Monday, October 29, 2012

Una Nuova Citta!

This weekend Christina, Jillian and I went to Lisbon, Portugal! It was so much fun and such a beautiful city! To me, Portuguese sounds like German.... but it's basically Spanish with extremely different pronunciations! We didn't get to spend as much time there as we would have liked to, but we can always go back, and it was just a last minute trip considering we bought the tickets on Thursday! Our plane left at 8:00 pm Friday, or it was supposed to, it was delayed 2 hours so we had to wait at the airport, and we didn't get to Lisbon until past midnight! So that was a little upsetting. After climbing a mountain of stairs from the metro, we went straight to our hostel (Old Town Hostel). It was so nice and very cute. Right after we put our stuff in our room that we shared with 5 other girls, we left to go out. The guy that worked at the front desk was just getting off work, so he took us to a bar to try a traditional Portuguese drink which was very nice of him. Then he introduced us to a lot of his friends and they showed us around that night to some a popular club called Jamaica. They had such a good musical selection. I was impressed. While there I met some sweet guys from Belgium and Scotland.We got back home VERY late. We only got 2 hours of sleep that night because we wanted to wake up early and see the city.

We got a complimentary breakfast of bread, cheese, butter (seriously the best butter I ever had), jam, cereal, coffee, juice and anything else we could find in the kitchen. Then we went on a walking tour of the city, where we were taken to a huge market at the end. It was super cool and had a lot of interesting objects to buy. After the tour was over, we went to find a restaurant for lunch and chose the worst place ever! We all hated our food. It was terrible, but at least our server was nice. We found a Starbucks on our way back to the hostel, so that gave us some more energy to get all the way back. There are so many hills in Lisbon! It was exhausting. Once we got back, we passed out for 2 more hours before we went to dinner at 8:30 which was made by the people who worked at our hostel. It was WAY better than our lunch. There were about 30 people at the dinner sitting around one big table, one small table and a couple of couches (which is where we sat). We met so many nice people at dinner! 2 Italians, a German, a Spaniard, a girl from California, a guy from Lisbon, and a Montenegrin. After dinner we were taken on a pub crawl sponsored by the hostel by a guy named Tiago... haha. He was awesome. There ended up being about 40 people on the pub crawl, and we met so many people!

We left the pub crawl early because we had to make it to our flight back that was leaving at 6:50 AM on Sunday.... terrible, but we figured we would sleep on the plane. Right after we got on the plane, all of us were out like a light. Haha. We arrived back in Torino at about 10:30. Christina and I ate lunch, and passed out super early (sorry I couldn't skype with you, mom and dad). It was a very exciting and eventful weekend. I definitely loved Portugal and hope to go back. I will stay in the same hostel because it was so cheap and nice!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Relaxing Sundays

