Tuesday, December 29, 2009

back in the USA

well i made it home from italy safely. the only thing that got broken was our little monk salt and pepper shakers that we got in assisi. sad but it was ok because we bought three sets.
it was really hard adjusting to life again. frankly i'm still getting over the fact that i just spent the most amazing three months of my life in the most amazing city i've ever been in with a really incredible guy and absolutely phenomenal co-workers. but life goes on, even though i had to sneak into the bathroom during two of the flights to cry about things and i was totally worthless the whole time i was home, i've accepted that my life in italy couldn't possibly have lasted. now that i'm back at school, i'm pretty happy but i digress.
thanksgiving was really good. we went up to park city as is now the ash fam tradish. we did the big meal on friday instead of thursday which made it possible for my really good friend ryan mclean to partake of his second feast of the year. It was nice to have him there because everyone else was married or under 18. we played a few awesome rounds of hand n foot.
after thanksgiving, miriam and i went home in time to get to matt hunsaker's brother's wedding reception. It was the first time i'd seen matt since he got home so it was super fun. the next day was matt's homecoming talk which was really really good.
the next tuesday, matt and I took a roadtrip to provo so that I could get my apartment and jobs all situated. that was so much fun. while we were there, we both decided to take summer jobs with our friend brett in chicago. i am going to be the office manager of a pest control company and matt is going to be working in the sales with brett. I'm REALLY excited to go to chicago, especially because of the architecture.
being in utah for that week was awesome. i did so many fun things and i got to go to the temple and got to see almost everyone that i wanted to see. there was even the christmas party of my old ward (go 180th!) which was really fun and i LOVED hanging out with janet hilton again.
after that week i went home and just vegged for three weeks. it was awesome. i went to miriam's school's holiday market then to sushi in summerlin for linz's birthday. we had a fantastic pizza palooza, i went to the foothill choir concert, aunt mari and uncle stan came to visit, i almost passed out at the doctor's office, i saw kasey campbell freshly returned, we did a sick photoshoot, i went to grandpa's christmas party, i watched the vegas bowl at a good friend's house, i went christmas caroling with the paces, i bought a onsie and surprised my parents with it, we had a great christmas (thank you mark summers!), we went to arizona where i got to see my family and a really good friend, darrell legler (you might know him as the cute guy i dated in alaska), then coming home from az, i got to ride with matt hunsaker who just happened to be there for the weekend also and we got stuck in a CRAZY traffic jam, then i spent almost the whole week living at our little house on oklahoma st while scott, lynn, josh, janelle, jay, john and thais were visiting at our house for new year's.
my new year's was really good. a bunch of people were at the little house and at about 10:30 we decided to go to wal mart to get some party stuff. just before 12 we went to the top of the eldorado parking garage and watched the fireworks from the strip. it was so fun! we had all these party favors and silly string and stuff. then we went back to the house for some bubbly and it was just a good time.
the next day was a HUGE barbecue! everyone made such amazing food it was crazy. it was my last hurrah before starting my new year's resolutions.
the next day (saturday the 2nd) i had to drive to provo and try to get moved in to my new apt. well no one was home when i got there, and i can't blame them for taking long vacations i guess... lol anyway long story short, i finally got a hold of the manager at 4:30 ON SUNDAY and she let me in. ryan (bless his heart and soul!) and i made short work of unloading my car and then a few hours later bill and jolena brought over the rest of my stuff. still none of my roommates were there... around 10 or so two of my roommates got back. and then at 11 my room roommate got there. her name is chelsea, but she goes by chuck since we have two chelseas in the apartment. chuck fits her better anyway. she's really funny and she's from atlanta. gotta have one roommate from georgia forever i guess ;)
well i got my surprisingly inexpensive books this morning, then went to my first class, the history of interior design and architecture. it was awesome. it is taught by one of my least favorite professors on the planet (the same guy who gave me such a bad grade in my interior design drafting class)BUT there is no homework, no reading, no papers, just 4 100 point exams, not cumulative on slides that we talk about in class. then i had the best class EVER!! my italian 321 class with one of the best professors in the world. he even remembered me from when i took his class a year ago. the class was full of italian returned missionaries... im about to be finding my new best friend in that class! hehehe SO excited.

