Summer Reading List

Tuesday, May 10, 2017

It’s a goal of mine to read as many books as possible this summer that will serve as inspiration for the first book listed! Books will also keep me away from Netflix and Instagram 🙂 Please comment any recommendations you may have, and I urge you to create your own list for the summer; it’s the best time to get your bookworm on! xo ~ e.

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Taglio & Piega

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Time for a new do! I treated myself to a shampoo, condition, and cut at Contrasto Aveda this morning. I am very happy with my bob cut! I feel ten pounds lighter too. Getting your haircut in Italy is quite the pampering experience. They carry your bag for you, give you a head massage with lavender essential oils tantalizing your nose, and make you feel as though you’re a million bucks. The chic salon I went to was full of Italian speakers (both workers and customers). The language barrier proved to be a slight obstacle, but my male hairdresser was very kind and patient. He did a great job too! I practiced my simple phrases like “Io studio a Lorenzo de’Medici per due semestre. Sono Americana di Vermont. Mi piace molto Firenze!” Both of my haircuts in Florence were a success! xo ~ e.

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Month #8

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I write this blog post in complete disbelief that I am writing my eighth and final monthly update from Florence. I just finished reading my month #1 post, and it genuinely feels as though I wrote it much more recently than September 26. I am still sipping on many cappuccini, eating lots of pasta, pizza, and gelato, and loving living in Florence more than ever this spring.

You’ve been along for this crazy adventure, so you already know how happy I am to have embarked on this freshman year journey. It has involved many hours of study and writing papers, exchanges of letters internationally, planes and trains, checking in and out of foreign cities, trips to Conad and BNL, views of the Duomo, live music in Piazza della Repubblica, glasses of red wine, and memories that will make perfect stories. Naturally there’s been growth in terms of confidence, independence, and problem solving that I wouldn’t have experienced in Poughkeepsie this year.

This month makes previous months feel different, because I know Florence will be my home again someday. I’m nowhere near ready to say goodbye to it temporarily, and I tell myself that I will be back again for a longer period of time when my student days are over. Several occurrences this month made me feel as though I really belong here. For example, being asked in Italian if a woman could take an ashtray next to my foot at Cafe Murate where there were no Americans to be seen. Ordering a cappuccino at Ménagère and being asked “E cornetto oggi?” (and a croissant today?). Offering advice to people as to how they should spend a couple days in Florence. These little things make me feel as though I am a true expat. And I’ll tell you that it’s an empowering and rewarding feeling.

For the first time in 8 months, I got emotional today thinking about my imminent flight back to the United States. Don’t get me wrong; I am very proud to be an American, and I am very excited to see my friends and family. However, it is extremely difficult to think about saying goodbye to a place and a lifestyle that was once so foreign and is now so familiar. I am gearing up for yet another change, so of course I am going to be stressed and uneasy! I have to remind myself that “Life isn’t meant to be spent in one place.” So I’ll always be moving.

Looking back and reflecting on all these months though, I’ve come to the conclusion that Florence did its job. Florence reminded me that love exists, learning to make yourself happy is the best thing you can do for yourself, and curiosity is what gets you places. Grazie mille Firenze. Per tutto. A dopo. xo ~ e.

Gelati a Piazzale Michelangelo

Sunday, April 23, 2017

20+ gelato flavors were on the dinner menu at Piazzale Michelangelo last night for Colleen, Vasudha, Louis, Steven, and me! I didn’t get a chance to go to the gelato festival that happened when we first arrived in Florence, so I made sure I went to the Firenze Gelato Festival Europe 2017. We each paid 13 euros for a wristband and a list of gelato stalls to check off. We took breaks from testing small cones by watching the golden sunset with hundreds of others. The view from up there never gets old.

My favorite flavor was mango, because it was so powerful; I felt like I was eating a legit mango. The oddest flavor I tried was curry. All the flavors were unique in taste and texture! It was really fun trying so many. We all experienced a sugar rush and decided to take a cab home which was silly but out of the ordinary.