Big news! Thursday, Christina and I booked tickets to go to London for Thanksgiving! We're going with a few others from USAC, and we all have a big dinner of Chipotle and Starbucks for our Thanksgiving dinner. It's going to be so much fun!
This weekend was a lot of fun. Nothing too crazy. Friday night, I went out with some friends to get some sushi. It was really good! After dinner we went to a hookah lounge, then to a place called Barz8 for some really fruity and pretty drinks that took the bartender about 30 minutes to make because of how articulate they were, and then we went to Murazzi for about an hour, and we saw people lighting lanterns to float into the sky!
Saturday USAC took us to the Alba Truffle festival. They had told us that we would either love the truffles or hate them because of how potent they are. Aloooot of people hated them, but I liked them, maybe it's because I really like mushrooms, but it was still really except the smell of them was a little too pungent for me. There was so many samples of incredible cheese and wine and chocolate and oils and bread and truffle creams to try! We couldn't have free samples of actual truffles by themselves because they're so expensive. It costs 3,000 euro for one kilo of truffles.... so I obviously didn't buy any truffles. Haha. They're so expensive because truffles are grown underground and are very hard to find, so pigs and dogs are usually used to find them. Pigs because they are naturally attracted to truffles and love to eat them, but dogs are more commonly trained and used these days because pigs would eat them, too much! 
We were going to go to Ikea today to get a comforter for Christina, but that didn't happen. We're generally too lazy on Sundays, but we still might go.
Well, make sure to keep checking on my picture pages because I do upload new ones onto some of the pages or create new ones every once in a while!
Ciao ciao.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I'm sorry it's been so long since I've posted. Not having internet access all the time makes it difficult! I might have to buy an internet stick soon because Skyping is next to impossible. I don't have e-commerce today so that's 3 hours of my life that I don't have to spend sitting in a classroom :)
Babysitting is going really well. I love Matteo! He is adorable and such a smarty. I pick him up from school every Monday, then I take him home, make him dinner and I show him some movies in English that he needs to see... and they help his English. So far I've only showed him The Lion King and the first half of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. He loves them both! I think it's important to pass on such great films to the next generation.
Thursday I met up with my language partner. Her name is Sara and she's very sweet. Her English isn't bad at all. Two other girls from USAC also have language partners, but one of theirs ditched, so we all just hang out together instead. It's Layla and Oana, Jillian and Marco (no more) and of course Sara and I. Saturday night, Sara, Matteo (Sara's boyfriend) and Oana took us out to Karaoke at a place called Luca's Pub. It was a lot of fun! We met up with a bunch of their friends, and I'm quite proud of myself that I remember the majority of their names. When we went on stage, Sara, Matteo, Nicolas, Oana, Jillian and I all sang Barbie Girl and Baby One More Time. I'm pretty sure the crowd fell in love with us... no big deal.
I haven't been traveling as much as I would like, but I hope to do a lot more of that in the near future. I have written out all of my plans, and now I just have to execute them. This weekend we're going to Alba for a truffle festival -- truffle as in the mushroom, not chocolate -- and Christina and I might hit up Milan on Saturday night when we get back form Alba. It should be a good weekend.
I've been looking into my Christmas break destinations since I have a whole month! Many places are being considered, and they will all be very exciting, but I know I can't wait to go back to Sweden for Christmas :) I'm sad that I can't be in my home for Christmas, but even though I can't be with one family for Christmas, I am lucky enough to have another one to go to.
It's been getting really cold at night and pretty chilly during the day, as well. If it's this cold to me in the fall... I'm scared to imagine how I'm going to be feeling when winter actually hits! I hope I survive. Living in Texas my whole life has not properly prepared me for this! I wish we had a bigger fireplace in our apartment, or one that we knew how to work. Ah well.
I finally got my glasses in the mail! So I was excited about that (thanks mom and dad for sending them!), even though I had to pay 53 euros to pick them up from the post office. They work great, but I can definitely only wear them when I read because otherwise they make me dizzy.
I have two exams tomorrow, one in Italian and one in European Union (ugh). The Italian one is a final because it's the end of Italian 1, so next week I start Italian 2. Should be interesting.
Ho fame! Time to go eat. Ciao ciao!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

It Tis A Hard Life

I feel like I've been so busy lately, but I don't think I really have been. Haha. Although, I do have an exam tomorrow in Legal Environment for Business that I'm a little worried about. I just finished studying for it. And I have 2 exams on Thursday as well, in Italian (easy) and European Union (not easy and super boring I'm sorry to say).
I started babysitting though :) An adorable, little boy named Matteo. I babysat him for the first time yesterday. And I babysat him today only for a little bit to pick him up from school and take him home, but I stayed for dinner tonight, and his parents are both really nice. For dinner we first had some bread and cheese (delicious), second: some eggs (odd) third: some pasta with oil (plain but good) and then of course gelato. Then Matteo got out some of his books that are written in English and read to me. He is actually very good at English for being 7! It surprised me! And he's also learning Chinese... it's crazy. Such a smart kid. I'm only going to babysit him on Mondays and Tuesdays so I'll still have time to travel and do school work, but I might start volunteering at an elementary school, as well. I haven't decided yet.
I've seen some great places that aren't too far from Torino. On Friday, Alberto took me on his motorcycle to a beautiful lake! I really enjoyed it, and he's also taken me to a few castles outside of Torino and some parks in Torino: Parco Madalena and Parco Europe. Both are very pretty with a spectacular view of the city. I went to my first hookah lounge in Italy last night. It was really nice, too. Cozy.
I've been enjoying living here so much, and sometimes I still can't believe that I do! Even though, I do miss my friends and family just a smidgen... ;) haha. I normally wouldn't even be able to be on the internet right now, but my neighbors recently got internet, so I'm using theirs :)
Off to bed! I have to wake up for a long day of class tomorrow.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Incredible Weekend!