today i learned: what suocera means
today i was tickled: that i now have snow leopard operating system
today i took: first day of school pictures with ryan!
today i think it's funny: that we have a dead poinsettia yet specific directions of how to care for it

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Umani non Volano

Umani Non Volano

Ho baciato una stella,
Una stella dalla notte più chiara,
Più serena,
Più gloriosa,

Ho toccato una stella
E mi ha scaldato.
Mi ha scaldato con
gambe e mani di fuoco.
Mi ha scaldato con
uno sguardo appassionante.
Mi ha scaldato con

Ho parlato con una stella.
Abbiamo chiacchierato con piacere
Di cose pesante
Cose volute.
“io conosco io”, dice la stella.
“io voglio conoscermi”, penso io.

Sviluppiamo un rapporto strano.
Sono umana.
La stella è celestiale.
E noi non ce ne freghiamo niente.

Dopo poco tempo
Se n’è andato.

Vorrei volare via con lui la prossima volta.
Umani non volano.

A week in the life of an intern

Ok I know I haven’t written about Cinque Terre, so I am going to sit myself down on this dilapidated couch and discipline myself until I am finished writing about Cinque Terre, the day before I left for Cinque Terre (CinTer), Halloween, my future apartment, and my recent updates of life here (when I say updates, that’s code for Giulio). I’m putting subtitles so that if readers want to skip around they can. This is a long entry…
The day before CinTer
The day before I left to CinTer was a Wednesday, and it was going to be the last day that I would see my friends Malin (Sweden), Sarah (Switzerland), and Paul (German). We decided to go out for some drinks and to dance a little. Lots of people showed up, for which I was glad, because this was kinda planned around me. I tried again to get Giulio to come with us, but he just laughed and said he was too old. I told him not to forget me while I was gone in CinTer and he got all serious and said “Why would you ever say something like that?” haha cute little Giulio. So I went to some restaurant and paid 6 euro for wine that I made my other friend drink. That kinda sucked whatever. Then we went to The Red Barron, the best bar in town. It was university night so all the tables were pushed back. It was really fun. Afterwards, I went to sleep over at Sarah’s house. We talked a little bit and then I got on the bus to go back home and leave for CinTer!
Getting to CinTer
I got to the station early with a huge freaking load of stuff. We went to the market to get some fruit and then we got on the train! Arriving in CinTer is like stepping into a fairytale. The train passes through a tunnel and then all of the sudden, there is the Mediterranean Sea. The fresh ocean air was so welcomed after two months in Siena. Riomaggiore (the city furthest southeast, let’s say the first city) was where we were staying. It was an adorable sleepy fishing town. We called our apartment owner who came to fetch us. Speaking a mix of Italian and English (on both parts) we all went to the apartment.
First impressions
The apartment was darling, with an INCREDIBLE view.

The first night we decided to eat earlier than normal so after a little bit of time playing at the beach and taking lots of pics (I was sufficiently splashed…) we went to the market to get the greedy ants for a healthy dinner. We made pasta, carrots and green beans. It was delicious!! And so nice to cook for once. After dinner we were all in the mood for gelato so we tried to find a gelataria. There was nothing. It was so weird. So after that bust we went back home and chilled out.
First day seeing the cities

