29 April 2010

29 April 2010


After a very smooth flight from Rome, I am now in Paris! Bethany and I are staying with a wonderful host family, and have seen many wonderful Parisian sights - the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Champs Elysees, grave of Chopin, musée d'orsay, Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, site of the Bastille, the execution site during the revolution, the Pantheon, and so on! Of course, there is also the Seine! Paris is beautiful, the food is delicious, and the sights are amazing. Need I say more? :)

Rome helped me prepare for the heat, with the nice addition of having a nice breeze. There isn't as much of a breeze here, although it hasn't been too bad. An ironic thing - Rome is full of wonderful water fountains, and in Paris you cannot find a water fountain. (Well, actually I've found one. That is not quite sufficient for the whole city ....)However, things have been going very well, and we have gotten a lot of exploring done!

I guess that's it for now ... so much I have seen, so much I have done ... I am really enjoying it here, and often find myself singing songs from Les Mis as I walk the streets. It is amazing to think that I am here in Paris, where there is so much history. Then too, there are very nice things like French bread, cheese, chocolate, pastry, and so on, in addition to milk, fruit, vegetables, and other things that are not specifically French but that allow me to have a balanced diet (one thing I do not need right now is to be sick ...) It is so hard for me to believe that I have been overseas for more than three months! It will actually be strange to be home :)

26 April 2010

26 April 2010

Well, another day in Rome! I went to the catacombs of St. Sebastian, which were much as I had imagined them to be ... they were narrow, the ceilings were low, and they would make me very claustrophobic to live in. Actually being there and seeing the graves of the early Christians was an incredible experience. I think that one of my favorite things about Rome is the way history is coming alive before me. Not to mention that I particularly like Roman history! After the catacombs we went down to the Via Appia Antica, or the Old Appian Way, and saw the original Roman road! I love seeing things that I have read about! When we came back to the city wall, we saw the pillar that marked the end of the Via Appia, at the edge of the city.

On our way there we had an interesting encounter with a flock of sheep and goats. I had never seen a real flock that roamed the pastures without fences before, and it was very cool. There were also shepherds and sheep dogs. The shepherds were friendly, although they didn't exactly speak English, and one helped us out by drawing a map with his staff. It was a very cool experience!

This afternoon I went with Bethany to the Villa Borghese. We didn't actually go to the museum or anything, just went to the park and relaxed. It was good to unwind a bit after several rather hectic days of running around, trying to see everything in Rome! (We did not succeed in that, by the way. Although we did get an awful lot accomplished! Including most of the sights that are 'must sees'.)

This evening we went for dinner. I had pasta, salad, and gelato ... what better Italian meal??? It was delicious. I need to figure out how to make pasta like that. I think there was olive oil on it, but I'm not sure.

Here's the Roman road! (Sorry about the taxi driver's face in the mirror ...)

“Others, I have no doubt will forge the bronze to breathe with suppler lines, draw from the block of marble features quick with life, plead their cases better, chart with their rods the stars that climb the sky and foretell the times they rise. But you, Roman [Aeneas], remember, rule with all your power the peoples of the earth – these will be your arts: to put your stamp on the works and ways of peace, to spare the defeated, break the proud in war.”
(Aeneid, 6.977-84)

25 April 2010

24 April 2010

Wow, this is embarrassing. I haven't blogged in a very, very long time. And in no way does this mean that nothing has been going on in my life! Where can I begin? It's overwhelming. Okay, I should not go this long again. It's just too hard to decide what to say, for one thing ...

On the 19th I completed the London program, thus ending my first year of being a full time college student. I can't believe it's already over! Now I'm in Rome.

Rome has more graffiti than London, is smokier, and the people are much less laid back. In London, if I had not just been quiet and not made eye contact, it would have felt strange. Here people look at you, and whistle in the streets. Oh, and they honk their horns. There seems to be some kind of thing for honking horns - it happens a lot. And they really hold it down for a long time. It would really make me nervous about road rage, except it seems to just be a cultural thing.

Gelato is every bit as good as I have always heard. And a lot better. Through various circumstances I have been able to try chocolate, lemon, hazelnut, and pistachio. They are all good, although I am not really a fan of chocolate ice cream and that kind of carried over. But it is truly good stuff. I have been having a somewhat good time trying to figure out how to get a good diet without spending money. So far it hasn't worked. Some of the time it is a game, sometimes it is just frustrating. Always it is an adventure!

So far I have been to the Vatican (including museums and the Sistine Chapel), St. Peter's, seen the Pope, seen Michelangelo's Moses, Raphael's tomb and tapestries, The Dying Gaul sculpture, the Roman forums, Imperial forums, and many other forums, Trajan's Column, the Colosseum, the Parthenon, climbed Paletine hill, and so on. It has been a few jam-packed days, very tiring, but also very fun, educational, and worthwhile!

GSTQ ... or ciao ... :)

01 April 2010

1 April 2010

So, it's a new month here in London town! It was characteristically wet, but not at all miserable :)

Tuesday night was incredible, Bethany and I went to see the Phantom of the Opera! I can't say that I found it funny or enjoyed it, but it was very compelling and I am very glad that I went. Maybe that's a drawback of being in a program like this and maybe it's a good thing - regardless, I analyze things a lot more now than I used to! (And that is saying something, for me ....)

Today was my last official day at the National Gallery, which was sad and exciting all at once. It is exciting, because that is one more thing done that means I am just that much closer to going home! At the same time, I have really liked that gallery, and if I have time I would like to go back just to look around. I did buy a little book with 200 or so pictures of paintings, that included almost all of my favorites. That way I will at least be able to look them up and remember who painted them, what they are called, what they really look like, and so on! Another week is drawing to a close ...GStQ