31 December 2011

Feliz Ano Nueve!

(Pretend there's a ~ over that 'n' in the title please.)

Suprise post from Spain! I can't wait to get back to regular posting, but I am enjoying my time here. Journaling has taken over for blogging it seems - I've written almost as much since Dec. 17 in Spain as I did the entire time I was in Rome!

It certainly hasn't been easy here. I think my hardest problem has been the language barrier. Sometimes I think I understand them and start a task, only to discover I missed a crucial instruction! (I'll tell you about the pine cone incident later).

Right now there's a party raging on the property. It's not just a farm; there's actually a small hotel and tonight it's full! I'm in front of the fire I MADE in the living room though (yeah, that's right, I can officially start a fire in a fireplace. I can also catch chickens).

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! The Spaniards chuckled at me when I wished them Happy New Year instead of Feliz Ano (again, pretend there's a ~). We ate 12 grapes as the Church bell rang out midnight.

Note: the Spaniards I were with were much classier. However, there was confusion as to when to start eating grapes.

I would also like to inform you that I'm currently listening to one dog snore, and watching two other dogs twitch in their sleep. So far 2012 is off to a good start.

But seriously, 2011 was an amazing year. I met a lot of awesome people, started my nine months in Europe (and this blog), turned 21 (in Barcelona), and a million other good things. There were a lot of bumps - a lot - but it ended well.

2012 will be better. How do I know? I just do. Because I'm determined that now matter how good or bad it is sometimes I will try to find the good. I will remember that life goes on and life happens and this too shall pass. Even when you just want to wallow.

Because 2011 helped teach/reinforce a lot of that.

Happy New Year!


25 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

Today, I want to give you a hug!

Bon Nadal! Feliz Navidad! Buon Natale! Merry/Happy Christmas!

I want you to know that I didn't spend my Christmas alone after all. Although the family of the farm I'm staying on went to family last night and today, their neighbors came over and we had a wonderful dinner (the Spanish really do eat at 9 at night), wonderful wine, and wonderful conversation (in English and Castellano).

We also watched the end of The Muppets' Christmas and Ice Age 1.

Pictures will come, but probably not until I'm in Ireland - 18 days!!!!

Baci and love this most wonderful holiday,

23 December 2011

Farm in Spain!

Okay guys, here´s the lowdown:

There´s two days of awesome stuff missing from the Barcelona trip - including my birthday! But, due to time and energy contraints they didn´t make it up before I left for Mas de Madalena, the farm where I am wwoofing until January 11. Well, they don´t have wireless here - but since the place is awesome I´ll forgive them.

(OMG, five dogs, two big goats, two little goats, two sheep, lots of chickens, a donkey, a horse, two ADORABLE kids, three rabbits, a very nice and down to Earth couple (Pablo and Bea...Pablo likes to cook), Bea´s parents, some cats....this place is in the mountains....bella. Molta bella.)

In otras palabras, there probably won´t be any posts until I get settled in Ireland around January 13 (Happy birthday Mom!). But I´ll try to maybe give you a couple updates, let you know how feeding the animals and playing with Simone is going (yep, like the busdriver #JFRC) She´s the dog named after one of my favorite Jazz artists Nina Simone.

But here´s the website of where I´m staying: http://www.masdemadalena.com/index.php

And here´s the real Nina Simone:



20 December 2011

Barcelona Day 2

Note, this is a bit behind. I've been very tired in the evenings, especially after Day two which should more appropriately be called Montserrat day...

Really Montserrat is a destination all in itself. It even has a hotel. It's a very sacred place with a long history. I'm not going to go into much here. The link above gives a great brief history. What you need to know is that the mountain goes about 1000 metres above sea level, has a lot of walking trails to various places on the mountain, has a really old monastery and a beautiful basilica, and you can walk, drive, or take the cable car up. We took the cable car up.

Major conquering of fear of heights was involved. 

Not the greatest picture, but this is the interior of the Basilica. The white is a boys choir (rather famous apparently). They were amazing, but I found it funniest when they fumbled with the music.

This gives you an idea of the view. This cross is above the monastery (see lower left corner above rail) at about 800 metres above sea level. The wind was really blowing. This point is called Sant Miguel's.