The next day we were planning to hike the trail between the five cities. We got all ready to hike and then we went to buy the ticket to do the trail. Annie and I bought ours from this girl, then Ashley was about to get hers from the boy that was working, and he told her the trail was closed. Annie asked if we could get a refund on our tickets. I was kinda ticked that the girl let us buy our tickets when the trail was closed but the guy gave us a refund.
We decided then to take the train to see all the cities. (In order they are: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, Monterosso) It was a nice little preview. The day was totally overcast so it was hard get good pictures, but the day after was perfect. My favorite parts of the day were: the cinnamon gelato, the focaccia, the view of Vernazza from the cemetery, and the little park with the merry-go-round. That night we ate dinner at a pretty nice restaurant. I got swordfish ravioli with tomato sauce. Incredible. That was in the last city. We decided to head back to Riomaggiore and watch movies and play cards and it was all fun and good. I tried to have pillow talk with Ashley but I was a bum and fell asleep.

The hike! :slash: the second day
The next day we did the hike! It was the most beautiful sunny day in the world. I was actually quite worried that I wouldn’t be able to do it. I’ve never been much of a sportsman and though I have lost 136 pounds (woot!) I’m still a big girl. Luckily, the hike was most enjoyable. I even liked the hard parts and I wasn’t even that slow. To enter into the city of Corniglia you have to hike about 380 stairs. I jogged almost all the way up. It was awesome! Vernazza (the fourth of five) was breathtaking this day. The water was aqua and clear and the sky was tangibly blue. The colored buildings looked like the ghea at a Cold Stone. It was amazing. We sat on the peer for hours basking in the sun like lizards. I stretched out and did a few yoga poses because we had been hiking for the last few hours straight and I was getting stiff. At Vernazza, I meditated for a long time. Let me just be a little out of the box for a minute and testify of meditation. As I sat in the sun listening to the waves, I thought about how much I wanted to recommit myself to being healthy. I thought about health, my appearance, my body, and my goals for what must have been 30 minutes. Since that day I have eaten and exercised nearly flawlessly. I need to meditate again because I can feel the effects wearing off, but let me just say that I know that was a big part of the 3 kilos I’ve lost recently. We made it to the last city. It was all downhill from Vernazza to Monterosso. At Monterosso, we watched the sunset and then got on the train to Riomaggiore again.

We hung out at the apartment for a while, enjoying the night. Then we woke up late the next day and headed back to Siena. The train ride took a long time, but we got home in time for dinner. And we met up with a few other girls who were on their way home from Milan.
In short, it was a delightful weekend.

Next topic! Halloween ☺
So I was lucky enough to be able to tag along with the study abroad group for their tour on Saturday.
With Giulio
Of course I should tell about the 29th first. I hung out with Giulio for a while and we talked. So I went to his restaurant at like 9:40 and he made me count the cash register like he always does. He makes me do it in Italian out loud because he thinks it’s cute. I told him he had to pay me next time. Then we went to our favorite bench and talked about stuff. He told me his name in Albanian means star. His name is Ylli Ismaealdad. I think that’s how he spelled it. So awesome. And he is ¼ Japanese. Ok that’s enough about him. Pretty much it was really fun and he said I’m an awesome listener. Then I met up with another girl Elizabeth who was with her man to go back to her house. We recounted the events of the night to each other and then when we got back to the apartment we realized that she had forgotten her keys. Lol so we waited for a little until some nice guy came and he went in, and we followed right after him. Then we went and hung out. It was a real sleep over. We stayed up really late and everything. Then in the morning I escaped (because the family didn’t know I was there hahaha) and went back to my house to shower and stuff. The thirtieth nothing really happened that I can think of.
The olive oil tour
Halloween! I decided to be a snow leopard, and in true hillary style I wore my costume all day.

So annie and I took the bus into the city like we usually do and then we loaded onto a bus to go to Buonconvento and a monastery. At the monastery of San Benedetto I saw all the frescoes by Sodoma. It was awesome. If you don’t know who he is, he is the renaissance painter who painted himself right in the middle of his painting. So funny. We also saw Montaperti, the place where Siena beat Florence in battle. That was awesome! I am proud to be Sienese.
So this day was pretty much just a ton of goofing around. We took so many pictures and a lot of people were in their costumes.

