Monday, October 3, 2011

Mmmm mmm good!

Il cibo, Food. One of my favorite topics.  This post is going to be all about the food.  I came in with expectations of Alfredo sauce, olives, oil, and pasta. I was not completely wrong. There IS a lot of pasta, but what I did not realize, at first, is that there are many other options. There is not nearly as much cheese sauce as I thought, there is mostly oil based or red sauce. There are olives and they are the best I have ever had. As for oil they use it more than I thought. At home it seems like we use butter to grease the pan or to keep the pasta from sticking or on our noodle for a little something extra , here they use oil and its wonderful. There are many fruits and vegetables available at the store and at the market, they are the best from the market. In our apartments we have to feed ourselves, so whether its going to a restaurant or cooking in out little kitchens we need to eat.

In our apartment we have a good system which I have mentioned before for cooking, but before that all four of us go to Tirge, our local grocery store, and buy the food we will need for a couple days and we go a few times a week. This is how the Italians shop. Unlike in America where we buy in bulk and go only once a week if possible. Our motto is “If Tigre doesn’t have it, we don’t need it”, and for the most part that stands true. We try to buy a good variety of food. We have yet to fully repeat a meal, the only difference might have been the noodle shape but we have never had two identical meals. Some of our favorites being, prosciutto wrapped figs and lasagna.

When we go out there are plenty of options because, what I did not know before is that there are courses.  It can be a little weird for an Italian to just order a bowl of pasta for dinner. That usually is only the first course then you get a second dish with meat cooked in some way with vegetables. Sometimes you can even start out with appetizers  on top of that. It is quite a hardy meal, I have only been able to do it once and I was stuffed! One thing that we have found the most different about eating here is that there is much less red meat in the diet. Its common to have prosciutto often but they eat a big chicken dish or steak type meal only a couple times a month. In our apartment we try to get it a least once a week. So far we have done pretty good.

It is something we deal with every day so we are going to make the most of it! If you have any questions or comments about anything food you know where to find me!! I will post again about my Florence adventure!

IWOD: Mangiare- to eat, Il cibo- food, Ho fame- I am hungry, words very important for eating. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

First Impressions...

Sorry it has been so long since my last post. I might not be able to post daily but my goal is to do weekly!!

This post is going to be a combo post. One to catch you up and two for my Italy Today class. As the title suggests with will be of my first impressions of Italy and Ascoli, as we have been here for about two weeks.

Before coming to Italy, everything I knew about it had been gathered from movies and tv (less credible source) and Italian language class (much more credible, but slightly less broad) so, coming in I did have some preconceived notions: I am not exactly sure how I thought they would look, but I didnt seem to think it would be so similar to the states. It was something that I didn't even know I had thought about until I was here. It sounds kind of stupid of me but at the same time...its the truth.
And a subsequent, yet contradicting thought, was how obviously I would/ do stand out. Sometimes more than others.

I had heard that in Europe in general they dress more nicely than in the states. It is sort of true. They do dress nicely, not fancy like I first thought, but they dress that way all the time. Even when its a casual time or outfit it still looks really nice. This holds true for both Ascoli and Venice (the only two places in Italy I have been)

In Venice I felt much more like a tourist because we were staying in a hotel and were leaving in two days. Here in Ascoli I have moved on from the initial visitor feeling. I am by no means a citizen yet, but I am on the way to feeling like more of a part of the city than an observer of it.

The food is as delicious as I hoped. One thing that I have noticed is that I have to work a little harder at more variety in my meals. And that there is no peanut butter to fall back on in times of hunger. But in our apartment we have established a great system. We all decide on dinners together. Erin is the head chef, Abby sets the table, Meg cleans, and I do a little bit of everything. I am like the sous chef, if you will. Together we are able to fill all the cravings we have and make balanced meals.