Following this I went to dinner with a girl I met on the day trip (Nikky) and we had paella! Yum. We then got a pastry for dessert at a little shop, wandered around a bit, and went back to the hostel. So sleepy after all this!


Barcelona Day 1

Hard to believe I'm finally here! I've dreamt of coming here since I first read The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon sometime in middle school. It's crazy! On the first day I did a walking tour of Barri Gotic, aka the old part of Barcelona east of La Rambla, followed by some serious wandering.

The Barri Gotic is full of small twisty streets and alleyways - blink and you'll miss something.

My hand fits! The idea is that if your hand fits the artist's handprint (that would be Gaudi's), you have an artistic spirit. Or something like that. Looks like I do! P.S. this was taken at the Palau Reial

"At a quarter to five I made my way towards the recently opened Estacion de Francia railway station. That year's International Exhibition had left the city strewn with wonders, but my favourite was that temple-like vault of glass and steel..." The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon 

On the day I visited there was a huge vintage festival going on.

This is the fantastical Gaudi Fountain in the Parc de la Ciutadella. You can climb up and around it. While I was there a jogger kept going up and down the stairs. I love the griffins on the ledge separating the two water levels. 

Finally, La Rambla at night. It's a lot less busy than it would be in the summer (the case for Barcelona in general). There are a lot less street preformers. But you still have to watch out for pick pocketers. I've been lucky so far...(knock on wood).


Best Memories

I've been putting this off -writing my last Roma post. My Italian friends can't understand why I don't want to leave when I'm headed to some pretty awesome places! And I am! I am so excited to visit one of my favorite literary landscapes, Barcelona (i.e. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon). I am so excited to meet amazing people and stay in rural Spain for 20 days on an organic farm. I am so excited to meet my new roommate, Emma of Melbourne, and study for a semester in Ireland...yeah, I have a lot to look forward to.

But you know what? Since August 31, Roma has been home. I've met awesome people, done awesome things, been to awesome places....

Well, in short and in no particular order, here are some of my best memories (note: these are only the ones I have photographs of - some, like a certain story about a Capuchin monkey, are not documented)...(also, a lot of these photos have been featured in previous posts, but they're here, b/c, well, I love them).

This one was taken in Venice. Megan and I are not important - the Dad teaching his son to ride a bike is what's important. Life is universal. No matter what our differences in language, beliefs, etc. we all want the same things - to live in security, to be well fed, to raise our children in safe and healthy environments...

This is the tree at the gate to campus - "CHI-TOWN LOVE". So true. The community at the JFRC was fantastic. There was gossip, disagreements, preferred groups of people - but there was also a collective joy in the opportunities the JFRC gave us. I didn't live on campus, but everytime I finally reached the top of the hill and saw the writing, it made the 15 minute walk up-hill a little bit more okay.

Gelatiamo! This was the second night in Roma. My first gelato experience, near Piazza del Popolo on Via del Corso. These girls helped make my experience the great thing it was!

I took this inside the Coloseum. Perhaps this is when I fell in love with sunbursts in my pictures. It was just so humbling to be standing in a place that old, with so much (violent) history. This was also at the beginning of the semester when everything was just a bit more magical and mysterious.

Jazz in Spoleto! It was such a fantastic experience to hear America's music under beneath a clear sky sitting on steps in front of a Duomo in Italy. Damn! Even now it fills me with emotion. Glorious. 


This is the sculpture atop Castel Sant' Angelo, my favorite place you have to pay to get into. I could stare up at him for days. The story behind him? He alighted on the top of Hadrian's tomb to announce the end of the plague. I can't remember when. But for me this picture also represents a day spent at a Papal Audience and also with my roommate/best friend Natalie out and about in Rome.

I love this. It's on Pont Sant'Angelo, the bridge in front of Castel. Lovers put their names on a lock and lock it on a bridge as a sign of eternal love. I've seen these all over Italy and even in Barcelona. It makes me smile. In the background you can see the dome of St. Peters. 

Bet you can't guess where this station of the cross is from? You'd think it was from some modern church but it's actually from inside Santa Maria della Rotanda...or the Pantheon, i.e. the oldest building in Rome still used (or maybe its in continuous use...it was built in the first century). I love the Pantheon - that this beautiful, non traditional art is inside makes me love it even more. 

