I'll Be Back

Excuse my absence for a bit while I am running through the Tuscan countryside
with my parents. This girl is beyond thrilled to see them! 

I'll be back in about a week. :)

(Lock bridge in Prague)

A Letter to My Parents

aka two of the best people I know. 

Dear mom and dad,
This letter is mostly to say thank you. This is my last week of studying abroad and words
cannot be strung together to truly show how thankful I am for this opportunity. 

 I could have waited until I see you both in 2 days (!!!) but I felt that a public letter of 
appreciation was in order. Ever since I was little you both have given me the freedom to 
be whomever and whatever I wanted to be. You always make me feel comforted,
secure and ultimately, loved. 

 All of the times I've called one of you crying, the advice on the other line was always honest
and caring. Exactly what I needed. Because somehow, you both always know exactly
what I need. 

This semester has been the largest growing experience of my life thus far and without
the two of you and your involvement and encouragement, it never would have happened. 
You should hear how I brag about you two on the daily here in Italy. :)

God blessed me with the best parents imaginable and I can't wait to show off Italy 
to you in a few short days. Now hurry up! ;)

(or Alley, Ali, Alli etc. as my dad likes to put on his cards)

Under the Tuscan Sun (But Really)

 This is what Spring in Italy looks like. It's unreal.

 Beautiful view of Tuscany.

 Flower boxes are my favorite.

 Putting our feet in the warm thermal water.

 The best sandwich. Prosciutto, peccorino cheese, and the freshest bread imaginable.

Wildflowers galore!

It was a perfect field trip filled with good food (of course), short sleeves, and a 
little Italian boy handing me a postcard he bought for us. His little face was bright
red but after all of us friends were congratulating him and basically lifting him up
on their shoulders. Way too cute. 

We went inside this church next to the wildflowers in the last picture and 
Dominican monks were chanting and I felt completely at peace. It was a
beautiful moment. All of this to say I am very excited to head back to 
Tuscany next week with my parents! 

Somethings I've Recently Learned...

You do not have to be friends with people if it means they are not capable
of being a good friend.

April in Italy is the prettiest time and the weather is perfect.

People interrupting you is never ok. (Unless, you know, they're dying.)

Stick up for your true friends.

Time really does fly when you're having fun.

When in doubt, give a smile. Smiling does wonders for the soul.

(Photo was taken in Tuscany this past week. Spring is in full bloom!!)

{Going Places} Reggia di Caserta

While on our southern Italy weekend getaway (and you thought those posts
were done...) we stopped at Reggia di Caserta. I, once again, had never heard of 
it but our instructor told us it is the Italian equivalent to Versailles. 
After having just seen Versailles, I was a little hesitant but all of that hesitation
went away the minute we walked onto the palace grounds.

It was a perfect day of admiring the palace, biking through the enormous gardens,
and generally having a good time with friends. The bike ride was no joke since
it was all up hill on the way up but the way down was a serious blast.
I would definitely recommend visiting this gem if you're in southern Italy. 
Oh, and definitely don't forget to rent a bike! It's 5 euros per hour!!

Today was a really good day

One of those days that make up for the mediocre ones. One of those days where your 
teacher shows up for the last day of class with champagne to toast the class 
(there are 4 people in that class), finding a euro on the ground, receiving the package
you've been waiting for for weeks, and then discovering your parents moved their flight
forward so they would have more time with you in your little town of Orvieto.

That kind of day.

And to top it all off I went on a jog and am now about to get drinks
with my friends at the best bar that gives you free food. 

I hope your day has been just as wonderful and that despite the horrible news 
from Texas and Boston, we continue to look for the good in others and realize
that despite all the bad in this world, there are people who are just so. darn. good.

Do you know about Olivia Bee?

 Olivia Bee is a famed photographer who has been commissioned by Converse, Fiat,
Hermes, Teen Nick, Vice and the New York Times among others for her 
fantastic work. She takes images and turns them into 70's infused dreams and 
oh, yeah, she is only 19 years old. 
That's kind of the catch.

This is Olivia Bee. She grew up in Portland, Oregon but is now living in 
New York City where she continues to shoot more incredible photos. 
I see a really bright future for this young photographer.
Aren't her photos dreamy??

Here's a Teen Vogue article with some info on her. 
And here's her website. 