The language. I took 4 semesters of Italian before I came, which I am very grateful for. But I still have almost the whole language to learn still. I realize that there are a lot of things I say so naturally in English I still dont know in Italian. I also forget that the Italians aren't translating from English into Italian in their heads. It is amazing how much we learn about speaking and at such a young age. I though the 4 year olds would be more at my pace...not so much. I have to get to the point where hearing a word doesn't mean whatever it is in English. For example counting, I can hear uno due cento venti and know the value of those words/numbers. For most words other than numbers I have to do the translation into english in my head. Again as time goes on it gets better and easier.

One thing I don't like as much is that there is a lot more smoking here. Its just an adjustment.

Overall I have loved being here. There is no doubt that I have gone through some culture shock. I still have to fight back the nerves and just try new things, mostly doing things in public where I might not be able to communicate, but that gets less and less hard every day.

So now for updates on activities. Thanks to Diana (one of the people that works at our school and runs the program) we have found a travel agent who helped us book our bus tickets to Florence (where we are going next weekend). This past week we had classes and they went very well.  We spent a lot of evenings this weekend hanging out with everyone and the basketball players, Trey and Paul. Today Paul, Meg, Abby, Josh (another Basketball player, a Brit) and myself went to the beach again. Last night  a bunch of girls (including myself) went to San Benedetto, which is the beach town, and watched the American boys team play the team there. Then we went out to dinner with them and some of the Italian guys from the Ascoli Team. It was funny being at a sporting event and expecting to hear things but instead hearing them in Italian. We could understand a lot, like when fans yelled at the refs and certain calls that were made. Surprisingly similar to home. It has been a long week and I am now ready for bed and to start again.

Hope everyone at home is having a wonderful saturday night!

IWOD: Soldi - money, of which I have not enough of to buy the clothes that Italians wear :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

House of Trumpets

Hello everyone!! I have a couple days to catch you up on.

YESTERDAY! also known as beach day part 2!! So we spent the whole weekend at the beach and doing homework. We live in Ascoli Piceno and we take the bus to San Bennadetto which is the coast. It takes about an hour and it might be one of the most terrifying drives ever. Italians are known for their crazy driving and we experience it daily when they come zooming by in their tiny little smart cars or on their vespas or motorcycles down alleyways that are about 12 feet wide. In their defense they are fantastic and as terrified as I am they handle their vehicles well. But I did not expect the driving to be the same on a 60 foot long, 3 ton is. And the streets are about 15 feet. Okay a bit of an exaggeration they are 24 feet wide. AND the roads are crazy windy your turning the next corner before you've finished the first one. Needless to say I wasn't sleeping much either way. Once at the beach everything was quite peachy. We sat in the same place both days. Went swimming out to, what I assume to be, breakwater rocks.

So quick story. They day we got to Ascoli we were walking down the alley way to one of the apartments and these boys stuck their head out of the windows and asked us if we were American, we said yes,  and they said they are British. Turns out the are basketball players for the Ascoli/Italian professional basketball team. So we made our first friends.

For beach day two! the boys joined us. We had loads of fun, swimming, jumping off the rocks (about 4 feet high) and laying around. They are quite funny. There are two American boys who Erin and I have met but they weren't able to come with us. So it was a successful day!

Presently Erin has just made a world class dinner for us.

So we had baked figs wrapped in prosciutto. And swerley pasta with red sauce.....So simple and the most delicious. Seriously do it at home, it is salty and sweet and basically just tastes like bacon. Figs wrapped in heaven. Maybe the best dinner yet. 

I kind of am skipping around but its my blog so whatever :) Today was the first official day of class. I had three. It was kind of a long day but I made it through. I must say I am very grateful that my classes are in english right now. I am hoping that as we all become more fluent that that will change but I was much less stressed having some english still in my day. I had Italy Today which will be very helpful for learning about Ascoli and Italian culture in general.

Watch this video and it will tell you mostly everything you need to know about italians. Then I had Italian which is fairly laid back since it is just 3 of us in class but it is still hard. And finally Building Rome which I think will be good, I think I will know some of the material but that will only make it easier. Tomorrow I have Italian and Italian history and culture. The killer part is that our school is on a huge hill. And the best place to study is up more of a hill. So im just saying, but boys you best watch out because my butt and calfs are gonna be toned after three months of this up and down a mountain stuff. 

