One year ago today, I was in Rome and spoke to my Granny for the last time.
April 4, 2011
Ann Cicioni, 89, of Frackville, passed into the arms of our Lord with her loving family by her side on Monday evening at Schuylkill Medical Center-South Jackson Street.
Born in Shenandoah, she was a daughter of the late John and Anna Zemansky. She attended Shenandoah schools.
She was a member of St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, Frackville, the Catholic Daughters of America, St. James Court and the Frackville Senior Citizens.
She began working at age 15 as a housekeeper in New York City and then worked as a machinist at a defense plant during World War II in Chester.
Ann was a devoted mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She enjoyed bowling in her early years and took pride in attending her grandchildren’s sporting events.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 42 years, Giacamo J. Cicioni, in 1988. She was the youngest of eight children and was also preceded by brothers, John, Paul, Michael and infant sisters and brothers.
Ann is survived by five children, Walter Cicioni, husband of Ellen, Surprise, Ariz., Mary Ann Tokarczyk, wife of George, Ashland, Nancy McCloskey, wife of Ron, Frackville, James Cicioni, husband of Bobbie, Frackville, and Joan Beckett, wife of Curt, Landisville; 15 grandchildren, Jennifer, Matthew, Debbie, Nick, Mike, Andy, Amanda, Angela, Brandon, Jessica, Natalie, Ryan, Jaclyn, Elana and Lauren; four great-grandchildren, Aiden, Saige, Lucas and Anna; and several nieces and nephews.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, Frackville, with the Rev. J. Michael Beers, pastor, as celebrant. Relatives and friends are invited to call the church from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday with a prayer service at 7 p.m. There will also be visiting hours at the church from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday morning. Interment will be in Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cemetery, Shenandoah Heights. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Ann’s name to the Ann Cicioni Memorial Fund c/o Wachovia Bank, 2 S. Lehigh Ave., Frackville, PA 17931. Albert L. Gricoski Funeral Home, Frackville, is in charge of arrangements.
So right now I’m chilling in the Fiumicino airport sitting next to a pack of highschoolers at 7:18 am waiting to board my aircraft in 10 minutes. I layover in London for a few hours and then will arrive in Philly at 3:35 PM Eastern time.
Yesterday was a very sad day, I had to pack all of my things and decide what to take with me, what to throw out, and what clothes I was going to give to the homeless. It was a shitty day and I didn’t get to say goodbye to a lot of people because most people are not leaving today and I left at 5 AM for the airport.
I’ve had so many events occur in the past few weeks since my last blog post that this is literally the first time I’ve had a chance to actually leisurely write it all down. After my parents left, I had 3 weeks total left in Rome. I left my parents the weekend before they left because I was going on an academic excursion for late antique / byzantine art for Jan Gadeyne to Ravenna, Classe, Bologna and Aquilea. We did not end up going to Aquilea because the trains suddenly went on strike so last minute we had to hire a bus for the next morning and lost some time.
That was an intense trip; I must have seen 500 churches. I did a presentation on the mosaics of Sant’Apollinare in Classe and my prof. was impressed. I’ve learned a lot about Art, Design and whatnot this semester. I have gained a lot more knowledge than I have had just 4 short months ago.
Anyway, I got a call the day my parents got back informing me that my granny was in the hospital and was in kidney failure L I talked to her one last time and she passed away Monday night. I flew home from Wednesday to Sunday to attend the viewing and funeral and to be surrounded by my loved ones. That was very hard. Because of this, I fell very far behind on my schoolwork and had to get extensions for all of my end-of-the-semester papers plus finals were quickly approaching.
My friends back in Rome were very helpful during this difficult time. When I got back, I only had 2 days of classes left. I attended all my classes and then on Friday night I went to my favorite Reggae Yard Club, Big Bang. It was really fun. On Saturday, I went camping in Tuscania at the hot springs with Veronica and about 20 other Italians. It was a really fun time, lots of memories.
I then got down to crunch time for work. I had to write 3 papers, prepare for 4 finals, 1 oral final and 1 presentation by the following Thursday, so I had about 4 days to do all of that. AND I DID IT! J I feel confident that I did well on all of my finals. One paper I got back in my design class was an A! My professor told me I should consider working in the field of web design..
I should be boarding my plane right now but of course I’m not. I am so sick of flying and am so annoyed that I have a layover. I’m excited to see Neil in Philly when I land, he’s picking me up.
I have 3 finals today and then I am done with the Temple Rome program! After that, I have sooooooOOOOOOOO MUCH TO TELL YOU ALL I leave Roma in 48 hours
I realize that I am very behind on posts. Many things have happened and I haven’t had time to post for a while. As soon as I get a chance I will!
So much has happened in the past few days that I cannot even wrap my mind around it. I guess I’ll start from the beginning. On Thursday morning, I woke up at 7:30 AM, the time that my parent’s plane was supposed to land. I decided to not go to my first class (9:00-12:00) so that I could wait for them to arrive at my apartment. I was wondering where they were and then I got a call around 9:45 AM. It was my mom telling me that they were still at the airport and that their baggage was lost!! It was apparently in Boston, where they had a layover. So, I told my mom to get a taxi to my apartment which is about 45 minutes from the airport. She said okay so I sat on the balcony for 3 hours to wait for them to come in.
