Last Days in Italy

Monday November 11th - Friday November 15th

These last few days in Italy were super busy and between finals, photography critiques, and submissions for the end of the semester gala, I had very little time to do much of anything. Once again, I think the photography critique went really well, and I improved so much since last week! Also, we had our Italian finals, and even though I studied hard, the test was more difficult than I thought. Even though I thought I did terrible on the test, when I got it back, it turned out I did really well! It made me happy to actually do well on the test, but when it was time for our conversational test with Catia I was so nervous that I couldn't remember anything. I did the best I could, so I try not to worry about it too much. Last, but not least, the end of the year gala went really well, and I had fun looking at everyone's artwork and socializing with the guests. I met a couple of really nice ladies and we talked for a while, and afterwards I played the guitar while this one guy played a strange middle-eastern instrument. We both played improvisation, and since we got requests for Spanish music, that's what we played! We also played a little bit of jazz with this one pianist (who was also one of Rosella's brothers), and a little bit of classic and contemporary too. I wish I had my guitar music, but since I packed it in my storage shed before leaving for Italy, I had to play from memory. I wanted to stay late at the gala, but at about 1am (which technically is late, but a lot of people stayed later) I left because I had to get up to leave at 5:30 the next morning. The bus ride to the airport was torture (as always - I can't wait to be able to drive my own car again!) and the flights were even worse. Although I was almost over my cold, I still had a little bit of a runny nose, so when the plane got up to full elevation my nose WOULD NOT adjust to the pressure. My top teeth on the side of my clogged nose went numb and I had the worst headache I've ever had in my life! I seriously thought I would die (ok not really, but I don't remember much of the flight because the pain was so bad). I know that while I was in so much pain I wished for my tylenol, and I did my best to sleep. I did doze off at one point, and it started getting better when the plane started it's decent. Afterwards I was more careful to make sure I had kleenexes with me for the next flight, and thankfully I didn't have the same problem again (even though my teeth hurt for the rest of the night after that). I went through a German airline, and they fed me dinner and a couple of snacks. The food was good, and I think the Swiss chocolate they fed us was the best I've ever eaten. I really am going to miss Italy, but I'm so excited to see my friend and explore Norway.

Second to Last Week

Monday November 3rd - Sunday November 10th

This week was a really relaxed week and we just spent our time working on photography and Italian. Unfortunately I keep thinking about how great of a time I've had here and how sad it's going to be to leave next week. I like Italy, the people here are great, and I've made so many new friends. Aside from that, I turned in my first photography assignment, and I think it went pretty well! He told me some things I need to work on, and so I went back to re-edit many of the pictures.  Now I am paying more attention to the composition and the elements in my pictures, as well as doing different things to make them look better in lightroom. This weekend was also very good, and since most of us are in the upper-level photography those of us who didn't go to Venice with Dave (I will go someday!) went to Perugia to work on time-lapses and videos. I went around the carnival, and I had tons of fun. Unfortunately, since my camera doesn't take time-lapse I took videos of some of the things people were doing time-lapses of (like the mini-metro). Hopefully my stuff can be used to help transitions and stuff, but since no one seems to have a set plan yet, I'm trying to get videos of everything I can think of so hopefully when we decide what to do, it will all work out.


The Mysteries of Florence

Friday, October 31st

This morning we rode the train to Florence, and since this was my first time riding a train I was really excited. Once we got to Florence we checked into our motel room and got our Firenze passes. Even though the Firenzie passes are very expensive (72 euros), we all got one because we decided it would be worth it (because a Firenzie pass allows you to get into all of the museums and skip the line). Afterwards, we walked around for a little while ate at Burger King, and then made our way to the Duomo to take pictures. It was a long climb, and there were really long winding stairways. Because they wouldn't let me in with my gelato I got seperated from everyone else, but I caught up to them at the top. Inside the dome was amazing, and detailing of the frescoes was amazing! Even though I really liked the dome, the climb to the top was my favorite part. I'm pretty sure that the Duomo is the tallest building in Florence, and walking around at the top gave me a 360 degree view of the entire city. Even though we didn't make it up by sunset, we still got up there in time to see the very last rays of the sun and the beautiful colors after the sun went down. After the Duomo we walked to this one bridge (which was very touristy but cool) with all sorts of classy stores selling jewelry and nice clothes. After I walked around the bridge I followed Dave to the other side and he helped me and a couple of others take pictures. Soon after that we went to the little pizza place and found a place to buy liquor (I got a wine cooler because they look yummy). When we were done with that we decided that we would celebrate Halloween by sitting on the steps of the Duomo (which is a church) and drink and play card games (which is ironic and a little sacrilegious, but funny). Afterwards we all headed to bed so we could get up early to go to the Uffizi.

