30 June 2008

the world it just keeps spinning...until I am dizzy.

song of the day: Oxygen - Willy Mason

I am in Italy. I am in Italy. I am in Italy! My days always begin with a run, in efforts to rid myself of the fantastically delicious yet unhealthy food Rita makes me. I may or may not venture into the city to explore an ancient city. They day may be hot, but it is relaxing. The bus ride home is always anticipated because I know when I walk in the door I am so much closer to eating dinner. Always after dinner we walk, again in hopes the food we previously ate does not kill us. I read, I go to sleep. The days are lovely. I love Italy. I am happy to be in love again with this fabulous country.

I love the country; I hate the mosquitoes. I love the cornfields; I hate the smelly road kill. I love the bus, but I hate the bus. I love the people you meet; I hate my lack of communication. I love the houses, oh I love the houses. Imagine a house tucked away in the hills, olive trees stretch for acres. The yellow stucco glimmers in the setting sun as the residents close their screens and shutters to prevent heat and mosquitoes. The vines crawl around the walls and roof and the gardens never looked more beautiful. I am currently living a Tuscan dream.

Sunday June twenty ninth has been a favorite. Attending church, whether or not I am able to understand everything, always makes me feel that much better. You know you are in the right place when you feel the same things you have or would feel at home. I attend a branch with five to ten attending members. They are so strong, grateful, helpful, and happy. Every member has their own story, and I am grateful to learn from them and their fede (faith).

This week marks a very important week in Sienese tradition. Wednesday is an event that brings out the pride of every individual. An event catered to the locals, not tourists, is something they call the Palio. I have been witnessing the intense preparations. Dirt from outside the city is brought to il Campo to create a dirt track for horses to run on. The city divides itself into seventeen contradas (or teams) and each contrada races one bareback horse and rider around the track in hopes of winning. The wining horse is then praised for quite some time until the next year brings a new victor. The locals wear bandanas and carry flags pompously to tell everyone whom they support. I support the porcupines, because this is whom my host family supports. I regret that I saw a porcupine as road kill and only imagine that to be an omen. The Palio only comes once a year, and my parents think me crazy for not wanting to stand in a mob of crazy Italians. I plan to watch the thirty-second race from a distance.

Photographs to come...

reminiscing about spain.

a museum in barcelona and a cello player walking the streets. 
two of my favorite things, in one of my favorite cities.

27 June 2008

"I think you can in Europe!"

disclaimer: I have internet at the school, but it hardly works. Now that I have finished with classes I will probably only make it up once or twice per week, depending on my work schedule. I also forgot to load the pictures from my camera to my computer, and don't have it with me currently. I will get a good update here soon with pictures and all so you can see where I live!
p.s. I have already found my dream house.

Date: 21 June 2008

“I know you can be overwhelmed and you can be underwhelmed but can you ever just be whelmed?” "I think you can in Europe." I haven’t the slightest clue what I am feeling right now. One, my nerves have never been so high. Two, my brain seems to be slowing down. Three, I am no longer living out of a suitcase and that relieves me. I am happy to be here, sad to be here, nervous to be here, ready to be here, everything to be here. Amid all of my stuttering I did manage to make it to the Rome airport, next the Rome train station, on to a train headed to Florence, exit a train to catch a new one going to Siena, find but a broken pay phone, wait for 40 minutes until I found the nerves to ask the older woman then a gentlemen if one of them were familiar with Siena and finally if I could borrow a phone. Rita was outside waiting for me, lovely Rita.

Rita speaks strictly Italian and is already annoyed with slowing down her words, changing vocabulary, and to her dismay…barely getting a response. Rachel, Jenn and Jane have seemed to catch on to the language just fine. I joined them eight weeks into their stay, they leave in four, I remain for eight. These eight weeks better teach me to say, ‘Hello I am Rique, how are you’ (except I already know how to say that). As previously stated I am nervous, but the excitement is catching up with me.

Date: 25 June 2008

Five days into this summer experience and I feel as though I have been to enough school to last the term. I am relieved I only attend school for a week (three hours of language training per day can tire ones brain), but I am nervous because I only attend school for a week. I have yet to be informed what my internship will be, but I had a private lesson today where he taught me the entire history of Siena in two hours. While trying to translate his Italian into English and then process what he was saying, all I wanted to do was go home and rest. I made it through and surprisingly learned a lot. As hard as it is for me to understand everything I am catching on to bits and pieces and I anticipate being able to understand the majority of what is going on around me (in seven and a half more weeks).

