Sep 30, 2008

I should have internet by tomorrow!

Sorry I'm still sort of MIA, but we should have internet by tomorrow! I can't wait to blog about our trip to Octoberfest!!! We had sooooo much fun! I don't have a lot of time right now, but I will tell you all about it soon! Stay tuned............

Sep 19, 2008


We have finally moved into our apartment, but unfortunately we won't have internet for about 10 more days. I just wanted to give everyone an update on what is going on with us. I'm writing from a computer lab that will not allow me to see facebook so I'm pretty upset about that. I feel like I have no clue what is happening in my little social world. We found out today that our household goods shipment is going to be late, so we won't be getting our furniture until around the 18th of October. I'm pretty bummed about that, but at least we are living downtown. It's getting pretty cold here and I'm realizing that I should have packed winter clothes in my unaccompanied baggage. But I guess I will have to go shopping!! We have been very busy this week moving into the apartment with apointments of all kinds. (installing lights, installing kitchen, unaccompanied goods shipment, appliances and temporary furniture appointments.... etc...) The furniture that the military gives us is absolutely horrible, but luckily we won't have it for too much longer. I can't wait until they finally set up internet because I'm going through withdrawals. The movers broke our TV that we sent in temporary baggage, so we don't have TV either. I'm crossing my fingers that our household goods will show up in better condition than our temporary goods did. I will try to keep posting as much as possible with any updates, but it may be more sporadic now until we are more settled in! Caio!

Sep 12, 2008

We OFFICIALLY have an apartment!!

We signed our lease today for our Italian apartment! It was an interesting experience. The room was full of people. The landlord, the army lease negotiator, our two real estate agents, Reamer and me. It was an hours worth of talking and going over terms both in Italian and in English, but we finally finished signing and now we have our very own home! (sort of our own?!?)

We will be moving in on the 16th when they deliver our temporary army issued furniture! They are actually lending us a ton of furniture. (sofa, chair, table, coffee table, bed, two end tables, lamps, bookshelf, two wardrobes, china cabinet). Of course, the actual items aren't the most attractive things in the world. They are all in light wood and sort of remind me of furniture you would see in a dorm room. But they are just temporary until our stuff is delivered. We are going to try to keep a few pieces of furniture, but we will see if we are allowed to. I can't wait to finally get moved in. Our temporary goods have arrived and they will be delivered on the 17th, and Reamer will have his bike so that he can get to work! Hopefully it won't take very long before our household goods (furniture etc..) get here!

One interesting thing that I'm going to have to get used to is that we have a European washer and dryer. They are going to be super small and apparently they take FOREVER to do the job. Even all of the Europeans told us this. I was wondering to myself about this. If they know that the washer and dryers suck, why don't they just make it better?? It seems strange to me. But anyways time will tell how the laundry situation will work out. At least we have a washer and dryer, I probably shouldn't be complaining.

Sep 10, 2008

Missing everybody....

So it's starting to sink in that I am really far away from my friends and family. My cousin is getting married this weekend and I'm pretty upset that I will be missing all of the events. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy that we are living here. We love it so much, but I can tell that I am going to miss everyone at home. The time difference kind of sucks too. It's hard to call everyone during the week because everytime I want to call someone in the States they are at work. I miss being able to just pick up the phone and call people whenever I want to talk. I sort of feel bad complaining about being here, because we are so lucky to be here and I absolutely love it. But, I am feeling a little sad that I will not be at the wedding and having fun with all of my family. I just want you all to know that I really miss everyone and I think about everyone all of the time.

Sep 6, 2008

Happy 21st Birthday Erin!

I remember the day that you were born. I rembember holding this little tiny thing in my arms, you were so adorable. You had the biggest most beautiful blue eyes in the world. I can't believe that you are 21 years old!

I have so many awesome memories that are only fun because you were there. We had so much fun as little kids; putting on plays, Blindsmans Bluff, Capture the Flag etc... (cleaning out my fish tank!) he he he. But as we got older we got even closer and the memories are even better (CHICKEN FACE, making up dances in the car, silly picture faces, ELF....the list goes on and on)! We are a lot more alike than we ever thought we would be!

