Ciao Bella Italia

Italy has taught we so much about life. Honestly, I’m not trying to sound sappy, I needed this trip to open up my eyes about life, about culture and about beauty. Beauty can be in everything we do, we just first have to see it to believe in it. Instead of waking up everyday to do the same thing over again, we need to wake up with passion, wake up with motivation and drive.
Not only did I learn a lot from the locals in Sorrento, I learned a lot from our Professor Julia and her colleague Phillip, we owe them a lot, they are so passionate about their work and about teaching us. They are more than just teachers, to me I see them as mentors, coaches as well as new found friends.
I learned a lot from the other 7 friends I made on this trip as well. We made lasting bonds with each other in just two short weeks, bonds that I haven’t made with people I’ve known for 6 years. I remember seeing everyone on the very first day at the airport, I was at the meeting spot and Andrew came and got me. We all sat down in a group of chairs, our bags held close to us and having occasional awkward silences. Even on the bus, we didn’t really talk much, having long periods of silence. So much has changed about the way I see these 7 friends of mine within two weeks. We arrived at the Rome airport to depart to the states and it was hard to say goodbye, it was kind of like, “now what do we do?” I actually felt lost when Philip and Julia said their goodbyes and June went off to the first terminal.
You spend every single day with the same people you create a bond that no one really understands, it’s an amazing thing to see everyone break out of their shell and really let us all in on who each other really is.
The awkward silences turned into outbreaks of constant laughter and inside jokes we all created within our group. Even writing (on the plane to Chicago) I still feel a little lost like you just lost something you can’t find. I’m not worried though, I know we will all see each other soon enough. While some of us are staying in Europe, some will be with their parents and others will be taking classes in the summer with me. When we all get along this well it would be hard not to stay in touch.
So many memories I feel like I can’t capture all of them but thanks to our photographer and ‘paparazzi’, June, she managed to capture 3,000 pictures of our trip! Thank you to Kendall and Melissa for rooming with me and putting up with my long showers and excess amounts of clothes and sharing the same style of music tastes, for the most part, also stating that “I just want to dance!” Thank you Cassie for being my twin and sharing the same thoughts on dressing up, fancy dinners, good Italian wine and the important fact that espresso macchiatos are a must. Thank you Richard for being our doctor on board and advice as well your hilarious and contagious laugh! I’ll never forget when you fell asleep during my presentation :p and how we never found “Maria” as well as the infamous “fu//ing Richard” quote! Andrew thank you for opening up to us, I remember how closed in you were at first but you were quick to change that! Thank you for always being up for anything and walking me back to our apartment at 1 in the morning also helping me with the blog and letting me use your computer multiple times! I still need more pictures! And last but certainly not least- Tanner. Thank you for sharing the first inside jokes with the group, having the greatest laugh I’ve ever heard, being so outgoing and even if we did get kicked out of the church for taking pictures we still made the best of it by using hashtags in every single word we used for a good 10 minutes. Thank you for starting the whale trend and keeping it going, I’ll never forget that!
Thank you also to my mom and Gary for making this trip possible in every way, I would not have been here without your support and willingness to help me! Thank you thank you!
Also thank you to my Dad for always checking up on me and making sure I was okay as well as making sure I was up to dates on my blogs! Thank you for being the audience I wanted! Xoxo

Back to the real world it is. Work on Friday and school starts on Monday!
Xo, Christie ❤️

