jobpm said:

So most people knew that at some point Dante Basco was going to be the voice of someone in LoK. I sort of forgot that until it happened... then I FLIPPED! Seriously. Anyway... what was your reaction?

I sort of pulled a Benedict Cumberbatch and went:

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In a world of materialism we rarely consider the sources of our possessions; we think neither about where they come from nor who made them. STUFF examines how we desperately cling to our material possessions, regardless of their true cost.

STUFF
JoPBM
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Friday, 17 October

FIRST DAY OF BREAK!

I hung around the house during the morning and got my homework done then in the afternoon had a movie watching party with some of my friends. Then, because we were all doing Margarita Friday but had a couple hours to pass before happy hour, we walked around a bit on the other side of the Arno.

We found this amazing tea shop. A container of tea isn’t badly priced, especially because it is obviously good tea and the best part is they have jars with samples of the tea so you can smell it before you buy it!

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Then I tried the green apple Margarita. It was very green…
but tasty.

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11 Questions

Rule 1: Always post the rules
Rule 2: Answer the questions the person who tagged you asked, and write 11 new ones
Rule 3: Tag 11 people and link them to the post
Rule 4: Actually tell them you tagged them

TAG TIME:
goldendaffodils, ker-fuffle, jobpm, falconoffire, kingofinfinitetimeandspace, nothingssosweet, alldestinations, garyprestons, gallifrey-the-final-frontier, tangothelimevworpmango, gotginger. (whaddup my mutuals. not like i ever talk to you folks but you’re the cool ones who are actually on tumblr and haven’t already been tagged)

Answers to Jen’s questionesss:

1. Favourite place to be by yourself (not including being on the internet)?
There’s this one stretch of road when I’m driving back home from basically anywhere that always makes me feel really happy for some reason. I just hit the bottom of the hill and then drive up and I know exactly how far away I am from my family and my puppy and my room. So I guess being alone in my car for those few minutes. I dunno, maybe that’s homesickness talking, but It’s my favourite feeling to know how close I am to home. 

2. Tea or coffee?
Tea. very much tea. coffee smells good but tastes eugh and also I’m scared of the inevitable caffeine dependency.

3. Describe your favourite sweater/jacket/coat.
Oh, it’s adorable! It’s this black wool coat that has this velvety peter pan collar thing going on and there’s a bow at the collar and it flairs out from the waist. fabulous.

4. Favourite board game?
BANANAGRAMSSSS. it doesn’t even have a board but it totally counts BANANAGRAMS

5. What are you looking forward to doing over the next week?
skyping my family, going outside because spring is finalllyyy here, THE WINTER SOLDIER (I THOUGHT I WASN’T GOING TO BE ABLE TO SEE IT BUT NOW I’M GOING TO SEE IT AND I’M SO EXCITED)

6. Favourite snack?
Dee’s chex mix. drown me in that stuff and then use it to fill my grave instead of dirt and the smell will bring me back to life.

7. Least favourite popular music artist.
I mean “popular” kind of includes a few genres that I dislike so that answer would be super boring. Maybe Lana Del Ray?? just not a huge fan.

8. Beyoncé or Bach?
Beyonce. not that I don’t appreciate Bach, but beyonce

9. If you had to drink a milkshake OR wine with every meal for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
I’ve made it a rule never to drink a milkshake with my meal because it fills me up so much that I never actually eat the meal, buuuttttt that rule would probably change because (a) I would rather not be kicked out of college and (b) wine with breakfast? maybe I haven’t progressed far enough into my 20s to accept that life choice but nahh bro.

10. Did you prefer maths or science when at school?
Maths (eckk it feels so weird with the s on it now. America, what have you done to me??). I came home from kindergarten one day and told my mom “Maths is my life” and now I’m a math major.

11. What do you hope to be doing with yourself a year from now?
Very much the same thing I’m doing now, but being a Junior and taking different classes.

