Friday, December 16, 2005

The last day of florence.

On the last day... meet my roommates: Marcy, Kara, Meg, and Steph. Of all the things in Florence, these people are what I will miss the most. The laughter, tears, and memories shared together will never be forgotten.

I leave Florence Saturday morning at 6am and will arrive in San Francisco at 10pm on Saturday night, a total of 25 hours of traveling- ahhh! If you remember, please pray for safety.

More posts to come, I'm sure

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The 2nd day of florence.

On the 2nd day... meet Romeo, the most amazing photo professor. I got along so well with Romeo because he is what most represented a Westmont professor for me, someone who actually cares about students and their work. And besides that, he is an incredible photographer. I will miss him.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The 3rd day of florence.

On the 3rd day... meet "Casa Boschi," the Woods' Home. For photography, my semester long project was to photograph the owner of the house (Elsa) and her farm. Elsa taught me more about life in these three months than I could have imagined, especially about forgiveness. I will miss her.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The 4th day of florence.

On the 4th day... meet the view from Piazza Michelangelo. You can the little hike to a place where all of Florence is visible. Brilliant!

Monday, December 12, 2005

The 5th day of florence.

On the 5th day... meet the Central Market. This two story building is filled with fresh food vendors. The first floor is breads and meats, and the second floor is fruits and vegetables. Not only are these items the freshest in town, they are also sold at the best price.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The 6th day of florence.

On the 6th day... meet my favorite restaurant: Acqua al Due. Mmmm, so good- especially the balsamic steak. Yes, if you look closely you will see the words San Diego on the sign. Yes, this restaurant is also in San Diego. Yes, you should go (order the steak).

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The 7th day of florence.

On the 7th day... meet gelato, the most loved dessert. My favorite is fragola e limone (strawberry and lemon). Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Friday, December 9, 2005

The 8th day of florence.

On the 8th day, meet Maria, also known as #8. Her store is 100 yards from our apartment and she sells the most marvelous goodies and trinkets, oh yeah- and peanut butter. She loves when we come visit her, sometimes we even get free chocolate bars.

Thursday, December 8, 2005

The 9th day of florence.

On the 9th day, meet the Ponte Vecchio. "Old Bridge" is a wonderful place to relax and shop- it is illegal to sell anything other than fine jewelry on the bridge. I will miss this beautiful tourist trap.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

the 10th day of florence.

On the 10th day of Florence, meet Roberto Nesti, my interior design professor. he is an architect, professor at 2 schools in florence, and the bounciest 50 year old man i have ever met. he loves his jobs, and i'd say he's pretty good at what he does.

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

the 11th day of florence.

On the 11th day of Florence, meet the Duomo. I walk by this amazing place often; it comes complete with gawking tourists, begging gypsies, and Florentines who hardly take notice of its' beauty.

Monday, December 5, 2005

the 12th day of florence.

My last 12 days in Florence you will get to view the people/ places/things that I will miss the most...On the 12th day of Florence, meet Mierco, the man I buy sandwiches from weekly. Mierco helps me with my Italian while I eat my "fontina e proscuitto panino."

Sunday, December 4, 2005

chocolate, waffles and beer.

Belgium, quite the place. I wouldn't say that I am amazed by Brussels; it is an oversized urban city that has some pretty important buildings and people that work in them. For example, NATO's headquarters are here along with the EU (European Union). Neat.

Meg and I decided to splurge and stay at the Hilton because we found a great deal and only ended up paying 10 euro more than our normal hotel budget. Time was spent with Meg's boyfriend, Anders, and their friend Andrew. They took us around Brussels and were quite the tour guides. We went to the music museum; I really enjoyed listening to all kinds of different instruments; definitely worth the 3 euro. We ate, ate, and ate some more... Waffles and chocolate of course. Supposedly the beer is the best in Belgium so I had one sip and I still don't like it; oh well.

Saturday was spent in Brugge, an hour away from Brussels. Brugge is home to the best chocolate in the world. It's a quaint little town that hasn't changed since the 1600's. Everyone should go to Brugge, just for the architecture and the chocolate.

My traveling is over. Sad. Florence for the next 13 days. Crazy, really.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Everyone should go to Prague.

Thanksgiving: just okay. SACI (my school) provided a dinner for us at a fancy hotel; pasta, turkey, and potatoes. Definitely not home but I got through the day. That marks my first Thanksgiving away from family and I'm hoping it's my last. Though, I have no complaints, I am thankful for my experience here and what I have.