I rode a donkey up the side of a cliff rising out of th ocean. This was on Santorini. I confronted my fears of heights and riding horse-like creatures. This was a huge moment for me. 

Black beach on Santorini. My name, written with little pumice stones. I walked here with a friend I had made from the hostel. I made my small mark and now its gone. But the beach was beautiful, the company was beautiful, and there is no feeling like staring out at the ocean. Or Aegean sea as the case might be.

The sun sunk into the sea like a seal slipping into the saltwater. Or, in other words, once the sun hit the edge of the water you could almost here it hiss as it disappeared in less than a minute. I shared this with Brie and a bottle of wine, in Fira Town on Santorini. I think this helps illustrate the magic that pervaded the island. 

Anna Pham and her impression of the flower sellers. Spot on. Really annoying. But, they are as much a part of Rome for me as Anna Pham is. That would be an unforgettable and integral part. (Also, I think the girl laughing is Wendolyn, someone I grew close to as we experienced Giacchetti's philosophy class together).

This is at the German WWII cemetery outside Rome. There are 27,400 men buried here, often three deep. Many are unknown, only "Ein Deutscher Soldat" marks their graves. I came here on the WWII weekend trip. We also visited the American cemetery as well as Fosse Ardeatine where 335 Italians were killed in reprisal for the deaths of 33 Nazis. 

I loved Krakow. Except for the cold. This was the first evening when the fog was so heavy. The next day I went to Auschwitz. This was a difficult and awe-inspiring weekend. Krakow is a beautiful city, the Christmas market was great, and I can't wait to go back!

"Here lies one whose name was writ in water" - Keats
The Protestant Cemetery is so beautiful and Keat's epitaph means so much to me as a writer. He considered himself a failure, that his name would be quickly forgotten. As a self-proclaimed writer, I know that I too hope that I will be remembered for my words. Who knows if anyone other than those closest to me will be moved by that which I pour my heart and soul into?

Last night in Rome!!! So sad! And look! The unlit Vatican Christmas tree that was supposed to be lit! And Erin and Tina who's wandering around Rome on my final night made leaving just a little bit easier. 

This sums it up I guess. Me, on the terrace of Castel Sant'Angelo writing in my sketchbook for my Writing Rome class. The class trips provided so many awesome experiences wandering around Rome and getting to write about it! I started writing again and realized what a part of me it is. 

Well, that's all for now. Keep in mind, there were so many amazing experiences and they involved so many people.

Only in Rome is it possible to understand Rome - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

19 December 2011

Pics of Vatican Museum, St. Peters, & the Protestant Cemetery

Here they are guys....pictures from the Vatican Museums, St. Peter's, and the Protestant Cemetery. I'm working on captions, but those take time!!!


18 December 2011

16 December 2011

Words of Wisdom from Another Student

I went to high school with this amazing girl, Tori. She could sit at any lunch table, got along with everyone, and had school spirit to share. She was also one of the most real people I have ever met. She's spent the past semester in Spain. This is the last blog post she's writing on her experience, and I really couldn't have said any of it any better myself, except I might add that "Everyone has a story." This was one of the greatest lessons high school gave me, and traveling has only heightened it. But now, for Tori...


Tori before she left for Spain.


15 December 2011

Grazie....or Prego?!?

Is this seat taken? Prego!
A direct translation of 'Grazie' is Thank you. 'Prego'...well, 'prego' doesn't really have a direct translation. And since "Thank you" has been ingrained into the American psyche as the go-to word, I find myself using it in a lot of situations in which 'prego' would do better. Because really, 'prego' is Italy's go-to word.

Here are how some people translate 'prego'...

Isabel D. (JFRC Student): It depends on context. "Sure thing", "You're welcome", or if you're letting someone through, "Go ahead".

Megan S. (JFRC Student): "You're welcome" or "After you". It literally means "I pray" so I don't really know what that means, but that's what that means.

Laura W. (JFRC Student): It's a bunch of different things. It's just a polite word.

Kaela C. (JFRC Student): "If you please." I wish English had a word for it. A lot of other languages do, like French's s'il vous plait. I don't know - there are so many different ways!