My questions:

1. Who is the first friend you ever remember making?

2. Which TV show do you know you have to start watching next? 

3. Are there any words that you know you pronounce incorrectly, but you can’t/refuse to correct yourself?

4. What’s the last book you read?

5. If you could eliminate one type of insect from the world without any environmental impact, which lucky creepy crawly comes face to face with genocide?

6. How much time do you take between waking up and leaving the house in the morning?

7. Imagine two of your favourite colours; do you prefer them together in stripes or polka dots?

8. Least favourite fruit?

9. Which of your (exteroceptive) senses causes most of your moments of WOAH NOSTALGIA.

10. If you were a mermaid/man/person, what colour (or type of sea creature) would your tail be?

11. What time does it have to be for you to think “It’s just too early to have lunch”?

at dinner with my grandparents they were like we should go to the house on the rock this summer!! and i was like yeah sounds cool 

but then i remembered the last time we traveled with them

and then i remembered that jordyn said shed go there with me

and i spent the rest of the time thinking about how much id rather go  see the house on the rock with jordyn 

jobpm said: kylie, if you start a webcomic i must have a link because of reasons! :) HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Oh my gosh, of course Jordyn hahaha!  Happy new year to you too!

Monday, 13 October- Thursday, 16 October

Monday was a Monday…

Tuesday, we did three site visits for one class, but they were so fun. All three locations were Medici sites, more or less paid for by the Medici family. San Marco, a convent, Palazzo Medici, and San Lorenzo.

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The famous Annunciation by Fra Angelo.

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The courtyard of Palazzo Medici. And below, a (now) meeting room which was added on after a new family moved into the Palazzo, but look at that baroque decor!

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And my sneaky photo of San Lorenzo, designed by Brunelleschi.

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Wednesday… I’m just gonna say it now. My mondays and wednesdays are all the same. I have internship/class basically all day so I don’t do anything too exciting. I’m probably just going to skip them from this point on unless something actually worth mentioning comes up.

Thursday, we visited Casa Buonarroti, which belonged to the family of Michelangelo. It was actually built after his death, but it has a large collection of his drawings and two of his earliest sculpture pieces… of course all I took a photo of was a cool part of the ceiling.

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Also, break starts this evening! Studio and then ten days of nothing… except not nothing because my mom is coming to visit me and then we’re going to Cinque Terre. But more on that later.

Friday, 10 October- Sunday, 12 October

I had a lazy weekend…
The whole week was actually a little bit of a downer for everyone. I think, even though Venice was amazing, it tuckered us out and we didn’t get a chance to recover from it.
Friday, aside from going out for our Margarita Friday thing (we go to this Mexican bar and get Margaritas) I stayed at home and read. I also got Indian food for lunch because there is an Indian restaurant in my street that I’ve been wanting to try. It was very tasty and inexpensive!

Saturday, was the same, but i went to a jazz concert with my host mom and her friend in after dinner. It was unexpected because it was a jazz orchestra and there were even some vocalists (who had incredible voices). They were all students and they were so talented. Best of all, it was free.

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Sunday, to make sure that I left the house at least once, I went to All’Antico Vinaio for lunch, one of the best Panini Bars in the city. You get a huge panino with five toppings for five euro. So tasty!

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All in all, pretty good weekend and very relaxing.

Thursday, 9 October

Today we visited the Bargello, the museum of sculpture. And walking in who do I see?
This guy;

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Donatello’s David. (I have no idea why but I thought he was in Berlin?)
Anyway…

After the Bargello, we visited Palazzo Davanzati, which was an incredibly modern Palazzo for its time (it had toilets!) and it was really great to see an essentially intact example of how people used to live.

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Tuesday, 7 October

One of the best things about taking an art history class in Florence? There is actually work by the artist you’re studying in the city!

Today we went to the Uffizi, where we primarily discussed Filippo Lippi, master of Sandro Botticelli, who was master of Filippino Lippi.

I just love seeing the art work right there as we discuss it!

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Sunday, 5 October: Venice (Day 3)

Last day in Venice.
To start the day off we went to Galleria dell’Academia.

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The Academia is actually a converted church, but it has a lot of important works.

