Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hideous blisters, and How to Get Them

First of all, I would like to say that I am typically very cautious about what kind of footwear I put on in the morning and how it will affect the rest of my day.  That being said, I (falsely) assumed that having orientation activities (and by that I mean the activity of sitting) all day, my choice of foot wear would not be nearly as important as what was supposed to be communicated during these lectures. So that was a dud of a plan. John Cabot University is divided into two separate campuses-the Tiber (about 15 minute walk from our apartment) and the Guarini (another ten minutes after that one--25ish total).  The first activity of the day had to be to find some coffee/breakfast, but mostly coffee. So on our way to the Guarini campus, we stopped at this little coffee/pastry shop and each had a croissant and a macchiato.  Now for those of you who know my coffee preferences, I like my coffee black. No cream, no sugar, no nonsense. This 'coffee' was not that. It was all nonsense. Now if you like steamed milk, this is the drink for you. This isn't to say that it wasn't good-because it was.  It's just now my style.  Tomorrow, I'm up to expresso. No more of these shenanigans. And the croissants were d-e-licious. In fact, Kate asked me to pinch her.  Not wanting to be a bad friend-I did.

Let the orientation activities begin! And by this point I firmly believe that if I had had an expresso, I would have found these to be interesting and enlightening.  But, alas, no. We've all been there. That speaker who just kind of went through the motions, the non-interesting, the non-excited version? So all enjoyment was derived from the incredibly corny pictures that appeared on almost every slide. We're talking the kind that makes you mildly uncomfortable, but laugh for a good long while instead of sacrificing your mental capacity to the watch-the-paint-dry-speaker. TWO HOURS LATER-I'm drooling onto my shirt because that's more fun, and I'm beginning to notice the blisters forming on the backs of my heels-turns out steamed milk doesn't help that either.  So I use the nifty new JCU lanyard to mop up the drool, and move on because there's nothing to do about the shoes or the blisters now. We move on to take the pictures for our IDs, fill out some paper work which involved something about a sport's team.  It wasn't exactly a universal form, but everyone filled it out none the less.

After that we knew that we had to be at the Tiber campus for some more sparkling adventures with orientation. But that wasn't until 3 (or 15:00 if you're using the clock on my cell phone), so Erica, Molly, Kate and I all went out to lunch at this delightful little place that was tucked back in some of the itty-bitty streets between campuses. Everyone got something different.  Personally, the lasagna I had was divine. All melty cheese and just good feelings all over.  We laughed and talked and eventually headed back toward the Tiber campus. Side note- the Tiber campus is so named because it is on the street that runs along next to the Tiber River. Fun facts for the day. Go over there, drool some more... kind of... the US Embassy representative had a presentation that was decent. Props to him for making that kind of stuff sound easy, and light. Also, Rick Steve's son (Andy) was there.  So that was fun? Unfortunately, he was only handing out discounts and not his number...  Alas. But we survived it, with maybe only a few cellphone game-Snake Masters to prove it. More paperwork, followed by Kate and I heading back to the apartment. We found Erica there, with her feet propped up on the dashing blue trunk.

At that point, I was nearly limping because of these blasted blisters. For those of you with light stomachs, skip this part. My right foot was definitely bleeding from this all day excursion. A little Girl Scout first aid involved washing both heels off with soap and water=stingzilla. Got that done, ointment (to parry off of Michelle's blog, let's focus on the 'oi' sound of that word for a moment. Oi? Oy. Oy-vey.) bandaids, and tennis shoes for the rest of the day.

Once everyone was home from their extravagant paperwork spree, we decided that we needed some of the necessities: Toilet paper, dish soap, food.  These are things that one finds useful in an apartment. Granted, we do have a bidet (fondly called Buddah, no offense intened-just a slip of the tongue by one of my darling roomies, and it stuck), but we 'Murican gurls just haven't master that cultural experience. So off we went to find a grocery store!

Most people would refer to this place as a "maze". It just keeps winding back farther and farther. And passing shopping carts? not really an option. The aisles are narrow, everything is compact-some of the shelves are even shorter. We decided to split all of the things that we thought we would use together-TP, paper towels, detergent etc-but get anything we wanted just for ourselves. It was a hectic experience considering all of our limited Italian skills and that almost everything was written in Italian.  Some things were familiar-some softeners, some labels with brand names, but most of this was done through experience and clever cognate association. None the less, we figured it out, got some grub, and hauled it home. And I do mean hauled. I guess I forgot to mention that the grocery store that we eventually found was between here and the Tiber campus, but was in a block or so-so that's about a 10ish minute walk. But on the way back we were hauling things like large bottles of detergent, and potatoes=heavy things. But we made it back without incident, and promptly put things in the fridge the HAD to go find dinner. Of course it was 8:30pm at that time, and we were starved. So we went back to the same place that Kate, Molly and I had dinner yesterday (I have a feeling that they'll be seeing a lot of us this semester) and just relaxed and ate for a while. I feel like it was well earned.