Andrea M. (JFRC Student): It literally means "you're welcome" but it is highly based on context. It could be a reply to a thank you or a you're welcome to my seat on the bus or you're welcome to tell me your order for food. It's kind of all inclusive.

Jacopo P. (Roman Citizen, native Italian speaker): "Don't mention it"?

Anne W. (Librarian who first visted Rome in 1980): "You're welcome" but it can also be "please" so it depends when you say it; it hasn't got one meaning.

Matt C. (JFRC Student): It's the Italian equivalent of a grunt. It's just that their language is prettier than ours so they've given it syllables and letters.

May I photo bomb your picture? Prego!


(P.S. Thank you to Megan for allowing me to use semi-embarrassing photos of her).

Christmas Extravaganza Plan B

So the original plan was for Natalie and me to spend our birthdays in Barcelona, Christmas in Paris, and New Year's in London.

Alas, thanks to benevolent forces, that plan has changed. Natalie will be returning to the JFRC next semester! Which means she has to return home, sit outside the Italian consulate, and get her Visa renewed. So no Christmas Extravaganza.

I, however, am not returning home. Instead, I will spend just under a month traveling on my own. In Spain.

First, I am flying to Barcelona where I will spend five full days wandering around all the city has to offer. I'm extremely excited. Next, I will train it down to Valencia where I will spend 20 days working on an organic farm in exchange for room and board. Finally, on January 12 I will arrive in Dublin, get to Limerick, meet my new roommate, find a place to live, and begin semester 2.

Naturally, I'll let you all know what's going on :).


09 December 2011

Gelataria Crawl...

Yep. As good (and unhealthy) as it sounds.

And I mean honestly, only in Roma could your professor convince your university to give you money to eat gelato.

It's called "an immersive experience".

So this past weekend I found myself taking the bus down to the bottom of the hill and purchasing some delicous gelato.

The first place was FatamorganaAnd it was delicious. I really wish that I had discovered this place earlier - they have so many cool flavors!! It's not my absolute favorite...but I think it's my second.

The two flavors I tried: Kentucky (I mean, come on, I had to) which was described as chocolate and tobacco....Have to say, didn't taste any tobacco. It just tasted...earthier. Bacio - I always have bacio. It's my comparison flavor. This one had a legit hazelnut in it.

Upside: Great choices, all natural ingredients!

Downside: Off the beaten track. As in on a side street that gets no pedestrian traffic. I really hope this place makes it!!!

The second place was Gelarmony. This one, though equally good, didn't have the variety of flavors I was hoping for. However, it was much easier to find. You get off the bus and - Voila! It's there in front of you! I do have to say though, if you like Dreamscicle, try the Mandarin orange flavor. It distinctly reminded me of Dreamscicles.

Beautiful sunset. 

After this I needed to work off the calories and sugar...so I walked down along the Tiber...

Carousels, Santa, balloons, games...

Across to Piazza Navona and the Christmas market...

Jacopo and Natalie

To the Pantheon, and on down to Trastevere where there was a chocolate festival....Nbd.

I'm going to miss Rome. A lot.



08 December 2011

If I had a Christmas Wish list...

So Christmas is coming and although I neither want nor deserve any gifts (this year is gift enough and due only through the help of my friends and family, both monetary and support wise) and although I'm really into this idea of making Christmas NOT about buying stuff, there are some things that I am just loving right now...

1. This dessert stand to put my pumpkin bread on.

2. This wonderful travel thermos to contain one of the few things that I miss about the US - the ability to consume large amounts of coffee at once (the coffee is SO MUCH STRONGER HERE). 

3. Renting my first apartment in Ireland (I'm loving this one! - small but bright!) has me thinking of decorating and such. I like the simplicity and versatility of this vase! 

4. This needs no introduction. 

5. I love owls. I love books. Perfect!

6. I love hats. Love love love. This one is adorable. 

7. I love socks. Especially these. Or any thigh-high or over-the-knee socks. This + nice dress = awesome.
8. This cat mug and spoon! The spoon hangs on the mug! 

 9. This antique brass day bed. That way, in my very small future apartment I can use it as a couch (LOTS OF PILLOWS) as well as have an extra bed!

