) I have learned so much in just the short time I have been here. I am in love with the history of this city! Everything here is dripping with the past. In fact, the building we have school in was apparently once a part of the building where Julius Caesar was murdered. Can you imagine? People have been walking on these streets and living in these buildings since basically the beginning of civilization. That is mind blowing to me.

Well back to the Colesseum… We had our own tour guide who walked us around and told us all about its history. Then after the tour was over we were allowed to walk around on our own for a while, until we had to meet up with the group and go to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill where were once again set loose to explore on our own. It was so amazing to be in those places. I love the history that is tied up in the Colesseum and the surrounding area. It is mind boggling that a structure like this has been able to withstand everything that comes at it and still be mostly whole.

For those of you who are my age, all I could think about while was there was the Lizzie McGuire Movie and the song was playing in my head all day. This entire trip we have been talking and thinking about that movie because we are all basically the same age. Something will happen and someone will say, that’s what Lizzie McGuire did…

This has been my favorite thing to see so far this entire trip; and it was the thing I was most excited about when I first learned I was coming here. The Colesseum is like a 20-30 minute walk from the Rome Center (Where we have class). I know because, even though we took a bus as a class to the Colesseum, my group walked back to save a bus ticket and to get some exercise.

“You Can Party With Me In My Castle…” (6/29/14)

Today was our first Sunday, and we had a program obligation to go to a market. There were 5 or 6 of us that ended up leaving pretty early after we got there. Then we basically just spent the rest of the day doing homework and then all got together to go see the Vatican (just the outside because we are going as a class). We are literally 2-3 blocks away from the Vatican. We walk by it at least twice a day.

Today was St. Peter and Paul’s day; or something along those lines. There were a ton of pictures on the ground made out of flower petals, spices, and many other different organic materials. They were really awesome! It was a huge festival that priests from all over the world to attend. (I cannot post pictures of it because the files are all too big.)

After the Vatican we went to see the Castel Sant’Angelo. Once again we didn’t go inside but we walked around the outside and took a lot of pictures. It was a really nice walk with a really great view. It was a really nice time with our little group that was together. Even this early in the trip I feel like I have made friends that are going to last a life time. I have really enjoyed my trip so far… I can’t wait to see what comes next!

(Sorry, I cannot seem to get photos uploaded. I am still learning how to use this site.)

“Those Summer Nights” (6/28/14)

Our first Saturday/weekend was pretty successful, even if it wasn’t as eventful as the other days we have been here so far. We slept in pretty late because we were tired from all the walking tours and still trying to get used to the time difference. After finally getting up we decided to go with one of the girls from our program to get her wallet back.

We had had dinner as a group on Thursday and she had gotten her wallet stolen off the table then. (This is just icing on the cake for her first week here. Her luggage got “lost” on the way here. When I say lost it didn’t get transferred onto her plane and then the airport didn’t get it to her for almost a week.) She was a trooper about the whole thing. She just let it all roll off her back. I know I would have been a complete, inconsolable, mess. The good thing about this story is that she did get her wallet back, it had no cash, but it did have her (already cancelled) bank cards and all her other information, including the number to her Italian cell phone we were all required to have. This guy sent her a text and told her that they had found her wallet and set up a time to meet to get it back to her.

We didn’t let her go alone, of course. A group of about 6 of us went with her. The guy was so nice about it. He gave her a huge hug and told her that he was so sorry that this had happened to her and warned the rest of us about the pick-pockets that are all over the city. Since then, Will, the only guy in our group has made a game out of checking to make sure we are on our toes and walks up and pretends to take our bags. One of these times he is going to get hit because we’re going to think he someone who is really taking our purse.

On the trip to meet this guy we were standing around after getting gelato and all of a sudden I heard the lyrics to the song Summer Nights from Grease. I was really confused and thought it was coming from one of the many restaurants around; I got even more confused when the sound got closer. I turned around and I see a motorcycle coming our way, this isn’t a rare occurrence; there are motorcycle literally everywhere. What was strange was that this one had the words “Karaoke Bike” on it. These two people were singing their hearts out to a Grease song.