Date: 27 June 2008

School’s out for summer! I suppose technically I still have school, as in I will be racking my brain to get this language down. No longer will I be attending three-hour classes, but I will spend plenty of time learning the language at my internship. I still have yet to find out what I am doing though. I need to come back in on Monday in hopes they will have something figured out. If not, free time for me. I am surprised at how quickly this past week past, so as long as I keep myself busy I will find the day disappearing and myself getting less homesick. I recall from a preparation class in the winter the effects of culture shock. I have most surely been culture “shocked.” It is all flowers and candy when you visit the country, then when you live in the country you see a completely different side. It is crucial to communicate, and when you lack that ability it causes for difficulty. Even with how much I love Italy, the language, the food, the people, I am still quite nervous.

I am going to look past all this and take this opportunity for what it is worth. How many opportunities does one get to live in foreign countries for, in my case, fifteen weeks? A long, yet most premium adventure.

25 June 2008

tuscany living = my dream.

I have never been more nervous in my life. Here I am, in the country of my dreams, and I do not understand a thing. I go to class three plus hours a day in attempt to improve my language skills. I live with a pleasant retired woman who only speaks her native language. I have help from fellow BYU students. I remain lost. The nerves tore me apart my first three days here, but as time moves so do I. I am looking past the trials, attempting to succeed in the language. At the end of the next seven and a half weeks you can ask me if I speak Italian, and hopefully I can respond with a sure Yes. (or Si, rather)

18 June 2008

because i no longer know.

The trip began, the trip ended. There is a possibility that I am in the greatest city in the world, but I spent one of the most important holidays away from the man who deserves the most. Luckily Steve Jobs came through again and I was able to bid my father the happiest of father’s days before he left for church. What a lucky person I am to 1.) have a father and 2.) have Robert Alan Carroll as my very own. Thank you to him for helping me with the most memorable of summers.

I managed forty-seven days of not being homesick, then it hit me. Writing a letter to my father was not as easy as I originally imagined. I have a few more weeks left (and by a few I mean eight) then homeward bound. Just like Shadow, Chance and Sassy I will run to my home like I thought I would never make it.

a song: Homesick - Kings of Convenience

London is beautiful and keeping my mind off home. I spent the past couple of days...
walking through the most luscious parks you have ever seen:

watching and listening to the locals:

finding art:
hanging from gates at Buckingham palace:
walking where the Beatles once were:

admiring school children:
running through platforms:
picnicking in the park (with ellie and pigions):
happening upon naked bicycle riders (except thank goodness these ones are clothed):
visiting speakers corner for the hustle and bustle of religious argument:
shopping the market of Portobello while
listening to supporting local mucisians:

admiring the incredible houses:

and the cars:

meandering over and under bridges,
and taking pictures to remember everything that I love.

Not pictured is the tour of old London learning of the unknown man referred to as Jack the Ripper and his gruesome murders. and all of the eclectic European shops you won’t find in America.

14 June 2008

you can't paint an elephant quite as good as she.

When I say it feels good, I mean it feels GREAT to be complete. Although I have loved every moment of the first adventure, I am satisfied with the travels and look forward to relaxation. Not that I expect my schooling, language courses, and internship in Siena to be a breeze. A schedule will be a change and I look forward to moving out of a suitcase. Traveling to new cities at an average of every three days has been an exciting new experience as well as a tiring one. Somehow a group of twenty-three girls made it through the escapade without anyone being torn.
With everyone gone there separate ways it is a bit of a relief to breathe. I love females, but anyone can imagine what forty-five days and twenty-two other girls can do to a person. It has been a learning experience among learning experiences. They say you learn something new everyday; it would be impossible to count with the two hands I have the knowledge I received from other girls, PJ, cultures, religion and art. To give up the trip would be to surrender half of my brain, I just could not do that.
Here is the man that filled every crevice of that brain with his infinite knowledge of art. He could teach you a thing or two, and then some.

11 June 2008

i was a postcard.

Train Underwater - Bright Eyes

The final days are fast approaching. Thursday, Friday and Saturday are all that remain with the arties. It excites me to say I will finally be free! I love the girls, but I am in need of a break from the female gender.