I was getting increasingly anxious and worried because I had no way of contacting them and I had no idea what was taking them so long. They finally arrived and told me they had gotten on a bus from the airport that took them the wrong way… they were not in a good mood because of their bad experience and I felt bad because I had to go to class in less than an hour. I took them for their first cappuccino and then I had to say goodbye to go to my other 3 classes.
When I got back, I cooked them a delicious dinner J I made them fresh pasta with mushrooms and zucchini for the first course and a chicken dish for the second plate. They really enjoyed it and I was happy to show off my cooking skills for them. My dad didn’t feel well so he immediately fell asleep after dinner. Me and my mom walked to the Vatican and she got her first gelato at my favorite place. She loved it. I showed her St. Peter’s Basilica and then a little more of the city before we went back to the residence (they rented a room there, my apartment is there too). Oh, also, the room they got was for 7 people and was a huge apartment with a wrap around balcony! I was jealous. Oh yes, by the way, my parents luggage never arrived at the Rome airport but Italia airlines promised they would deliver it by 9 am the following day.
Our journey began the next day on a plane to Bari in southern Italy. Of course the luggage never arrived at the Bari destination and the hotel clerk said that alItalia airlines had called and that it would be at our next stop in Napoli the next day as it was my parents third day they still had the same clothes on. I had some things like socks and underwear and shirts for my mom, but I only had one shirt that fit my dad. Bari was on the coast and we had beautiful weather. On the first day we took about 3 mile walk near the coast taking pictures and enjoying the very different sights which were a mix between Italian, desert, and Mexican. There were cacti and lizards which I never see in Rome. We were starving and ate at the first and only restaurant we came across. We had a delicious pasta dinner me and my mom drank wayyy too much wine haha. We were having a great time just walking around checking out local residences and the seaview along the way.
We walked back to the hotel very tired, so we all took a 2 hour nap. When we woke up we decided to stay in for the night and plan for the next day. We ordered a room service meal that was delicious and shared it. Pasta with clams, fresh fish and crustini bread. Dessert was a crème brulee topped with Chamord Raspberry Liqueur (My Mom told me) We had a train leaving from Bari to Naples at 4 PM, so we explored Bari from 7 AM until the time we had to catch the train. Bari was really cool. There were really cool seaports and people selling huge live squid. I insisted that my mom and dad eat their first Italian pizza for lunch.
We walked around the city all day and it was painful because we checked out of the hotel early in the morning and had to carry all of our stuff because the hotel was outside of the city. When it came time to go to the train station me and my mom walked up to the kiosk to print our train tickets to Napoli which I had already ordered. There was about 5 young guys standing at the kiosk next to us and came up to my mom and ask where we were going to help us. I said no, but my mom said Napoli which was the biggest mistake ever. I told him we didn’t want his help and continued to print the tickets on my own. The train didn’t leave for a couple hours so we went to a caffe nearby for a cappuccino. When it was time to board the train, I realized I had booked the tickets for the next day by accident!! I was standing in line with my mom waiting to change my tickets for the train leaving 30 minutes from then. My mom noticed the same kid that asked where we were going before was behind us trying to steal something out of my purse! I turned around and yelled at him and my dad ran in from smoking a cigarette outside and things got a little heated. We went outside to tell the police and they didn’t seem to care. So we decided to run to our platform to catch our train without the men noticing (there were about 10 of them inside the station in a group).
They didn’t see us board but we realized they knew where we were going because previously my mom told them Napoli when they “pretended” to help us at the kiosk. We got on the train and sat down. My dad and I told my mom to wait with our stuff while we went to get the police to make sure none of the men got on the train with us. When we were standing outside of the train waiting for the police, two of the men walked up and down the train until the saw my mom and quickly tried to get on the same car as her!! My dad quickly followed and got her off the train before they got to her or I don’t know what would have happened. I don’t even want to think of it. I was so scared for my life that I literally peed my pants because I thought we were going to get stabbed. There were so many of these men, they were from North Africa. … I am not even writing all the details and I don’t even feel like typing any more… this is so long. Tonight’s my 21st birthday.
… Part 2 of this entry.
Right now I am back in room in Rome laying in my bed before I fall asleep. The bad luck didn’t stop yet. We decided to go to the airport in Bari instead of taking a train and fly to Naples. When we got to the airport they said that since it was so close (a 3 hour drive) they had no flights going there! So we were forced to rent a car.
We were driving to Naples and the gps we rented through Hertz died, and the only charging port in the car was broken. We were 100 km outside of Naples and had no idea where to go. Long story short, it was a really bad night and it took us 6 hours to find the hotel from Bari instead of 2. I’m sick of talking about misfortune so now I’ll tell you all the good stuff that has happened from that point on. We finally knew for sure that their luggage that was lost (5 days earlier) was at the Naples airport. So we took the rental car to the airport mand their luggage was there! We didn’t love Naples so we decided to drive to Pompei which was 30 minutes away. It was beautiful there. No words to describe it. After a few minutes we left for Sorrento, another beautiful 25 minute drive along the coast.