This is probably the strangest thing to have happened so far…

Italia!!!!! (6/23/14)

If you have never watched soccer in a different country, you haven’t lived. Today we watched the Italian national team lose in the world cup. The Campo di Foiri (the square where they have farmers markets in the morning and the restaurants take over in the evening for dinner) was full of people watching the game.

People watching the game on the screen

(People watching the game on the screen.)

IMG_3101(My pizza at Mercato, the restaurante we watched the game at.)

After two long days of exploring and finding our way around the area, sitting down to a pizza (picture) and watching Italy play was SO nice! Of course there was yelling and people were angry at the 0-1 loss, but it was totally worth it. People around town, specifically the restaurant we ate at tonight, are starting to recognize us.

Before the game today we just walked around, just looking. Each day we have just picked a direction to see what everything looks like. I have seen so many beautiful buildings, churches, and monuments in just these two days to last a lifetime; and I still have a month left! Today we even saw a couple in wedding attire heading toward a church.

Let me talk about our day yesterday… As I said we just chose a direction and started walking;

1. We found a cat sanctuary under some old ruins of Cathedrals, called Area Sacra Di Largo Argentina (The Sacred Area of Largo Argentina).

The Sacred Area of Largo Argentina

The Sacred Area of Largo Argentina

(This is the sign explaining what it is, half is in Italian and the other half is in English.)

Stray cats literally just live there…

Stray cats


2. From there we found our way to the Pantheon.  Outside the Pantheon we ate our first Gelato in Italy, and oh my goodness, it was the best thing I have ever eaten. The place we went allowed three flavors (most do), which I didn’t know, so when I ordered one flavor the guy looked at me like I was completely crazy! But he was nice and gave me what I wanted.

Entrance to the Pantheon

Entrance to the Pantheon

(Left: The outside of the Pantheon, Right: the Dome on the inside.)

3. Then a sign leading us to the Trevi Fountain. Unfortunately, the fountain will be under construction for the next few months and we will not be able to see it in all its normal glory. However we got to see a part of it that few people get to see because it is normally full of water. I cannot upload pictures of this because the file is too big for the site to handle…

The people in general have been so nice. Most of them speak English and those who don’t speak about as much English as we do Italian, but we make it work. The restaurants have these PR people that draw you in. They are all so happy and friendly, they really make you want to eat there, but you can’t eat everywhere in one day!

The Road to Rome…

Blog Written 6/21/2014 by Rachel Anderson, IAS, When in Rome: Interdisciplinary Studio Art and Italian Culture

Entrance to the Pantheon

Entrance to the Pantheon

Hello everyone, this is Rachel Anderson. Welcome to my blog about my time in Rome. To start off I want to talk about the road to getting here. It all started with an email; I got an email that was a newsletter from the University and it gave a list of study abroad opportunities for the summer. This was back in December or January.  Almost on a whim I decided to apply for a program to Rome. I decided that I wanted to study abroad and if I didn’t get this one, I had many more opportunities to go abroad in the future because I still have 2 years left of school.

The application process was simple; a few recommendations, a personal statement, and some basic information about myself. I got through that process pretty flawlessly. Then it was time to play the waiting game… After a few weeks I found out that I had made it to the interview round of the application process. Unfortunately, I was working at a children’s camp in the mountains the weekend I found out I had an interview; luckily, I was able to make an appointment for after the time I got back to Seattle. I was SO nervous about the interview and actually thought I had done badly…

A few weeks later I found out that I had been put on the waitlist for the program. My thought was, “It’s alright if I don’t get this but I will be really disappointed.” Within two days, I had gotten another email saying that someone had dropped out and I had been moved up the list and was GOING TO ROME!!!

That was when the real work began. I had to start looking at funding, and applying for scholarships, and plane tickets, and having clothes… The list went on. Throughout the couple of months leading up to my trip I made countless To Do Lists. It was really hectic. But here I sit in the airport waiting to board the plane that will take me to London and then I am off to Rome.

I wouldn’t be here without the help and support of my friends and family! So thank you to all of you have had my back this whole time. You either gave money, moral support, OR you drove me around to FIVE different bookstores to find my book.

My recommendation if you are going to go abroad… Figure out all your stuff more than three days before you leave. You will diminish your stress to almost zero! (Believe me because I didn’t.)