Monday, January 30, 2012

First day of class!

Today was the first day of school at LDM (Lorenzo de' Medici). I only had one class, HR Management, at 6pm! The class meets once a week for 2.5 hours. I'm gonna have to find a way to get used to these 2.5 hour classes since I'm used to taking 50 minute classes!

So HR Management went well! The teacher, Stefano, is a middle-aged native, born in Italy who studied in Boston for several years. He ended up loving the US so much that he stayed long enough to get US Citizenship. He's really cool and has an interactive teaching style. I'm really excited for this class because it's 1)not a science class 2)love management 3)smaller size (20 students, unlike my 300 person lectures)

Anyway- backtracking through my day.

So I woke up at 12pm, which is the earliest I've gotten up all week. I walked around and ran some errands. I bought my italian book, applied for my Permit of Stay and went to the post office. At the post office, everything was in Italian! I just needed to buy stamps to put on my postcards.. but I didn't even know how to say stamps. LOL. The way the post office is set up is, you press a button for the type of service you need and get a number. I lucked out and pressed the right button "P"...When my number was called, I managed to say 4 stamps, Quanto costa..etc. I always mumble some spanish words, because some words are similar.

Overall, I was pretty productive during the day. I am finally getting settled in and can navigate through the city alone! Wooooo. Excited for my 2 classes tomorrow!!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Finally being domestic!

Today, I felt like an Italian housewife.

I woke up at 8:30am to go to the San Lorenzo market to buy some fresh ingredients for tonight's dinner and a few snacks for the next couple of days. The market is closed on Sunday and Monday, and almost most shops are closed on those days too. So you almost have to plan ahead for those days.

Alli and I had several things on our list. We bought a really good EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), some meat, loaf of bread, salt with italian herbs, peppercorns, handmade pasta, garlic, onion, tomatoes, oranges, and apples! The list may go on and on..
We started off indoors and made our way outside to the tent. There are many meat shops, many bakeries, fruit and veggie counters..It's hard to choose between them because for the most part prices are about the same. I'm sure we will figure it out and become regulars at some of these counters!
When ordering and asking for certain produce, you have to tell them a quantity in Kilograms. This is kind of difficult to measure out. I can't wait to start taking my Italian class so I can actually practice it! :)

Alli said I did a really good job today! Haha. We payed correctly and managed to get all the things on our list, except for some balsamic vinegar.

Did you know? It's considered rude to touch the produce with your own hands and handpick the things you want. Instead, you point and tell the owner how much you want of what and he/she will get it for you.

After 45 minutes of grocery shopping, my roomies and I headed to the Ponte Vecchio to meet up with other API students. We had our cooking class at "In Tavola," a private cooking school.

We learned to make Eggplant caprese, gnocchi, ragu alla bolognese (traditional meat sauce), sugo all'aglione (tomato and garlic sauce), and tiramisu.
Everything tasted SO good. My favorite was the Eggplant caprese and the Tiramisu! I can't wait to try making these again.

After the 3 hours of cooking, we wandered the streets and went shopping at Coin. Coin is their department store. We just bought a few household things that we needed... I bought a laundry hamper, and the lady gave me the LARGEST bag on earth. It was bigger than I was.

Took a nap, obviously..still jetlagged. Then cooked a simple dinner with Alli! We made a yummy pasta with some bread and olive oil! :)

Now we are gonna get ready to go out! Gotta celebrate the last weekend of winter break....hehe! Ciao~

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sleepy head

I fell asleep last night iMessaging my sister at 4 am...and slept through til 5pm.
YES, 5PM! How crazy is that? Talk about jetlag.

So pretty much my plans to go to the San Lorenzo market (which is 30 feet from my apartment) was shot. My roommates and I went to the nearby trattoria, Zaza, for dinner. We ordered their house red wine, bruscetta, prosciutto dish to start off. I then ordered a risotto with saffron, zucchini, shrimp, and truffles! SO flavorful and delish. Then we had a could you resist??

I need to get on a regular sleeping schedule! My roomies and I have a cooking class at 10:45am at the Ponte Vecchio...we cannot miss. I heard we make homemade gnocchi and tiramisu! Pictures to come for sure!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Venturing out

Is this real life???? Yes. Still hasn't hit me yet that I'm here for school, and not for vacation.

Day or night the Duomo never ceases to amaze me. On Tuesday, we went on a walking tour around the city and learned about some of Florence's history.

Walking across the beautiful!

For dinner, a group of the girls decided to go to Moyo. The ambiance was cool and they offered an aperitivo. The way an aperitivo works is you order a drink, and you can help yourself to the dishes they have a light buffet. We payed 7 Euros for wine and dinner. The food was really good! Some dishes included, couscous, a salad with tuna, rice with vegetables, pesto sandwiches, mini caprese pizzas..etc! All very light and flavorful.

Afterwards, we met up with our guy friends Greg and Paul. We decided to go out to this local bar that has a Beatles cover band play on Tuesday nights. The bar "Bebop" was in the basement, and it was packed with Italians. My dad would've loved this place. It was hard to get a good picture, so just use your imagination.