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Bittersweet of An Ending

Tuesday- our last day! I wrote about Capri and the beautiful tour took on Sunday and how Monday we didn’t do much of anything just some last minute shopping and going to the Sorrento Musical (which I’m still thinking about!)20140604-162457-59097350.jpg
After our last class on Tuesday we had our last Italian class with Bianca, I’m sure she was excited to get rid of these crazy Americans haha, but she gave us a certificate for completing the Italian course and we were on our way. I headed straight to the guys apartment and locked myself in a room with Andrews laptop and completed the academic blog for our course in Italy. It’s studyabroadsorrento.wordpress.com if anyone wants to check it out, still in the making but almost complete! I was in charge of combining everyone’s blogs and putting creativity into the blog. I guess you could say I was the Creative Director :) After I finished it up for the most part, I went and did a little more last minute shopping and went to go get ready for our farewell dinner not to mention try to pack all of my things. So much stuff!!20140604-162457-59097698.jpg
Our farewell dinner was at a restaurant right by Piazza Tasso and it was a three course meal that, for me, consisted of a mixed green salad with balsamic and parmesan, a grilled chicken with fried potatoes and zucchini and ended with a tirumisu and a limoncello after dinner drink. Not to mention 5 or 6 bottles of wine we all shared during dinner. We reminisced on our favorite memories as well as our most interesting or shocking, it was funny to hear everyone’s moments we all had.
After dinner we went to some more bars got some espressos and more wine and danced for a little, making our last night in Sorrento really count!! Our bus was picking us up at 3:30 in the morning so we made the group decision to stay up all night. We didn’t get crazy but we were just having fun and soaking up our time in Italy together for the last remanding hours. The bus picked us up and we all crashed until the airport which was a 3.5 hour ride. We got to the airport and said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. I’m typing this in the plane, on my phone. But slept for about 5 out of the 10 hours of the flight! Had pasta one last time and some good cookies and chocolate. I’m excited to get home to see my parents, Austin and of course my puppies! Not too excited to go back to work but very excited to see all of my co workers and the members! So many stories to tell!

Xo, Christie ❤️

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Isle of Capri and Our Final Days

Sorry the delay in blogs! We have been extra busy preparing for our blog entry’s for our final project here.
After our crazy ride back from Rome we stopped at the Bar Syrenue where we eat breakfast and had a late dinner and some wine. Afterwards I went straight to bed and we woke up early on Sunday to go to the beautiful island of Capri!
We ate breakfast and we headed down to the Marina to board the boat for our tour around the island. We didn’t know what to expect about the boat all we knew was there would be a private boat waiting for us! Fortunately this private boat turned out to be an almost brand new luxury boat with a sunbathing cushion up front. Not to mention the free beer and a bathroom! We headed out and traveled the coast of Amalfi with Capri on our left. Our Captain was very informative and funny at that so the ride was very enjoyable! The sun was out and there was not a cloud in the sky, “is this real life?” I asked myself. I soaked up all of the beauty, the memories and the sun I could get knowing that this was our last excursion and this was our second to last day in Italy.
We took a pit stop on the coast of Capri to dive into the bluest ocean water I have ever seen. The water was cold but it was so worth it, most of us swam to the coastline and laid on the smooth rocks which were warm, it was kind of like a personal hot stone massage!
After a dip in the water we had some lunch, a panini with ham and mozzarella of course. Best sandwich of my life!
We traveled up and down the coast, the waters were still and the temperature was perfect! We arrived at the port at Capri and were stunned to see the amazingly beautiful and well crafted sail boats, house boats and speed boats. The people that visit Capri are not your average Joes either! They are wealthy, they are elegant, they are classy and rich. I think this was a big culture shock to me only because I’ve only seen this all in movies but wow I was actually there and soaking it all up!
20140603-103628-38188212.jpgWe hiked up the stairs all the way to the top of the cliff of Capri to the fancy shops and expensive restaurants. I think it was like 2 miles of stairs but totally worth it!! If you ever come to southern Italy, Capri is a must even though everything was a little to expensive for me! We hiked to the Botanical Gardens with a panoramic view of the island as well as Mt. Vesuvius. After getting off the island we headed back to Sorrento, our captain drove slow and we sailed across the Mediterranean, it felt like a movie!
That night we didn’t do much but went out to eat and worked on our final blogs!