On Friday all of Italy decided to go on strike, the day Meg and I were headed to Prague. Not just a little strike in one little town...the whole country- trains from 9-1, planes from 12-4, buses from 4-8, and whoever else that wanted to, whenever they wanted to. The result: a delayed plane and 7 extra hours in the Milan airport. Finally we was 11pm and thanks to a hotel with an amazing heater, we defrosted and fell asleep. Saturday was spent walking over 23,000 steps to the Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, and Old Town. I found some sweet Christmas gifts for some sweet family members and enjoyed the historic and romantic city that we call Prague. As it started to snow, Meg and I decided to be adventurous and see a black theater show. Originally we wanted to see the marionette show but the sales lady convinced us that the show we went to would be 13 times better than the marionette off we went. It was the weirdest hour and ten minutes that I have ever been entertained by and I'm not sure if entertained is the right word. Between the Tetris and Enya music, the black lights, and the whole show based on mythology (something I know little about), I couldn't help but giggle to myself. It was ridiculous, so ridiculous that I'm not even going to waste your time writing about it.

Sunday was spent at the Jewish Quarter, quite an amazing place. At some point in history, the Pope had declared that Jews and Christians shouldn't live together which resulted in a walled in ghetto of about 11,000 Jews. Later discrimination was decreased as the walls were torn down but soon after, the Jewish Quarter was annihilated by Hitler. The two places that impacted me the most were the Pinkas Synagogue and the Old Jewish Cemetary: The Synagogue's walls are covered with 77,297 names of Czech Jews who were sent to concentration camps. Though Katz is a common Jewish last name, my heart still hurt to see my name on that wall. The cemetery is filled with 12,000 tombstones stacked on and around each other due to limited space and the Jewish belief that the body shouldn't be moved once buried. The Jewish Quarter is worth visiting, so much history belongs in that small area.

Prague was unforgettable and beautiful. Ahh! I almost forgot. The Czech Republic is where beer began, so I had a beer. I hate beer, but I "had" to try for about one Euro, I had a pint and probably drank 5 sips. Here are my three phases to drinking beer...cheers!

Stay tuned for Brussels, I leave on Thursday...

Monday, November 21, 2005

Jenna and 1-2-3-4 days.

Some time has passed. Nothing worth posting about until now... two weekends ago I was in Florence instead of Paris and this past weekend Jenna Johnson came from Switzerland. Jenna graduated from Westmont (1.5 years ago) and we have someone in common: her sister, Carissa, who I like to call my best friend. Jenna is a missionary working for Youth for Christ and had the opportunity to take a weekend away and come to was very relaxing and comforting.

1 day until it's really cold in Florence, oh wait, that was today and probably still tomorrow. It's okay, I love the cold.
2 days until it is supposed to snow in Florence...too bad it won't stick.
3 days until my family will sit around a table being loud and crazy to celebrate the North American holiday that we call Thanksgiving. I will probably get a call and be put on speaker phone. Then I will hang up the phone and sit on my bed and think about being in California. Then my eyes will get teary and I will probably cry as I spend the first Thanksgiving away from home. I haven't thought much of Thanksgiving until today; an American holiday that is a good excuse for family to get together... it sounds so good right now.
4 days until I hop on a plane for Prague. I am so excited.

Side note: I'm not homesick, I just have a lot to come home to... Christmas, wedding in Colorado, brother's wedding in San Diego. Holy's wedding. 23 year old brother's wedding. When did he turn 23? Rather, when did I turn 21? It was just yesterday that we were on our farm shooting a super soaker at a stray dog which led to the 3 inch scar on my left hip. Marriage. Crazy, really. Am I losing a brother? No. I am gaining a wonderful, beautiful, and talented sister. WoooHooo!

After the wedding I need a place to live and a job, any ideas?

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Dinner, Cake, and Friends

This past Wednesday, Westmont's Europe semester made their way to Florence. Europe semester is a group of 40 Westmont students and 2 professors traveling through twelve countries for a whole semester... It was so good to see them and spend time with familiar faces; we ate together (a lot!) and even made a cake, which turned out AMAZING.

I have some bad news... Meg and I have decided not to go through with our trip to Paris this weekend due to awful rioting (read about it here) and a lack of funds. It's a bummer that I won't see the Eiffel Tower and experience Paris, but not going ensures that I eat for the rest of the semester...and I think I will be back to Europe someday soon. My favorite big sis (Jenn Yerkey, my RA on the Urban program) comes tomorrow- yay, a sleepover! So for now, have a good evening.