Best parts of the trip: getting to know all the girls better, the amazing lunch, and talking to the bus driver.
Halloween party

After the tour we all went to the Halloween party at the church. It was so fun! Everyone’s costumes were awesome. But the best part of this was: Giacomo’s brother came and I got to chat in Italian with them about how his brother should come to church. One of my other friends was like “you left us all to talk to the Italians.” It’s true though because my goal in coming here was to learn to speak Italian, and so I choose to speak Italian or to Italians whenever I can. I hate going so long without speaking Italian. Haha I just realized that I said the same thing a few weeks ago about English.

After the party, I went to go show Giulio my costume but he had already left work sadly because he loves cats. I knew he would have thought I was the cutest kitty ever. Oh well. I showed him the pics and he said it was “troppo carina.” Good Halloween (except for all the dirty looks I got for being dressed up like a cat all day. But I am proud of my Halloweenal heritage so take that).

Next Topic! My future apartment
Well, a few days ago, my dear friend Ryan sent me an email entitled “COME LIVE IN MY WARD!” or something like that. So I thought, “This might work!” He was so darling. He sent me a video of the girls in the apartment, and this like huge list of all the good things about the complex and the ward. So I thought about it, and it seems like a dream come true. So I said give me this girl’s email and consider it done. So come next year (anyone who is interested) I will be living in Condo Row! Conerstone Condos ☺ I’m pretty excited, and Eric doesn’t live very far either. I am a little nervous to leave my old beloved 180th but I think it’ll be a good thing for me. I have no clue what BYU will be like without the BFFTAAEs though. That is gonna be weird.

To sum up, la vita è bellissima. Vorrei ringraziare tutti quanti che leggono questo diario di miei pensieri. Ho i migliori amici sulla faccia della terra. Davvero. Sapete che mi considero la ragazza più benedetta nel mondo, in famiglia, fede, amicizia, tutti. Senza di voi, non potevo fare niente. Ogni parola gentile mi solleva e per questo sono grata grata.

Today I can’t think of: anything to write on my “Today I” section
Today I would love: to go to Disneyland
Today I wish that someone would: make all my decisions for me
Today I want to talk to: MATT!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dammi un bacino!

SO much to write. This weekend was awesome from Friday to Sunday. Friday I decided to go dancing with my girls, but I also wanted to see Giulio. I went back into the city after dinner and stayed at Giulio’s restaurant while he closed everything. The till was off a bit, so he asked me to count it. That was cute. And then he couldn’t find the keys, so he went upstairs to look for them. He found them and everything was fine. When everything was done, we went and sat under the stars and talked. It was awesome. Then I went to the club without him because apparently guys don’t like dancing very much…
The club was so much fun this time! The girls here are awesome. I’m glad I am doing my internship frankly, but I’m also really glad that they are here. We met some awesome guys and we danced like crazy. After we were done there, we all went our separate ways. I walked to Ashley’s apartment with her. We snuck in (it was getting close to 3 am) and went to bed after she showed me her old pictures of when she was a… bigger girl. We woke up at 6:30, and I caught the bus to the station so I could go to the INTERNATIONAL CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL!!!

I got there early enough to buy a hot chocolate and a magazine. Then my friends, Natalia (Australian) and Bettina (Swiss) got there and we caught the train to Chiusi. Chiusi is a cute town but there is absolutely NOTHING to do there. We had an hour layover and we walked around a little bit. I did buy this little black and gold scarf. I think I’ll put it in my hair tomorrow. Then we got the next train to Terontola. Terontola was even less eventful then Chiusi. We had two hours there. Finally, we got the train to Perugia. It was packed and I had to sit next to these really creepy guys. One of them had an accent very similar to Giulo’s, and according to Giuli, Albanians are creeps, so maybe he was Albanian.
The Choco Fest was AWESOME!! There were so many people and so many different types of chocolate. I bought SO MUCH chocolate. (luckily it’s all for other people so I won’t eat it.) Some was really expensive some, really cheap; there were hot chocolate, Italian chocolate, Swiss chocolate, chocolate crepes, chocolate liquor, chocolate covered dried fruit, and even a climbing wall in the shape of a huge chocolate bar.

