Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Again, God is so good! He encouraged me so mch today thru His people and new faces that I am overwhelmed.

I went with Lynda today to sign the paperwork for her apartment (insert NOOOOOO here). Her landlord's son, Ugo, met us at the apartment and drove us to the office where we needed to be. (I will write more about this later because it was an experience) He is just the nicest guy and I don't mind saying...super attractive. :) Anywho, after walking us through the lengthy procedure he treated us to coffee and drove us to where we needed to go.

Later, a student approached me and verbally encouraged me. I was so touched by the outpouring that for the second time today I almost started to cry. What's going on with me?

As if that weren't enough...a student encouraged me on this blog and then she and some of the other students bought me flowers. Man! I am blessed. No matter what's going on or how I am feeling the Lord is always present and lavishes His love upon me.

Thank you to the students who have encouraged my heart today, thank you to my colleagues who have stood alongside me, thank you to my prayer warrior friends and family, and most of all thank you God for your unfailing love.

Need encouragement? Check out these beautiful flowers and be reminded that you are loved by those who know you, but more importantly by the God of all creation.

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Il Colosseo and more

When I was in Rome 2 years ago I was overwhelmed by the Colosseum. To me, it was the most impressive structure in Rome. It literally took my breath away. After I returned home and printed my pictures, I was shocked to see that I had well over 150 pictures or so of the Colosseum alone...a fact my friend Nicole teased me for.

I thought that I was over the whole 'stand in awe with your jaw slack at the sight of it'...not that it wouldn't continue to impress me, but I thought it wouldn't seem as grand, as staggering. Wrong. It continues, as does the Forum and Palatine Hill, to be absolutely breathtaking. I was again speechless at its majesty and grandeur. How could you not be!? Since many of you can't be here with me to experience it....I thought I'd share some photos. (I only took 127 this time, Nicole. :) )

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God's instruments

Life in Rome is good. How can it not be when you get to go to places like Pompeii, the Colosseo, and Palatine Hill for work? Life is good, but it's certainly not perfect.

There has been quite a bit of stress for me here in my job and it's sometimes difficult to grapple with because it's not as if I can leave here and find sanctuary in a home or an apartment that shelters me. No, I live where I work. I am constantly surrounded by my work and, therefore, I do not get a break. I knew this when I took the job and I am not saying that I don't like that aspect of my job, but when the stress hits it becomes a bit much. These past couple of weeks have presented some challenges for me and at times have broken me. And in those moments I cry out to Jesus and His response continually comforts my heart.

Yesterday was such a day. While on the one hand it was an incredible day. On the other it was tremendously hard. But God gave me two reminders of His love and His sustaining power. The first was in the form of a card my friend Tiffany sent from the States. While the card didn't hold any earth-shattering revelation, it was a token of love that my heart desperately needed. And I found great strength and encouragement in that. The second reminder was in the form of an interaction I had with one of the Sisters this morning. Granted I didn't understand 100% of what she was telling me, but I got the general idea of it and in that I once again found great strength and comfort.

I don't know why I am constantly taken aback by God's outpouring of love for me...that's who He is. In those moments I also experience a sense of awe...that the Creator cares so deeply for His creation...that He willingly walks into those painful times with us and then in response gives us tangible expressions of His divine love. Addison Road's Hope Now is playing right now on my iTunes and again....a reminder from God of His great love for me. Such a sweet reminder...when my life is like a storm, rising waters, all I want is the shore. You say I'll be ok and make it through the rain. You are my shelter from the storm. Everything rides on hope now. Everything rides on faith somehow and when the world has broken me down...your love sets me free.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

A picture is worth 1,000 words

There's been so much going on these last 2 weeks and I can't possibly recount it all. Well, I could...but you'd be reading for hours and who has time for that? Instead...I'll show you the last couple of weeks!

Our first family dinner made by the students:Align Left

Our first outing to San Clemente church. It's an amazing historical site.