Saturday, November 1st
Our plan this morning was to meet at the Uffizi and race to the room to see the Birth of Venus painting before anyone else could make it up there. Sure enough, we were the first ones there and we made it to the room first. Sadly they didn't allow us to take pictures in there, but a few of the paintings were amazing! There was a lot to see in the Uffizi, and we all spent a couple of hours in there before leaving. After the Ufizzi we got kabobs for lunch (which are so good I could eat them every day!), and then headed to the Galileo museum. The museum was really cool, but I don't know much about the history of science so a lot of the stuff didn't make since to me. Thankfully, though, there were several TV's that explained what the items were used for and the theories behind them. After the museum I made my way back to the motel to take a nap, and then Elyssa and I headed towards the Duomo to walk around and explore the shops. When we were done exploring we ended up running into a bunch of protesters. Apparently they had just started, but we were excited because it gave us a chance to get pictures of them. When we were done with that we couldn't find Dave to meet at the belltower for sunset, so instead of missing it we ran up there to take pictures without him. When we got to the top we found him and he showed us the best way to take pictures of the Duomo with our cameras. Afterwards, we walked to the carousel and I took lots of pictures and videos before going to bed.

Sunday, November 2nd
I was going to get up for sunrise pictures this morning, but since is was time change back home my phone decided to change the time too. Instead of waking up when I wanted to I woke up an entire hour later and when I went down I was so confused. I saw that it was light outside, but I thought that maybe the sun hadn't come up yet. When I went down, people were asking me why I didn't go take pictures of sunrise, and I told them that I was just about to go. When I said that they told me the time and my hopes for sunrise pictures in Florence were dashed (but it gives me a good excuse to come back so I guess I'll just have to take them then!), but I was able to make it to the accadamia in time to meet Dave and run in to see the statue of David before anyone else showed up. Since we had our Firenzie passes we were the first ones in, and we were able to get great pictures! After exploring the museum we walked around Florence some more, went into the museum of modern art, walked around in a nice gardent (where I got pictures of a lizard!) and got our stuff ready to take the train back to the Villa.


Fun at the Villa

Sunday October 19th - Sunday October 26th

So I finally decided that even though doing daily posts is a great idea, since we're no longer traveling around Rome or Sicily it seems a little boring (for anyone who reads my blog) and a whole lot of work (for me) to keep doing the daily posts. Instead of doing that, I'm just going to post a weekly review and go over all the cool stuff I've been doing each week.  Anyhoo, this week was pretty relaxed and we spent a lot of time in both Italian class and painting. Because I like being rebellious sometimes (and was inspired by all the Greek and Roman sculptures),  I decided to soak paper in water, sculpt it into fruit, and then color it instead of painting on a flat surface! It was a lot of fun, and I used rocks on the inside of the paper to help stabilize the fruit and to keep in from mushing together before it was dry. Once it was dry, I just left the rocks in there because the paper shrank and molded itself around the rocks. I wish I could take the fruit home with me, but because there's rocks in them it's probably not a good idea to try to bring them back in my suitcase (so I think I'll find someone to give them to). Other than painting class, we made a couple of trips around the area, and one day Rosella was able to get us to this one town to explore a castle (why can't I ever remember the names of any town anywhere????). The castle was overlooking the lake, and because it was foggy that day it was really cool being able to see the fog melt from the water as the sun made it's way out from behind the clouds. After the week was over, we stopped by the chocolate festival in Corciano, and while we were there too early on Saturday, we were able to go on Sunday and get lots and lots of chocolate! When we first got there we bought these tickets for only 5 euros and after that we were able to go into 11 or 12 places with the tickets and try a sample of chocolate from each. Afterwards I was really full, but every bit was worth it. I also got a couple of bottles of chocolate liquor to take home with me when the trip is over. Even though this week was quiet, I still had a lot of fun and I think it was a good balance of class, relaxation, and fun.
Monday October 27 - Thursday October 30th

Dave got here on Monday and I was really excited to start taking classes from him. I love photography and it's my go-to when I'm too busy with work and school to be able to paint, sculpt, or draw. The first day in photography we got to walk up to Corciano and practice with sunburts and take pictures of the beautiful light around sunset. I feel like I got some pretty nice pictures and I know quite a bit more about my camera than I did before going up to Corciano. While we were just beginning our photography class, we were still doing our watercolor class, and our assignment for the week was of our choosing. Since I wanted something challenging (but still wanted to do a horse) I chose to do a buckskin horse with a native American kneeling on the ground next to him. I don't usually do people so the painting was a challenge, but it was a lot of fun and I feel like it's one of my best paintings yet (even though there's still a lot of room for improvement too!). Aside from painting and photography, we took a trip to Norcia (and a couple other towns that I don't know the names of) and drove through the mountains. I didn't realize that there were actually real mountains here in Italy, and it made me so happy to go to them. Several of them had snow at the tops and one of them just kept going up and up into the clouds. With the fall colors and falling leaves it was so beautiful! Near the little mountain town there were lots of sheep, cows, and donkeys, and even highland ponies (or highland horses, which is technically what they are). We stopped for several minutes and took pictures of them, and one of them even came up to me so I could pet it. This week was fun, and I'm excited to leave for Florence tomorrow morning!