Towards the end of our time there, we stopped into a shoe store. Uh-oh. I had had in my mind for about the week or so previous this image in my head: my feet in some honey brown short boots, no heel and a wide mouth so they would have some space at the ankle when I wore them. Specific? Not specific enough because I found them. And bought them. They were so expensive but just look at them! The cute little ribbon!! (for interest, the count for shoes purchased here is up to 4 pair…)
I got back to Siena around 9 and nonna picked me up from the train stash. Then I finished preparing the lesson for RS and went to sleep. I was running on three hours of sleep.
Sunday I was very nervous for the lesson. I taught about a month ago and it was a disaster, that’s why I wanted to try again. This time I was notably more prepared and it went really well! I was so grateful for all the help I received. Our prayers really are answered.
After Sunday school, I was talking to my friend Luca and he was telling me that one of the ladies in the ward didn’t want to go on his motorcycle. I was like “I wanna go!” and he was like “Really?” so I gave him my digits and I am going to be riding on the back of his motorcycle someday soon!!! Hello Lizzie Mc Guire!
In sacrament, one of the missionaries translated all the talks in English. It kind of annoyed me because its like this is the branch of Siena. We can’t just come here and take over and translate everything into English. But at the same time, if I was in a place where I didn’t know any of the language, I would really appreciate it if someone would translate for me. Well the point of telling that is to explain that I had to leave church early because I had to go with Cristi my co-worker out to her friend, Romina’s, house. Cri picked me up with her cute little tiny friend Chiara. We drove about an hour out to Cortona. That place was incredibly beautiful. I told them it looked like a fairy tale. Well I thought it was a lunch for me, Cri, Chiara, and Romina. Turns out it was the family lunch. Romina’s mom, sister, dad, and two nieces were also there.

The dinner was absolutely exquisite. For prima we had: lasagna with ragù and lasagna with pesto then for seconda there was filled chicken, roasted chicken, lamb and peas. Dessert was chocolate tiramisu. OMG I can’t even believe food that good is allowed in mortality. Good thing my ghost dialed 911 when I died of happiness.

After lunch I drew some pictures with the 8 year old niece, Federica, and she taught me how to say fox: “volpe.” She would tell me an animal and I would draw it. And if she didn’t know the English I would tell her. She was darling. Well after we hung out for a long time, we realized that we needed to be going. We wanted to see the city a little bit. It was already about 6 pm and getting dark. We went to Cortona. It was adorable! It was really cold but it was such a cute city. I would like to go again. I think that every little Italian city has its own personality.

Siena is kinda like the big sister. Its cute and nice, but still needs your respect. Cortona was like a birthday party for an 11-year-old girl. Let me explain. It wasn’t loud and crazy like I would imagine of 7-, 8-, 9- year-olds. It was a birthday party where we all sit and watch movies and eat popcorn. It has this youthfulness, this sense of being carefree. Everyone walked so slowly and I took a second to remember that I could walk just as slowly because there was nothing for me to worry about. Everyone there was just enjoying themselves. I loved it.

Today I got told that: if I were a food, I would be a pineapple.
Today I learned: a new secret
Today I revealed that Giulio said: “Dammi un bacio”
Today I almost: applied for a job at Disneyland

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

metà e metà

I refuse to accept it, but my time here is half over. This weekend in Florence was awesome! Family that is coming to visit me: here’s the thing. We are going to need to stay there for a few days. Like I think we leave Sunday and go to Florence Monday and Tuesday then we leave Wednesday. Anyway, about my weekend:
Friday night there was a dinner at the school.

