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.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Hi Everyone!
So I realized it had been a long time since I posted a blog, so here we go!
Lots of things have been going on, and as all of you probably know by now my hair is something crazy. I had a special opportunity to get my hair cut and colored for free by an italian stylist for a hair show in Arezzo. However, I had no choice in either cut or color. So long story short I ended up with an orange faux hawk. Not going to lie, I'm loving it and having fun, but I'm thinking I may cut it to a more managable state before I leave, and maybe get it back to a blonde. My only problem with the hair is that I dont really have any clothes that go with it..... hahahaha dont worry Mom, I'm not going to go buy a whole new wardrobe!
I have realized its been getting harder to keep journaling as life goes on here. You get in a groove. Thats why I love sundays because I can sit, relax, enjoy a cappuccino in the sunshine, and get some studying done. Its really wonderful to go through Cortona and grab a slice of pizza and maybe some gelato.
This week is going to be a busy one. We have a midterm exam in art history and I have some painting stuff that I need to work on. I'm doing some intense color exercises which are little paintings, but I'm excited about studying color more in depth and then incorporating it into my portraiture near the end of the semester. My teacher does almost all figure paintings, so I'm looking forward to painting portraits again.
Book making is a ton of fun, and I'm trying to make as many as I can while I have access to the materials and the equipment. We will have an opportunity to bind books in leather soon, so I'm super pumped about that. I'm thinking about making a big leather bound book for my final project.... maybe do some research in leather tooling.... who knows!
My Italian is getting a whole lot better passively. I can ask for most daily things like wine and coffee, or a slice of pizza. I can understand a whole lot more than I used to. I feel a little more ingrained in the culture, even if I look like a foreigner I feel comfortable in Cortona walking around.
I want to give a shout out to my parents and the Connors who are celebrating Mardi Gras in Mobile, and say that I miss them!! Eat a Moon Pie for me!
Ciao ya'll 

Thursday, February 24, 2011


So you know when you were younger and you would have a growth spurt and it always hurt your knees? Yeah its not that I’m growing physically (However an extra inch or two wouldn't hurt) It's the emotional changes and changes that I cant really verbalize that are the things I’m experiencing at this point. I guess I came to this conclusion through our critique today.
Its funny how having such a slower pace to life will make you examine things or realize things. I cant really say or express what exactly is changing, but I know that they are for the better. I’m excited to see what I’m like when I get back to the states.
I know that my art is going to be different when I come home. I think on one hand I am becoming more solidified in the things I like to do artistically, and also forcing myself to focus on things in my artistic career that I am weak at. This semester I am forcing myself to focus on color in my paintings and hopefully by the end of the semester will have a good start to where I want to end up artistically.
Looking ahead at the obstacles and challenges I will be faced with is intimidating. And I know this is going to sound dumb and corny, but I really do think that this slower pace to life is letting my true colors show. I can focus on my own passions and things that I have a deep true love for I will draw to by myself without the prompt of an assignment or a friendly suggestion by a friend or family member.
 I haven’t wanted my violin or some sort of instrument in my hands as much as I have for the past few weeks in a long time. The best news so far is that there is a GIRL here MY AGE who plays OLD TIME AND BLUEGRASS!!!! I’m itching to get an instrument in my hands so we can play around together. She goes to UGA so hopefully we can play together back at school!
As far as my fish painting goes, the crit went well and my teacher really liked it, however I think I bit off a bit more than I could chew as far as color goes. (Too many different colors at once that have to work harmoniously together) So I am going to make my works a little more simple for the next few pieces. I’m hoping to culminate at the end of the semester with color and portraits. Hopefully the product is good! Maybe I’ll be able to come back to fish to practice with color again once I get stronger with mixing and color theory. I still really like the brookie painting, but maybe I can get a better product later in the semester once Ive had a little more time.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Mass

