30 October 2011

Cat Lover's Dream...




This apartment will be perfect for me and my cat, Bullseye.

Yes. He is in a toilet. It's empty. Except for cat. 


Why you might be wondering? Well, just look at the floor plan.


Not only is it graced with a decent (though by no means extravagant) amount of closet space, but it has a dining room! An actual dining room! And a foyer! But I would like to specifically draw your attention to the windows...count them...SEVEN WINDOWS. You might be thinking, "Sheesh, isn't that a lot to clean?" Well, yes, actually it is. But that's not the important part. The important part is that that means seven prime locations for sunbathing opportunities for me and my cat. Because really, that's a cat lover's dream...little patches of sunshine to curl up in.

Picture it: a daybed pushed up next to the windows in the living room, doubling as the siesta location as well as a guest bed. In the dining room, a cat tree next to one window and a nice comfy chair in front of the other. The kitchen will have a lovely door mat in front of the door so that he can lounge while I'm cooking up dinner. And of course, in the bedroom the light will spill into the room and on the bed, providing an excellent opportunity for napping in the sun. 

I suppose I should say there are SIX WINDOWS since I doubt the one in the bathroom will be utilized for sunbathing. 

Look at that floor!
But I wouldn't buy an apartment solely for the purpose of pleasing Bullseye. This apartment has an amazing location in Wrigleyville, just minutes from bars, the lake, the Cubs, and downtown (aka, every reason you'd ever want to live in Chicago). The courtyard looks amazing and there are beautiful wood floors (can you say, "easy to clean"). This place is full of character - just look at that bathroom! (I might find my cat in there after all). And the piece de resistance? The calming cream paint pallet.

Just kidding. Although it will make a nice neutral backdrop for all the pictures I took while studying abroad.

Check it out! http://www.vacancy.com/illinois/chicago-apartments/632-w-addison/

Zombie Apocalypse

Happy Halloween!!!!!

Today I was a zombie. It was awesome. 2.5 hours of getting to moan and shuffle after people. So glad I got out of bed this morning. Although the getting beer sprayed on me wasn't so great. The video should be on Youtube eventually. You can bet there'll  be a post!

video

Anywho.

Love,
Mari

28 October 2011

Beware European Junk Food (a re-post from my LUC blog)

Consider this a PSA:

While stranded on the island of Santorini over Fall Break I became addicted to a specific variety of junk food: Digestives. Specifically the kind half dipped in dark chocolate.


From premierdelivered.co.uk

I'd had one of these oh-so-tasty treats from my roommate (but the plain kind). While at the local supermarket she had discovered them in the cookie aisle and became so excited I almost abandoned her from embarassment.

Now I know why.

She lived in London growing up - the home of McVitie's, creator of this highly addictive cookie. When she came to the States she discovered something horrible...THEY DON'T EXIST IN THE STATES! This accounts for her obnoxious level of excitement in the supermarket.

But back to Greece. I, too, fell in love with these simple and delightful cookies. I also managed to get my new friend, Gouda (name changed to protect her identity), addicted to them. The day I left she was already making sure she could purchase them through Amazon so that when she returned to Seattle in a week she wouldn't have to suffer withdrawals.

My hope is that you can find them for a reasonable price at an international supermarket, like Devon Market.

Otherwise, I too will have to pay exorbitant amounts just to satisfy my craving...

Note: This is why I'm staying away from the chocolate filled croissants...

Best,

Mari

Melancholia

http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2011/10/adventures-in-depression.html

I find the above blog awesome, and that post in particular. It's like the Lars Von Trier film I saw last night except cartoony, and funny, and has a happy ending, and...okay, all they have in common is subject matter.

But they both do an awesome job of explaining depression. PSA time - if you or someone you know is suffering from depression and doesn't get how to get other people to understand do to things.

1. Show them this blog post.

2. Show them the film, Melancholia.




I think it's awesome. My friend, Frank, who I saw the movie with and who is a film major is on the fence. He said he needed time for it to muddle in his brain. I can understand.

And yes, that is Alexander Skarsgaard. And his dad. And Charlotte from P&P. And Jack Bauer. And Kirsten Dunst.


Anywho.

But really, this apocalyptic film is one of the better ones, mostly because it doesn't involve mass hysteria (it takes place in only one rural setting). Whatever you think of Lars Von Trier, I think he did a good job with this one.

But what am I doing see an English film in Italy?!?!?! Well, it was in downtown Roma at this awesome little intimate theater AND it had Italian subtitles. So there.

Also this week I watched two other films of substance and set in Italy.

1. The Best of Youth - an epic (and I mean that in the way of it's six hour long) covering over forty years of life of two brothers in Italy. I learned a lot about Italian history and it made me want to learn a lot more. Also  I had to drink a lot of water over the three days it took me to watch it. I cried a lot. A lot.