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

England: You changed my life.

On Friday (10/28) at around 7am I got on a train from Florence and went to the Pisa Airport. From the airport, I flew to Glasgow, Scotland because Ryanair was offering a flight for 10 euro. Once I arrived in Scotland, I was there for approximately 7 minutes as I ran to catch my train where I would spend the next six hours traveling South throughout the United Kingdom to Bath, England. At the train station I was greeted by Val Coyne, Kieran's mom. Kieran was my brother's roommate at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City two summers ago. They did "Fire in the Night," which meant they were praying from 12am-6am nightly. I had only met Kieran twice before arriving in Bath...once in Kansas City and once in California where I told him I was coming to Europe and asked if I could see Bath...I don't think he took me seriously, but through email, I was in Bath for 3 days.

Paul and Val were wonderful; I was staying with them as Kieran lives in a house full of guys in the center of town. Of course, when we arrived at the house they offered me tea and we chatted for a good hour (Kieran was at a 'gig' in Bristol) about anything and everything- their other kids, politics, the geography of the UK and how they thought I was crazy for sitting on a train for 6 hours...I tried to explain to them that to get from San Francisco to Santa Barbara is 6 hours so it was no big deal! Anyway...

Saturday morning I woke up nice and early (7am!!) and Val took me down to Kieran's house where we got in a car and drove to London. Kieran, Ben and I went to different parts of London and had a lot of fun. I definitely saw things I wouldn't have gone to on my own, so it was great (ie: Camden Town = punk rock/goth city). Kieran insisted I eat an English meal: pie & mash (lamb) Sounds gross but it wasn't that bad. I'm not going to go searching for it or find a recipe, but I had to experience it. After London we went back to Kieran's and just relaxed as we were exhausted.

Sunday was amazing. Kieran and I went to his parent's a house, like in Acts. Four families that get together on Sunday and throughout the week to meet with Jesus. Then we went back home for lunch and then to a housewarming party at 3...teas, scones, cakes...all wonderfully English. After the party we went to BURN, the youth group that Kieran helps with. If you are from Visalia and you are reading this, his youth group was pretty much the same as Savior's old youth group...I didn't think anything like that existed besides in Visalia...newsflash, there are other cool/passionate people besides Visalia kids! Not being a part of a church since I've been in Florence has been difficult, but this service filled my hunger- it was incredible.

Monday I packed up my bag and went down to the restaurant where Kieran works...I had my first flap jack (AMAZING!) and did some strolling around Bath. Soon after, I got a train into London. I'm not going to be corny and say that Bath took my breath away, but when you experience a city with someone who lives there, you aren't really a tourist...I saw things differently. I actually only took a few photos because we were so busy doing other things, but I'm not worried as I think I will spend more than 3 days there at one point in my life. Everyone was welcoming, everyone was friendly...I would like to be back there soon. Later in the day I met my roommate, Marcy, in London and we walked around and got show tickets..she saw Blood Brothers (a musical, not the band) and I saw The Producers. I thought it was okay. Tuesday, I went into Oxford and strolled around, what a beautiful city. I'm partial to Bath but Oxford was phenomenal. After, I went back into the city and saw the things you have to see...Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, etc. Then I got a ticket for We Will Rock You, a show with music by Queen. I absolutely loved it! Went back to the hostel and got up soon after to catch my plane...I'm exhausted as I write this, but Westmont's Europe Semester is arriving to Florence in 2 hours- I'm pretty excited. I have the rest of this week off, it's my fall break. Fun, huh.

So when I left the UK I was quite sad..a little teary eyed..I really fell in love with that country. I know I didn't see that much but everything about it was so good. The culture, the accent, the beauty..I guess I'm choosing not to think about the States as a whole and all that I have there. I'm going to go back...hopefully soon.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Barcelona: A questionable place.

Abridged Version:
Day 1: Almost miss the train, travel, travel, travel. (Ryanair = Good) Bad hostel. Move to cheap hotel. Lunch. Gaudi's hotels. Lauren & Adrianne. Sleep.
Day 2: Breakfast. Sagrada Familia. Gaudi Land. Lunch. My friendship crush. Water show. Dinner. Sleep.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Unabridged Version:
Day 1: Friday, October 21

I go to bed at 12:30 am, set my alarm for 3 hours and 15 minutes later. BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ, snoooze. BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ, snooze. BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ, snooze. Meg turns on the hall light, "Emily, our train leave in 13 minutes!" I jump out of bed and run out the door, not having any time to brush my teeth. (Ew) We run to the train station, which is only 2 blocks from our house. We buy our tickets and of course, we don't forget to validate. Phew, we made it.

