Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bus Stop

Day 29.

Living in Rome is a huge change from being at HWS, because not only am  I living in a different country with a different culture, I have made the big leap of going to a school in the country, to the inner workings of a large city. Taking the bus almost every single day is a huge change because I am used to walking out of my house at school and right to class, all within 5 minutes. Being here has been a huge adjustment because I have to give myself 30 minutes to get to class, not 3. Surprisingly, I actually really like it. It is incredibly freeing just to walk out my door and know that I can get anywhere in the city either on foot or through transportation, its like knowing the city is really at my fingertips. I have learned to love exploring, and seeing new things and really surprising myself by finding myself in new areas. Perhaps I am cut out for city living. 

Galleria Alberto Sordi

Day 28.

Today we ventured to the Galleria Alberto Sordi for our sketching class. It is on Via Del Corso which is a really popular and big shopping street that goes from near the Spanish Steps all the way to Piazza Venezia. The Galleria is very interesting because it is modeled after the one in Milan, and is meant not to be a shopping mall, but an interior walking space with shopping included. The details that they added to make it feel more like an interior space include streetlights and adding "apartment" spaces above the stores, just how they would be like outside. It is nice to draw and sketch something a little different, and I am enjoying taking visual not on not only the architecture, but the design of the space and what works in an interior place. This is a picture of the center of the Galleria, with the glass translucent ceiling, something you do not often see in Rome. 

Piazza Navona Vendors

Day 27.

Piazza Navona is about a 5 minute walk from our Italian school and is right on the path that we take when walking from our bus stop. Piazza Navona is absolutely beautiful at night as well as during the day, and I love the vendors that set up there with their paintings, and artwork. Since we are in the middle of Carnevale there have been live plays in the middle of the piazza, complete with horse drawn carriages, and festival music. Being here while this huge festival is going on is really fun, and walking through the Piazza and seeing plays put on is really fantastic. Very different than say Mardi Gras in the United States.

Friday, February 10, 2012

San Giovanni

Day 26.

Today we had our Visual Notes class in the beautiful Chiesa San Giovanni. We got on the metro and quickly got to the front of this stunning church. Our visual notes class is essentially an architecture class on foot, where we are all armed with our sketchbooks, pencils and pens. We travel around the city to all sorts of sites, measuring proportions of column to column, and bay to bay. (Basically measuring the building) Then we sketch on site, or take pictures to work on them at home, because since it has been so cold here it has been hard to sit at a site for more than a couple of hours or so. At this specific location we learned about axons, which is a sort of 3D drawing of columns and arches from an above viewpoint, without using perspective. For me it can get very complicated and sometimes frustrating, and I know it will take much more practice to get all of the lines and measurements just right. But, they are definitely good skills to have as an art student, because without a solid core of how things are built and how they stand, drawings do not make sense visually. Once my drawings get better I hope to share some photos with you, but for now a picture of me and my roommate Trilbey is much nicer. 

Cold in Rome

Day 25.

Today the cold weather has really hit me and I have started, like a couple others in the group to get a cold. But, the cold did not stop me and me and one of my friends decided to poke around some vintage shops and then go get a glass of wine. It is still absolutely freezing, but we have found quicker ways to walk home than originally thought. Most of the snow has melted, or turned to dirty slush, but down by the river it doesn't seem so bad. Even on a cold, grey day I think it is absolutely beautiful here and walking around is the perfect way to capture that. 

Beautiful day in Rome

Day 24.

Sometimes I have to pinch myself when walking to and from class. Living in Rome, despite the odd quirks, and the lack of American food is absolutely incredible. I find my breath being taken away by just walking down the street on a day to day basis. It is easy to see why so many people choose to vacation here, study abroad here and perhaps even live here. I know I chose the right place to study abroad, because I truly think this city is magical. Every single day I learn something new, something surprises me and I am so glad that I am here, even if I do miss little things about the US. My favorite part of this picture is the couple that is in the bottom right hand corner of the picture. Before snapping this shot I watched them have a snow ball fight, tackling each other and horsing around, which put a big smile on my face. 

Embarrassing Americans

Day 23.

Today marks the day that I give in and admit that I miss American food. Yes, just a little bit. Its a little strange being this far from home, with stores that do not sell anything remotely American, and when you are always playing a guessing game with what you have just bought. "Is this chicken, or pork" "Is this brie, or something else?" "Do they sell anything whole grain here?!" We in the apartment have had our fair share of playing the guessing game and today my roommate and I quietly snuck over the to McDonalds near the Spanish Steps. It turns out that we spent a good 20 minutes just trying to find it, even though there are signs every 10 meters pointing, (said signs are kind of misleading...) This McDonalds is the fanciest McDonalds I have ever been, and its underground, with crazy seating areas and displays. We both ordered a burger and fries obviously, and somehow, we still dont know how, my roommate got a beer with her meal. We sat down and ate, and it was delicious, though somehow still tasted Italian. The menus that we got on our trays were the most interesting part though, they had the US as a map with different pictures of food at locations. New York was pastries, Arizona was a southwest burger, Fort Worth was a salad and Birmingham, Alabama was fried interesting and perhaps oddly stereotypical interpretation of the United States. Our trip to McDonalds actually made us think a lot more than I thought it would. 

