Wednesday, April 20, 2011


So, taking a break from studying Art History. Its kind of crazy how after today I will pretty much be done with all of my classes here.
I'm really happy with what I have learned and gained from this semester, and despite a few bumps I'm really happy with the growth Ive had with my paintings. I'm actually really sad I wont be able to have them for a year, but I made sure to get some pictures of them before they get packed up on a crate.
This semester has been one big growth spurt, and I think influences from Italy will continue to work into my pieces as time goes on. Its almost like I have been growing with Italy itself. We got here when it was still wintertime, and as we grew and gained knowledge, so Italy grew into spring. (Yeah cheesy analogy I know, but I think its true) Its so beautiful here now, and I'm going to miss how beautiful everything is. Not that home isnt beautiful its just different.
I'm also excited to keep making books. Its a skill that I'm surprised I like so much, but it is soothing having a task to just build something, and after its done it can be used by other people.
The way I think about my art has changed, and I have been thinking more about why I like something, or why I dislike something. Ive discovered I like having my art grounded in something physical, or scientific.  But I do have to say I love it when artists can take that skill and make it more gossamer or less literal.
  I feel a sense of growth because I can discuss the reasons I like or dislike art in a more educated way. As simple as that may sound its very encouraging, because I have struggled with my pride. I never gave certain art styles a chance. For instance, I had no idea what West Coast Abstraction looked like. We watched a movie called "The Cool School" and I kind of understood more what its about.

I feel like Ive made big steps this semester, and I'm excited to come home and see how this life experience influences me even more. The Director of the program said in his artist talk that we may not feel like we have been influenced now, but this is an experience that will effect your life in ways that you won't expect in the future. I think he is right.
I just know I have no regrets when I leave Cortona. I took every opportunity I could, and worked as hard as I could. I still managed to have a very good time, and am really happy with the friends I have made here.
I can't wait to come back with family. I'm so excited to show them this place.
Va Bene!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Rome take 2 and Siena

So this week has been really busy.
Thursday our painting class took a trip to Rome for the day and got to see the national modern art museum, and a visit a couple studios of artists working in Rome.
The best part about the trip is the end. You would think having over an hour to get to the other side of Rome would be good right? Not... We literally ended up running to the train station. Across streets, through traffic, and restaurants. Pretty much the highlight of my trip! We were laughing the whole way... until we were legitimately sprinting down to the train.
Yesterday we went to Siena which was very beautiful. The Duomo was probably one of my favorite churches this far. It is built out of black and white marble that is laid in stripes. Part of the creation story of Siena has to do with Rome. Romulus and Remus created Rome, but one of the brothers actually had twin sons as well, who went on to found Siena. It was said that they rode into where current day Siena is on a white horse and a black horse. Which is why the duomo is black and white. Oh yeah I saw St. Catherine of Siena.... well... part of her... her head actually.... which was... um... strange...
After having minor freak outs last night with finishing everything that is due within the next week, I realized I really don't have too much left, and I can relax a little bit. This morning we went into town and saw the classic car races! It was really awesome to see all of these nice old european cars. There was one Dodge Challenger there though! However.... by the end of the race it was smoking pretty bad.... oops...
At this point I really only have an exam, a painting, and a few scribbles in a book left. I'm looking forward to the last few days in Cortona where we can relax and enjoy the city before Venice.
Its sad knowing we only have one full week left, and we all know how fast that is going to go. I guess right now I'm kind of enjoying the calm before the storm of things that are going to happen this week.

I got to see a camp friend this week! Taylor Rebecca actually came to Cortona to visit her roommate who happens to be studying here with me! IT was awesome talking about camp things, and randomly singing songs while in Rome.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