10. I love to read. I love books. I really like the way this antique barrister book shelf looks with the horizontal glass doors. In my future abode I hope to be able to buy interesting bookshelves to keep my books in/on. 

Yes mom, I know I'm going to need a really good job in the future. :) Hope your Christmas list is coming along well, and that you get what you most want/need this season!



07 December 2011

Protestant Cemetery

One of the on-sites for my Writing Rome class (a class dedicated to writing short fiction set in Rome in which we travel around Rome for class credit...) was the Protestant Cemetery*. Keeping in mind that I have melancholic tendencies (I am a Capricorn** after all), I kinda fell in love with this place.

Photo courtesy of Petanque & Patis
I mean, it's gorgeous - and a lot of famous people are buried there. Keats, Shelley, Gregory Corso, the Bulgaris, Antonio Gramsci...just to name a few.

Below is a micro-fiction*** I wrote prompted by the visit. Please feel free to leave any comments and most importantly, enjoy!

*Which goes by a myriad of other names: Cimitero Accatolico, the English Cemetery, the Non-Catholic Cemetery, that cemetery by the Pyramid...

**I don't actually put much into the signs of the Zodiac. I just think they're fun[ny].

***There's a gypsy cat sanctuary inside the Pyramid area. This note will make sense if you read on.


Lying on her freshly made bed, Audrey stared out into the Piazza della Rotanda. Inside the ancient temple the rain would be pouring through the oculus and smattering the marble floor. Audrey thought that might be how God sounded when he exhaled. Meanwhile, all across the piazza umbrellas were running with determination to various destinations unknown. The typically blackish gray paving stones were now hidden beneath the plethora of colors that were the umbrellas.
Audrey wanted nothing more than to join them, the many constituents of Roma. Residents, tourists, expatriates, immigrants, stray cats…But she was confined to her bed for the next three months. At that time she would make her way to Isola Tiburtina and Ospedale Fatebenefratelli to give birth to a daughter. Until then though, she was more or less confined to her bed and view of the piazza. Though the view was definitely pleasing, she didn’t know how long she would be able to handle the monotony.
“Finisco, Signora – posso uscire?”
“Si, Maria, grazie per la tua assistenza.” The maid left. Audrey wasn’t about to get up to check things out. Her room had been tidied and the bed linens changed. Since she was spending so much time in it, she had insisted on having the linens changed twice a week. She heard the front door open and an exchange occur. Roberto, il uomo della casa, was back.
Outside the window Audrey noticed two birds fighting. They were rather loud – the seagull and pigeon were barking and cooing respectively. Not something you see – or hear – every day, she thought. But she had seen two birds like these fighting before –
When she was little her parents used to go to the Cimitero Accatolico to read and what not – they were both professors, one of literature the other of political science and so there was something for both of them there. Audrey would play with herself and her imaginary friends among the headstones. Beneath the cypresses and flowering trees and among the grave markers and stray cats Audrey would find herself in the depths of an African jungle with tigers and bonobos surrounding her. Other times she would be marooned at sea, the crew of her illustrious pirate ship having mutinied. Still other times she was a witch, haunting the cemetery and collecting mushrooms, bone dust, and exotic flowers for spells and potions. The cemetery had become her playground, bringing life into the cramped quarters of the dead.
Now Audrey recalled one day in particular. It had been cloudy and the ground was soft from recent rain. Audrey’s mother had bundled her up to protect her from the cold and they had walked from their apartment in Testaccio to the graveyard. There Audrey had immediately immersed herself amongst the Bulgaris, Shelly, and Gramsci. Today she was a big game hunter in an African forest. To her right and left were tigers and other dangerous creatures. The rare dodo (which looked suspiciously like a fat pigeon) and the glorious albatross (which looked more like a sea gull) were engaged in an aerial battle. But there! Ahead! The rare calico tiger, standing about a foot tall, about a foot and a half long if you include the tail, and oh beware of its claws…
She stalked the cat from one end of the cemetery to the other. She had spotted it near Gramsci, traced it up to the Aurelian wall, down past Shelley and Corso, around the Angel of Grief and into the area beside the pyramid. There her mother and father were arguing again – but she was focused on il gatto.
“I know you were with her.” Audrey’s mother’s voice was hushed and forced. Audrey stalked the cat along the pyramid fence.
“Elena, you’re paranoid. You want there to be something wrong.” Audrey pounced! But missed, the cat’s tail just slipping out of her hands. She fell and landed in a mud puddle.
“No, Marco, I’m not. I don’t have red hair and I don’t smell like that!” Audrey stood up, looked at her parents and was relieved to find they weren’t looking at her. She’d be in a lot of trouble for falling in the mud. Now, to find that cat again…
“Elena, please, don’t do this now. We have it so well!”
“Yes, you get to sleep with your students while I take care of our daughter and work myself! It’s a great life!”
“Elena, for the last time, stop accusing me of things!”
“So you don’t sleep with them? Tell me once and for all – have you slept with one of your students?”
Audrey spotted the cat cleaning itself of the mud near her mother’s favorite grave, Keats. As she rounded the wall he stopped and looked up at her.
As she and the cat made eye contact she heard the music from the American Westerns in her head, the part that came right before the show down…
“Elena, you’ll never believe me no matter – “
“Audrey! We’re leaving!” Audrey pounced! This time she was successful! As the cat clawed, squirmed, and hissed she thought it was more like wrestling an alligator than catching a tiger. She brought the writhing creature with her.
“Can I keep it?” Audrey’s mother rolled her eyes and opened her mouth for what Audrey knew would be a negative – but then her mother smiled.
“Of course you can keep it – what shall we call it?” At this she turned and looked Marco in the eye and began steering Audrey – and the soon to be tamed tiger – out of the cemetery.
Roberto knocked on the door frame.
“How are you doing, Audrey? How’s the baby?” He came over and kissed her forehead.
“She’s been very active today. Did you see Maria leaving?”
“Yes, on my way in. She said her brother is feeling much better.” Audrey smiled.
“That’s wonderful. Did she mention her fiancé?”
“No, she didn’t say when he was returning – I should go get started grading papers.”
“Of course.” He kissed her again and left the room, gently closing the door behind him. Audrey turned again towards the window. She had named the cat Salute because all her dad had done was sneeze the week before he moved out.
She really missed having a cat. But unfortunately Roberto, like her father, was severely allergic to them. 