After being home, Kate and I facebook video called Sam, and got to see part of the team room!!  Huzzah! Seeing the beautiful faces of Sam, Hannah, Sonja, Shelby, and Mariecus was wonderful. Like a little taste of home even in the cobble stone streets here. Keep it up team! Work hard!

Anyway, we have a long day a head of us tomorrow with a walking tour and such.  But that's for tomorrow to talk about. Ciao!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Art a la apartment

Chuck Norris? Yup. Right be hind the door.

And across from Mr. Norris

In the dinning room

Next to the couch across from 'Americana'

Not hanging on the wall.. but Art none the less


next to 'Americana'

Paddle found in a cabinet-useful?

Kate working hard on the blog, 'mannequin' and Chinese Checkers.

In the kitchen by the door.

on the table in the kitchen across from the sink and the stove

Next to the window in the kitchen

Kitchen window

lovely yellow cabinets in kitchen

In hallway between bedrooms

Picture in the unused bedroom. Super effective. 

Molly and Erica's room

Molly and Erica's room

Between the beds in my room with Kate

Also in my room

And this one too

Check out the lamp! (random?)

A little deodorant goes a long way

So the furniture doesn’t match the door frames, the collection of prints should never be housed in the same room ever, and the woods that aren’t clashing brown and black-are painted some vibrant color.  It looks like home to me.
Adventures thus far: (in order of appearance)

            KCI airport doesn’t have very good people watching.  When delayed for an hour because of mechanical problems, you find the beauty even in this menial hobby. Bring on the rhinestone-d cowboys, and the middle age moms wearing polka-dotted socks with their flip flops.

            People watching in Charlotte-slightly better. Of course over the course of a 3 hour layover, almost everything is interesting.  Like the fact that it’s a lay over, but there’s no where to take a nap.
                        Sub point to that, a delightful young guy named Michael from Colorado had just returned from Italy while I was waiting in the terminal and he gave me some helpful tips. I’ll let you know how they all turn out, but most of the conversation revolved around this list of vocabulary words that he had found very helpful. Since they were his own notes, he offered them to me, and my lack of Italian-took them. So Michael from CO-if you’re reading this, thanks again!

            On the plane I had the pleasure of playing a rollicking round of musical chairs. Starting point: 28H. [Hum song of choice whilst this is going on] 28H-->28F-->29F STOP Rest….  Rest…. Take off…. Wait for it…. 29F-->29C. WINNER!!! (for those of you curious as to what I was humming while playing, it was definitely "Take On Me" by A-ha.) But alas, since the last move happened mid-flight, my backpack was above that seat and not the new one... Boo....  And all of this because I'm a nice person who would prefer that families sit together on flights that take up to 10 hours. Bonus point? Yes.  So after that I tried to sleep-not even noticing when the brother traded seats with his little sister.  But other than the typical severe back cramps, pretty good.   

           Off the plane and on to find dear Kate. Well not initially as planned-turns out that the baggage claim getting-to involves a train ride. At this point I'm just hoping that Kate did the same thing, and that we will meet each other over luggage.  And low and behold-the peas really do think a like. So after long-time-prease of waiting for baggage we wandered in the direction of what appeared to be an exit. Up the escalators (with only mild problems), down the "straight hallway", no not that one, the other one, keep going, keep going, keep going, down the elevators, through the sprinklers, Check in!  Then on to a bus that was obviously far too big for the streets (seriously... between the stall out and the near fatal incident with the bicyclist--danger Will Robinson).  THEN The apartment. 

            Now there are some things you should know about this apartment. 
1: Even with a key, the door is nearly impossible to open. (nearly is quantified as it's opened once without assistance from Molly's hero) (Notice that she is now Molly and not stbamM)
2: It comes with a Mannequin. 
           Beginning now, there is a contest as to who can come up with the best name for the mannequin. Do not let me down Bethany.
3: There ar art prints from the national gallery all over the place-they do not go together. (pictures of all the art to come)
4: The bathroom has a tiny shower with a loose shower head-ask Kate.
5: There's a Chinese Checker board. I plan on being an expert by the end of this semester.