It cost a butt load of money, but when all was said and done, it was totally worth it because of the company. My friends here are so awesome!

It was pouring rain and there was a ton of thunder and lightning and stuff. The dinner was awesome (see facebook soon for complete photos of the dinner.) I was sad because after the dinner I had to meet my roommate at Giulio’s restaurant so we could hang out and I didn’t bring an umbrella that day. So much for hanging out in weather like that… anyway I got to the restaurant but it was like to the point where I was just like “I’m getting soaked no matter what.” I walked in an Maria Libera was like “did you fall in a river?” I went back to bathroom and dried off a little. Then we went home. Haha I felt really bad that Annie came into the city on a night like that, but she was totally happy with it, bless her heart.
Saturday we got up and got ready. We went to the bus stop and caught the rapido per Firenze!

The firstish thing we did was just a little bit of a tour. Our friend Sarah is a doctorate student with the university of Toronto who is doing research for her program. She specializes in late Medieval Italian history and she lived in Florence for 2 months so she told us about the city and stuff.
Of course we stopped in a few shops (H&M HELLO) but Annie really wanted to go to the Medici Chapel. I’m so glad we did too. It was AWESOME. Of course, no pics inside, but there was this art there—it looked like paintings, but when you looked close it was all really intricately cut pieces of stone inlaid. It was amazing. I couldn’t help but wonder why I had never studied that method of art before. The Chapel was the tallest building I’ve ever been in. my neck literally hurt looking all the way to the top. To the right of the Chapel is the tomb. This is where Michelangelo’s sculptures of Night, Day, Dawn and Dusk are. I’VE BEEN IN THE SAME ROOM WITH THEM!! Mwahahaha but more than those four, the carvings of the people buried there are much more attractive than Night, Day, Dawn and Dusk. Incredible. Absolutely incredible. After that, we did some shoppin. I bought an awesome zebra striped scarf. [Tip for Aunt Janelle: I remember when I first came back from Italy 6 years ago and you started to wear your scarf they way they were doing then. That way is out (where you fold it in half and pass the ends through the loop). Now it’s cool to just have it around your neck, like a neck brace, no parts hanging down at all.] then Sarah decided to go because she is STILL sick. Annie and I climbed to the top of hill with the best view in the world.
After we took a brazilian pictures, we walked up a little more and found the oldest church in Florence. There was no one else there, so annie was like “we should sing!” so we did! I sang ubi caritas. It sounds so much better in a big freakin stone sanctuary. We also saw this painting.

I just thought it was funny because here we are at the crucifixion of Christ, but Mary is dressed like a Renaissance courtier, and so is the dude on the left (don’t know who he is) and then there is just St. Francis chillin at the crucifixion. He was definitely there, you know, since he is Italian and Italians can transcend time and space like Hiro Nakamura. Anyway, we had a good laugh at that. After that we were fortunate enough to get the cathedral at exactly the right time—they were holding a mass in English!!! THAT, my friends, was AMAZING. I WENT TO A CATHOLIC MASS IN FLORENCE.

My favorite part was when the preacher said, “now share the sign of peace with everyone” and we all shook hands with the people around us. After the mass, we headed in route to the bus station. On the way we stopped in a store where Annie found the perfect poncho. SUPER cute. We eventually got on the bus and were home in time for dinner. Great day.

Sunday was fast Sunday. Three of our four elders got transferred, but that means that we got three new ones, one fresh from the MTC. They are all great. After church we killed time walking around. Sarah, Annie and I went over to the married couple’s apartment. We played with their baby and just talked. Annie and I decided to go to this free concert of baroque music at 5 pm.
It was AWESOME! There were these girls who played the harpsichord like bandits. After the concert, we went home for dinner. It was the best meal ever but I seriously felt sick after eating it because I haven’t eaten stuff that heavy for a while. It was amazing.
Well to sum up, everything is awesome. And for interest’s sake, here’s a pic of me and Giulio.