Well on that note I must go do homework and plan my weekends with the rommies.
Have a great night everyone at homeee XOXO

IWOD Scoreggia = fart

Ill let you put the title and the word of the day together....

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Andiamo alla spiaggia e mi piace a ballare!

Katherine I hope you recognize the lyrics....they are just in a different language than we are used to hearing them in....Well I think you know the song :)

So today was BEACH DAY!! (part one) All of us ate breakfast with our professors first and then got ready and headed to the beach. It was glorious. about 92 and sunny, the water was at least 70. It was like a bath tub. I sadly do not have any pictures of my own but if you have facebook you can check out the ones my friends posted.

Now its homework time until an early bed. I will check in with you all tomorrow for BEACH DAY!! (part two) :)

IWOD: Bruciato = burned....Which I am from where my bathing suit hid all summer.

Friday, September 16, 2011

"You from Massachusetts? We have Yankee Candle from Massachusetts"

I have now been in Ascoli Piceno for three days and two nights. The first night did not go so well. I was one of two in an apartment where I had my own room. I had a striking realization that I was not made to live by my self. Fortunately there were some other changes that needed to be made and they were and now I am living with three other girls in a great little apartment!! Take a gander:
Abby (back to) and Meg(facing camera) in our kitchen dining room :)

Erin in the living room


PORCH!!! Which we ate dinner on last night. It was GREAT!

Erin's and my room, my bed!!

The view from our room of the Piazza del Popolo!! 

We had our first language classes today and it was a little scary but also good. My mastered italian vocabulary consist of the following:
Buon giorno! (Good morning)
"     "  Cera! (Good afternoon/evening)
"     "  Notte! (Good night)
Grazie! (Thank you)
Conto per favore. (Check please)

I am getting better at saying a lot of things though. It will just take practice!

So we are all getting settled in. It feels like we have been here for weeks already. Each day has a pretty high learning curve. Tomorrow we are eating breakfast with the whole group and then all heading to the beach!!! I am quite excited to see the wonders that the Adriatic has in store for me.

Today is a bit shorter one. Love you all!

IWOD: Crescere = To grow up
Ciao Ciao!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Long walks and friendly talks

(The following are the events of Tuesday... Aaaaand a bit of really early wednesday morning (: )

So...Venezia. Well let me tell you....its pretty much what everyone says and what all the pictures look like: BEAUTIFUL....everywhere! Every bridge, every street is pure beauty.
Exhibit A, B, and C:

We walked all around the city and went to an art exhibit. Called the Biennale, it is basically the olympics for art. Each country chooses their "best" (a bit subjective me thinks) contemporary artist the following three are the US of A's:
That man is real and actually running and spinning the belt.

There is double meaning or irony in each piece. Materialism being a key point. Interoperate as you will.

The following are from a country we cant remember but they were part of one of my favorite exhibits.
If you would like to look into it a bit more I saved you a google. 

We spent about and hour and a half at La Biennale, had lunch there, more prosciutto sandwiches, and then we went to venture more into the heart of Venice. In the second photo you will see (left to right duh) Amanda, Hannah, Erin, and Molly. The five of us walked down the street took some photos, you know, the typical tuesday afternoon activities.

The Bridge of Sighs (only a bit, it was under construction)

Too poor for Giorgio Armani

Theses two are on the bridge over the Grand Canal just outside our hotel.
(Me, Mollie, Amanda, and Hannah. Credit to Erin for taking the picture.)

We needed a bit of a rest after walking around the city, so we took one. We have become quite friendly with the lobby chairs due to the fact that it is the only place we can access the interwebs. So we spent some time on it. Though at that point it was a bit early for you folks over there (there being the US) so not chit chatting then. 

Mollie, Amanda, Hannah, Erin, Abby, Meg, and I went out to dinner and did some great  bonding. Im not confirming or denying anything but if you want to get close with a group of people you don't know just talk about your bodily functions and you'll be long lasting friends. Just sayin.

Dinner at the Pizzaria. Everyone and then my meal Gnocchi Ragu. Soo yummy!