A final hurrah in Paris was spent in a park having a picnic with five other arties. Molly, Natalie, Jackie, Christine, and Liz. Bedtime came early to prepare for our six am wake-up and the train under water. Traveling faster than one hundred miles per hour I went from Paris to London in less than three hours. I have awaited this final city for quite some time. If only I had cuter clothes to blend in with the locals. I have never seen so many attractive and stylish people in my life.

The first day in London was grand. A visit to Temple Church, attempted visit to Westminster Abbey, and St. Paul’s Cathedral. We spend time wandering around Kensington off the underground station of Earl’s Court. Retired to bed and woke for a run through Holland Park. The group took a gander at the British Museum after which Molly and I visited the esteemed Harrod’s department store. Oh what you could do with endless amounts of money. Despite not purchasing anything, I enjoyed wandering through the various areas. Two favorites of mine were the Food Halls and Toy Land. The food halls were mouthwateringly pricey and the toy paradise was paradise. I fell in love with plenty of goodies, which proves I am about ready to buy presents for kids (I suppose Darien is first up?). In the event that I do get married and have children, I have decided that I will move to the east coast for some time so that I can have a lifestyle closer to that of the Brits. I found my navy blue carriage/pram, the cutest Burberry, Dior and Armani clothing items (I can dream…), and the most fantastic baby shoes anyone has ever seen. I will wear the brown potato sack so I can dress my kids in cute clothes, but it will not be the previously mentioned brands unless nana and pops purchase them.

I do anticipate every moment spent in London. Of course every place I visit will make me fall in love all over again.

10 June 2008

i'm all lost in the supermarket.

From Greece to Italy to Spain to France to the United Kingdom. I have seen much of Europe and the art history tour is coming to a close. Update coming soon!
Have I ever mentioned how much I love London?

08 June 2008

you should know, the cow has a name. Eleanor is what I like to call her. I love her. She is my friend. Ellie climbed the stairs of the ET as well. That view.

07 June 2008

with her hands behind her back.

A great day among the good ones. King Henrey the Fourteenth decided one day to transform his weekend hunting lodge into an elaborately decorated palace. I was so fortunate to visit. The palace may have been pleasing to the eye, but the gardens ‘out back’ were magnificent. Gardeners were pruning the bushes while tourists ventured about. Mary Antoinette’s village, which I was unable to visit, seems to be hidden in the most luscious green trees. It may take an hour to get to the other end of ‘la petit jardin’ but it would be an adventure in solitude. If only I could get past the gates.

The rest of the day I had planned to take it easy, which is exactly what I did. I saw some of the most interesting things while I was at it. After a quick nap I headed to find myself internet access for free. Of course McDonalds are notorious for providing that service so I went to the one I knew of, no luck. Happened upon two others, still not working. The search ended at a park where I noticed free wifi two days previous. Paris public services are on top of their game.

What I thought would be a private bench quickly became a not so private. Five minutes into checking e-mail two older women, who attempted to speak French to me (of which I understood nothing), joined me. While they caught up on eachother I continued to update, post, and reply to e-mails. It was not but thirty minutes in when I noticed a group of young men gathering around my bench. Little did I know they were trying to get my attention for quite a while. I was in the zone with music and photographs. Finally one tapped me.

(speaking something in French)
I don’t speak French, sorry.
E-mail? E-mail?
Um, yes?

And then there were five. Attempting to communicate something while I just looked confused and worried they were going to steal my computer. Finally I opened my email and one reached over my shoulder and began to type his blog address. Youyou’s Fashion blog.

You like?
Um, sure.
Das me!
Oh, okay.

A friend asked me to marry this yousef.

No, thank you.
Too young.
Oh no, no, no, no.

They watched as I filtered through the site, all the while I was waiting for them to leave. Not because I did not want to talk to anyone, but because I felt confused and awkward. The group seemed to filter away leaving yousef and the friend who offered marriage to Youyou. Upon their decision to leave I was presented with a hand, which I shook. For a second I could breath without crazy French boys in my face, then Yousef returned. He grabbed my hand as if to shake it, I responded and shook his hand. Next thing I know he is down on one knee kissing the top. (If it were Bret Steele kissing my hand, like he had at the winter wonderland dance, I would have enjoyed it more.) I guess I made some knew friends. Not to mention had a second marriage proposal.