06 December 2011

Being sick in Italy

In Italy, everything makes you sick.
Just so you know, I have a cold. Or perhaps it's not a cold - perhaps its one of a myriad of maladies that affect Italians.

Italy has not been good for my hypochondria.

Since the above link established that there are a number of things that can be wrong with you, let's go ahead and enumerate what can make you sick (well, legitimate things):

  1. The pollution level of Roma: It's really polluted here. Which cannot be good for your immune system. I have personal testimonies from people who have lived here for awhile. Well, one testimony. That of my Writing Professoressa. She's been here twelve years and recently told me that my current ear problems could have something to do with Rome's pollution. Which, by the way, has been super high recently prompting driving bans and what not. 
  2. The allergy level of Roma (and Italy for that matter): It doesn't get really cold here, and it stays warmer longer (I'm trying to get a weather widget on here but as yet the how-to escapes me...and yes, part of it is just to make you readers in colder climates jealous). Thus, pollen level and general allergens last longer, i.e. allergy season lasts longer. Which, as one might imagine, isn't good for people with or sensitivities to allergens. 
  3. Stress induced by #studyabroadproblems: You know, no three day weekends left for travel, didn't make it to all the countries you wanted to, four month "study" trip abroad coming to an end, running out of money for gelato (resulting in refusal to use dryers)...really stressful stuff.
    • Or actually stressful stuff like exams, papers, projects, the travel home (or in my case to Barcelona - where I'll be spending seven days - and Mas de Madelena farm - where I'll be wwoofing for 20 days), having no place to live in Ireland....
All this results, for me at least, in snoring, coughing, sinus nastiness, swollen lymphnodes, un mal di testa (head ache), and un mal di gola (which includes, but is not limited to, a sore throat), and ear problems (aka not quite an ear ache but rather an over awareness of my ears. Or that's what I'm referring to it as).