We spent a few hours just talking and getting to know one another. I ordered my first legal glass of house white wine. It was pretty good. It was nice to have with dinner. After we went back to the hotel to drink some fine things that we purchased earlier in the day.

Hannah with our unique cooling system. Definitely how your supposed to use the beday.

In Erin's and my room. Trying some Limoncello.
So I had one sip on the Limoncello and couldn't drink any more hahaha. It was quite sweet but also very very strong. We spent a bit of time just chit chatting in the hotel. After we went out to see Venice's night life. It was minimal. We went to a bar and sat in the back and talked some more about our lives. Some people got Bellini's a peach flavored drink. Around midnight thirty we decided to head back, exhaustion had reared its tired head, but on the way we stopped and some people got Kabobs and me and Abby got a slice of pizza. P.S. Best pizza ever! Also i just want to clarify what a Kabob actually is, you all probably know and it was just me, but its not meat and veggies on a stick. Those are shish kabobs. Kabobs are basically wraps with pulled chicken or beef and some delicious magical sauce. Seriously, Magical.

At the hotel we spent some more time in the lobby checking things and chatting to friends at home. A little after one am the internet stopped working. The people at the desk said it was broken but we are pretty sure they just wanted us to go to bed. So we did. Sneaky Italians.... 

And that is where my post ends. I must go pack so that in 45 min, we can leave and get on the bus and drive 6 hours to Ascoli!!! Ciao for now!

Italian Word of the Day (IWOD): Aggiungere ( a-jewn-jer-ay) - to add. It is one of my favorite sounding words.

Monday, September 12, 2011

...And a whole ocean

3 Bags, 2 flights, 4000 miles, and a whole ocean later I have successfully arrived in Venice. I even made it to the correct hotel.

The day started at 830 am waking up and getting ready for the arduous journey ahead. Mom and I drove down to Portland and took the bus into Boston, Logan airport. A much better choice than driving in and trying to park.

We were dropped off at the gate and I got my boarding pass, rearranged a bit of my luggage, then checked my large suite case. Aunt Liz met us at the gate having just dropped her husband at his. She was an incredible help to our (Mom and I's) nerves :) We had a bit of a snack then said by to Aunt Liz. After a little time killing I finally said goodbye to Mom, there may or may not have been some tears, and went through security. A very big non event. There were very few people at the airport and lots of TSA Agents so everything was moving pretty quickly. After one last wave and blown kiss I was on my own. That sounds very dramatic but it was not, there were plenty of signs to get me to my gate.

Once at the gate I waited a while until Erin, one of the girls on my trip, got there as well. It was an easy board and flight into Amsterdam. We spent most of the time watching great movies, Arthur and Hall Pass being two very funny ones. We waited in Amsterdam for about 3 1/5 hours after a long walk from gate to gate. Again a smooth flight with a couple cat naps. Below are a few pictures from the plane.

Leaving Boston!

View on the plane!

Since arriving in this incredible city, Erin (my traveling buddy), Amanda, Christian (one of the professors), and myself went out for a bite to eat and walked around a bit. The great thing about Venice is that it is an island and you can get "lost" without being too far away from where your supposed to be, again due to the fact that you would have to traverse the canal/ocean. Now I am just sitting in the lobby with a few others writing to you all. I will post more later. But at this point I have been up for 26 hours and I have to keep moving so I don't fall asleep.

Love Kelsie

And Katherine I promise I will post the word of the day starting on my next post. I am too frazzled to say things normally in english let alone in italian :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Today is the day! I have spent much time trying to statically pack, remembering I can only have 50 pound of my life with me. I am as prepared as I will ever be for this terrifyingly exciting journey. The next 91 days I will be writing you from Italy, or somewhere else in Europe that is equally thrilling.

I don't have much to say right now (I'm so nervous I'm typing everything with double letters) but I will have more later. You know me, I'm not the one to not say something when its on my mind :)

Good bye all! I love you and will talk to you again soon!


Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Pre-Beginning

The journey will all start September 11th. So I know you will all, and by all I mean no one because no one knows this exists yet, be anxiously awaiting my first official post!