This past week we journeyed to Pompeii. I had never been to Pompeii before and was amazed. It was incredible and we had so much fun as we learned about history and stepped back in time for a brief moment.

Notice Mt. Vesuvius in the background.

Students from Vesuvius as it "erupts"

As we arrived on the train platform at the Pompeii train station to head back to Napoli a man named Dominic stopped us and chatted with us while we waited for the train. It was one of my favorite moments in Italy. This is why I came here. To engage with people in this culture and learn something about them. He was so wonderful. He shared his life with our students, taught them about Italian culture and just gave them a wonderful memory of their trip to Pompeii.

Last night I took 8 students on a night tour of Rome. It was incredible!

We started at the Colosseum, then moved on to Vittorio Emmanuale, Campo de Fiori, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain, and ended at Piazza dr Spagna.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Roman nightlife

Again, so much to catch you up on, but a story that must be shared first.

Tonight, I took a group of students on a night tour of Rome. There is something magical about this city when the sun sets. It slows down. It quiets and invites you to stroll the cobblestone streets and lose yourself in its charm, its je ne sais quoi.

We started the night at the Colosseum, moved on to the Vittorio Emmanuale monument, then Campo de Fiori, Piazza Navona, Gioletti's for gelato, Trevi fountain, and finally Piazza di Spagna. The monuments are lit up so wonderfully that again, magic. I loved being with the students and hearing their enthusiasm and watching their faces as we came upon each new location. It was like seeing Rome for the first time again, but thru their eyes.

I fell in love with Rome again tonight in its allure. Of course, that may have changed once I got on the bus.

We had such a lovely night that we lost track of time. Imagine my surprise when I found out that it was already 11:15 as we arrived at Trevi. Panic began to set in. Why? Buses and trains stop running at 12. We had 45 minutes to get a train to Termini and then the 90 bus home. Never before has a group of 9 made it from Trevi to Piazza di Spagna so quickly. We were booking it. We practically ran to the train only to wait for 5 minutes. It was now 11:40. Not good. Hopped on the train and, again, booked it from the train to the bus. (This included 5 flights of stairs...I was not amused) We jumped on the bus and settled in for our ride home...and that's when I was reminded of the seedier side of Rome.

Just before the bus pulled out two men boarded the bus. The first was a rather large black man and the second was a smaller white man...clearly drunk. He was staggering around the bus and blabbering at the black man. I sat with two of my students while the other 4 girls had sat together and the other 2 guys sat apart from one another. Wouldn't you know that Drunk Man chose to sit next to one of my guys. He blabbed at my student Loudly in Italian and he just sat there not knowing what to do. It was funny and concerning all at the same time.

The whole ride back this drunk-as-can-be man spoke loudly to my student and would turn from time to time to shout at the black man. As if that weren't enough...a junkie boarded the bus and joined in on the conversation. Meanwhile, my poor student is sitting wide-eyed not sure what to do. Oh and let's not forget the woman across from me who would turn her head and gesture to my student with her head to move from his seat and take the empty seat next to her every now and again. Finally, the drunk "stood" and moved towards the black man allowing my student to move next to the woman.

Never before has our bus stop looked so good and so inviting. We all hopped off that bus as fast as humanely possible. One of my students, a linguistics major, told me that he pulled his Italian dictionary out during the whole event because he was curious. Apparently we had witnessed a racial argument. On the one hand I was shocked that my student would have the presence of mind to "translate" and on the other proud of his inquisitiveness.