 

On Monday, it was a national holiday, Republic Day in Italy. Some of the shops were closed but most were open and there were more tourists than usual in the little streets of Sorrento. We had our personal interviews with Julia and Philip and then we had the rest of the day to do whatever we wanted! I shopped alittle but worked on my blog for the most part.
20140603-103628-38188545.jpgI went to my apartment to go get ready and shower for the Sorrento Musical, come to find out our power was out and so was the hot water… Quickly I threw all of my things into a bag and booked it over to the guys apartment to invade their apartment to get ready. We all met over there and headed out to dinner. The place we ate at was amazing and right next to the theater. We had some wine and cocktailed when we arrived at the musical and got to our seats. I was so excited to see what an Italian musical was all about! Of course the ladies were gorgeous and the men were gentlemen and funny! It was a comedy but it also told the story of Sorrento, love and everyday life here in southern Italy. Even though we couldn’t understand half the things they were saying we got a pretty good gist of it all!
I’m writing this in class on my phone considering my laptops screen crapped out the other day. :( I’m waiting for everyone to be done with their blogs so I can piece everything together and put it up on WordPress.

Ciao for now!
Christie ❤️

 

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From Rome With Love

Sorry for the delay on Rome! We woke up at 5AM on Saturday to get ready and head to the bus… let’s get it right though, we woke up at 5:30, supposed to be leaving the apartment at 5:55AM, typical girls we are!

We got to bus which arrived at 6AM sharp, surprising, this bus driver must not be from around here in Southern Italy… he was definitely on American time, while all of us were leisurely power walking to the Piazza Tasso. The driver didn’t speak a lick of English, actually he didn’t even speak Italian it was more of Napolian style of Italian, which in its own, is its OWN form of language. We all boarded and Phillip and Julia made us prosciutto e mozzarella panini’s for all of us for breakfast and we headed out.

The ride to Roma was about 3 hours long and the sun was making its way up the horizon as we traveled out of Sorrento and on to the main highway north. Everyone fell asleep shortly after eating but I started working on the blog for our final project in class as well as some other blogging for later on. I finally fell asleep for about 20 minutes waking up to a rest stop/convenience store/bar where we picked up some snacks and downed a macchiato espresso. We were all up now and ready to conquer Rome! It took us another hour or so to get to the center of Rome and on the way Julia and Phillip kept telling us how no one uses their blinker and if they want to get over in the other lane well then you better be ready for the other person to get right in front you. It is no wonder why these little European cars only last upwards of 10 years! Anyway, as they were telling us the culture of European driving on the Autostrade traffic came to a complete stop which was shocking to me. Think about a traffic jam on I-25, there are big semi’s, busses, little cars, minivans etc. But in Italy there are little cars that you could almost pick up with one finger, now imagine hundreds of these cars piled up so close you can literally touch the other persons side window. The jam was for an accident in the right hand lane, a brand new Audi totaled its whole left side and the other car was almost a football field in front, sitting on the side of the road. To end the story, the cops were there with their “accident truck” which included a moving orange flag and a big sign saying “ACCIDENT, MOVE OVER.” Interesting how they handle their accidents…

Okay, so onto Roma! We get into the city which we are in a huge 24 person Mercedes Bus and the streets are just about as narrow as Positano, were trying to maneuver our way into the center of the city to meet up with our tour guide so our VERY Napolian “don’t mess with me” bus driver pulls off to the side of the street to let other cars pass by as well as call our guide. As we are waiting patiently for our guide to arrive a random man comes up to the driver and starts SCREAMING at him, literally cuss words and foul language are falling out of his mouth left and right and our driver starts using profound words towards this Italian man. The conversation got intense and Julia just looks back at us with wide eyes, just in shock of what she just overheard. She comes back to us and let’s us know that we were not suppose to be parked where we were parked so instead of a “hey, you can’t be here, please move somewhere else.” It started as… well you can only guess between two Italian men what went on!

