Day Two + Three

*I know this is extremely past due, but I still wanted to share the rest of the photos from orientation weekend.

Sunday morning everyone was supposed to meet for group breakfast and academic orientation at 9 am, but Hot Dog and I slept through our alarms (surprise, surprise) and ran in halfway through orientation at 11 am. Then throughout the entire day, everyone kept making comments of how delicious breakfast was and finished with, “oh yeah, you weren’t there… After orientation, we all ate lunch at Le Mura and went on a tour around beautiful Verona. Take a look:

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^ The placemat was so beautiful I had to snag it for future scrapbooking purposes. (; And fun fact: utensils always come in white paper baggies as shown.
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There’s always street vendors around the plazas, Piazza Bra and Piazza Erbe, both which are walking distance from my house, selling an array of things. From baked goods to candies to scarves and knits hats. I keep trying to resist making any impulsive purchases, but I do give into the panna con nutella time to time.
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Everything about Verona’s architecture and design is so colorful and intricate. And meaningful. The v-shaped “roof” symbolizes that this building was in favor of the pope.
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We also swung by good ol’ Juliet’s home.
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Touching Juliet’s boob for some good luck. It’s a thing.
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Below is the beautiful Piazza Erbe — the plaza for foolish tourists who get jipped by crazy conversion exchange rate and overpriced food. And by foolish tourists, I mean Hot Dog and I.
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We climbed a million and one staircases to gain this view. My thighs have never burned so badly.
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A really good pic of me.
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The gang then popped into a nearby cafe for some espresso. Remember what I told you about the espresso?
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Often I’ll run into these 24/7 vending machines in the streets. This particular one sells coffee and snacks, but others sell pharmacy drugs, socks, etc. It’s pretty awesome. Chicago’s gotta get on this.
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After the tour, we went out for a family dinner at ZTL 28.
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Hot Dog and I enjoying our vino. Our palatte is starting to acquire and appreciate the taste for vino being here. Too bad our faces that soon turn red can’t adjust. #AsianProblems
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That’s all, folks. I’m just wondering when and IF Verona’s allure will ever wear off. Will I one day become numbed to the intricate architecture and the sight of sunsets falling on pastel colored buildings?

First weekend in Italy. Survived.

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Verona 101

Everything you need to know about Verona begins now:

 

Toilet flushers are never in places you would expect them to be NOR do they look like anything a flusher should look like. So now when I use the bathroom, I ask myself, “where is the most illogical place a flusher could be?” And viola! A flusher appears.

Example: (Try to guess where the flusher is).

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^ That metal square at the top.

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^ That odd string hanging from the right.

And turning on the sink is no exception, either.

Example:

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^ To turn on the water, there’s a random peddle under the sink you have to press. In the case that you cannot read Italian or just ignore the writing on the wall mistaking it for vandalism, it will take you a few minutes to figure it out.

Everyone wears fur. The kids wear fur, the moms wear fur, the old ladies wear fur, even the dogs wear fur. Should I buy something with fur? Yes or no.

Speaking of dogs, they’re allowed everywhere. In shops, in grocery stores, etc. That one’s for you, Mom. (;

No one is fat. Not a single human being. Which is something I don’t really understand after all that vino and carbs, but at the same time, no one is muscular. Aka skinny fat.

Also, the entire living situation in Verona is accommodated for skinny fat people.

Example:

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^ This is the odd, futuristic entrance-way, almost like a revolving door, to enter a bank. The space everywhere is suffocating — in elevators, sidewalks, roads, showers, etc. I’m not sure if people were all skinny, so they miniaturized everything, or everything was first miniature that people started shrinking to fit. It’s one of those tricky “what came first, the chicken or the egg?” situations.

Everything is BEAUTIFUL. That’s why this gelato store is named pretty.

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Just kidding.

When the road is winding around the corner, cobblestones look like loose teeth.

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Spoons are in the shape of mini shovels. The perfect utensils to scoop out gelato.

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Preggo in Italian = You’re Welcome or Go ahead

All the meat looks and tastes like skin.

No one drinks the kind of coffee that we are familiar with in America. Coffee is pretty much limited to the form of an espresso shot served in a cute little cup with a packet of sugar.

Wine is cheaper than any other non-alcoholic drink. It is LITERALLY so cheap. A bottle of Moscato? 1 euro. But it makes sense. Verona is the largest producing wine city in ze world.

Everyone drinks fizzy water. Aka frizzante. It’s gross and I hate it. I hated tonic in America, and I also hate it in Italy. :/

Every single man is attractive.

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Napkins also serve as oil blotters.

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And I will leave you with this beautiful imagery of the oil from my face.

Ciao! From Italy.

Dear friends in the US,

Know how lucky you are for free water and wi-fi. I completely forgot those things were privileges and not essentials. Italy fun fact #1: Restaurants do not offer water for free, but they do set a complementary bottle of wine on the table. #Priorities.