2. Miracle at St. Anna - not another war movie. Although it's based off of a novel there is a lot of story truth in this film. Despite the tears (come on, it's a WWII war movie, there's gonna be tears) I really enjoyed it. It followed four members of the 92nd Division stationed in Tuscany. The 92nd (Buffalo) was the first all Africa American combat unit. Also, the guy who plays the boy all grown up is Nicola from The Best of Youth (watch and you'll get it).

Love,
Mari



21 October 2011

Stranded! Santorini Edition

If I could choose any place in the world to be stranded in I have to say it would be here:


Oh, wait. I was!!!

You see, there's a huge economic crisis in Greece currently. I chose to spend six days on the island of Santorini (think Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) during Fall Break. While there, the ferries started striking. 

Which meant that I was stranded. So I had to buy a plane ticket to Athens and then Rome because I missed my flight because the ferry I was supposed to take back to Athens was canceled (by the way, I could not change or get a refund for my flight). 

How do I have such a peppy attitude despite all this? It's easy.

Fantastic company.
Wonderful view.
Glorious beaches.

Yeah. Welcome to Santorini.

I took one of these to a Volcano and swam in some hot springs.

The hot springs.

These are the puppies I played with. They live at my hostel.

This is the Red Beach at Akrotiri. Breathtaking right?

Therefore, in conclusion, if you ever have a chance to get stranded on an island...make it Santorini.



Day trip!

http://dreamofitaly2.blogspot.com/2008/05/found-peanut-butter-gelato-in-rome.html

According to this blog, you can get peanut butter in gelato....I'll be there soon and let you know.

Anywho.

So a few weeks ago we went to Ostia Antica and the Catacombs. Way cool. Well, hot, but whatever.

Ostia Antica is a relatively well preserved city south of Rome that in olden days (Antica...get it?) was the port. You might say, why do we see no river? Well, that would be because the Tiber changed course during a particularly violent storm. Ostia Antica had already lost its importance though.

I enjoyed these ruins a bit more than Pompei surprisingly. Probably because I wasn't as overwhelmed and was fresh like a daisy. Not really. But I was no where near as exhausted as I was when I visited Pompei.

Next...the Catacombs of Saint Callixtus!!!! Wow, just wow. Over 500,000 people were buried here.

500,000!!!!! (including 16 popes and many martyrs)

Unfortunatly during the Barbarian raids and such most of the tombs were broken open as people searched for  treasure and such. They didn't find any. Most Christians didn't have any money. Suprise.

I couldn't take any pictures myself (against the rules) but there are lots available online.

BTW, Saint Cecelia was buried there. When they found her body they discovered it completely preserved. Then, after a few moments it turned to ash. An artist rendered it - a copy is at the catacombs and the original is at the Santa Cecilia in Trastevere. I saw it recently. Again...no pics allowed.

Arrivederci!


16 October 2011

Pictures of Santorini

Santorini Days 1, 2, 3.5



I wasnt' there.

I'm was here:



:)

Anywho.

video

I would like to note that should I ever return to Santorini I will be staying here, at Caveland, again. It's beautiful, full of character, and the staff is great!

<3

10 October 2011

Teachers know best...


It's finally Autumn here in Roma. The leaves are changing and falling and crunching and the air has taken on that golden glow. There's a breeze that can only be described as crisp and everyone is sneezing. Yes, Fall is finally here.


It's a wonderful break from the heat - just a week ago if you were to spend all day walking around Roma you'd end your day gross - drenched in sweat  and smelly. With the season change though you can now wander around all day and still be fit for polite society in the evening.


I missed an on-site class a few weeks ago (I got lost) and needed to go to all the places. The location was the Aventine Hill. This now elegant residential neighborhood was orginally the southernmost of the Seven Hills of Roma. It is home to several beautiful churchs (which you cannot take pictures in): Santa Sabina, San Alessio, and San Anselmo.


My intinerary included the churches but also several other hidden treasures. The first was Il Giardino degli Aranci, the Garden of Oranges. Saint Dominic is credited with the planting of the first orange tree and it is said that Saint Catherine of Sienna made candied oranges for the pope using fruit from the garden. The garden sits just next to Santa Sabina which provides a lovely backdrop for the trees (which currently had no ripe fruit). The piece de resistance is the view though. From the ovverlook you can see all of Trastevere, San Pietro, and all the way over to Il Vittorio. It is one of the most serene places I have been yet.


Next came San Alessio which was actually closed for siesta. Siesta is the time in the middle of the day, usually from about 1:00 or 1:30 to 3:30 or 4:00PM when businesses close for lunch and such. This was the first time I'd found a church closed though.