I'm so happy that you are my Sissy! I feel so blessed and lucky to have you in my life! I have so much fun when we are together and I love you so much I can't even describe it. I really wish that I could be there to celebrate your 21st with you. But I have no doubt in my mind that you will celebrate in grand style!


Sep 5, 2008

Wine Tasting in Recchia

For my Birthday, Reamer and I went to a Vineyard and had a wine tasting. We took classes through the army about culture, language, etc... and the teacher of that class told us about Italian Vineyards. Italians usually go directly to the vineyards and bring their own bottles and purchase their wine in bulk. They will even bring huge barrels and fill several of them up. It is a lot cheaper to do it this way. Several people in my class were very interested in this (including Reamer and me) and she organized a "field trip" for us to go see it for ourselves. Luckily it just happened to be on my birthday.

When we got there we saw the beautiful vineyards everywhere. We have heard that we went to the best one, but there were plenty others in the same area. Our teacher went with us and translated what they said about the wine. The son of the owner taught us about each of the wine's that we drank. He taught us about the process that they go through to make each wine that we tasted.

Starting out with the first glass I was impressed. As the tasting went on, I couldn't believe what I was tasting! The final wine was a dessert red wine that is served cold. It is called Ricioto. It is now my favorite wine ever! It is THE MOST DELICIOUS THING IN THE WORLD!!! Reamer and I purchased several bottles of the differnt types of wine and of course a few of my favorite! We didn't bring our own jugs this time, but next time that we go we will be sure to fill up some barrels!

The website is in Italian, but check it out anyway.

Sep 3, 2008

When in Rome...

*Make sure to read my previous blog before this one.*

We finally made it to Rome after a long night. We felt pretty tired, but we still couldn't wait to see Rome. Our feet were pretty tired, so we decided to really be tourists and purchase tickets on the double seated tour bus. It didn't really cost very much, and we could see the entire city sittting down. The bus made stops at all of the major attractions and you could catch the next bus when you were ready to leave that destination. (They came around every 10 minutes). So off we went to explore Rome (sitting down)!!! The bus even had an audio tour guide that you could listen to to learn about what you were seeing. I had never been to Rome and I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I thought that Rome would be interesting and neat with all of the Roman ruins, but I had no idea what treasure lie ahead for me to see. As the bus started making its rounds, my eyes almost popped out of my head.

The one word that I can use to describe Rome is magnificent! There are huge detailed buildings/statues/fountains/cathederals/etc... EVERYWHERE! They are placed on hilltops and in lower areas as well. I was so impressed and I just started snapping away with my camera. I got about 10 photos (in the moving bus) and I got a warning that my battery was almost dead! My heart sank to the floor, I was so upset. This was the coolest place we had been so far, and my camera wasn't going to work. So I decided to save my pictures and only take them when absolutely necessary.

The Capitoline Hill is very impressive. It was designed by Michelangelo in the 16th century. The Piazza del Campidoglio is famous for Michelangelo's design. Museums that house some of the worlds most famous works of art are in this area of Rome.

Next, we saw the amazing Colosseum. It was constructed in AD 72. Deadly gladiatorial combats were held by the emperor. They would take the prisioners and force them to fight the gladiators or even wild animals to the death. Wild animal fights were staged where slaughter was evident. The Colosseum could hold up to 55,000 people and they were seated according to rank. Reamer and I started at the Colosseum and tried to imagine what it was like when it was in use. It seems amazing that they were able to have such an intricate system of entertainment. Reamer enjoyed teaching me all about it and how they held their events.

The Palatine is another interesting part of Rome. It was once the residence of emperors and aristocrats and the ruins range from the simple house in which Augustus lived to the Domus Augustana which was a multiwing palace. The ruins were quite impressive with many differnet types still left for us to see how amazing this empire truely was.

The Pantheon was one of our favorite things to see. The Pantheon is the most copied and imitated of all ancient works. Where it stands was not chosen by chance, but is a legendary place in the city's history. According to Roman legend, it is the place where the founder of Rome, Romulus, at his death was seized by an eagle and taken off into the skies with the Gods. The Pantheon's amazing structure is still a mystery today. It is amazing that they were able to construct such a perfect building without modern technology. The oculus, the only source of light in the Pantheon, is a round opening in the center of the dome and as the sun moves, light illuminates the walls and floors in beautiful patterns. We were amazed to learn about this impressive structure.