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Including, the last of Titian’s paintings;

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After the Academia, we walked around a bit more, took a gondola across the Grand Canal, then got some pizza. I made the mistake of getting anchovies on mine… but after scraping those salty monstrosities off the pizza was good.

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Then we said goodbye to Venice and headed back to Florence.

Quick Thought on Venice

In spite of the fact that Venice has just as many tourists as Florence, it feels calmer. Maybe it’s because you can avoid then if you don’t go the Ponte Realto, but more likely, it’s the water.

It’s sometimes easy to underestimate the power that water has on a place but there’s something about it that just makes everything better. Florence has the Arno, but Venice is IN the water and on it.

One of our professors was talking about how surreal Venice is because it seems like it’s floating in a sea of blue, the sky and the water, and it makes the entire place seem like a dream.

I think there is some truth in that.

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Saturday, 4 October: Venice (Day 2)

We started of the morning with a church visit where we saw Assumption of the Virgin, a very famous altarpiece by Titian.

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Then we visited Suola San Rocoo, one of the few schools to remain open after Napoleon conquered Venice. Like the Ducal Palace, San Rocco was highly decorated and gorgeous. The entry way had a series of Tintoretto paintings and the ceiling upstairs did as well.

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Then we had the rest of the afternoon free. After a quick lunch of calzones and gelato, i went to Ca’ Rezzonico, a Palazzo on the grand canal (now a museum) which still has its eighteenth century decor. There’s also a gallery of paintings on the third floor but I went for the decor. One of the things that I loved about this Palazzo was that the decor for any given room was coordinated with color and pattern, so each room almost had a theme… or at least a very defined color scheme. (In many rooms, the upholstery matched the walls.) Venice has a lot of silk line walls as protection from humidity in the summer and cold in the winter.

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The palazzo also had a lovely view of the Grand Canal.

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After Ca’ Rezzonico, I went to Ca’ Pesaro (The Modern Art Museum) where I got to see a lovely Klimt.

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Then I went back to the hotel. In spite of the fact that I’d been walking for almost 8 hours, the walk was lovely. How could it not be when every five minutes you cross one of the 400 bridges in Venice and get so see a gorgeous little canal?

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Friday, 3 October: VENEZIA (Day 1)

This weekend was incredible because we went to the ever so magical VENEZIA!

We left right away in the morning so we got to Venice before 11. As soon as we got there we took a private taxi to the glass blowing island of Murano. The ride was about 30 minutes so we were really able to see Venice.

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For those of you who don’t know, Venice is not built on any land. It is completely and entirely man-made; all of the buildings are built on islands of clustered tree trunks from the mainland(kind of like when someone holds a bunch of chopsticks in their hand and there’s a flat part), which were driven into the muddy bottom of the lagoon. One wouldn’t think that this would be a very sturdy base for the city but over the centuries the wood has petrified and so it’s just as sturdy, if not more, than any land foundation.

When we arrived at Murano (all of the glass blowing takes place there to prevent any fires anywhere else in the city) we when to a workshop and saw a glass blowing demonstration. Then we got to shop around. When in Venice you’ve got to buy Venetian glass.

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After Murano we went to our hotel, dropped off our luggage then visited the Ducal Palace. The Ducal Palace was the home of the Doge, the government leader, as well as the administrative center for the city. Venetians had a very smart law for their governors so as to avoid corruption; no high ranking person in the governing councils could do business, especially the Doge and his sons and grandsons.

The Ducal palace was very grand; the walls and ceilings were decorated with carved wood (which is lighter than stone) and canvas paintings (Frescoes cannot survive in Venice’s climate.)

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Yes, that is carved wood…

We walked through the main governing chambers, some of them were huge, then we walked through the courtroom chamber then went to prison.
The justice chambers are connected to the prison by the bridge of sighs, a small stone bridge in which prisoners would be able to see their last bit of dayllight.

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Sigh…

After the Ducal palace and the prisons we had a couple hours of t free time, then dinner (seafood risotto is my new favorite thing!) then a PRIVATE visit to San Marco. It was incredible being there with just our small group.