Snowmen Overlooking Vatican

Day 22.

Today I ventured out of our warm apartment to walk around and see how the city was faring after this "blizzard" they had just had. I walked and walked and saw snowball fights, streets empty with people running through them.  It also looked like there were many newly purchased snow jackets and the Romans snow boot of choice, the Moonboot. Pretty ugly, but they seemed to be doing the trick. I walked and ended up at my favorite bridge overlooking the river with a beautiful view of the Vatican. There were snow "people" everywhere I looked, it seemed that even adults were making them, or throwing snowballs at each other. Everyone was out, it was a beautiful sunny day, even though it was freezing and none of the busses were running the whole city seemed to be in good spirits. 

Snow in Rome

Day 21.

Today marks the first heavy snowfall in Rome since 1985, and let me tell you, it was pretty incredible being here when it happened. Being from northern New England and going to school in the middle of nowhere in upstate New York I am used to snow. I love snow, and was pretty disappointed that I didn't really get any at home. Well, not to fear, I have gotten my fair share of it here. We only got around 4 inches here, but it felt like a blizzard because instead of the snow being immediately whisked away by plows, and dedicated dads with snowblowers, the snow just sat there. It was like the city shut down, busses weren't running, taxis were packed and people were roaming the streets. It was amazing to see that the only solution the city had was to put the street sweepers out to try to sweep away the snow. My roommate and I saw the street sweepers trying to clear the snow, and we both burst out laughing. Needless to say, it didn't help, and the city has continued to be almost desolate until the snow decides to melt.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Panino at Gio.

Day 20.

Today we headed to the Catacombs, which are a portion of the thousands of tombs underground in Rome. Not one of my favorite trips to sites that I have been on here, it was pouring rain and really chilly and being underground in a underground tombs made for a really creepy atmosphere. After the trip we headed back to one of my favorite places to eat and grab some hot tea. Gio, a restaurant, and cafe is right around the corner from our scuola and I tried one of their paninos for lunch. Smoked salmon, brie and arugula on delicious bread. One of the BEST paninos I have had here, it was absolutely delectable and definitely what I needed to warm up and get over the odd experience we had just had. And only 3 euro! A steal. 

Cooking Class at Tricolore

Day 19.

Today after Italian class we all had the opportunity to go take a cooking class at the restaurant Tricolore.  With 26 of us trying to get to this little restaurant, it turned into quite an adventure, especially during rush hour. Getting 26 of us on one bus was actually impossible and it took a while to actually get there. Once at the class we learned how to make fresh pasta called tagliatelle as well as fresh tomato sauce with their version of bacon, guanciale. We rolled out our own batches of pasta by hand (required some serious elbow grease) and learned how to make the amatriciana sauce with the guanciale. Towards the end of the cooking process, my cooking partner Sara and I tried to follow the directions by pouring a bit of the pasta water into the sauce to make it thicker. We ended up spilling almost all of the water into our sauce and the chef declared our dish "underwater". We then decided to strain the sauce and put it back...interesting decision on our part. I tasted the end result, not too bad, but definitely one of the more hysterical and ridiculous experiences I have had here. 

A lovely gift.

Day 18.

Today has been a day of immense happiness and celebration! I have just heard that I have been offered the position as one of the leaders of Orientation back at HWS. I have been working on my application and everything that went with it for about a month and what a relief it was to hear that I was offered the position. This means I will be in Geneva, NY for the summer and I couldn't be more excited or ecstatic. It is a little strange to be hearing this news and to be in a different country and not at HWS, but the girls I live with are incredibly sweet, and 2 of them went out and got me this little dessert as congratulations! It was absolutely delicious, but was even better was that it was so caring and thoughtful of them. If I could scream from the rooftops of my apartment about how happy I am, I would...but I don't want to get evicted. So, I am sharing my excitement with all of you!

Ponte Sant'Angelo

Day 17.

Today has marked the 17th day I have been here in Rome and let me tell you, it has been quite a realization to think that I am here for 3 months and I am not on a vacation. It has been a little bit of a shock to realize that I am really here, that I am going to be here until April and it is definitely an interesting feeling. I think that so far I have adjusted fairly easily, but that I think lies in the fact that I knew that this experience was not going to be all easy, and a walk in the park. Its been hard, its been interesting, and I have learned something every single day, whether it is about myself or about the environment I have been thrust into. I love this particular picture that I took today because it is of my favorite bridge, with a serene and reflective aura- kind of how I am feeling today. I know it will not be easy, but this is an experience I wouldn't give up for anything and already I have had some incredible and crazy times. These 3 months are going to fly by, and its days like today that I am glad I can take some time and reflect on them.