Rome at night....always an experience.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Breathing room

Alright. Italians aren't necessarily known for respecting ones' personal space. I don't actually think the concept exists.Check Spelling

I got on the Metro today and it was crowded. Yes, it was rush hour so what was I expecting? I have been on a crowded bus and train before, but never like this. Ever seen a can of sardines? Well, now you're getting the picture. We were so jammed in there that I didn't even have to hold on to anything to keep from moving because other people's bodies were holding me up. One man's arm braced my back, someone's hip was my barrier to the right, someone's back end my barrier to the left, and Lynda in front of me. Quite honestly, I don't know that I'll ever be that intimately acquainted with my future spouse. No jokes. Then! When you think that there isn't room for anyone else...6 more people managed to wedge themselves in. I wouldn't say that I am claustrophobic per se, but in that moment it felt as if the whole train was closing in on me and I could hardly breathe. Of course that could be because I was laughing so hard I was so uncomfortable...I could have died of laughter.

It was insane. Even getting off the train and up the escalators was overwhelming. Then, Lynda and I stood in line for 20 minutes or so and this man kept bumping me from behind every time I moved forward. dance space....your dance space. Respect it!

Thank the Lord the bus wasn't crowded because I don't think I could have handled that. Then again...almost "died" as I crossed the street and slipped on the slick pavement just as a moto was moving forward. Again...all I could do was laugh and once again, lost my breath.
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Friday, September 18, 2009

Buongiorno polizia!

There is so much for me to write about...and I will get to it all, but feel that an event that took place this morning requires my immediate attention.

Today is Friday and the students don't have classes and I am not working, technically. Per my contract, I get one day off a week in addition to weekends and trust me when I tell you that I needed a day off desperately. It's been a crazy-busy week and I'm exhausted. (I promise to fill you in later.) Anyways, I planned on sleeping in and being lazy this morning because I have a meeting tomorrow morning and church on Sunday which prevent me from sleeping in. I dragged myself out of bed around 9 to use the bathroom and just as I was about to open my door I heard Ana's, the convent's receptionist, voice over the intercom telling me I had a phone call. Hmmm...who could that be? No one I know has that number. Curious...

I picked up the phone and discovered that it was the polizia. The man I spoke with spoke very little, and I mean little, English. I was able to glean from our "conversation" that he was dropping by for an inspection of the campus. GULP. I knew that at some point this would happen. I had been warned. I just never expected it to happen so quickly! I mean, come on! This is Italy...things like this never happen this fast...wrong! I informed him that I wouldn't be here tomorrow morning and he told me he would stop by this morning. There go my plans to be lazy! Drat!

I quickly got ready...and I will fully admit in an effort to be authentic and transparent, that I took a little extra care with my appearance for 2 reasons. 1) What if one of them were attractive? A girl's gotta look her best....and 2) I wanted to employ my feminine wiles in hopes that that would soften them towards me....shameless, I know....but still. In addition to this, I made sure my office was organized and I was ready to go. On the surface, I was put together...the inside was a different story all together. I felt like there were 747-sized butterflies in my stomach.

When the call came that the officer was here I truly felt my stomach drop. I had no idea what to expect or what I was going to do. Thankfully, one of the nuns was going to be present and she was going to translate from Italian into Spanish for me. (That in and of itself was concerning enough!) Lynda and I headed downstairs to meet the officers and I was immediately struck by two things: 1) these were very serious smiles, no warmth, nothing, and 2) one of them was very, very attractive. Hmmmm.....

I digress! We sat down in the parlor and it was clear that these men meant business. They said a whole lot of stuff that I didn't understand. The sister understood and told me what he was saying, but then she told me to get the nun who spoke English and ask her to come and help. She decided that it was too much to translate from Italian to Spanish and then for me to translate that into English. Truthfully, I was doing fine. I understood her, but my nerves were shot that it was probably a very good idea to get it all in English.

So, once the other sister came into the room three languages starting bouncing around like a ping pong match on speed. It was insane. The men, still so serious, were asking for things that I didn't have and it was a bit...ahhhhhhhhh. At the end, I was instructed to get some paperwork together for them within 1 week. No problem. I can do that. Oh, wait. It has to be in Italian. Ugh. Ok, I'll ask our Italian teacher to help. No problem.