An End in Sight

So, as bittersweet as it is, we only have two weeks left in this wonderful town. The last week we will be in Venice. (I'm so excited about Venice) Its crazy though, because at the end of this week I need to have two paintings finished, my paper written, and oh probably have that book done. At any rate I have all week to work on things so I'm not too stressed.... yet.
Everything is green now. The trees just sprouted new leaves, and they are that bright beautiful green. Its so hard because the only thing I want to do is sit in a bar/cafe and people watch. Now that all the tourists are here its a completly different city!!! When we got here there was basically a few locals toddling around but now its packed with people.... (lots of middle aged single american women. *cough*underthetuscansun*cough*) Not that I have anything against them, but you can tell because they keep talking about it. Lots of Italians visiting too with their families. Its kind of amazing how tourists bring a town to life. The locals have also become increasingly more surprised the more Italian we speak. Its not like we are saying anything different, its just everyone else won't speak Italian who comes. The waiter at the Trattoria we went to got really excited when I used the phrase 'anchio' correctly in a conversation. It was pretty funny.
Also, they don't believe in sunscreen here, and/or they dont like people who HAVE To wear sunscreen.... The higher the grade of sunscreen you want the more expensive it gets! HOW LAME IS THAT?! so, I got the spf 10 and it was still 11 Euro. Bright side is, I may actually have some sort of a tan when I get back.... not saying it will be a pretty one... but I may not be glow in the dark anymore.
I registered for classes, and I'm hoping to graduate Summer 2012, so I will only be a super senior for the summer! I'm going to be very busy the next year but I think that will be good. The more off time I have the more distracted I get and the more I procrastinate.... hahahaha.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Got Georgia on my Mind

I know it has been awhile since I posted a blog, but here we go.
Today we went to Arezzo for our trip. I really had a lot of fun. It was only a 30 minute bus ride, and the weather was perfect.
It was nice because I was able to find a few things that I could wear for spring. For some reason I forgot that aspect when I was packing. haha oops.
There was a cool antique fair going on all day. There was some cool stuff, and got a pair of sunglasses..... I forgot a pair.... again... a packing fail on my part.
We went and ate Chinese today, which was surprisingly cheap and tasty. Maybe its because its been two months since Ive had anything resembling Chinese food.
It was cool walking through a home decoration store... kind of like Pier one  except a million times better. I know what I want my house to look like...... whenever that happens... oh well. lol My house will be awesome. That is one thing I like about Italians. They may live in a tiny apartment, but that apartment will be that person's palace, and will be beautiful. Kinda like the way they dress. Its rare form to see a frumpy Italian.
I also had a realization on the bus. I realized I love it here, and I love the people (most of the time lol), but there isnt really a place to belong. Its like being in a constant state of being a tourist. Especially in such a touristy town like Cortona. I mean theres no way for people to know that you are living there and studying. So, you get treated just like all the annoying tourists toddling around Cortona in a half dazed confusion.  boo. Thats why its nice to be known by a shop clerk, or a barista at a local Cafe.  I mean it was encouraging because people were speaking to me in Italian today, so I must be looking more European. hahaha.
I'm surprised at how much the weather is lifting my spirits. It was the first day that I was comfortable in a short sleeve T-shirt.  I mean I was in a good mood already, but good company, good food, AND good weather?! awesome.
Life is Good :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Assisi and Perugia

So Yesterday was a fun trip. We went to Assisi and Perugia.
I was so excited to be able to have that religious interaction in Assisi that I have been missing in the trip. It was very relaxing.
Assisi is my favorite city in Italy, and I have decided that if I lived in Italy that I would much rather live in the Umbria area than anywhere else I've been. It still is Etruscan towns, but the structures of the towns are different. Things are a little bigger, and spread out. It's a little more comforting and like home. I think it is a nicer area, because the homes are larger. However, once you get to Perugia, which is still in Umbria, there are apartment complexes as far as the eye can see!!
At any rate, the area in and around Assisi is beautiful.
Last night some good friends invited me to go to the Cowboy restaurant! It was so weird. Its down the hill outside of town, and had the best Italian food. (weird huh?) We sat and talked for three hours and enjoyed ourselves, and the Johnny Cash music.
This morning after walking around town and getting some groceries, we all sat out and had lunch on the lawn out in front of the Educational building next door. We made daisy chains and wore them in our hair like we were kids, and had some serious conversations about the war, and all of that. A rather interesting and funny situation if you ask me.
We talked about how sometimes we forget where we are. Even if you go into town every day. Its becoming a part of our daily life so it isn't foreign to us anymore.
At this point the only thing I have left as far as being sick is a slight cough in the evenings.
I'm getting better, but sometimes I just need my alone time, and I try to get that through journaling and getting out of the Kehoe Center. (The building where we live)
I have been talking to Lukas, and I am hoping to get the trip to Germany finalized soon. I'm thinking I will be able to take a trip and Leave April 23rd in the evening on a train and arrive early morning in Munich on Easter Sunday. I would meet the family in Munich and spend the day with them. We would drive back to Augsberg and then on Monday return home. Its a short visit, but Its hard to manage more than that with both of our schedules. I am looking forward to getting out of Italy, and seeing the Shillings! I was very worried that I wouldn't be able to get to Germany, because it is one of my very favorite places. :)
 This week is going to be very busy, but I think it will be good. Our painting class may be taking a trip to Rome. I also have to start working on my Art History 8 page Caravaggio Paper. I will have to have that finished before I go to Deutchland. I think I will be writing about Caravaggio and Religion, and how they interact. I think that I may be pulling out a B in my Art History Renaissance class, but I found out that my teacher is a rather tough grader, so I am pleased with my grades.
We dont really have Art History this week anyway because she is in Canada teaching something. So, I'm hoping I can get some stuff done while she is gone.
I miss everyone! More updates soon!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Looking Up