So there was a nice little wake up call to all of us in the morning, finally we find our tour guide and she immediately started arguing back and forth with our bus driver, asking where he has been and why he wasn’t where he should have been… oh man, lady, if you only knew! She was very short with us and spoke really slow English as if she thought we couldn’t understand her. She thought Julia and Phillip didn’t know Italian but she soon realized she was wrong and was kind of rudely asking how they knew Italian and where they are originally from, like she was better than us and she knew it. Julia told us this is very common between people in Northern Italy, Rome and then down to Naples which explains why she and the bus driver got into a nasty argument which lead to them calling each other’s agencies and bashing each other behind there backs… WELCOME TO ROMA, the city of ancient ruins, the city of love, war and peace and the city of crazy Italian natives getting into nasty brawls! Bourgogne!

The city is beautiful, everything you have ever seen in the movies and on TV is true! The streets are lined with tourists and locals and great pizza and gelato! The city is built 5-20 meters above the ancient Roman cities that once were active. Our first stop was the Coliseum and it was CROWDED! We felt like VIP when we surpassed all of the people waiting endlessly in the lines to go in! The history behind it is amazing, we learned about the different animals they used to sacrifice as well as all of the hidden traps, hallways and underground tunnels that were beneath the stage where the famous gladiator fights were held. The Coliseum held upwards of 70,000 people and they could get in and out within 10 minutes through all of the different openings. There are some many artifacts that the Roman officials preserved that have a lot of history including statues and sculptures with hidden graffiti on them and different animal bones as well. Over the years the Coliseum has eroded but if you can only imagine all of the pillars and columns that used to line the “bleachers” and a few more stories added on as well you can invite yourself into a ancient Roman world of battling.

We went onto the Spanish Steps after touring around the Coliseum and getting 8 of us on top of 1 broken Roman column to get a group picture, a great achievement if you ask me! The Spanish Steps were beautiful about 130 steps I think it is from the bottom to the top. They are the widest staircase in Europe and were constructed in the 1700s. When you are at the bottom and you look up you can see the Trinita Dei Monti Church which unfortunately was under construction when we went.

After the Spanish Steps we headed down the fashion road of Rome with Gucci, Sephora, Dolce & Gabbana shops and many, many more high end clothing stores and of course an italian McDonald’s. We walked a few blocks to the Fontana Di Trevi, a breathtaking Baroque styled fountain developed in 1762, the Roman Legend says that Roman soldiers were led to this very spot by young girls to get fresh water which led to the construction of this beautifully crafted Fountain. There are almost 1 million Euro thrown into the Fountain each year out of superstition of love and luck!

Next stop: Vatican City. A city within a city! We had the privilege to have pre-purchased tickets to get in to the Museo di Vatican, the famous museum of the artworks and sculptures of Michelangelo and Raphael. We had the opportunity to explore the Sistine Chapel and happened to get a few photos (which is restricted) as well as St. Peter’s Basilica which is out of this world and something you have to see sometime in your life! The Sistine Chapel was finished in 1481 with the paintings of the Life of Moses and The Life of Christ. BEAUTIFUL and Astonishing to say the least, I was so mesmerized  by all of the paintings in the Chapel as well as in St. Peter’s Basilica, it’s just unexplainable. St. Peter’s was originally constructed in 324 AD under the Roman Emperor, Constantine.

Rome was not built in a day but unfortunately that is all we had to tour around the larger than life city. We finally got back into Sorrento at 9:30PM and ate at the Bar Syrenue, which is where we eat our breakfast every morning. I can successfully say Rome was one for the books and a day I will never want to forget!

Ciao for now!

 

Xo, Christie <3

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American Karaoke In Italy

After Wednesday at the Lemoncello factory and some serious shopping at night we were pretty tired on thursday morning in class. Julia and Phillip definitely could see it but class was so informational with global studies and business and communication conflict. I just had a semester of Communication and Conflict so this class brought back a lot thinking about who to handle different situations when handling business internationally which I think everyone needs to know the underlying factors on comm. and conflict as well as understanding how to be a leader and determining your strengths and weaknesses and how they can help you in different situations and expand your opportunities to become more internationally and culturally aware. 