We showed the men out and they left. The sisters proceeded to tell me that the way the men behaved was all part of an act. They were trying to come across more seriously and more "important" than they really were. It was like they were actors in a cop thriller movie. Great. They freaked me out and it was all about looking tough and macho. (Insert eye roll here) As the sisters were reviewing the meeting notes with me, Ana began to laugh. It seemed that the gate conveniently decided to malfunction while the officers were trying to leave. Fantastic. Let's lock them up here with us...well, maybe that wouldn't be so bad considering the one.... :)

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Sunday, September 13, 2009


Ok, so I haven't blogged since the "experience." I do not want to talk about it again. (Although, can I just say that later in the evening two of the nuns came upstairs to talk to me about something and I told them about the situation. They were so upset on my behalf that I started to cry. Their defense of me and willingness to defend me that it really touched me.)

Despite the sisters encouragement, I woke up the next morning feeling "off". I wanted to go home. I wanted to be with my friends. I wanted to be with family. I wanted my mom! It took continuing asking Jesus to be with me, to encourage me, to strengthen me to calm me down. I had a job to do and I needed to get going.

I was so blessed! I had a great morning with my students going over the policies of the program and all that fun stuff because it ended up being really fun. They are an amazing group of young adults and God has given me so much in them. They make me laugh like no other.

After we went over some household business, we did a walking tour of the neighborhood and I almost peed my pants I was laughing so hard! Then, after dinner we watched Roman Holiday. Love it!

All in all, it was a great Saturday. I am so glad that they're here....and that the villa is now filled with the pitter, patter of "little" feet!

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Table bread

I may have just had my first "I want to go home" moment. Yep...that's certainly what it was.

We have been looking into a cell phone company here in Italy that specializes in dealing with study abroad students. From what I understood, what I'd read, and what I'd been told is that they would provide the students with a free cell phone (with a deposit to be re-credited to them at the end of the semester) that would have the capabilities of making/receiving free calls to all within the plan. Sounds great, right? Ever heard the saying: if it looks too good to be probably is? Well...that is a great truth to learn.

Today, the rental company came to campus to discuss its product. When I originally contacted the company months ago I received a reply to my email that said they provided the phone. When I requested information again last week this is what I was told. On the company's website it clearly says that it gives a free phone to students and all calls between students is free. Instead of all of this, my students, myself, and Lynda were faced with something much different.

As I listened to the gentleman's presentation he clearly said that the cost was 49 euros, 40 of which was a deposit that would be credited to the students upon return of the phone. The other 9 euros were already credited airtime minutes. Several of our students signed up for the plan since we told them it was mandatory because I needed to be able to reach them in the event of an emergency. It was only after 2 young women approached me and told me that it actually cost 99 euros did I suspect that we were in the midst of a "conspiracy". I asked the woman who assisted the man to clarify for me what the cost was and she proceeded to tell me that it was 99 euros. I disputed this saying that that is not what we had been told. Everyone around me nodded in agreement.

What ensued was a man determined to get money from us by practically forcing us into purchasing the plans. I held my ground and emphatically told them that our students couldn't afford them and that's not what we were told. He refused to back down claiming that there was great expense on their part and yadda, yadda, yadda...I began to feel nauseous and angry. This was not what we'd been told nor did I ever promise him that our students would sign up for the plan. It was just ugly. Lynda jumped in and expressed herself, echoing my own sentiments, wonderfully. My RA did the same...he did a great job and I'm proud of him for speaking truth. Still, the man was ticked. He left the room and his assistant, who was very nice and from the States, tore up all of the credit card imprints of the students who had already purchased the plan and decided not to go with the additional charge. When the man returned he was very angry. Again, I explained to him the issue.

In the end, one of our students purchased the plan and Lynda and I actually did buy a phone. Still, he was not happy. He was insulting, rude, and downright deceitful, in my opinion.