So, this morning I woke up to a brilliant sunrise. Our home on the hill felt like it was floating in clouds. It reminded me of Miazaki's Movie "Castle in the sky".  Things are looking up.
I recently moved into a different room in order to give me and my old roommate a chance to recover from our illnesses..... we were thinking it was some form of strep. At any rate. Things got blown out of the water by miss-communications and he said she said crap. Things are cooling down, and I'm feeling myself relax. I'm hoping for even more friendships and good times.
I can't believe its already halfway over. That I have been in Italy for over a month and a half!! I'm getting a trip planned for myself, hopefully a friend too, to go see the Shillings in Augsberg Germany. It would be quite a  and really only last through the weekend, but at the same time I can't let myself come to Europe, be so close, and not go see them. To be honest when I first got to I missed German food and their lifestyle more than the American lifestyle. The bread in Germany is so good! And I was surprised and depressed to find out that it wasn't the same here in Italy.... the bread is rather tasteless.
I got to watch the NCAA basketball tourney opener yesterday at the Lion's Well in town! My friend and I skipped dinner, got pizza, and went and watched the games in the pub. It was amazing how when local's came in they started watching too and got somewhat invested in the game. My friend was satisfied with Kentucky winning, he goes there, and Louisville losing to another team. (Louisville is UK's big rival) UGA is playing at a time when I can't watch so I need someone to fill me in..... JENNY MOSS I CHOOSE YOU! ha I hope she reads this.
So, we saw the weirdest ballet in my life. It was of the play Giselle. Ok.... take classical music.... which makes sense its a ballet. Then add breakdancers..... yes.... breakdancers.... and then a prima ballerina. SO STRANGE. 
I have to go into town today and get some laundry detergent. I'm hoping the weather stay's fair so I can dry my clothes outside!
I got to talk to my Nana and Papa on skype yesterday! It was so nice to see their faces.
All I have left from my illness is my cough and even that is starting to go away.
Things are looking up.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sick.... again

So most people in my family can tell you that I don't really get sick. I have my once or twice a year cold and I'm done. So why is it that when I spend three months in Italy I spend half of it ill?
When you are the sick person in a group of 50 crammed onto busses, classrooms, and coffeeshops no one really wants to be around you. Now, I'm not saying that I have no friends here and I'm not whining that no one wants to hang out with me. Hell, I don't want to hang out with me if I'm this sick. But after a couple of days you get antsy and homesick. Don't get me wrong, I love it here and probably wont want to leave when the time is up, but its the comforts of home and people that truly love me that I miss. There isn't anyone here who has the same level of care that a family member or loved one has when you are sick. Its a strange experience for me. I miss the space to spread out and be sick in your room so you don't infect everyone around you. I have basically been hiding in my room for the past few days because I don't want to get everyone else here sick. And for the first time I had a teacher tell me not to go to class because I was feeling so bad. Weird.
I wont bore you with the gory details of my illness, but I'm excited about going to the doctor and getting some better medicines. Thankfully I had some good advice from Dave about vitamins. They seem to be helping a lot.
Thankfully the weather is starting to heat up, and soon I may not have to wear long underwear on windy days. Its neat watching the process of growing things here, and things starting to bloom. Maybe I'll notice things more when I get back home. Maybe its just because the agriculture is right in our back door.
So, this weekend we went to Orvietto. I'm just going to come out and say it. I was miserable. I shouldnt have gone because of how sick I was. At any rate. I was heavily medicated, and I did enjoy myself by stuffing my face with pain au chocolat, hot chocolate, pizza, a glass of wine, and gelatto. So I'm not saying I didnt enjoy myself. hahahaha
Here's hoping tomorrow goes better for me at the doctor's office, and a road to recovery.