So today I went on my own personal adventure and went to Mass! It was really exciting because I went to Cortona's Duomo. Its pretty amazing that this church butts up to the city walls and looks over into the valley where there is a huuuuge burial complex at the bottom. Like. Italy's graveyards are really fancy.
Anyway the mass I went to was really sweet, because there were a bunch of kids singing all of the songs, and there were plenty of guitars and even a great flute player. Its amazing how they want to get kids involved. There were like 6 altar servers! (5 of which were children. I think the adult was the master of ceremonies or something to the effect.) There were two kids sitting on the front pew who both had guitars and were 'playing along' to the music. Mostly strumming the same couple chords over and over, but it was cute to see going up to get communion.
I sat next to this wonderful old lady who, I must say, was very fashionable. She had glasses that had rhinestones in the frames, and a long black fur lined jacket.
I'm going to go on a tangent here and just say that the Italians are OBSESSED with fur jackets. Like you either have a fur jacket, or you have one of those shiny ugly bright puffy jackets. Ok back to the old lady.
She also wore GOLD TENNIS SHOES! This lady is after my own heart. It was wonderful knowing that the Italians still hold hands during the Our Father. Part of me really wants to learn how to say these prayers in Italian, because I can't even get the words out in English because I don't know where they are in the prayer! Oh well.
Pisa and Lucca were so beautiful yesterday! I wish I could post pictures here, but it takes forever. If you are my friend on facebook you can totally see them.
In Lucca I even got to express my inner nerd and go to a Comic book Museum!!! it was really wonderful to see the original drawings from these books. I think I made my brother jealous, because one of the doors is fashioned to look like the Stargate. It was wonderful. They even gave us free comic books in english! I got Wolverine and Deadpool. It was awesome. hahaha
I finally got my fix for Gelatto! The gelatteria in Cortona is closed until springtime, so we are all anxiously waiting the opening of that.
Speaking of eating.... I'm eating all the time. I think I'm going to be going back on P-90X when I get back home.... I don't think Ive gained any weight yet, but if I keep noshing down Milka at the rate I'm going I will be the size of a house. And as far as the status on the Milka eggs.... still nowhere to be seen.
I think Sundays here are my favorite. Its amazing walking around and seeing all of the Italians just out and enjoying each others company. 
Well I'm going to hopefully get some reading done this afternoon. I'm on Skype if you want to chat!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cortona in Love

The past few days have been great for me. I think I'm slowly getting accustomed to daily life in an Italian city. Our schedules for class are very calm. My earliest class is at 11 am, and for most of the week I have one class a day. It gives you time to not only complete assignments, but enjoy life as well. You can take the time to take a nap in the sun or walk around Cortona shopping for something silly like chocolate or just people watch.

I think I am slowly getting over this sickness. I'm just coughing now so that is a plus.
I made my first book today. It was really cool knowing that you made something useful and others can enjoy it as well. I'm thinking I may continue book making even after I go home from Italy. It just seems like a useful skill to have I think. This time we just made a small four page book, but we are moving up to larger and harder books to construct soon.
In painting class we are doing still lives, and during the lecture I was totally dreading what I was going to paint. Then I decided since I wanted to paint fish before I came to Italy I may as well try it! So I found a few cool pictures of a Brooke trout I think it is? Anyway I hope that it ends up being a cool painting. It will be a challenge creating all of those colors!
The one class I am worried about is the Caravaggio art history class. I keep falling asleep when I try to read!! some of the readings are more difficult then others, and I get annoyed when you have to sit and read a paragraph twice in order to understand somewhat about what is going on.... kinda like that High School Chemistry book.... at any rate I think it will be nice having discussions though.