I know that this was a great life lesson for our students and for me, but I'd much rather have not had to go through that particular lesson. Again, it has left me nauseous, anxious, and keyed up. I don't mind having to be confrontational when the moment calls for it, but I don't like it. I don't like what happens to me and I do not like it when my students feel as if they did something wrong.

I feel like this is a common occurrence abroad. Nationals expect that Americans in their country are wealthy and can afford anything (NOT TRUE) so they tack on all of these hidden expenses...20 euro here, 10's like when you go to a restaurant and they place a basket of bread on your table. You didn't ask for the bread, but they put it there nonetheless. Then, you get your bill and lo and behold...a charge for the bread. This was a major basket of bread...

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

On hold

Today is the day students arrive in Rome. Today is the day I've been working towards since I was hired a little over a year ago. Today has been postponed.

I was on Facebook last night as I was finishing some things up around campus before students arrived when I noticed some posts by Rome-bound students who should have been on a plane bound for Chicago at that point. Flight delays. Then, an hour later: flight cancellation. UGH. I felt so badly for those students. They were so excited to leave yesterday and then...nothing. Of course, they did have a mini adventure in that American Airlines put them up in a nice hotel with their own rooms with food vouchers for the evening. They will be here tomorrow after catching a noon flight to JFK and then a 5:20 flight to Rome.

At first I was very disappointed because I was super excited to meet them and get going, but after some thought and prayer I decided that perhaps this was the Lord's way of protecting them from something. Lynda had an idea regarding their visa status and it makes sense. So, no matter how disappointed I may be...I am thankful that God is in control of the situation and I need not worry.

Of course, I did just get an email from a colleague who informed me of bad weather on the East coast. Please God, do not delay them again!

The irony of the situation is this: we had one student flying in from Uganda apart from the group since her parents are missionaries there and that's where she's been this summer. She arrived on time...from Africa...whereas our group from the USA hasn't. Hmmm...what's wrong with this picture!?

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bag lady

One of the parts of student development that I love the most is creating a sense of community among students. That's why I am so excited about their arrival because I will have the opportunity to do life with them and build into their lives. One of the ways we're going to foster community building is through cooking. Our students will be cooking for one another in groups three nights a week. For the first week, though, I am going to do most of the cooking until they get settled. And I am very excited!

There are 19 of us in the villa, or there will be when the students arrive tomorrow. That's a lot of food. I had visions of grocery store trips daily where I was burdened with giant bags of groceries. I had no idea how I was going to supply food for that many people without constantly grocery shopping...something I really do not like to do.

Well, God bless the nuns because they provided us with the names and contact information of the vendors who regularly deliver food to them. Yesterday, I bought a ton of cheese, yogurt, salami, proscuitto, and butter off the back of a truck. Today, I bought milk and eggs. Tomorrow, the bread will be delivered. And next week we will meet the fruit man. Praise God! These vendors are such an answer to prayer!

There are, however, some items that cannot be delivered and for those items I must go to the grocery store. Considering that we are starting from ground zero, we needed to purchase many basic items. Thankfully, Lynda made the journey to the store with me. I could not have done it without her. I did remark, though, on our way back from the store that the sight of us walking back to the villa must have been something...bag ladies indeed. Here's a pic for you to laugh I am sure the people who passed me did.

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Me and Teddy Roosevelt

Before I left the States my dad gave me his old Blackberry to use until I set up cell service in Italy. In order to use the phone I needed to purchase a new Sim card. My friend Jason suggested going to the Vodafone store and purchasing the card. He told me where the closest store was and said that the people who worked there were very nice and his experiences were always pleasant when he dealt with them. All I would need, he said, was a copy of my passport. Ok. Got that, no worries.

The first opportunity that I had to go to Vodafone was the day that we went to Ikea. There was a Vodafone store (not the one that Jason had suggested) in the mall. In my very broken Italian I asked for a Sim card. They asked for my passport. I told them that I had a copy. They said original. Hmmm. You enter the country and they barely glance at your passport, but you want to buy a Sim card and you need your original....does that seem off to anyone else? Since I didn't have my original (I do not carry it with me), I would have to visit the other store.