Pictures to come, and I want all of you to suggest names for the mannequin. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Yellow Brick Road... sort of

"It's always best to start at the beginning--just follow the yellow brick road."
---Glinda the Good Witch of the North

In the morning (if you don't consider past midnight morning) I may not be following a yellow brick road, but I will be traveling over 5,000 miles from home to somewhere that has at least the reputation of the Emerald City. I just hope everything's in color. As the last movie to watch with the parentals before I leave, I requested (and this won't surprise most of you) The Wizard of Oz.  I'll tolerate the Toto jokes, and even the munchkin ones, I realize I'm not that tall. Anyway, Dorothy realizes by the end of the movie exactly what I've been thinking about all day-There's no place like home. And although I am excited to begin a new adventure with new people in a new place, I know that this open air and hay bales and unlined road part of the world will be waiting for me when I get back in 110 days.

To those of you at my other other home-GAC- I hope you have a daring and wonderful semester on that little hill. To the team-get to work. There are trophies to be won, and work week is how you get there. We shall skype in the team room soon. Upperclassmen-I love you all. Freshmen-keep it up, learn lots, work hard, and enjoy. Cadi and Kris- Good luck. And most of all, keep me updated.

I'm packed. It's late. It's going to be a long day (and then some). It may be a few days until I get internet up and running again, but I'll make sure to take copious (a big word for being so late) notes about how the person sitting next to me for the 9 hour and 15 minute plane ride smells.  Expect details.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Now for Just $19.95, Those Magical Air-Suck-Bag-Things!

Breaking news, there's stuff in the suitcase. And not just the usual feline friends that enjoy bag/boxes/straps/other things to play with (pulled Oreo out of the open suitcase today after he attempted to take a nap on my nicely folded blazer).  There is actual, honest to God, clothing and things that any normal person would bring to another country--like shoes too. And (this is the important part) it doesn't look that full!  Cross my heart and hope to die (not really, bad Irene). Now you're (Bethany's) thinking, "Wait, one suitcase? Kelsey? Alert the inter-webs!  Kelsey's blog has been up for 2 days and it's already been hacked!" Seriously!  I'll warn you, there is some kind of witchcraft involved.  Meet--better than freezer burn improved zip-lock bags. You put a bunch of (neatly) folded clothes in this wonder bag (not to be confuse with Wonder Bread, though it might work there too), zip it all shut, and roll the air out! Bada-bing, bada-boom=flat clothes.  I'm honestly super impressed. Close to 90% of what I plan wearing in Italy is already in the suitcase, and it only looks 2/3 full! All that's left is the face wash/shower stuff and a few little pieces of clothing. Who's winning this game? I'm winning this game.

All that being said, there is much talk of big-kahuna-mama Irene taunting the east coast.  Lucky for me, Charlotte is far enough inland that my plane shouldn't be completely rerouted/delayed. That being said, soon-to-be-apartment-mate Molly (hence forth referred to as stbamM--until Tuesday that is) will be flying out of Boston where Irene has decided that there's not enough water. So good luck stbamM! Buy a poncho and a raft as we previously discussed and they can double as a secondary paddle to Rome option!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Let the Games Begin

So here's to nothing. Considering that it is past midnight, and officially Saturday, there are 2 days until Kate and I will be en route to Rome where there are adventures waiting on the cobblestones. Thus, up goes the blog, and down goes my patience level. Whoopsiedoodles.  This blog has been created for those of you I couldn't pack in my suitcase.  To name a few and test this shout out theory: Bethany, Chloe, Cadi, my mother (who may very well pack herself when I'm not looking), and Hannah. Love to you all.

The status on packing is as described: There are an assortment of skirts, dresses, cardigans, and shirts hanging from the doors of my closet, the delightfully fluffy green pillows usually found on my bed have been relegated to my desk chair, and the floor and my bed are in equal amounts of piles and disarray. Yay for having to clean before sleeping!

But even with all of this "organized chaos" the reality of the entire moving-to-Italy-for-four-months thing is starting to sink in. I have no doubts that this is going to be the adventure of a lifetime. I have the pleasure of going with my co-conspirator: Kate.  And I'm sure that all of the people that I meet in Rome will be oodles of fun.  This time last year, I was packing my father's truck full of wonderful things to bring to the adventure of college.  This year, I'm packing one suitcase, one backpack, and one purse for another adventure around a different kind of St. Peter.