So now I have all natural nasal drops and an antibiotic. I wonder how the Italians feel about over-perscribing antibiotics...(though I think my need is legit). I'm also eating soup from mensa (the cafeteria on campus), drinking tea, and avoiding dairy (consumption of which prompts your body to produce more mucus).

All in all, being sick is making me miss chicken noodle soup and Bob Ross (my personal remedy for illness is laying on the couch eating soup and watching Bob Ross paint). However, I'd much rather be sick here, than back home. 


02 December 2011

Lipton Warming Apple Cinnamon Tea (a repost)

Guess what! I’m sick. I was in Krakow recently (to see Auschwitz – see my thoughts and pics here) and the freezing temperatures killed my immune system. Add that to my already iffy sinus status and add the high smog currently covering Rome and you have a recipe for a cold.

Fortunately, a friend has a remedy.

Drum roll please….

Inside are Yummy and Health.

It really does warm you up inside. It smells like the holidays, like fresh baked apple pie.

I put my mug of water in the microwave for 2 mins 30 seconds. I don’t recommend microwaving water – it’s always best to use a kettle – but my options are limited. Basically, bring your water to a boil. Let steep as long as you like – I just left my bag in there the whole time. Warning – make sure you use a regular size tea cup, rather than a large one (you know, the kind that doubles as a soup/cereal bowl) because the bag isn’t strong enough to flavor that much water very well. It’s a very weak tea if there’s too much water.

I’m getting my own box of this at the local grocery store. And when I return home I’m sure I’ll be able to find it since its a Lipton tea. It will be sitting right next to my Strawberry Berry tea….



(A repost from MyDailyCupofTea.com...see it in its originality here as well as more tea posts!)

01 December 2011

Things We Forget: #755

Things We Forget: #755: tampines, singapore

True true.


The day began with breakfast. A bowl of corn flakes and two pieces of toast and jam. Next, a walk to the coach bus that was taking a group of tourists to Auschwitz and Auschwitz II - Berkinau for a four hour tour.

During the bus ride a film including original footage shot by Soviet soldiers was shown. The images were, of course, disturbing - but there wasn't any footage that I hadn't seen or any information I hadn't heard.

My earliest memory of learning about the Holocaust and WWII was seeing "The Diary of Anne Frank" when I was very young with my mother. I don't remember really understanding much, other than that the theater was neat because the stage was very rounded. My second memory is from the first or second grade. My mom and I only had public television and I remember one night sitting on the couch with her watching a documentary. I remember being frightened that men were going to come down the hallway and take me. In the eighth grade we preformed "The Diary of Anne Frank," using our church for a theater. Kenny Stevenson chose Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings" to play during the arrest scene.

I learned more about the Holocaust and the many attrocities of the 20th century throughout middle and high school. And always there was Auschwitz - the Germanized name of a Polish town about an hour outside Krakow where, in a series of three camps, about 1.5 million people were methodically abused, tortured, used, and exterminated.

Thanksgiving weekend of 2011 I traveled there for the first time. I am sure it will not be the last - some day I hope to take my children there. But, I hope to put several years between me and my next visit.

It was one of the hardest days of my life, and one of the most important.

I remember...

  • the looks on other visitor's faces - universal despite language barriers - the look of horror, disgust, despondency, fear of opening your mouth because you don't know what to say and you don't know if you'll get sick...
  • the two tons of human hair, and the roll of material made out of human hair  by a German textile factory...
  • the image of a triplet baby tortured by Dr. Mengele...
  • the 1.5 km walk from one end of Berkinau to the other...
  • the cell where Maximillian Kolbe saved another man's life by offering to starve to death in his place (the man was present at Kolbe's beatification)...
  • the pond where they disposed of the ashes...and learning that they also used human ashes for fertilizer...
  • so much more...

My actions after returning to Krakow show my great fortune despite any problems I might have. I went to a restaurant, enjoyed the warmth, and ate Borsht soup and pierogies. I had dessert. I had coffee. I went back to my hostel and left the cold behind, sleeping in my warm, clean bed. 

I am so blessed. Beyond all else, seeing the museum at Auschwitz and seeing Berkinau preserved as it was found helps remind me that above all I am blessed. Because I have choice, I have food, I have warmth, I have medicine...

I'm blessed.