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.)