Vatican city was beautiful. We toured St. Peters Cathederal and climbed to the top of the cupola to see the town. (Reamer always wants to go to the absolute highest place of wherever we visit). The interior was magnificent and took our breath away. We didn't have time to see the Sistine Chapel, but we will be back to see it. St. Peters holds many famous works of art but to me the entire Chathederal looked like a beautiful work of art.

We split up these historical and beautiful tours into two days. We were tired and decided to stay the night in Rome in a charming hotel. Luckily we were able to ride the tour bus for 1/2 a day on our second day so we saved our feet for the tours. We enjoyed the food in Rome and found it to be some of the best we have had. (especially gelato's--Rome is famous for their gelato!)

After our first day in Rome we were enjoying a romantic walk back to our hotel and we turned a corner not knowing what to expect, and we saw one of the most beautiful sights. A huge, georgous fountain stood in our pathway. It was surrouned by people making wishes into the fountain. We were so happy that we stumbled upon the Trevi Fountian and it happened in perfect timing. We were mezmerized by its beauty. It is Rome's largest and most famous fountain.

We were sad to leave after our two day visit to Rome and felt like we wanted to see more. This is one trip we will have to make again so that we will feel like it is complete.

My Birthday Trip to Milan and Rome

Reamer and I went to the train station on Friday without any idea of where we were going to go to celebrate my Birthday. We packed one change of clothes, toothbrushes, and only a few other essentials in Reamers backpack and in my huge purse. We went to the self service ticket machine and starting typing in destinations to see the price/time/and length of train ride. We finally decided to go to Milan and we would tour that and try to go somewhere else from there. There would be trains going everywhre from that train station.

We arrived in Milan and were so excited to see the city. We spent the entire day on our feet walking around the entire city. Milan was as glamorous as you would think. High end designer stores where on every corner. As we entered the main part of Milan, we walked through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. It is a beautiful open yet indoor shopping center with designer shops adorning the mall. Prada, Gucci, Louis Vouitton, and of course McDonalds are all represented in the beautiful shopping center.

Milan's giant cathedral, Duomo, is one of the most beautiful structures that I have ever seen. It reminds me of the amazing drip sand castles that my mother used to make with us at the beach. Inside the church the stained glass windows take your breath away. The vastness of the church is mindblowing and all that you can do is stare in awe at its pure beauty.

Milan also is home to the Castello Storzesco. The castle is has several beautiful courtyards and is surrounded by parks. The nature that surrounds the castle adds to its beauty and charm. We also saw the famous Teatro alla Scala which is one of the world's most prestigious opera houses.

We toured the town, shopped, ate delicous food and after we had done everything that we wanted, we decided to go back to the train station to see if we could take an overnight train to a new location. Possibly Paris, or the beach somewhere....(who knows?). After scouring the destinations and the cost of last minute sleeping trains (they have trains where you can purchase a bed instead of a seat) we decided to go to Rome. We purchased our ticket for the midnight ride and we would arrive early in the morning. But we would have about 5 hours to sleep on the train. We waited for our train to come and saw that it had a delay, so we patiently waited... Finally, I looked up at the screen again and realized that we were looking at arrivals, not departures. OUR TRAIN HAD ALREADY LEFT WITHOUT US!!! We went to customer service so that we wouldn't completely loose our money and they changed our ticket to 6 a.m. That meant that we had to WAIT UNTIL 6 a.m. TO LEAVE!!!

So, with our tired and blistered feet, we toured the town again. We rested at the Duemo (the beautiful catherdral). We put our feet in the fountains. Observed georgous models in their farrari's going out for a glamourous night on the town. And we went back to the train station exhausted for our journey to Rome. We tried as best we could to sleep on the train, but because we had been bumped onto the new train, we had no assigned seats. We continuously got moved from seat to seat until finally we sat in the cafe car(it is sort of like a restraunt seating train car).

Finally, we made it to Rome and we didn't even care about our lack of sleep. We just wanted to see this amazing city! I will write about Rome in my next blog!