{all the images above are either Olivia Bee's or Teen Vogues.}

Linking Up

1. Molly perfectly put into words how I feel about living abroad here.

2. The fact that a Nora Ephron documentary(might be) happening makes me really happy.

3. This shirt is perfect. Stripes and flowers together? Sold... except not because look at that price.

4. "In comparison to many months and years spent living on one place, it feels like just a few weeks spent traveling changed everything..." Read on here for the rest of this great writing.

5. Hailee Steinfeld's youthful and fun look in this amazing outfit.

Any thing across the web that I should be reading??

{photo: tumblr}

{Going Places} Castello Arechi/ Amalfi Coast

 There just happens to be several Nor Cal girls on this trip and I had yet to meet
anyone from Nor Cal in Arizona, so needless to say, it has been great meeting
 other Californians while abroad. So excited to see these girls in California
when we all get back. 

 There was a cute donkey hanging out on the outside of the castle grounds and
we all wanted a picture with him. What a stud.

While in Salerno, we also went to the ruins of an old castle and had the 
opportunity to wander around and admire the coast. It was such a 
beautiful day and with the water glistening in the distance, I was
a very happy girl.

Have a happy weekend!

{Going Places} Salerno

To start this all off, I am a BIG fan of Salerno. If you've never been,
I'd recommend going. (It's in Southern Italy.)

 Please admire my ghostly complexion. This was the first time my legs (or arms really)
 had seen sun in quite some time. 

The main reason for us being there was to see the ruins but mostly, everyone was 
just happy to be somewhere where there was SUN! We ended up
basking in the sun all day. It was glorious. 
After we were done roaming the ruin grounds, we had some free time to grab lunch
and this was when Salerno really had me. We ate at this adorable restaurant that almost
looked like a farmhouse and screamed Italy. 
I had pasta carbonara and vino bianco and we all just died over every piece of our lunch.
 Here are some photos:

And this is why I studied abroad in Italy.

{Going Places} Pompeii

This past weekend, my entire study abroad program (all 27 of us) 
went to Naples, Pompeii, Paestum, Salerno and Castria.

Here's some pictures from Pompeii:

 Fun fact: the archeologist who discovered the bodies saw that there were large holes within
the ashes when they were digging up the city and before he decided to check out what
they were, he decided to fill the holes with plaster and figure out their shape
that way. Basically, he was a genius because those "holes" were the outlines of the
citizens of Pompeii and so now we have these outlines of the way their bodies were
 when they died. 
(Pretty morbid but also fascinating. )

We stayed at a hotel in Pompeii for the weekend and we had balconies off our rooms
so, of course, I saw that as the perfect place to sit down and relax from the busy
day of walking. Me and a few friends grabbed some white wine, our ipods and 
chatted away while the sun went down.

I'm a sucker for porches, what can I say?

I had been to Pompeii with my family once before but being back with an actual
archeologist and seeing some more of the images I see every day in my Roman Art and 
Archeology textbook is unreal. 

(I didn't snap any photos in Naples because, honestly, I was not a fan. We had some
amazing pizza (they invented the pizza ya know?) but other than that, I was
not impressed. Definitely won't be returning...)

Next up- Salerno!

3 Weeks

I only have 3 weeks left of school.
It's a crazy, crazy thought. 

When we first arrived it seemed that we had all this time to be here, learn the language,
fit in with the locals (never going to happen), and ultimately learn how to survive
in a small Italian town and then all of a sudden we only have 3 weeks left.
After I return home, I want to sit down and fully digest all that happened to me while abroad
and all the experiences I encountered. I want to grab these memories like a bundle of
flowers and store them someplace I can reach again and again when I feel the need to
remember that person I was when I first turned 20 and decided to study abroad. 

And at the end of these 3 weeks my amazing parents are coming and I couldn't
be more excited. :) 

Time definitely flies when you're having fun. 

Toy's House/Kings of Summer

This movie poster screams summer and youth and basically, I want to be in this photo
because it looks like they are having way too much fun. 

Toy's House opened up to rave reviews at the Sundance Film Festival and is just
now being promoted for nationwide release for May 31st. The movie has 
been renamed Kings of Summer and I cannot WAIT to hurry myself to a movie 
theater in May to watch this film. I am a sucker for coming-of-age movies
and this one promises to be ideal. 

Here's the sneak peek trailer: