Friday, July 23, 2010


I love Viterbo, please don't ever get me wrong there. I love every breath, pulse, the push and the pull, every single cobblestone and every single face I've seen here. The people I've met are not anywhere less than incredible. I am so, so blessed to be here. I never want to go home. But I want to leave so much.

This town has ruined me. It's broken me down, twisted me inside out, and formed me back into a completely new creation. I've questioned everything I held onto when I left, and I feel like I've let go of a lot I didn't need. I'm the same Michelle than left Boston a month ago, but at the same time, I am so very different. I've seen things with my eyes that I'll never ever stop speaking of. I love this town, I am completely thoroughly in love with this country.

I'm so happy. I'm so renewed. I'm excited about life again. I'm so tired, but I'm so energized. I'm going to miss this place so much. I feel like going back home and picking everything back up from where I left it will be one of the hardest things I'll ever do. I am the same Michelle, but I am so much different. As I sit in my dirty little room, looking out the door to the patio, with the sun shining and the wind blowing at the curtains and every piece of grass and left moving with the rush of this city....

I'm content.

I've been restless and unhappy, I've been so very very unhappy on the inside for much too long. But here, I'm so content to just be. To walk the streets at night, to be drunk with happiness and wine, to hug and kiss my new friends and celebrate just the very notion of being alive. We don't have that at home. Everyone is busy and running and here, you just live. Life is so complicated at home, bobbing, weaving, pleasing too many people... it's unfair. I'm sure they have the same problems here, but I just don't see it in everyone's eyes as much.

It makes me want to travel more. To take out huge pieces of my life and throw myself into something new. I miss the familiar, but I don't want to go back into the routines.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Wednesday we were able to go to Rome for a few hours. After getting on the train at 630 (yes, it was horrible :[) we made it into the city just after 8am and walked to this church below that housed a few amazing Caravaggio paintings.

After, we went to the National Etruscan Museum.
Snnnooorrrreeee. getting real tired of dead people and pots. My apologies to any pottery people, but... yeah, not for me.
And once that museum trip of boredom was over, Laura took us to this tiny little restaurant run by a cute old man and his wife who cooked us an amazing meal of homemade spinach ravioli and tomato sauce, and to top it off, either tiramasu or this delicious wild strawberry tart that I was able to nom.
Seriously, the food makes me not want to leave!!
After lunch we walked around the city for a bit and checked out a few tourist sites, like the Pantheon, which, when looking at it in books and pictures, it is not given justice to the amazing structure it truly is when you are standing in front of it:
Or even inside of it for that matter. Just to the right of this picture is where the Renaissance artist, Raphael is buried.

Here's the square out in front of the Pantheon.
We went to Trevi Fountain earlier. It's incredible. There are so many people but the craftsmanship of this structure is magnificent.
I decided to head back to the residence after a bit more walking. I'm hoping this weekend after classes I'll be able to go back to Rome!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Villa Lante

The weekend was spent relaxing, sleeping in, and meeting some great new friends here in Viterbo. Monday always means back to work, and yesterday in class our assignment was to shoot people. I got a couple of good shots, but I feel like I really need to step it up and assert myself to actually ask people to pose for me. That would be a lot of fun, a quick shoot display of the various faces of Viterbo. I think I'm going to try starting with some of our friends here and working out from there.
Last night we went to the house of one of Leeza's friends, Michele (Pronounced Mik-kay-lay) and his room mate Alessandro cooked us an amazing dinner of three different pizzas and a pasta. All made from scratch! I seriously felt like heaven was singing in my mouth. I tried zucchini and cheese pizza, never been a fan of zucchini, but that was absolutely amazing! They also had some wine that they had gotten from a friend who made it, and it was very delicious! After dinner we went out for a walk around the city again, and it's so inspiring to see such life and excitement in everyone at night. I really wish there were these kinds of community things at home, where everyone can be out enjoying the night and their friends and meeting new people. It's wonderful. I need to get myself to bring my camera with me one night.

This morning, Darrell took us to Villa Lante, which is a huge garden made as a summer residence for an old pope. It was beautiful...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Tarquinia & the Sculpture Garden

Wednesday we visited an Etruscan museum in Tarquinia. We had an awesome drive with the painting teacher, Judy. She's absolutely hilarious. And a little scary....
Overall, museum was alright. We looked at a lot of dead people stuff like pots, jewelery, bones, sarcophagi, etc the building used to be a castle and was really beautiful. It had three floors and you could see far out to the ocean when on the top floor. Afterward, Laura took us to get gelato because we had told her Darrell bought us some and she needed to step it up!
After the very fun night before, Jordan and I decided to take the night easy and hung out on the roof for a while until a couple of guys who also live in the residence came up. They turned out to be pilots in training, and we chatted with them for a while and they were pretty nice too.

Thursday was the usual classes, but we had our first critique in photo which was great and really helpful! We had dinner at a small restaurant that served gnocchi in red sauce, potatoes, and a mixed meat plate. Needless to say, I was very full. But Jordan and I left a little early to get started on some art history homework and ended up trying to do some laundry in the bidet of her room. Ummmm welll.... that sure was an experience! I can't wait to go home to a real washing machine!
And finally, Friday we went to Cerverteri to look at some tombs, and then back to Tarquinia for lunch and another look at the tombs there and the museum.
We then went off to the Tyrrhenian Sea to swim for an hour. It was beautiful but so very warm!