Valentines day here was adorable. It was probably the best I have ever had despite the fact we really didn't do anything. The nicest thing was when my roommate and I went to a lounge and just had a nice drink in a quiet area. Some of the other students went out to a place called "The Lions Well" Which is an english speaking bar that hosts not only the UGA students but the canadian students nearby......
Yes... there are Canadians here too... boo. I don't really see them so part of me thinks that it is a myth. :D  I got yummy chocolate to treat myself on Valentine's day, and did get to exchange an email with the boy so things are good.
I did laundry for the first time today! (gross I know) But it was a great experince. Putting your clothes out on a line outside like that. Surrounded by olive trees, and old stone walls. I'm glad I did my laundry today. Apparently it is supposed to rain and be nasty for the next few days. I'm hoping it isnt too bad.
I can't believe we have only been here a week. It feels like much longer for some reason.
I think one of the things I miss most from home is the food. Yeah everything here is super fresh and delicious, but at the same time its hard not to crave one of those big greasy cheeseburgers, or a taco of all things! Mexican food doesn't exist here. I NEVER though I would be the one to be craving Mexican food. I'm surprised at how much I am clinging to American food. Like I love eating peanut butter here, and getting a bag of chips or something. And chocolate... I have been eating a lot of German chocolate.... not healthy huh? But the other food that is all natural has been great for my skin! Totally don't have any of those yucky bumps on my arms anymore! Or at least nowhere near as bad. I also miss German food. I have no Idea if I am going to make it up to see friends in Germany, but Im 90% sure I wouldn't want to leave Germany. hahaha
I miss everyone and think of ya'll often. Write to me! I would love to get mail from home! or even email me if you want! I know the Addresses are on the Cortona Studies abroad website through the Art school. ( I tried getting them but the internet is super slow here)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Struggling a bit

So we are now in Cortona. Its a beautiful place! I'm glad that we are living here out of the two places we have been before. It is such a calm place.
However I am having kind of a hard time ajusting. I'm still getting over this cough, and Its hard because I don't feel like me at the moment. I am trying to catch up on sleep, but at the same time catch up on my health. So, I'm having a hard time figuring out what I should do what I shouldn't do with the group. I'm trying to keep up with everyone.
Its also hard because I wasn't prepared to make my own food on Sundays and Saturdays. I mean knew this was going to happen, but its just difficult because once I'm out in the market I become a deer in headlights and get lost. Luckily I was with my roommate and she had things figured out. Maybe tomorrow I can go down to the market again and get some Cheerios or something. The Grocery store has a few American things there which is a comfort. I want to eventually branch out and try some more Italian foods, but at the same time I just want to eat right now. Haha
People are going to the circus tonight down the hill, but I think I may stay back. I am so tired of being sick, and I think my outlook on life will improve with my health.
I'm just a little homesick right now I think :/

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


So, the past few days we have been in Florence, and it is a wonderful city!.... or at least I think it is.... I can't really say because I was inside so much. I started feeling sick the day we got to Florence, and it just kind of escalated as the day went on. At its worst I had a fever and had/still have a nasty cough. I was able to get out and see the Duomo, Michelangelo's David, and get my art supplies for Cortona. After that, no I was in the room asleep. Great way to spend the trip huh?
Well there is some good news because Florence is only like an hour train ride away from Cortona, so I can make a trip of it one weekend or something.
Anyway we made it to Cortona this afternoon and I have to say it is my favorite city we have been in yet. I could totally live here! (well... I am for the next 2 1/2 months but that doesnt really count does it?)
I went to the doctor this afternoon and found out that I have some fluid in my upper lungs, so he prescribed some antibiotics and anti-inflammatory stuff. However I was told that Italians would normally stay home for a week until they feel better, and that is totally normal for the culture. I kind of wish I could do that, but I totally have classes on Monday. I'm hoping I can do some resting for the rest of this weekend.
The Doctor was great, but the office was so different than I was used to. You walk into a small room where everyone is waiting, but you just kind of wait your turn untill you are let into a small room that is cramped with the doctor's desk, supplies, and a patient table. It didnt look like the sterile situations I am used to back home!!!
I know this one is short, but I'm looking forward to getting better and posting more.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