The next day Lynda and I trekked to the store only to find it closed for siesta. They told us they would re-open at 3. That seemed odd because most stores re-open at 4, but hey...they can do what they want. So, we made the trek again on Monday and arrived at 3:30. They didn't open until 4. Sheesh! All I wanted was a small Sim card! We went back down on Tuesday and lo and behold...they were open! Hooray!

We entered the store and a nice man (ok, I'll admit it...he was kinda cute) told us he would be with us in a minute...or at least that's what I think he said. Finally, it was our turn. I asked, again in my broken Italian, for a Sim card and Success! he asked for my passport. I handed it to him and he began to flip through it. He started at the back of the document and when he came to my picture page he looked up at me..."Very beautiful passport," he said. (He spoke some English) Needless to say, I was very flattered. I had to get a new passport in January and I was very pleased with my picture. My last passport photo was downright embarrassing and this one was a vast improvement. "I love all the pictures of Washington, Lincoln, and Roosevelt," he continued, breaking into my small-ish ego trip. Huh? Wow. Here I thought he was complimenting my passport photo, but in reality....he just liked the new US passports. My ego took a minor hit.

Ok, I'll admit it. The new US passports are very nice, really, they're something...but still. My picture is, or at least it has to be for the sake of my vanity, better than the drawing of Teddy Roosevelt!
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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Can I get some help here?

Public transportation is the way to go here in Rome. Their system is actually pretty good and surprisingly easy to navigate. And this is a good thing because this is how I will (and have been since I arrived) make my way through Rome. I hop on the bus, get on the metro and away I go. No need to worry about trying to drive in this city...not that I would ever drive here...unless I suddenly become certifiably insane. Check SpellingCheck Spelling

So, one aspect of my job is to obtain monthly transportation passes for myself, Lynda, and our students. That sounds fairly easy and I thought it would be. But as I'm learning, those things that should be easier elsewhere aren't always that way in Italy.

Part of the issue in buying these passes is that our bank account hasn't been set up yet because again, it's Italy and things move much slower here. I've been using a college credit card to purchase necessities and needed to use it to buy the passes. Well, most places only accept cash for the passes. Thankfully, a friend told me about a Metro station where I could purchase the passes using a credit card. Mind you, this is after Lynda and I spent nearly an hour wandering around Termini (Rome's train station) trying to locate the transit office or someone who would take a credit card with no luck. Frustration! Anywho, once Lynda returned from Wales we made our way to this other station to look for this supposed vendor. (May I just interject here now and tell you that we went to Termini--a 15 minute bus ride--to take the Metro to this other station only to find that it's one station away from the Metro stop that's down our street? We could have just walked down the street, hopped on a train, and been there in like minutes. AH!) I digress. We, again, wandered around the whole station asking person after person if they accepted credit cards for the bus passes and they all had the same answer: no.

We were about at the end of our rope when we decided to try one more Tabacchi store outside of the station. We walked in with really no hope...I uttered a prayer before entering that the Lord would grant us mercy because we were hot, tired, and frustrated beyond words. The woman told us no, of course, and we were just about to turn away WHEN she said that we could buy them with a credit card at the Tren Italia counter. (Tren Italia is Italy's main rail line) We were in shock that someone would offer us more than just "No" so we thanked her profusely and made our way back inside to the counter....a little more hopeful than before. We approached the counter, asked our question, and held our breaths. Success! They did accept credit cards! YES!!!! Our hope was restored. Life was good. All was well with the world...ok, I'm exaggerating, but have no idea how good it felt to accomplish something when you felt like all you were doing was fighting an uphill battle.

Here's the thing though...every person we'd asked must have known that you could buy the passes at the Tren Italia counter with a credit card and yet, they remained silent. Was it really too troublesome to just tell us that? Come on! Help a girl out...