This past weekend, USAC took us to the Italian Riviera including Genova, Santa Margherita, Cinque Terre and Portofino. It was so beautiful! It was better than I had pictured it. We left Friday morning at 8:30 by bus and drove to Genova which is the 6th largest city in Italia. It is a very pretty city with a ton of churches and, of course, ships because it is a port city. We stayed in Genova for a few hours and then got back on the bus for one more hour drive to Santa Margherita which is right on the water and is very well known for its pesto (the best I've ever tasted). We had focaccia for lunch and had the rest of the day to ourselves. There were many stores to buy clothes, but we only found one that we could afford... haha. That night we ate at a restaurant that had the best pizza and pasta I have had yet; it was called Pizzeria d'Emilio. Our server gave us free two free Lemoncini each, and they are so strong! Christina and I met this older couple from Bristol sitting right behind us at the restaurant. They were very nice and gave us a lot of information about where we should go and how, and they had a dog named Polly who was so sweet and I was able to get my puppy fix for the day :) I miss puppies so much! They're everywhere and I just want to pick all of them up! I''ve only seen 4 cats since I've been here and 3 were in the Italian Riviera.

On Saturday, we all took a train to the last city of Cinque Terre, Riomaggiore, and we moved through all the rest of the cities from there to Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. They were all wonderful! My favorite is probably Manarola or Monterosso. Riomaggiore is one of the smallest, so it was nice. We ate in Manarola and it was very good food. I had a seafood spaghetti (although I'm not really sure what everything was that I ate...). Corniglia is a city where you have to walk up manyyyyyyyyy stairs to see it. It started to rain but we didn't care. We just let ourselves get wet. Haha. When we got to the bottom of the stairs, we saw a sign that said "beach" and an arrow, so we followed it. It took us down to this dark tunnel where we saw two English women coming out. They said the beach was down the tunnel by about 2 km, so we whipped out our iPhones and using the flashlight app began to walk down this pitch black, creepy tunnel to see a beach. When we exited we had to walk down these ridiculous stairs to a beach that wasn't even that awesome, but we made it fun and swam anyway... haha. It was pretty cold water and there was no sand, but tons of black rocks. Then it started to rain while we were swimming and our clothes got wet (this is probably why am a tad sick at the moment, but it was fun --- carpe diem!) It was pretty dark by the time we got to Vernazza and completely dark when we got to Monterosso, but it was still fun.

We never got around to eating dinner, and we got back to Santa Margherita past midnight, so everything for food was closed, so we had wine for dinner instead. Sunday morning we went to Portofino which was 20 minutes away by boat. Portofino was soooo amazing! I loved it, such a cute city. We saw the Dolce and Gabbana house which looked like a castle! The water was so pretty. There were boats everywhere and a huge yacht. I almost bought a sailor hat, but I didn't, and I'm very upset about it. The buildings made me laugh because they looked like cutouts that would be at Six Flags or something.

We went back to Santa Margherita at 1 to eat and go to the beach where we continued to skip rocks and try to juggle rocks. Then we had to be on the train by 5:15, but it was delayed... the train ride is when I really started not feeling well. I was cold and my throat hurt and my nose was stuffy as all of that is now, but I think it was worth it, as well as the cut I got on the bottom of my foot from the rocks. The whole weekend, we made sure to have many doses of gelato, and I'm pretty sure that helped. When I got home at about 9, I did my Italian homework, took a shower and passed out because I had to wake up early again for school, so here I am. I just want to go home and sleep and eat something, but before I do, I need to do some homework for E-commerce and go to the grocery store and pharmacy :( Oh well.