Aside from the gelato and mass amount of people, there were fun games to play, upbeat music, and people juggling scoops of gelato. I would recommend attending this iconic event in the future! xo ~ e.

Top CheFFE Champion 2017

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

I had another ‘dream come true’ moment tonight when I was crowned Top CheFFE Champion! The Marist Italy student workers threw a friendly (but oh so serious) cooking competition that four teams participated in. It was set up like “Chopped.” We had to include:

  • lemon
  • chicken breast
  • raspberries
  • zucchini
  • cheese
  • secret ingredient (pickled cabbage)

in one master creation within 75 minutes!

I am embarrassingly very bossy in the kitchen, but Colleen could handle the heat; she was the perfect sous chef! She helped clean while I cooked, tasted everything, and mashed the cheesy mashed potatoes before forming two perfect quenelles of them.

I didn’t plan the dish before I started cooking at 7 PM; the inspiration just came to me! I served the three judges a plate I called “Chicken Two Ways.” Mom’s breaded chicken tenders on a bed of cauliflower rice with caramelized shallots. Baked zucchini on a pickled cabbage purée. Cheesy mashed potatoes. And shredded lemon chicken with pepper on top of a raspberry compote with Granny Smith apples.

It’s so nerve-racking watching people eat your food then give you feedback! The judges said it was delicious. ‘Restaurant quality.’ I especially loved the compliment “I’m impressed you didn’t hide the secret ingredient; it wasn’t just a garnish. You turned it into something really tasty that worked with the dish.”

I ran out of time, so I didn’t take a picture of my dish, but it’s the one on the bottom left in Marist Italy’s Instagram post. The prize was an adorable apron with the Top CheFFE title! When they announced ‘Emma and Colleen’, I immediately thought of the cookie bake-off at Emma Willard (that Nicki and I never officially won). This victory was much sweeter than losing two years in a row over chocolate chip cookies! xo ~ e.

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Foody Farm

Thursday, April 6, 2017

One week down of second quarter! This week I have been so busy trying to get organized and back into the groove of things; I didn’t have much time to do actual schoolwork! I’ll catch up this weekend though.

This morning in philosophy class we had a debate on whether God is the intelligent designer of the world. I was assigned to the pro-God group, and for the first time, I was forced to directly think about how things came to be and if God did create the first form of matter. According to Aquinas’ Five Ways, God is the…

  1. First mover
  2. First cause
  3. Necessary being
  4. Greatest being
  5. Intelligent designer

My group used these factors as the main points for our argument. After the debate, our professor asked us for our personal opinions. Science and evolution can only prove so much. I think that there had to be someone/something that created the world, a systematic society, and gave things purpose; however, I’m not sure I would link it to a biblical figure. I did some journaling about it after. Philosophy definitely makes you ponder!

Letters are en route to Granny, Caroline, and Gracie after an hour at Café Oblate! The Duomo looked stunning against the overcast background.

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One of my favorite places to write

I made dinner reservations earlier this week at Foody Farm, a place I’ve always wanted to try. Julia and I (UVM study abroad student from home) caught up and filled each other in on our spring break travels. She went to Sicily! The food we had was really good– a healthy spin on American classics. It’s the same owners as Fishing Lab, I believe! I got fried ricotta ravioli, a pulled pork pancake sandwich, and a custom, fresh salad. Couldn’t say no to the 2.50 euro glass of vino rosso! Spending two hours over a good plate of food and conversation buys much more than an outfit at Zara ever could. xo ~ e.

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16.78 Miles in Amsterdam 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

This photo blog features a full day of walking all over Amsterdam! We ate a delicious breakfast at one of my all time favorite cafes I’ve been to thus far in Europe. I was in a Holland(aze)! We saw people exercising in the park, dogs in baskets enjoying a bike ride, and people buying flowers to welcome spring. Sasha’s friend from high school met us for the day; he’s studying at university a couple hours away via train. We had a coffee pick me up at the cafe in our hostel. We really lucked out with our accommodation! Had to stroll through the Red Light District. Tomorrow we will check out the Anne Frank House. Clocks change for us tonight! xo ~ e.