Afterward we went to what is called the Tarot Garden, a huge sculptural piece designed by an artist names Nikki de Saint Phalle. This image hardly speaks for how incredibly amazing this garden is. It's multiple huge structures all with a beautiful multicolored, eclectic, intricate facade of mosaic glass.
I can't even put into words how amazing this place is. The larger buildings you are able to walk inside and climb on, some have balconies and bridges, and to the left of what's in this picture is a very large woman that on the inside was transformed into a house for the artist, where she lived for the duration of this project. There's a kitchen, dinning and living area, bathroom, bedroom, and the walls are completely covered in different shapes and sizes of cut glass which makes it so incredibly remarkable to look at. I'm incredibly upset that my camera's battery died just after I took a few shots (because I'm a bad photog and hate batteries).

The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing during the day, and enjoying the night life with some of our new Italian friends. I've had so much good pizza and everyone we've met here has been so much fun. Today while getting more gelato for photo (I had white chocolate, wow that was heaven in my mouth) I started thinking about how I'm really not going to like coming back home after all of this.... Sorry mom!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hot Springs, Volcanic Lakes, Night

The hot springs was actually pretty awesome, save for the boiling hot water and nasty sand which contained hair.... gross.
Afterward we came back to shower and ended up going to a spectacular pasta place which served over 500 different sauces! We tried a seafood, pesto, Creme & sausage and red with vegetables. Everything, except the fish was absolutely delicious. Seriously, if I could get my bed, Alex, Joely, Kels and a few other friends over here, I'd never leave. Just because of how amazing the food is.

Sunday we went to a volcanic lake called Capodimonte, where we swam, napped, ate, and even got to rent a paddle boat for 2 hours! The boat had a slide on it, so we had a great time with that! The left around and took a bus back to Viterbo because it was about a 30 minute drive away. At some point, I lost my headphones, so I'm super bummed about that and have to somehow find myself a new pair. Reaaalllllyyyyy annoying!!
That night we had a pot luck dinner and ate, drank and hung out on the roof of our dorms.

Monday, I finally started classes. Darrell took us out on the town for a long walk just to try to encompass the whole city. We're working in pieces to shoot at much as we can.
I've managed to get a lot on to Facebook if anyone cares to take a look.

This morning, more walking, and Darrell bought us gelato. Man that stuff is amazingly good. Tonight we have a buffet dinner and Darrell is supposed to show off his photos and talk about his work. I'm stoked for dinner, but I need a nap seeing as I barely sleep at night :[

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Benvenuto Italia!

Oh goodness. Where do I start??
The plane was delayed two hours for no reason on Wednesday, so instead, Dad, Mum, Matthew, Lexi and I drove into the center of Boston to Quincy Market and walked around there and the harbor. We watched a street performer who was quite funny and walking around the harbor, we saw jellyfish! We walked back to the car and drove back to the airport to drop me off and say our goodbyes. I went in through security and spent a good ten minutes trying to find the rest of the group, but eventually I did and we spent the next two hours waiting for the plane to allow us to board. We finally left around 830PM. The ride was absolutely way too long and uncomfortable. Dinner was okay, the definitely could have served more drinks and the flight attendants were a bit odd. But after a horribly terribly flight of not sleeping at all, coughing and being thoroughly uncomfortable, we made it into Rome around 1130AM. After going through customs and getting our bags, we headed to the bus which was to take us to Viterbo. One of the girls lost her luggage, and we met up with a few of the other students there. After the luggage situation was figured out, we drove out to Viterbo. Most of the drive was all empty farmland, and I was so happy to finally get to the dorms to shower and rest.
My room mate, Lauren, is pretty awesome, which is great. We're getting along well so far. Thursday night they took us out for a walk around the city and pizza for dinner. Had my first taste of fizzy water. That stuff is gross, so I opted for wine the rest of the night. The pizza was great though! Then a few of us went for a quick walk to look at a church where the Pope had stayed before the Vatican was built that over looked "The Valley" where they have a lot of concerts and other things going on. We headed back to the dorms to sleep, and oh sleeping was very wonderful after being awake for about 30 hours.
Friday, we woke up to walk up to the Academy. We stopped for breakfast at the Victorian looking bar that I guess used to be a McDonald's. Had water and a yummy chocolate pastry. We then finished our long uphill walk to the school where we met with Laura (the director/ AH teacher) and had orientation for our classes. Afterwards, we walked back and stopped at a small grocer and sandwich shop for lunch. After eating we went over to the "Ipercoup" which is like a mall and super wal-mart all in one, so crazy and SO much to choose from. And everything is so much cheaper here. I bought quite a bit for only $13!
After putting everything in my own bag (they don't give plastic bags for free) we walked the 15 minutes back and had a quick snack and relax time before going out for another walk into the old city to the piazas and around town before heading to a tiny little restaurant to sit outside to eat pasta and chicken and drink wine. Was very delicious! After two hours of eating, we went for a walk around a different, but very busy part of town before getting gelato! So yummmyyy mmmmyum! After gelato, it was bed time for me and we had internet by then! YAY! So I was able to talk with Alex for a bit on skype text which was absolutely awesome (today I was able to get the video to work a little bit, so hopefully we can talk more tonight!)
After sleeping horribly, we woke up and literally ran to the school for class this morning, and Laura gave us an intro to the class and an assignment (OH joy. Why did I choose summer school??) and some of us ended up just sitting around talking about the differences between our schools. Walked back to the dorms, stopped for lunch at a Blu Bar, and then had a quick Italian lesson with Leeza. Now, Lauren and I are waiting to get to go to a hot springs and see what that's all about!

Until next time! <3!