We get to the Pisa Airport. This is the part where I fully promote Ryanair. We have our passports and confirmation number in hand. Within 2 minutes (no exaggeration) we are holding our boarding passes. Not only do we leave exactly on time, we arrive in Gerona 15 minutes early. Amazing. They are the Southwest of Europe. The best part: our round trip ticket was only 50 Euro.

Here's the breakdown:
Train: Florence to Pisa (1 hour)
Plane: Pisa to Girona (1.25 hour)
Bus: Girona to Barcelona (1 hour)

Finally, we arrive in Barcelona. Our hostel is located off of Las Ramblas street, the happening place in Barcelona. First we can't find it, then we are sad that we did find it because it was AWFUL. We walk to the door and there is a homeless man close to the door with raw chicken meet surrounding him. (Homeless man, no big deal..raw chicken meat- big deal!) Up the stairs we go and I start to think of a movie where the drug dealers all live together in the motel and the only thing in their rooms are a bed and a sink. Maybe a window. We get to the front desk. Our room isn't ready. We try to communicate as best we can; I'm mixing up Spanish and Italian. She hates us, we are American. The room is ready. Up more stairs, my thoughts of the drug dealing motel became a reality. Our room was filthy. I didn't know what to do with myself. If we stayed, I wouldn't shower or use the restroom. I couldn't hold it for 48 hours = bladder infection! So we made a plan...leave the stuff and go find a new place. Once we find a new place, come back and get the stuff.

We leave; we find a budget hotel that was AMAZING (Well, anything is amazing after coming from the worst hostel EVER). Then our Barcelona adventure begins; it's too bad it started off sour... We visit 2 of Gaudi's apartment buildings. Do you know who Gaudi is? If you don't, it's okay, I didn't before I came. You have 5 more years before you have to know who he is (they predict the Sagrada Familia will be finished in 2010- More info on day 2).

6PM: Meet Lauren (Cano) and Adrianne (Allen) for tapas and dinner! Woo hoo! (Westmont people who are studying abroad in Spain) After a lot of walking and finally finding the restaurant, we shared a night of laughter with these two Westmonters. I give them a lot of credit for studying in Spain...Then, Meg and I slept AMAZING in our CLEAN hotel with FRIENDLY front desk people. Yah!

Day 2: Saturday, October 22

Breakfast at the hotel (free!)-- bonus points for them. Metro to the Sagrada Familia (The Sacred Family). Here is the description in the brochure: "The construction of this unique Temple began in 1882, and one year later Antoni Gaudi was appointed Project Director. He worked on the project over 40 years until his death in 1926" (in 1926 he got hit by a bus and no one helped him cause they didn't know who it was- sad!) ..."Eight of the twelve bell towers of the façade, dedicated to the Apostles and having a height exceeding 100 meters, are already built. The four belfries awaiting construction are those of the Façade of Glory, the 170 meter central dome in honor of Jesus Christ, the Tower of the Virgin Mary and the Tower of the 4 Evangelists. From the very beginning, the only financing for building the Temple of the Sacred Family came only from private donations, and it continues to be the same today." The project is due to be finished in 2010, which hopefully I can go back to see. You should, too- it's beautiful.

Then we went to see more of Gaudi's masterpieces. A wonderful park that I like to call "Gaudi Land" where we just sat and watched the people. Then, back to Las Ramblas area for walking around and lunch at the Foccaciaria. After lunch, we found a great example of my definition of a "Friendship Crush" (A person that you have a strong desire to create a friendship with). A green-high-top wearing, piano playing, horn honking, tambourine stomping, drum banging, money making- entertainer. Barcelona is full of people who dress themselves up as whatever and stand still on the street until someone throws in 5 euro cents and then they act. I was never impressed, in fact- I think they are rather annoying and people shouldn't give them money. And then..and then..we hear music, we walk closer...we's amazing! Real talent! He plays the piano and he's real good. While playing, he uses his feet to play the drums and honk horns as people toss their money into his bucket. In one song, he had 16 people throw their change in. In 30 minutes, he had 47 people (including me) walk up and toss in their money. A horn would honk or a "Grathias" would be heard (Yes, Grathias not Gracias- Spaniards have a lisp). I was fully entertained. For an hour. No joke, I sat there for an hour. Meg convinced me it was time to go as he would keep looking behind him, surprised to see us still there, listening. I think he makes $200 Euro an hour. Crazy.