Then we went to a place called House of Sizzle, and ordered pitchers of frozen margs. This place was full of Americans. Felt like I was 16 again, going to my first "club" H2O in Ocean City, MD... No comments necessary. It was still fun, listening to American music.

Today, we moved out of the hotel, and into our apartment! It's conveniently located by the Mercato Central, and by our classes! Take a look at the van, my roommates and I filled up...5 girls= lots of luggage.

Here's a sneak peak of our cute apartment!!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sono qui

Boy did I miss flying internationally. It makes you feel spoiled after riding domestic flights. Air France met my standard by having a personal tv behind every head rest and providing decent food. Too bad I couldn’t sleep comfortably during the 6-7 hour flight to Paris. Luckily, Alli and I had the whole row to ourselves and were able to sprawl out.

We had a very smooth flight to Paris. Kudos to the pilot for the best landing, ever. Not even kidding. As we were connecting in Paris at the Charles de Gaulle airport, we noticed about 20 US students who were connecting also. Alli and I were a bit embarrassed for them, because they were being completely obnoxious. No wonder Parisians hate Americans. One girl yelled “Who wants champagne? Chardonnay? It’s on me!” Let’s take into account that it is 6 in the morning.

Alli kept saying, I really hope they’re not on our flight to Florence. 5 minutes after we boarded our small plane, the obnoxious girls walked on. Hahaha…Of course that would happen.

On a brighter note, I am impressed to say that there have been very attractive Europeans thus far.

Anyway- we arrived at our hotel, Hotel Baglioni, which is located in the heart of Florence right by the station. The hotel’s beautiful!

It still hasn’t really hit me yet that I will be here for several months. Tonight, at dinner we had a 5 course meal at the hotel’s rooftop restaurant. The view from the restaurant overlooked the Duomo. Nbd… Also our dinner lasted for 3 hours, love that!

The lovely table setting

A sneak peak of one of the courses

So excited for what’s in store! This week, we have orientation and a lot of activities to get to know the city. On Wednesday, Alli and I will be moving into our apartment, which is located right by the Mercato!

Buena Sera! Ciao~

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Buon viaggio!

This time tomorrow I will be boarding my flight to Paris, then eventually arriving in Florence! I am beyond ecstatic...and better yet, READY! My bags are all packed, with the exception of a few last minute things. Of course, I managed to pack full bags even though I told myself, less is more.
Whatever, what can you do. At least I'll be prepared!

I'll be sure to take lots of photos to share with you guys. Arrivederci!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy Recruiting!

Why am I not in Blacksburg right now?
I'm one of the few individuals who LOVED going through the process as a Potential New Member (PNM) and LOVE to recruit for the chapter.

I'm going through some major withdrawals. ADPi withdrawals.

I've been separated from my sisters for about a solid month now..and I could not miss them more than I do now. I know Italy awaits me in 8 days, but these next couple days are gonna be tough.

Me and Jenna, PNMs going to our first Go Greek "Pink" event

I can't believe it's been 2 years since I was the PNM. The recruitment process is so intense, but totally worth it. People always say that "You end up where you're supposed to be" and I am a firm believer of that.

ADPi has my heart. Our sisterhood is so genuine, loving, and full of life. Each and every sister is unique which contributes to our diversity. The friendships I have made throughout the past 2 years are indescribable and irreplaceable. I couldn't be more blessed to have my amazing sisters.

As I depart, I know I will have my sisters by my side! I'm always thinking of you girls ;)

Good luck to all the PNMs and Panhellenic women going through recruitment. I know the Eta Pi chapter is ready to welcome an amazing new pledge class!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Two thousand and twelve

Happy New Year! I'm wishing everyone the best!

I am very excited for what this year has in store for me. I've already taken a spontaneous trip to NYC and started this new year off right.

Let me share my trip with you.... you ready??
*Disclaimer: This trip was solely for the GREAT food NYC has to offer*

4:30AM Meet at GK's house
5:00AM Drive to the Vienna metro
6:00AM Arrive at Union Station and take the bus--I was so lucky to be accompanied by my lovely grandbig, Amy!!
10:30AM NYC Arrival (got there in a blink of an eye!)
11:00AM Tour GK's new apt in Hell's Kitchen

and the food tour!

12:00PM 1st stop: Totto Ramen
1:30PM 2nd stop: Original Chicken and Rice on 53rd St
2:00PM 3rd stop: Momofuku Ssam bar (famous pork buns that melt in your mouth)
3:30PM 4th stop: Eileen's Cheesecake
5:00PM last call: Bodhi Tree Thai
6:30PM The end of our 8 hour trip

Judge me all you want.. hehe--Overall, it was an amazing trip! I don't think I could've gone to a sixth place. My friends and I thought of trying Korilla taco truck, Shanghai soup dumplings, and a few others...but I'm not sure I could've handled anymore. I would definitely recommend all the eateries I went to. They were all that good.

I hope this trip has got you thinking to be 1)spontaneous and 2)to indulge! You deserve to be treated ;)