After our class, we had our italian class… man I suck at italian but I tried and that’s what counts right?? Julia and Philip went and got us bread, mozzarella and fresh tomatoes from the market and we made our own panini’s and watched Woody Allen’s ‘To Rome With Love’ which is one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. I probably looked like a fool laughing my butt off but Woody Allen just has this sense of humor that is unforgettable and something that we can all relate to as Americans as well as italians, highly recommended!! We watched this movie to get us prepped for Rome which is on Saturday, one of our last excursions. 

After the movie I headed over to the boy’s apartment to get some wifi to Skype and FaceTime and of course sit on social media, but that all ended when I fell asleep for an hour! Thursday night we went out to eat and just got a little dinner, the pasta and pizza are really getting to us now, don’t get me wrong we love it all but the minestrone soup is so much better than I’ve ever had back home! And of course the gelato is amazing!
Thursday night after dinner we decided to go out to the American Karaoke Bar and have a few drinks and attempt to sing. We walked down the Main Street of Sorrento and came about a little night club with a girl standing outside greeting people. She told us to come on in and we were so surprised with how good her English was! She proceeded to tell us she was from the states and actually living here now after her study abroad program! What a life! She is with her best friend and they are taking a semester off to work in Sorrento! She offered us the Italian flag shot that we couldn’t say no to! Although it was horrible, it looked so cool! It was about 11pm now so we headed to the karaoke bar and we were the only ones there! We attempted to sing, the Italian bartenders thought we were crazy but around midnight, more people started showing up! They were all dressed up and gave us weird looks like, “why are you singing American 80s pop!” We had a great time that we will definitely all remember!! We all went to bed around 2am and woke up at 7:15, needless to say, we were all exhausted this morning. Coffee and espressos were a must but now I realize why no one is out in the mornings! Everyone around here goes out to eat around 10pm and goes out to party from midnight to 2am! What a life!
After class, which was not our best class, we went down to the Grande Marine and ate a good lunch. Of course it was 12 PM and we were the only ones at the restaurant, not surprising! We sat and ate until 1 and that is when it picked up with customers!
After lunch we watched ‘When In Rome’ which was a total chick flick but pretty funny! It again prepared us for Rome tomorrow which I am so excited for! Not much else went on today, took a nap, shopped a little bit and hiked up the stairs to the church on the top of the hill, it is such a great workout and it’s our rendition of the “stair master”, or the ‘Sorrento Stairmaster’ as we call it! After working out we all made dinner which consisted of scrambled eggs, grilled spiced chicken, pasta with tomato sauce, cookies, tomatoes, mozzarella and ‘bacon bits’. We aren’t half bad and it was something different!
Have to be up in 5 hours to get on the bus to Rome, 3.5 hours of sleep and alittle bit of sight seeing then onto a full day of beautiful Roma! Ciao!

 

 

Xo, Christie <3

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The birthplace of Limoncello

After Pompeii we were all so tired, we went to the supermarket after we got back and went back to the apartment and just hung out, did some laundry and the dishes. No dishwasher or dryer, so yes we actually have to work a little bit to get our things clean. Oh the things we take for granted back in America! We went out to eat so a little place that offered wifi, which is a sad, sad thing but when you are desperate for internet to connect with the world, you will find a little Italian restaurant, eat their food and use their wifi… typical Americans.

After going to bed at a decent time that night I woke up quite refreshed on Wednesday but sick at that. My first initial thought was, great… a cold in a foreign country, this will go over well. I took a ton of vitamin C and a multi vitamin and went on with my day. We had class and talked about globalization within businesses and doing business with intercultural company’s: What should we expect, what we should know and respect, how to handle different communication issues that arise internationally.