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The cathedral is heavily decorated. The basic structure is brick, but the outside is covered with colored marble, the ceiling, as seen in the photos, is completely covered in byzantine style mosaic (and yes, all of that gold is REAL gold) and the floor is a swirling pattern of marble mosaic.

Not only were we the only ones in the cathedral, which was incredible enough, but we got to go up to the altar. Which is a HUGE deal. We have not been up by the altar, ever, in all the churches we’ve visited, behind it, yes, but never at it. It actually felt a little wrong because the space is not for laypeople, it is for the priests and members of the clergy, so being at the altar, especially at a church like San Marco, was a profoundly incredible experience.

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The altarpiece is completely covered in precious and semiprecious stones.

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Now for some pictures of the floor… I cannot describe how much I loved this floor. One of the really cool things about it was it wasn’t even because the foundation of the cathedral has moved since it was built so the floor is physically wavy in some places.

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After our visit we had the rest of the evening to ourselves. A few of us stayed in Piazza San Marco (the only piazza in the city that is actually called a piazza, the rest are campi) where we saw a man propose to his girlfriend while, coincidentally, one of the bands in front of the restaurants was playing My Heart Will Go On. The moment just kind of summed up the magic of Venice.

Thoughts

Before I continue on I just want to take this post to share some thoughts.
I feel like this blog should be more than simply what I do from day to day but I am hesitant to put in too much cultural comparison because if I try to compare the Italian (Florentine) culture and American culture I know it will come off as romanticizing the foreign land where everything is wonderful and different. And that’s just not the case. People like to think of Europe as so different from America but it’s not.

OF COURSE that isn’t to say that they’re the same because that isn’t true either.

A lot of the buildings here are old… or at least try to look old (for example most of the buildings near Ponte Vecchio were actually built in the fifties after a German general decided to knock them all down in WWII… FYI he did that instead of destroying Ponte Vecchio, so don’t get TOO upset with him.) And a lot of the cars are tiny (Fiats and Smart cars everywhere.) But seriously, anything bigger, it’s hard to make it go through a lot of the small streets.
There are a lot of other little differences, but those two are the most evident.

But the most important thing to regonize is that Italy (and all of Europe) is not separated from the states. There is McDonalds here, there is American music (I heard some Jason Mraz this morning), and teen girls still love the Biebs. He was here (Oct. 7) and there were mobs of girls running through the streets, screaming. And even big cities in Europe smell sometimes… it’s a city thing not a country thing.

Basically all this is to say that I don’t want to try to compare the cultures because there are similarities and differences but if I look and try to explain them outside of everyday living I will end up over simplifying, which is something that I don’t want to do.

So instead I will just take a minute to list something I have learned for each week I’ve been here.

1) You will always find yourself wondering what’s for dinner… (at least when living with a host family who are awesome cooks.) Literally, I sit at the dinner table eating and sometimes wonder what we’ll have the next night.

2) As an American studentessa learning Italian, I feel a great sense of pride when a person working in a shop or bar speaks to me in Italian and not English.

3) Random men on the street can make you smile or make you want to shower. Offering me you arm in Piazza della Republica? Adorable and sweet! Saying something vulgar as you pass me on the street? Can I please go take a shower?

4) Invest in good shoes and wear proper socks at all times. Some shoes you don’t need socks while others will eat your feet if you don’t. Even if they are expensive and good shoes.

5) Gelato is a beautiful thing and makes any day better.

One last note… I miss my big American coffee. (There are literally no starbucks here.)

Monday, 29 September- Thursday, 2 October

Once again, I have fallen behind on my blogging so these weekdays are going to be lumped together.

Monday, 29 September
Today was our first day of electives, but I only had studio (Sight-Size Drawing) in the evening. So before class I hung out at a coffee shop and did some reading then went to a fun, albeit, frustrating first studio. Site-size is hard because you have to draw it like you see it and you measure and compare the drawing to the model but to make sure everything is consistent you have to be in the exact same spot standing in the exact same way.