Dinner and a water show concluded the night. Then sleep. An early rise got us back to Florence within 5 hours. I hear Barcelona is great for night life, but man, we were just too tired. Not to mention, we didn't want to get pick pocketed and we aren't known to get crazy on the dance floor and drink our brains out. Oh well, fun was still had.

What I learned:
1. Gaudi is a amazing, I'm back in 2010.
2. You can make a lot of money being a street entertainer.
3. Don't be surprised if the pictures from the hostel website are photo shopped. case you were wondering, the homesickness is gone and as I think about December 17, I get sad :(

Monday, October 17, 2005

14-15 October, simply amazing.

My favorite place in Italy: No cars. No scooters. Only boats.
117 small islands jammed together, separated only by canals.
Ladies & Gentlemen, welcome to Venice.

*Yes, we paid the touristy fee to ride on a Gondola- couldn't resist; the view at sunset was incredible. *Above is a picture of Marcy (roommate) and I on the Ponte Rialto. *Yes, I really asked if he would take a picture with me. *A trip to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum was made; she is buried there along with 12 of her dogs. No joke. *The sweet quote is in Peggy's garden. I really enjoy modern art and Venice.

Sunday, October 9, 2005

9.10.5 today's photo.


Saturday, October 8, 2005

8.10.5 today's photo.


Wednesday, October 5, 2005

shopping and meals galore!

since my mom and barry have been here, there have never been meals that have tasted so good. it makes a huge difference when you are cooking for yourself and shopping for food all the time versus someone taking you out, ordering appetizers, and the best euros were being removed from my wallet. i loved meeting their friends, Andy & is such a small world as Andy's daughter just became apart of the sorority that my roommate is apart of...weird! times were had as we went to fantastic restaraunts, including il latini, a family style place with a mad rush to get in and amazing food.

happy 4-day to all the westmonters.

Saturday, October 1, 2005

a little refresher: mom.

my mom arrived on thursday and she has been lovely to be with. she has definitely been the chicken noodle soup in my home'sick'ness. i have spent the last two nights with her and she wants to see everything- i love it. as i rush through the streets of florence to go to the grocery store or grab some lunch, she has reminded me of where i am as... she ....strolls.... along... stopping to... appreciate everything about... the culture....... including every woman's outfit that she loves to comment on...... we have decided it is our favorite to see a woman dressed to the nines riding on her bicycle (which comes complete with pointy-toed-heels and a fancy skirt, can you even imagine? i will take a picture for you). by the way, can anyone inform me as to what exactly the phrase- dressed to the nines- means? 9 out of 10? that's my only guess.

things are getting better. when i get homesick i have to remember that this world isn't about me and people probably don't miss me as much as i miss them right now in this moment.

by the way...grandpa, have you really stayed at the Savoy? you lucky lucky dog.

i don't have plans for the next two weekends- anyone have any good ideas? oct 21-22-23 is reserved for barcelona and after that is my week long break; london here i come, and maybe ireland, oh- and europe semester to florence!! ... just got tickets to prague and paris; working on tickets to a coldplay show in bologna (40 euro-cheap!) and will be throwing a party when that is confirmed. maybe i will go to switzerland? i hear taking the train at night can be people, people, i need some ideas!

on a more serious note, you can write a little email to your favorite (or more like not favorite) senator/rep about reinstating fare wages for the gulf coast workers from all the hurricane mess; it is super easy and will take 53 seconds. who doesn't have 53 seconds when it comes to justice? (that, folks, is a guilt trip) me to fight for justice!


Saturday, September 24, 2005

ugh, phase 2 of studying abroad.

If you've ever studied abroad you'll know what I'm talking about, if not, you can imagine...

There's this part of my life right now where I've scratched my head and realized, "Hey! I'm not on a vacation in Italy- I live here. I won't be riding on an airplane to end this two week vacation. I'm here for three more months."

I think this is the second of the four phases of studying abroad and I don't like it. I don't think I'm homesick, but I would rather be where I'm comfortable: in a dorm, at the DC, going to Chapel, speaking English, etc. Pray for me, please?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

22.9.5 photo of today.

yes ladies and gentlemen, here is the birthday picture. i had my first cosmo tonight (yikes). yes, i also waited until i was 21 in italy to have an alcoholic beverage. i'm kind of a dork, i know.

this photo does not qualify for second place or even a spot in the running, but this is how many mentos i had today (within 25 minutes) because i didn't have a birthday cake.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

21.9.05 today's photos.

this is my roommate, steph, looking out to the city from the duomo.

this photo won second place. gotta love the tourists.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

the place most recommended: cinque terra

It's Saturday night in Florence and I'm exhausted.