After Italian class we dropped our things off at the apartment and headed out to lunch. I got an amazing salad, I can only do so much bread and pasta in so many consecutive days.

We did a little shopping after lunch but the Siesta set in and half of the shops closed down, they take a break everyday from 3:30-5pm and then open back up until midnight! After a little shopping and walking around we met up with the rest of our group as well as Julia and Phillip and we headed over to the Lemoncello “factory” where we saw how they made the “sipping” drink the locals drink before or after dinner. We as Americans of course, shoot it. It was a very tasty tour to say the least. They use black licorice for another after drink drink that kind of tasted like an Italian rendition to Jagermeister. They have been making lemoncello for years and years and also competing against the Amalfi Coast as to who was the inventor of lemoncello. Our guide took us through the lemon and orange trees that have been there for centuries, they have even genetically infused a few trees to produce oranges and lemons!

After the factory we went and changed and headed right back out for some more shopping and dining! The water stopped working in the whole town so showers were not a possibility at the time, but the stores were open and we were ready to get our shopping on!

We ended the night with a new pizzeria that served 1 meter long pizzas! Very good Napoli style pizza!

I will write some more soon! The internet has been down at our apartment so I am sending this via school!

Ciao for now!

 

Christie <3

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Pompeii: A City Frozen In Time

10:51 AM Denver, 6:50 PM Sorrento

Today we went to Pompeii and it was definitely not what I expected! We went to class this morning and it was a little hard getting up considering we were up until 2AM, I don’t know why we don’t go to sleep earlier but I think we just get excited about going out to dinner, going to the different shops and by the time we get back to the apartment we are up and catch that second wind.
We took the train to Pompeii which was located in the heart of Sorrento, which was about a 10 minute walk from our apartment. The train was an experience in itself because it is not like the light rails back home, this is an actual train that goes all the way to Naples and back to Sorrento making 20+ stops in between. It’s a big commuter for the schools around here and it’s always packed with tourists and locals.
Pompeii was about a 35 minute train ride, not too bad!

Our tour guide, Enrica, was so knowledgeable, just like Martina in Naples, she knew everything there was to know about Pompeii, the history of the architecture and the Roman Empire that ruled the city. It was a perfect location for people in the 7th Century BC to stop while traveling in the Mediterranean Sea since Pompeii was located at sea level and stretched 4km to the foot of the mountains. Mt. Vesuvius is located North of Pompeii and you can see it clear as day in the town hall. Although the buildings, structures and columns are all broken and missing you can easily imagine just how big this city was.
The roofs of the buildings were crumbled and brought down by the 5 meters of volcanic ash that covered Pompeii when Mt. Vesuvius erupted. The eruption lasted 3 days and slowing suffocated the people in and around Pompeii, it is the city that froze in time. We walked around the vast area where the cobble stone streets still exist and the brick houses still stand. Every corner has a “bar” and a watering fountain and every house has stairs that once lead up to the bedrooms upstairs, not to mention two shops on each side of the houses that you would have owned and worked at.
If you were rich, your house stretched out to the next block and every house had mosaic floors that surrounded watering holes for wells. Their gardens were in the center of their living room and the had their own sauna, cold showers and multiple “toilets” to use.
There were almost 20,000 people living or passing by Pompeii at the time of the eruption. The city was equipped with a music hall and a gladiator colosseum which we got to go into and even snuck into the seating area and walked around.
It was a beautiful day and I would go back to Pompeii again soon because of all of the artifacts that we didn’t even see due to time! It is a lot of walking but worth every minute of it.

More to come soon, our wifi is really crappy and I can only get it here and there. :(

More little facts about Pompeii:
The Men’s bathroom was like royalty: sauna, bath (hot and cold rooms), gym, massages- mosaic floors and marble bath and sinks. The area was bigger than our house!!

The bread was found in the ovens when Pompeii was recovered as well fish found in the markets and the people were found laying down with their money in one hand and covering their faces with their other hand.

Xo, Christie ❤️

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