Details available upon request.
Today I carried: my ridiculous del sol canvas bag
Today I laughed: at nonna’s reaction to the pictures of Giulio (“lui è BELLISSIMOOOOOO!!!!”)
Today I could not: focus
Today I made new friends with: four American missionaries for some other Christian church

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

most eventful weekend ever

What a weekend! So much to say… well my Australian roommates (the older ones) and I decided to go to Assisi Saturday. It was definitely made to be because at work on Thursday I told my co-worker Cristi that I wanted to go to Assisi and so we spent an hour looking for trains and stuff. We weren’t finding anything so Cristi decided to call her friend Romina who lives about an hour away from Assisi to see if she knew any way to get there. Romina said that she was going to Perugia on Saturday and that she could take us with her! What a doll she was. Well she and I had a nice conversation about things. She said I would have to come out to her house someday. I was like heck yeah! When we got to Perugia, we decided to go to the photo booth and take a picture like little girls. As we were coming out of the booth this creepy guy came up and started perving on us, especially Christine. He was like, “oh you have my wife's eyes. She died so young.” We were all just like “oh ok. Well we have to catch our train so…” anyway, we got to Assisi safely. So the first thing we did was go to St. Francis’s Basilica. OH. MY. GOSH. It was incredible.
I took a ton of pictures outside, but INSIDE was just… I can’t even formulate an intelligent thought to describe the impact of the interior. As Rick Steves says, “the upper basilica is practically wallpapered with Giotto’s frescoes.” Frescoes I have seen now:

And more!!
Well after we went to the basilica, we did a little shopping. Then we realized that we were running out of time! I then proceeded to drag my mums around Assisi in search of more gorgeous cathedrals. We found them! We saw St. Claire’s cathedral

and San Rufino.

They were both stunning, but still St. Francis's was... well... better. Then we decided to head back to the train station to learn how in the world we were going to get home. No one was very helpful, but that’s ok! We ending up calling Romina again, and she said she would give us a ride again. She is the sweetest person I have ever met! We didn’t even know each other, and she was going to drop everything to give us a ride. Well we got everything arranged and we had another hour. There was one more church I wanted to see. Im really glad I did. It was Santa Maria degli Angeli. It was built in the 1700s so much more recent than the other cathedrals I had seen that day. It was built around the tiny church that St. Francis lived in. It was quite a remarkable sight.

Well finally we got on the train. We got off in Perugia, and guess what? The old guy that was perving on Chris was still there! Hahaha so we ran away as fast as we could. We shortly learned that we should have stayed on the train, and that we had two more hours until there was a train that would eventually get us to Siena (at 11 pm). We called Romina and told her not to worry about giving us a ride and decided to make the most of the time in Perugia. We took the bus to the historic center where there just happened to be a huge antique market. So of course I had to buy some earrings and a purse. We enjoyed the time in Perugia and finally got back to Siena.

Sunday I got up early again to get to church. Again the service was wonderful. Annie and another friend taught the RS lesson and they did a really great job. Sacrament meeting was the primary program. It was a full house and there were four kids in the primary (plus the two children of the BYU professor). After church Annie asked if I wanted to go to the Campo to sit outside. I said I did but I had to use the john first. When I got out, everyone was gone! Except Sarah was still there. So I asked if she wanted to go to Campo to meet up with them, and she did. Well no one was at the Campo and I had seen that Giulio was at his store, so Sarah and I said goodbye and I went in to talk to Giulio. When I walked in he did a double take, then he looked me right in the eyes and said, “Ilaria, come stai?” I bought a sandwich because I had forgotten my lunch. I went upstairs and ate and read for a little waiting for the lunchtime rush to die out. Half an hour later I went back downstairs. Here’s where it gets good. There was a full line but he came up to the counter and said “When are we going to see each other?” I said, “I don’t know. You tell me.” He asked how Wednesday was, then asked for my phone number. I gave it to him, then as I was leaving he yelled after me “I’m going to call you!” and I walked away (singing) very pleased, and ready to go to San Gimignano.