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It's Alive!!

Things have been crazy busy around here this last week that I haven't had time to blog. And trust me, there's a lot to write about.

We'll start with the fact that on September 1 someone told the entire Roman population that it was no longer August and they could return to the city. It was amazing how much street and foot traffic increased. Stores that were closed were open and the city exploded.

It's quite lively around here now and I can attest to that fact as I sit in my room at night and hear the blaring of car and moto horns. Love it!

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Extreme home makeover (ok, so maybe not extreme)

Friday was Ikea day. Yay! It was a trip that I was looking forward to for so long and I wasn't disappointed!

List in hand, I stepped across Ikea's threshold as the automatic doors parted. I almost expected hear the choir of the heavenly host as I walked inside the gargantuan home store, but I didn't. Instead, I was greeted with the refreshing whoosh of AIR CONDITIONING and the smell of goods just begging to be purchased. I reveled in the a/c and put on my "game" was on.

I wanted to purchase items not only for the kitchen, but also for the rest of the villa to make our floor a little more "homey." In fact, my resident assistant sternly told me that the floor better seem more homey or Else...dum dum dummmmmmm. Not sure what he meant by that, but I took his "threat" to heart. I wanted to get some rugs, throw pillows, prints, and more.

Two hours later I departed Ikea with a cart full of goods and a great foundation for creating that "homey" atmosphere. Lynda and I have set most of it out and I am pleased with the result. There's still a lot more that I want to do to make this place a little warmer and inviting, but I'll need to pace myself...and my budget!

Here are a couple pics of the new and improved TV room. I'm really pleased with the result and I wish I had some "before" pictures to share, but alas...I do not. So, you'll just have to do with these.

Before we went to Ikea this room
had uncomfortable chairs lined up
like stadium seating. We removed the chairs, brought in this couch, tossed on some pillows, added the rug, and the coffee table. Such an improvement! We're going to hang the print (right picture) and then we're set!

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mi cucina

I love to cook and I love to bake. For these reasons it's been fun having such a large kitchen. We also need a big kitchen because the students will be cooking 3 nights a week for the community. That should be interesting....

Right: Our sink and prep table. I think we're going to move the table to the middle of the kitchen. Left: This is our industrial-sized stove/oven. There are a lot of burners, but the oven leaves something to be desired. Suppose our Thanksgiving turkey will need to be a little smaller this year. To the right, our "prep" area. Lots of storage space!

And since students are cooking...I thought it best to remind them that:

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Mi bagno

My bathroom. Thankfully I don't have to share a bathroom with the students. It's located just around the corner from by bedroom and quite a ways from student rooms so it affords a lot of privacy. It has beautiful blue tiling and is quite lovely.

What you're looking at here is my tub/shower on the left and toilet on the right. As you can see there's a little seat in the tub and then a hose like attachment. Basically, this isn't a stand-up shower. What you're supposed to do is have a seat and then bathe that way. Ever seen that episode of Everybody Loves Raymond when they visit Italy? In that episode Ray is taking a bath in something similar and is complaining about his bathing conditions when his elderly Italian aunt comes in and starts bathing him. This is exactly how I feel. Although I do admit that it acts like a mini pool when it gets really hot and is great when filled with cold water.

Notice my Costco-sized shampoo and conditioner bottles along the ledge. When I visited in Oct. I brought over a whole bag full of toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc. Yes, they have those things here in Italy, but let's face it....a girl has to have her brand of shampoo/conditioner!

This is my sink/mirror. Isn't the tile pretty? There's also a bidet, but didn't think you'd want to see that. Looking at it reminds me of the scene in Crocodile Dundee where Sue has to explain to Mic what it's used for. Personally, I don't know what to make of it.

Seems to me that there are lots of aspects of my bathroom that remind me of TV shows or movies. Hmmm...that's kinda weird.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ahh..Italian TV

I finally figured out how to use the TV yesterday. Ok, that's not entirely true. The nuns showed me how to use the TV yesterday. It was complicated...really.

