I want to live well, in my own way. Since turning 18 and going off to college out-of-state, I have become more and more independent. Personally, I want to live passionately and as an Italian might. This blog is where I’ll share my everyday life experiences with you and by reflecting on them, truly appreciate them.
I plan to post when I feel inspired to do so. In this way, I get to exercise spontaneity. However, I also crave the routine. So I plan to post a regular feature called “Style Sunday” every week. This may be about the creation of my personal style, a garment or accessory I wear, the decoration of my home, or something I use in my spare time.
You’ve probably guessed that I love Italy. That I do.
I have visited my beloved country three times and can hardly wait to return! I enjoy learning about and experiencing the art, architecture, history, food, drink, language and culture of its various regions.
My love for Italy all started when I took an AP Art History class my senior year of high school. It was so intense, I couldn't tell you I liked that discipline at the time. I remember my teacher encouraging us to go to her beloved Rome to see the art in person, and that she wanted to go see the mosaics of Ravenna.
So after looking longingly at my suitemate’s Art History textbooks and hearing about an amazing professor, I continued my study of Art History during my second semester of college. I also went on a group tour to Venice, Florence and Rome during spring break. Seeing Italy for the first time was one of the best experiences of my whole life. Sure, I was thrilled to stand inside the Pantheon and see Bernini's (sculpture of) Saint Theresa in Ecstasy, but I discovered much, much more of what the country had to offer beyond art. I was falling head over heels in love with Italy. Coming back from that trip, I announced that I was definitely going to study abroad there.
I "studied" (well, I used that term loosely since it was a party beach town) in a town called Pescara. This modern city lies on the Adriatic, right across the boot from Rome. Seated in the internet cafe to update my blog about my experience, I wanted to start each entry with something like "It's sunny and I'm in Italy and I'm happy." ...maybe I should have; that would have been honest! As a traveler, I loved exploring and discovering new places. I was always wandering around, this home-base city at first and then to other cities.
I love to eat. Italian food is happiness. For breakfast, I loved an espresso or cappuccino and a croissant. I acquired a taste for coffee during my study abroad experience. I love Italian pizza, margherita (cheese) or topped with fresh spinach and prosciutto. Everything is so fresh and flavorful. And gelato of course! My favorite flavor is baci, which is chocolate with hazelnut. You usually get small scoops of three different flavors, so you can easily try lots quick. I ate pasta everyday, possibly twice a day. Often with fresh vegetables. My favorite tomato sauce was Tomato Basil but one of my roommates favored the very spicy Arrabbiata, which I order at times today. Each region produces their own variety of bread and my roommates and I always had a loaf. I made myself drink red wine and finally liked the taste after I came home. It reminds me of Italy. I've developed a taste for the cheap red table wine, chianti.
Three months was definitely not long enough! I hope to live there again, for as of yet an undetermined amount of time. Let’s see where life takes me…
These two experiences fundamentally changed me. I love Italy for many, many things, but, most of all, for the way Italians passionately live their lives. They value each other, romance, expression, presentation, the meal and beauty over things, space, money and jobs.
Scoring an amazing airfare, I returned again in 2007 to party in Pescara with an old study abroad friend and explore cities I had yet to visit, Ravenna and Pisa. (I had to have my picture taken holding up The Leaning Tower!) That makes 3 trips. And confirms my undying love for Italy.
I am currently saving for a small trip next April. I truly hope I can make this happen! I was thinking Verona, Venice and then a picturesque train ride to Vienna. I always say “next time, I’ll see the places other than Italy,” but I simply cannot not go. And anyway, I’ll conquer Europe when it fits into my budget better.