Moving down the street I came to La Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta. the Knights of Malta have a supposedly beautiful garden here - but it requires an appointment to view. What you can see though, is St. Peter's - through a keyhole. My jaw dropped when I bent down to look through the keyhole of door number three. St. Peter's is perfectly framed by an avenue of bushes that arch together. Bellisima.


Finally I came to San Anselmo, a  relatively plain and beautiful church that is also home to a Benedictine Friary. This is quite possibly my current favorite church in Rome. It is more plain than most yet it boasts two exquisite mosaics, as well as a mosiac floor. The walls are white stucco but my favorite part was the ceiling. No frescoes, no carvings - just simply the most beautiful dark wood.


On-site classes have so far provided the some of the most rewarding directed wandering in Roma. Aventine Hill is by far one of my favorite places. And I doubt I would have discovered it without the help of my professor.

06 October 2011

Napoli, Capri, e Pompei



All the pictures.... :)

Technological love of my life

Okay, just a really quick blog on something that has made my life so much easier. This isn't a paid advertisement or spam or anything - just something you might already know about but that I recently discovered.

Dropbox.com

Oh. My. Word. It's a beautiful thing.

So basically I hate flashdrives because when you save something on it then edit it somewhere else you have to go back and resave all the files so they're all updated blah blah blah. No more!

Dropbox gives you about 2.0 GB of FREE space online plus a FREE download of the product. So install it on your computer, save a document in there, open it elsewhere, upload it online and BAM it's updated on your computer too. So anywhere you have internet you have access to your file and when you edit it and save  it it's automatically saved whereever Dropbox is installed! Life simplified. Glorious day.

Hope that made sense...basically go to dropbox.com, watch the short funny video and be converted. See link below.



Love,
Mari

PS: Thanks Michelle for introducing me! Thanks Jenny for introducing Michelle! Thanks whoever introduced Jenny!

01 October 2011

Viva Il Papa!

I stole that title from this blog:

http://myshipwreckedsoul.tumblr.com/post/10768499797/viva-il-papa

Which hosts a video of the Papal Audience we attended yesterday! Btw, all family members of people attending are blessed too, especially the sick and elderly. Congratulations!

I'm only putting the clip that's in English up. I'm actually not sure my camera got the whole thing, for which I apologize (I'm sure it was operator error - my camera is pretty intelligent).

video


So that was the first hi-light of my day yesterday...the next was getting to go on what amounts to a scavenger hunt provided by Natalie's Italian professoressa. We covered a lot of ground...literally.

We went all through Castel San Angelo (totally worth 8 euro).




We walked across the only bride that has survived since Roman times (there's this tradition of putting a lock with your and your lover's name on it...it's like the Bridge of Eternal Love - and it's got a view!).



We went by Palazzo Farnese, now the French Embassy (Michelangelo did the edges of the roof).



We ran into Campo dei Fiori which was in the process of cleaning up from the morning market. Basically Pigeon Paradise.




Also home to creepy statue of a monk burned there during the Inquisition.



Okay, so maybe he's an interesting guy, this Giordano Bruno, but still...creepy...

Anywho, we then entered ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CHURCHES ON THE PLANET:





San Andrea delle Valle.

Che bella!

Then we realized we were late for dinner and took the buses home.

Not bad for a Wednesday.

Ciao,
Mari

How you know your weekend was successful...(a repost from the LUC blog)


There are two simple questions you should ask yourself to determine whether or not you have had a successful weekend while studying abroad:
1. Am I exhausted?
2. Am I ready to go home?
These questions are particularly helpful in determining the success of a travel weekend. You should note that “home” in the second refers not to your actual birthplace or where your parents live, but the city in which you are studying. In my case, Roma, Italia.
This weekend me and three friends went to Napoli, Capri, and Pompei. We were so so so happy to come back to Roma, not because we’d had bad experiences (we had only wonderful ones) but because we were wore out from our travels.
We got up EARLY Friday morning and took the train to Napoli. There we had the best pizza ever, as well as some of the best gelato. Note, Napoli is not a good place for tourists at night. Italians told us to be careful, so we were. We spent the evening in the hostel and had a wonderful time.
The pizza was totally worth it.
The next day we got up EARLY to go to the ferry to get to Capri. Oh. My. Word. Beautiful. Simply beautiful. Also expensive – we had a wonderful meal on the steps next to a church that we got at a supermarket. Saved a lot of money that way.
Here’s the beach. Don’t you wanna go?
And Capri from the ferry as we were leaving…
On Sunday we got up not quite so early and went to the Museum of Archeology…
Then Pompei…
Finally, home.
And that my friends is a successful weekend.
Love,
Mari