Wednesday, September 23, 2009

oldie but goodie

at midnight, on our hellish train ride back to florence from vienna, willa handed me a candle-lit chocolate and serenaded our entire car with a sweet round of happy birthday


like a kid on christmas

mini and atlas

you can sprinkle my ashes here

thank you so much :)

really, thank you.

she's blood

There was nothing exciting about the idea of turning twenty. It’s a terrible number. Even saying it sounds bad. And I’ve had the opportunity to do much more fulfilling things during my time abroad than acknowledge my precious, fleeting teenage years dissipate into the crypt of young memories. However, on a less morbid note, this year’s September 21st reminded me of the many treasures I have been fortunate enough to accumulate over the decades— such as my little gem, Willa. I cannot think of many people that make me as genuinely happy as she does. As the blondest (reference to hair color and nothing more) member of my family, she once again went above and beyond the calls of friendship to ensure celebration ensued regardless of the continent. Needless to say, my spirit sister knows me all too well, seeing as she kept introducing new trinkets and pretty things to keep me starry-eyed throughout the day. I had class until the later part of the evening and assumed it would be a romantic dinner date for the two of us afterwards (our dates still make me giddy). Upon my return, I was welcomed by a glowing Willa, boasting lovely white wine, more pretty things (that I loved, naturally), and her bubbly eagerness to celebrate, hence our excited skip off to dinner…wherein I was surprised by a lovely group of kind souls the little she-devil had managed to assemble to surprise me. It was one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me, and I sincerely thank everyone tenfold for your priceless presence and generosity. Willa, you’re right next to me as a write this, but you really are something else. Thank you for being my home away from home.

P.S. I still can’t believe you actually managed to surprise me. I always catch that kind of shit.

P.P.S. Thank you for drinking white wine and dancing.

P.P.P.S. Shampoodle.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


our first few minutes on the train to vienna. the eleven hour train to vienna.

st. peter's church

peed my pants at the most outstanding natural history museum ever

the museum housed every species imaginable

one of the better ideas we've had

saw an actual gustav klimt, Death and Life

went to an empty theme park. it was creepy.

butterfly house, very concerned about the butterflies' withering condition

brilliant egyptian room at some unpronounceable museum

very excited in vienna

on a romantic dining car date en route to prague. mood lighting included.


they're everywhere, like asian tourists

at the top of a very tall tower

prague castle cathedral

unfathomable stained glass

sneak a peak

original alfons mucha. i could technically touch it.

willa captured a little bit of nighttime prague bustle

in said bustle

My head is still configuring—and reconfiguring—just what happened this past weekend. We actually did it: we managed to pack life up in a backpack and Eurail ourselves into Vienna, Austria and Prague, Czech Republic, a few days as nomads…of the sun dress and hostel reservation breed. We filled our days with seeing things that should be seen and taking pictures where they should be taken (which is nearly everything and everywhere: it was a constant feast for the eyes). More interestingly so, I feared for my own sanity in a treacherous overnight train ride, had a tremendous Middle Eastern dinner and perfect beast of an ice cream dessert in Vienna, saw every animal known to man, in taxidermy form, jumped into toddler-sized carnival rides at a closed amusement park, was floored to find myself in the presence of works by the brilliant Klimt and Mucha, and rambled on about the intricacies of love and time and questioned the more shallow levels of existence via the Would You Rather game. Needless to say, some of the most striking things about our little adventure were things technically unrelated to the grandeur of both cities; they were little things that I will most likely never forget, and things that I will always find terribly amusing, and yet, they were things that magnified the greatness of travel and the stage it sets for much, much more.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me,) it’s always ourselves we find in the sea





thanks, alman.


I was reunited with my beloved coast this past weekend. We ventured to Cinque Terre, a stunning assemblage of five small sea towns, on the northwest coast of Italy. We stayed for an evening and soaked up the goodness of endless stretches of emerald water, mountain faces littered with colors and linen lines, and that perfect salty air. I savored some for you, Manther. Things could be better with the Moms, but we’re working on it…well, at least until Wednesday night because then Willa and I leave for Vienna and Prague! Just us two wandering souls for the weekend. Then class gets in the way again when we come home early Monday morning.

Monday, September 7, 2009

toes in the water

my kind of tag

gypsies at ponte vecchio

classroom at school

school also has nice stairwells

santa croce: we live just to the left of it

on the third floor

from my bed

a little bit of home

hi mama and daddy, kimee and sierra and phoenix. i miss and love you all very much.

Well, we met her. She has a deeper, but gentle voice, laced with traces of her British English education, hair always pulled back and smoothed, red reading glasses set near the tip of her nose. Although we’ve held friendly conversation concerning things such as our upcoming travel plans, the meanings of our names (she has yet to remember mine and likes to call me Flower) and our classes (which started today), many of our encounters with her have resulted in a fair amount of awkward tension that leave Willa and I to shoot each other bewildered looks (and muffled laughs once we enter the safety of our bedroom). How grateful I am to have her company as we orient ourselves with our host, otherwise I’d probably be much more distraught. We are still learning the do’s and don’ts of living with Annalisa—mostly the don’ts as of late. Possibly, all we need is some more of this getting-to-know-you time, however my daydream of the three of us as a frolicking sisterhood in a Tuscan sunflower field has now become a fleeting thought slipping back into the ether of time. Must channel positive energy. For now, Willa and I will be whispering in our bedroom as we steal wireless internet from the neighbors.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


We were bussed out of Rome this morning, bore witness to the rolling hills and flat expanses of wilted sunflowers of Tuscany on the four hour journey, and finally arrived in Florence by late afternoon. As the others were settling into their new apartments and meeting their new families for the semester, Willa and I were only to be welcomed by the doors of the Dante Hotel, a street over from our future host mama’s home. A bit of a scheduling mishap, but we will hopefully (and finally) meet her tomorrow after orientation. Until then, moms.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

hot and fresh

willa in the warsaw terminal


hotel room

hall of the vatican museum

on the steps of a church

setting intention

st. peter's basilica

a view from the spanish steps

our tour guide likes to dress in one color so we don't lose her. she even coordinated her loofa and mascara.

giddy in some roman ruins


had to

museo dell’ ara pacis

an obliging street painter

Much to its dismay, the grave, meat-and-potatoes crew of Lot Polish Airlines carted Willa and me relatively safely into the arms of Rome after our four hour layover in a cold and desolate Warsaw terminal. After long bouts of orienting, touring, and overloading the senses with breathtaking works I have yet to fully process, our charming room at the Hotel Tiziano has served as a little haven amidst the constant ebb and flow of city sights and sounds down below. The hours have slowly melted into days, and my first week away from home has been an eyeful. We leave Rome tomorrow morning, and by the afternoon hours, I will have finally unpacked my life into Florence.