I got to the bus station and found my mums and told them about Giulio. We got onto the bus after a little confusion about which one to take. All the other students from Dante Aleghieri were under the same impressions as us: this was a tour of San Gimignano with the teachers from Dante. Well none of the teachers were there, and we quickly learned that this was a wine tasting tour. We first went to Monteriggioni, a medieval town. We spent 20 minutes there.

Then we went to a wine tasting. It felt like we were there for a year. I did eat some prosciutto and bread, and I smelled the wine (is that toeing the line? I dunno. I didn’t want to drink it, if that redeems me at all.) We had a nice conversation with a couple from Scotland.

Then we loaded back on the bus, and went to San Gimignano. By this time, we were getting a little cranky. The day was fading away and we hadn’t been to San Gimignano yet. Everyone from Dante had the same feelings. We finally got to San Gimignano.
We were given 50 MINUTES to see this city.

I was pretty mad. Chris, Julie and I contemplated taking a taxi back to Siena, but quickly we made the decision to make the most of the 50 minutes. We did go to the world’s best gelato shop.

And of course we did some shopping. I tried to find something of interest, but there just wasn’t time. After that we were herded back onto the bus, en route to another wine tasting. This place was gorgeous! But the thing is by this time it was dark and we all agreed that we should have come here earlier. It was this beautiful garden run by a family. It was a nice time, but again, I just ate the snacks and smelled the wine. I can’t believe I paid for this. Writing about it now, ex post facto, I’m getting angry again. Hahaha… well needless to say, I would have preferred to spend my Sunday in other ways, but quella è vita!
Today I learned about: how to properly taste wine
Today I adtmitted: that i am victim of the killers
Today I gave: my phone number to two different italian guys
Today I ate: the gelato from the celestial kingdom

Friday, September 25, 2009


Seems like a lot has happened since I last wrote. My Australian sisters left and now I have two Australian mamas (Chris and Julie) living in Rita’s house with Annie and me. They are awesome!! I am taking advantage of the fact that they want to go to Assisi and going with them on Saturday. Sunday after church we are going to San Gimignano. So since I have a lot to say, I’ll make a list:
-I went to the market yesterday and bought yellow shoes

-I get to go home for Thanksgiving!
-I am going to Assisi Saturday and San Gimignano Sunday
-I tried Orzo (it’s a drink very much like coffee but made from toasted barley) and liked it!

-I met a really awesome guy named Giulio who works at a gelato shop and gave me baci (anyone who doesn’t know what that is, it’s staying like that). Rita wants me to marry him
-My family is coming in two months!
-I have a phone card so I can call people some time; I just have to figure out when to do it
-I am super happy that everything is settled with the flight and the visit of my family
-Work is awesome. If the architect accepts my proposal, we are going to build a walkway out of composite wood—thanks to me! no one here had even heard of it, but I found a dealer here in Italy! I was quite proud if I may say so.
-The language has been hard the last few days. I need to study my language books.
-Annie and I are going to be the best of friends, just like I predicted

So my Australian aunties are incredible.

Last night we started talking about religion and got into this incredible conversation about God, love, life, repentance, revelation, and everything in between. Chris said that it was a great church meeting. For her, church isn’t a building; it’s a conversation or a feeling. I thought that was a great way to look at it. She reminds me so much of my mom! I am so grateful that Julie shared her story about when she was twelve she thought that church was missing the “oomph.” A few years later she left the Catholic Church she was raised in, and is now a practicing Pentecostal. I can say that I know that feeling, but not about the Church, in regards to my life. There are times that I am missing the “oomph.” Guess what? That is when I am missing the Spirit. The Spirit is the “oomph.”