After the women and young men departed, I had a visit from a rather unusual man. He kept asking if I had internet and replied with a glance and nod. He decided it would be a fun game to take a puff of his cig and blow it in my general direction, tap his lips together, and go for it again. Leaning as far away as possible and not responding while he spoke was not enough. I shut my computer, zipped my bag and began to stand when he mumbled something and walked away. I do not care to know what my face looked like while I sat there repulsed. Maybe he thought I was rude, I did not know how to better handle the situation.
All ends well. I finished up my allotted minutes of free internet access. Walked around the park and shopping areas. Found the nearest metropolitan station. Transferred lines twice eventually making it to train that would being be back to Issy.

Usually from the trains exit one would board a tram to get to the hotel, I chose to walk to short distance. The street was fairly empty, but I knew my way around. The local soccer club was playing a scrimmage, I sat for fifteen minutes. Then back-tracking to the children’s playground, I reminisced about my days as a child.
The day ended well. Plenty of wandering and contemplating.

what i recall - part dos.

My time in Madrid was a bitter sweet. Here are images of what I saw. Being so close to my sister, and not being able to see her is difficult. Spain is a fantastic country, to say the least.

Spain colors flying high and proud.

Spanish billboards.

A MARIACHI BAND IN SPAIN. (we are always so close to mexico.)

a visit to the temple, with alyse.

a museum in madrid, spain.

06 June 2008

what i recall.

te amo. (venice, italy)

across the river. (venice, italy)

bonded with this here pup while the other girls shopped. (venice, italy)

i want to ride my bi-cycle. (ravenna, italy)

about to take the crazy train. (ravenna, italy)

come again some other day. (florence, italy)

after a sunset comes the night. (florence, italy)

private gate access to you house. (florence, italy)

a sunset over the river. (florence, italy)

the good ol' dirty. (athens, greece)

zi eif-fel tow-eir uh huh huh.

Six hundred and sixty eight stairs later I made it to the middle of the Eiffel Tower (huh huh). I spared myself four euros and enjoyed the sight from floor two rather then the tippy-top. I think I got the gist of Paris. What a sight! Did you know that there was a smaller version of the statue of liberty on the Seine? Well there is, it made me think if America, my family, my friends, my bike, HOME. Five and a half weeks over, still ten more till I return to the United States. Good thing I still love this continent we call Europe.

What is left besides a few churches, museums, and a train underwater? My favorite city, that of London. Finally I will be able to understand the language, and maybe can learn a few catchy phrases while I am at it. “You look well nice." Oh what I would give to have children with English accents.

I will most definitely have more to report when I reach the city where they drive on the wrong side of the road.

04 June 2008

happy day.

Today the most influential man in my life was born. Happy birthday to my dear Dad!
The arties have now entered the fabulous country of France. It seems to happen so quickly, one second I was in Sky Harbor International Airport and now I sit on a loft bed in Issy, France. We are in a suburb of Paris and take the train into the city every day. What an experience. Sadly, after two days in this appealing city I have yet to visit the Eiffel Tower. Shocking I know, but we plan to get to the top to see the city at night. As a matter of fact we will be celebrating our new friend Natalie’s birthday (5 June) on top of the Eiffel Tower (I will be celebrating my half birthday this day too, I can not believe that I am twenty and a half, wow).
I am falling in love with Paris, as well. I suppose touring Europe for the rest of my life and peddling flowers from my bike basket will not be such a bad idea. Once I get the Italian language mastered, which should be getting there by the end of this year, I plan to study Spanish and French. Although I know absolutely nothing about the language here, I am smitten by the beauty. One day…
What have I seen here?
1. The home of Quasimodo.
2. Esmeralda’s ancestors.
3. DaVinci’s Mona Lisa (which is smaller than one would expect).
4. The residential suburb of Issy (children, apartments, art studios, bread shops).
5. Sainte Chapelle (ineffable).
6. Sainte Denis.
7. Numerous boutiques (too expensive for my own good, but have taken plenty of ideas for future craft projects).
8. The Seine (the river).
The final days in Madrid were fantastic. Plenty of sight seeing and adventuring. The rest of Paris will be brilliant. London will be incredible. Then back to Italy for two months!