Anyways, I surfed the channels last night and what did I find? Miss. Congeniality Italian...oh if only I'd seen it in English. Then again, maybe it's better I didn't understand didn't look like a great movie.

Tonight, I was flipping the channels and saw Roswell, a Mary J. Blige video (which thank goodness was still in English), and an ad for New Moon! That certainly caught my attention. What made me laugh out loud, though, was an Australian soap opera, Home and Away. It was bad enough watching it in English in Australia, but to watch it in Italian was priceless!

Ok...I take that back...Italian rappers on TV are actually priceless...please make them stop.

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It's all in who you know..and what you bring

Funny story! I can't believe I forgot to share this.

Remember last week how Lynda needed to file her permesso? And remember how our labor consultant helped us? And remember that woman at the post office who wasn't very nice? Remember? Good.

When I was at Jason and Laura's house last week for dinner they asked me how our permesso experience went. I shared all of the details including the not-so-nice postal worker at the Bologna post office. Jason asked me: "Is she darker skinned like she has a really good tan?" I was a little taken aback by the question so I replied with a hesitant "Yes." "And she has yellowy blonde hair that's cut kind of short?" Again, I replied hesitantly, "Yes." And that's when he started to laugh. "I love her! She's always so nice. I've never had a problem with her!" I was in shock as he proceeded to tell me that she was the one he always turned his staff member's permessos into because she was always so helpful. In fact, he said, Brian (one of his staff) even took her to lunch one day as a thank you for her kindness and has been known to bring her peanut butter because she loves it.

That's all it takes to win the woman at the post office over!? Peanut butter! I will have to file for my permesso when I return to Rome after spending Christmas at home and let me tell you...I am going to Costco before I head back and getting a giant jar of Skippy peanut butter for the woman at the post office. It's all in who you know and how to grease the wheels....whoever thought that grease in this case was good ol' American peanut butter!?

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Mi camera da letto

Ok, day 2 of pictures. Today: my bedroom! It's bigger than I remembered it being which is a good thing considering I will spend 3 years in it! I thought that I brought more pictures and knick-knack-thingys with me, but apparently I didn't. Oh well. I'll just have to bring some back when I go home for Christmas. Plus, going to IKEA on Friday so I'll try to pick up some prints and maybe a rug. We'll see..

I brought my duvet cover from home with me to add a familiar touch. I did bring a couple of pictures of the fam. Of course, I brought could I not?!

So, this is my "closet". I know that many of the people who know me best were concerned about how I would fit all of my clothes and, more importantly, my shoes in a small space. Well, as you can see I did just fine...of course, my winter clothes aren't here yet. My friend Justine is bringing them when she visits in Oct. Hmmm....we may have a problem then....

I'm planning on moving this desk out of my room because I just don't need it since I have my office. I want to move an arm chair in here so I have somewhere to read and watch movies on my computer. I brought 2 Willow Tree Angels with me and if you look closely you will see that one of them is on my desk...and she's missing her head. Apparently she had a rough journey from AZ. :)

Each of the rooms has their own vanity and built-in shelving unit. Here's mine! It breaks my heart to see my book shelf so empty when I have all those tubsn of books in my storage unit...stupid airline luggage weight restriction. Thank God for online books!

The view from my room. It's not very inspiring, but I don't plan on spending much time looking out my window either so it's all good. The building is a part of the University of Malta. There are quite a lot of universities around us. However, the Afghanistan embassy is directly across the street...think men in camo clutching machine guns. (I am not making this up. Really.)

And finally, you guessed "AC" units. Ha! I stole the larger fan from the TV room. Suppose I will have to put it back in the next week once the students arrive. Hope that it's cool enough at night by then that I won't need both fans!

So, that's my room. Tomorrow: my bathroom...get excited!

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