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.