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Tuesday, 30 September
Thus morning we went to the Church of Santa Trinita to look at a family chapel which was frescoed by Domenico Ghirlandaio, one of the best painters of his time. He did a lot for the Medici family and even had a hand in the ever so famous Sistine Chapel.
One of his famous panel paintings was also in the family chapel, as part of the altarpiece.

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Thursday, 2 October
I don’t remember the first, aside from I had italian and studio.
Today, we visited Santa Maria Novella, and the highly decorated Tornabuoni Chapel, also frescoed by Ghirlandaio. This particular chapel was done when Michelangelo was a young boy, so he was probably walking around in there at some point (It’s always fun to think that some great artist once stood where I am standing.)
Anyway, this chapel was gorgeous and amazing.

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Also, today in studio, we finished our first drawing. This week we were just working from a plaster cast so that we could understand the basics of the technique. Next week we work with the model.

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When asked to do a poster about our identities I couldn’t get this quote about Buddhism out of my head. The individual identity is an illusion because we exist in such an interconnected way.

Identity
JoBPM
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Saturday and Sunday, 27/28 September

On saturday and Sunday I spent and amazing weekend in Cinque Terre with Laura, Niles, and Kasha. Cinque Terre is a series of five small towns connected by trains and hiking trails which stretch about eight miles along the sea.

We left on Saturday morning and arrived in La Spezia, the town where our hostel was around noon. Then after a quick lunch we bought a two day train pass and headed to the last of the five towns, Monterosso, where there is a gorgeous sandy beach. We didn’t spend a lot of time swimming however because there was a respectable number of Jellyfish and rather than risk their sting we packed up our stuff and went to explore the town. We walked through some of the residential areas of the town, and after walking up a street which turned into a staircase, we ended up hiking up the hill from which we were able to see the whole town.

The sea being beautiful;

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The staircase street;

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The view from the hill;

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Shortly after, we left Monterossa, bound for Corniglia, the third town. However, we arrived in Corniglia and saw that it was on top of a hill, which we did not have the energy to climb so instead we decided to call it a day and head to the hostel which between late trains and hard to find buses took about four hours. But we eventually got to the hostel, located up the hill, outside La Spezia.
Finally at the hostel;

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Because the nearby restaurant was full on a Saturday evening, we ate at the hostel and of course with any meal one must have wine.
Check out the super classy cups we were provided with…

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The next morning, we took the bus from the hostel to Riomaggiore, the first town. There was a small marina in Riomaggiore surrounded on three sides by the homes which were build into the cliffs.

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We then went to the fourth town, Vernazza, where there was an even large marina. We sat on the nearby rocks for about an hour, enjoying the shady spot we found and the seaside views.

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We then had a lunch of piadini and focacci then, while waiting for our train, wandered through the tiny residential streets.

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Finally, last but more certainly not least, we visited Manarola, the second town, and wow! Did we save the best for last. Not only is the a path that goes out of town that allows you to see the whole town and the gorgeous marina, but the cliffside location of the the town makes it completely surreal.

How is this even a real place?!

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The amazing marina where we decided once more to go swimming. And where i was also stuck by a jellyfish (o una medusa)… but only a little one.

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After our swim we grabbed our stuff and hopped back on the train to Florence. It was an amazing weekend and I’m am so excited that I get to go back in a few weeks!

Friday, 26 September

Today was our last day of the Intensive Italian part of our classes, so next week we get to start our elective classes.

It was also my birthday!!
After our Italian final, a few friends and I went to this amazing Panini shop near the Uffizi called All’Antico Vinaio where you can have a (fairly large) panini with 5 ingredients for 5 euro. It’s so amazing!

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While we were eating our paninis a woman walked by and she had the most adorable puppy I have ever seen and as soon as a started squealing at it, it came to say “hi” and cuddle for a minute. Ever so much needed puppy love!

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Then I went with some other friends to a Margarita place for happy hour. The margaritas were comedically large… and only four euro!

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All in all, pretty good birthday in Florence!

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