Anyways, ciao! I’ve been meaning to blog for so long, to share and recall my experience, as well as respond to everyone’s emails; but unfortunately, wi-fi is temporarily down in my apartment and public wi-fi is extremely hard to come across. The lack of wi-fi has also been a blessing, though. Conversations aren’t interrupted with muffled “beep beeps” and “hold on, let me send this real quick.” Everyone is focused on their food and the conversation with minimal distractions. It made me realize how often, in America, we are interrupted with things not of the moment. Not of the present. So in that way, the lack of wi-fi hasn’t been too awful (minus the fact that I haven’t been able to Instagram any food porn. It’s like I didn’t even eat them now. Just kidding.)

#FirstWorldProblems.

But this past weekend was orientation so we were on a tight itinerary. Kind of like Outdoor Ed. Remember that? Always traveling in obnoxiously massive groups, sharing meals family style, snapping photos with every square inch of movement, walking more than a person’s legs were physically intended to, falling asleep in a stranger’s wooden bed, and waking up the second you feel like you’ve closed your eyes.

It’s only day three and I’ve already been exposed to so much of the beauty, culture, and history hidden in Verona. Besides eating, I’ve also been doing other things. I promise. And with my new Canon Rebel, I’ve been snapping shots like it’s my JOB. Slightly obnoxious and entirely touristy, but the the photo itself  is worth it. Now, without further ado I can FINALLY share with you ITALY! Godere. (:

DAY ONE

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Lisa, Hot Dog, and I all met together at O’hare airport ready to head out to Frankfurt, Germany! (:

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^ My cute little passport holder Hot Dog gave me over the summer.

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It was my first international flight so I’ve never been offered any meals on a plane.  I was literally so happy when I woke up from my nap to find this on my desk. They also gave us a light snack later on in the flight.

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On my left was this old man that seemed grumpy at first, but once I started to make small talk with him, we ended up in this really interesting conversation about his whole life and travels and when we told him we didn’t have any euros yet, he gave us each a five euro. high-fives all around.

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Holler! (: We were so mesmerized by how beautiful and color even their currency was. And it was money well spent, too. We had a layover at the airport in Frankfurt, so the three of us found a cute little cafe to rest at and bought ourselves our first European smoothies. And they were delicious. (: Cheers to you, Mr. Pleasant Man on Plane.

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Once we got to Verona, the resident director, Claudio, picked us all up on this megabus and dropped us off at our respective homes. On each bus seat was a bottle of water, a map, random snacks, and a pay-as-you go phone.

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Hot Dog and I are roommates and we are renting a room in this Italian woman’s house, and our place is a little off the grid so Lorenza, the Italian woman, and her son, Marco, met us to walk us to her home. Lorenza and Marco are really such friendly, friendly people, but our living arrangement is a little bit strange. We’re not necessary doing home stay, so are expected to purchase our own groceries and toiletries as well as cook, but we do share everything and she washes all our dishes. So boundaries are a little unclear as of now, but I’m sure as we keep living it’ll start to feel more like home. Her house is so cute and quaint with all this mis-matching furniture and plate settings. When we arrived, she immediately offered us cappuccinos!!

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We are currently staying in Marco’s room, and he is sleeping in his mom’s. That’s why it kind of looks like a day-care.

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We settled in, freshened up, and immediately got ready to head back out to meet the rest of the group for dinner. Claudio had planned all the weekend meals for us because they were pre-paid with the trip, which was nice to try out a bunch of authentic Italian food as well as get to know everyone.

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^ The view from our neighborhood

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^ We were surprised to find a McDonalds! It’s on the main street right near our house, so we’ll definitely be coming here when we start to feel homesick. We thought it was funny that the menu was hidden in like a royal, glass case.

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The restaurant we ate at was called, Orologio, which means “clock” in Italian.

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And the dessert. Oh my gosh. Can we just talk about how FREAKING BEAUTIFUL THIS PIECE OF SUGARY GOODNESS LOOKS?! I have never met a more handsome cake before. Ever. Until I saw the dessert for the next meal. And the meal after that.

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Say ciao to the beautiful ladies of the table. Not to be mistaken for the ladies of the night which are commonly known to be whores or whatever. Fun fact: Italians hit on Americans a lot because they are seen as easy. Where would they get that idea from… (Jersey Shore, Real House Wives, Teen Mom, etc. etc. every other trashy US reality show) Like what?

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Then the waiter who took this photo told us to say something while he snapped the shot. He was probably flirting because we’re “easy” or whatever. Just kidding. The waiters were actually so cute and that’s when we learned of the attractiveness of Italian men.

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Moving on…

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And of course, we have le cup of espresso. This was the beginning of many espressos to come. Can I just tell you that this was offered to us past 10 pm? Yeah. Espresso is offered to you at that hour. Also at breakfast, also at noon, also at 3pm, and 5pm, and for the rest of the day in half hour increments . You will be expected to partake in at least all of these opportunities. As you should. Drink up, because there’s no free water.

Then we went to this cute little cafe and crashed our heads in our wittle daycare beds.

Ciao!