So the past few days I have been without Internet, so I haven’t been able to start blogging about my adventures, which there have been many already. It has been a wonderful return trip to Rome, and it feels more and more easy to walk around and exist in the city as time goes on. However, this trip has felt much different than the one before when I was in HSP. My perspective on Rome this trip is all about the art, when last time was all about the religious exploration and growth. Both experiences have had different results, but you cant come to this city and not change in some way.  I got to see my first Caravaggio this week, and I seriously wanted to cry. His paintings are absolutely stunning and pushed the boundaries for its time. Even today I can't say I have seen anything like it. Its wonderful to look at his work and see how he breaks all of the conventional rules we are taught in our own painting classes. No fair. When can I do that?! I guess I have to get my skills on par before I can do that…. Which seems unlikely because Caravaggio is pretty much a god in the art world. Hahaha  I am seeing things in art all around me that I want to try, and I’m getting excited about starting classes once we get to Cortona.  So, there is this church in Rome that has a strange tradition. The monks that reside there use their own bones to decorate the entire crypt of their church. Should be cool right? NOT!! TOTALLY GROSS!!! Ok, when you have to have air fresheners in the wall to keep the stench of decaying bodies at bay…. There is a problem. Seriously there were full bodies, that were at a skeleton phase so they weren’t that gross, but there were some that still had skin on them…. STILL HAD SKIN ON THEM?! As most of you know I have an irrational fear of zombies, and I saw my fears suddenly coming to fruition when I saw this tiny little hooded figure with skin dangling off of an old crusty skull…. Ok maybe I am dramatizing this a bit, but it was still terrifying. On to nicer things… I haven’t really been keeping with the group. My friends and I have been exploring Rome on our own finding sites and art that we haven’t been had time to see as a group. Its incredible.  One of the best experiences I’ve had so far was a lunch I had with a new friend of mine. We were sitting in this little restaurant and ask the man beside us when we are finished eating how to get to that nasty monk church. Turns out he is visiting from Vienna, and we have a long conversation about places to stay in Naples and about our program in Cortona. Its been wonderful meeting locals.  Ive noticed if I try and speak some Italian, and ask questions about the language, the locals are SO much more helpful and happy people. Its been interesting learning about how Italians live, and their demeanor with other people is so foreign at times I have a hard time adjusting.  A couple things I am struggling with is the level of harassment you get as a foreigner. You get harassed by gypsies, by people wanting you to eat at their restaurant, by people who dislike Americans, by people who like blondes… Ugh its getting old. I hope things change a little as we go to smaller cities.  I think I have been getting over a case of Culture Shock, and I’m hoping to get through it soon. The past few days have been much easier, and I find myself more relaxed around the city with just one other friend.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Hi Everyone!
Things are getting underway for my trip to Italy this semester! Slowly, I'm getting things accumulated for the trip. I want to give a big thank you to all those who have given me well wishes, fun little gadgets, and advice for my travels. I'm sure all of it will be used and I will be thinking of all of you while I'm gone!

 Winter break has gone by nonstop, and it doesn't look like it will be slowing down anytime soon. I enjoyed a wonderful trip with my family to Cumberland Island and celebrated my 21st birthday and my parents 25th anniversary on the island. Needless to say it was a beautiful retreat for the few days we were there.
Once we stepped off the ferry back on mainland my parents took me to the Jacksonville Airport and flew up to Pittsburgh to visit the boy and his family. We spent new years in Ohio at the MGM Casino with about seven of his friends from school. Needless to say it was incredible and we had a blast.  In fact I learned a few new dance moves courtesy of the event. Yes, its true, sadly I learned the ins and outs of fist pumping... despite my resistance to it. :)

I hope to be around Athens for a few days in the future so I can say my goodbyes and celebrate with friends. I am also looking forward to a very special wedding at the end of the month. Things are slowly coming together and I hope I can keep posting new updates as things come along! .... If i take awhile don't be shy and send a message. I'll do my best to update!

Love Ya'll!