Grocery Stores...The grocery system here is SO different than in the States. For example, if you want milk or cheese you go to the local Lateria. If you want bread you go to the corner bakery. If you want meat you go to the butcher shop (the one with the pig heads in the window and the family of mini pigs sitting around a table enjoying themselves while eating another pig). My roommate found a great place called Standa; it's the closest thing to a Vons but it's about ten blocks away so it's kind of a pain to carry potatoes over your shoulder.

Classes...I am officially in all of my classes and I think it is going to be fantastic. Interior Design is going on a field trip to Verona on Monday. We are going to the second largest furniture expedition in the world, it will be fun. Photography is phenomenal; Romeo (pronounced Row-may-oh) is a professor who cares so much about his students and their work, while pushing us to get better- it reminds me of Westmont. Jewelry class is great too, no explanation. Lastly, Italian class. So hard, but good at the same time. I am getting better, believe it or not. (Mi Chiamo Emily. Sono studentessa d'Italiano. Abito in Firenze. Arrivederci! = My name is Emily. I am a student of Italian. I live in Florence. Goodbye!)

Mosquitoes...The bug from hell. I have 6 on one ankle, 8 on the other, 5 on one elbow, 3 on the other, and 2 on each wrist making the grand total 26. Tomorrow I'm sure there will be a new count. For some reason I thought that they would just stop biting me as time went on but that is probably the worst idea I've come up with this whole week. I need to go to a "hardware store" to get mosquito killer.

Cinque Terre... The place that [probably] 14 of you told me to visit. Well, Meg and I made our way there on Friday morning. Meg and I are both E-N-F-J personality types and if you know anything about Meyers Briggs, a "J" is generally not spontaneous, has to have things perfectly planned and organized, and is very structured. Meg and I went with out a place to sleep. We just got on a train. Should I repeat that? We didn't have a place to sleep. SO UNLIKE ME. It was so adventerous of us, I can't believe it. Some of you are thinking "What's the big deal" while I smile in my new found spontaneity. We stayed for one night in a great place and ate like real Italians- appetizers and a meal over four hours.

Planning Trips... The island of Elba and Pisa next weekend, Mom comes for the next two weekends, Prague after that, then Barcelona, followed by London, then off to Paris. Fun, huh?

How am I... Good, tired, adjusting. There is so much that happens in a day that it has been hard to just sit and think. I have been journaling a lot and I really appreciate it. I have class M-T-TH starting at 9 so if I want to get up and be productive before the street vendors come out, it needs to be at 7 in the AM. When I came back from Cinque Terre it was good to walk up to the apartment and feel excited to be "home." We are going to church again tomorrow and we went to the church dinner this past Wednesday. It is real comforting to go to an American church here. I think that this semester will be one that is real lonely-- even though I am surrounded with a few friends here, it just will be. That is what college has been for me...freshmen year, @ Urban, as an RA, now in Florence = lonely. It is a good lonely though. No need to worry. God is becoming so much bigger here, especially in this city that feels so religious, but so apathetic at the same time. I am learning more about myself and what I do and don't like.

Things I like: Peace (Pace in Italian). Children at the train station who love to be photographed. Julie Pointer's Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. Personal TV screens on long airplane rides. JG's 'A Brighter Green'. Being bored on vacation. The book of James. Adoptions & Children. The enunciation of most words in Italian. When people are so sure and they say 'Absolutely!'

Things I don't like: War. Language barriers when trying to communicate. Abortions. Girls who cuss (Yes, I've stopped for the most part.) Awkward lip rings. People who don't keep themselves informed.

I miss you. Here is my address in case you forgot:

Emily Katz
c/o Studio Art Centers International
Palazzo dei Cartelloni
Via Sant'Antonino 11
50123 Florence-Italy

Five days until I am an official adult. I don't like the idea of that. Ughh, do I have to? Twentyone... after Carter turned twentyone I called him old at every birthday. In my mind everyone under twentyone is young and everyone over twentyone is old (Michele, we can talk about this later- you aren't old). When you are twentyone you get the privilege of being somewhere in between, wait... is that a privilege?

On that note, off to bed.