This small town was our main destination because my dad works with wood and this is the most famous place in the world that makes inlayed wooden music boxes. He was in heaven there. We had a great time, and stayed in a really cool hotel. We ate a great dinner together, and the next day we went on a fairy to the isle of Capri at 7:45 AM. My dad left to go back and work with one of the Italian woodworkers so they could teach him the trade! It was great.
Me and my mom took a bus up a mountain on a scary road to Ana Capri which was a really cool village. There we saw a beautiful church with a handpainted floor. Me and my mom took the fairy back to Sorrento and met up with my dad. Instead of driving to Naples to catch our train we decided to take the rental car all the way from Sorrento to Rome. It was about a 3 hour drive with beautiful views. I was really glad my parents finally had clean clothes and were happier haha.
We got back into Rome yesterday (my birthday) and I took them to Augusto, my favorite restaurant in Roma. We ate a delicious dinner and had a really good time together. I enjoyed showing the some of my favorite parts of city. They are here until Sunday so I will write about the adventures of the days to come in the next post.
Where have I been?
Where am I going?
- Isle of Capri
- other northern cities
Where do I want to go?
This past week was a very beautiful and eventful one in Rome. On Tuesday it was about 80 degrees out and sunny it was beautiful. On Wednesday night at midnight the festivites began to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy. At midnight there were fireworks at the colosseum which Veronica and I could see from the warehouse we were at for a techno show. We saw four different DJ’s perform.. it was really fun..
On Thursday it was St. Patty’s day & the festa but I had classes from 8:30 am – 8:00 pm and it rained all day anyway. I still made an awesome dinner with some of my girlfriends. It was a feast for men. On Friday it was also a beautiful day and I picked up my new replacement cell phone, and went to the airport to catch my flight to Madrid to meet Shona, my good friend who was meeting me in Madrid from London. She goes to SU with me and plays vball.
I LOVE MADRID! Shona and I had an amazing time in Madrid. Our hostel was perfectly located in the center of a huge bar and restaurant area. We ate really good food and saw some really cool churches and we took a tour of the palace. We had the most gorgeous weather. I wore flip flops! because it was 75 and sunny… almost nobody speaks English here so it was hard for us to navigate around and especially to order food. Last night we ate dinner that had a place with pictures on the menu so we knew what we were ordering. I really like empanadas.
We drank a lot of Sangria, including a lot for free… for some reason all the bars give you your first drink free! I love it. Shona just left to catch her flight.. mine is in about 12 hours, then its back to Roma for another week of classes. But… my parents come on Thursday morning! I booked a trip for us to go to Bari, Naples, Sorrento and The Isle of Capri this coming weekend… the weather should be lovely.. ciao ciao!
When me and got back to Rome from Amsterdam it was time to explore. In between classes we walked to Piazza del Popolo, the capital building, the colosseum… He went to the Trevi Fountain on his own while I was in class… So we were enjoying ourselves drinking good wine and eating good food. We cooked some really good dinners, he loves the food here & the cappuccino as do I
On the Friday night before he left (on Sunday) we had a hotel near my residence about a 5 minute walk away. We were falling asleep around 1:30 AM and were awaken by the sound of someone breaking into our room! Someone was fidgeting to open the lock and Neil told them to go away. They went away and came back 10 minutes later.. It was soooo scary. I quickly called the police and we pushed the dresser against the door. The police arrived (5 of them) and asked us questions and took our information down. Then we took a ride in a cop car back to my residence where they said Neil could stay last night.
Because they are the law I thought they would be able to mandate that he could sleep in my room… WRONG! The porter gave us such a hard time and then tried to kick Neil out at 5:30 am and told him to walk around the block even though he had nowhere to go. No hospitality & no privacy.
So that sucked then on the last day in Rome we went to Campo di Fiori to an amazing dinner and drank great wine. We stayed in the hotel that is next to my residence then Neil woke up early and left in a taxi I miss him a lot. I had a really great time with him.
March 17 has been declared an Italian national holiday for 2011, celebrating
the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy. On March 17 banks,
government offices,many shops and public schools will be closed.
Plans are in place to hold live shows, concerts and theatre productions in
streets and squares all over the centre of Rome, including Via XX Settembre,
Via del Quirinale, Via Veneto, Piazza dei Cinquecento, Piazza Venezia,
Piazza del Campidoglio, Via dei Fori Imperiali, Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Via
Arenula, Piazza Sonnino, Castel S. Angelo and Via del Corso. To finish the
celebrations, a firework display is scheduled to take place on the Janiculum
Temple University will be open and classes will be in session.
This is a list Neil and I have compiled during his 10 day visit in Rome and Amsterdam:
- The Vatican
- St. peter’s basilica
- Piazza del popolo
- Tevi fountan
- Capita building
- The hill picnic
- Campo di fiori
- Bar Hilda
- Carbinieri plastic seats
- 5 euro pizza
- Trionfale market
- Caprese salad
- Old bridge gelato
- Good pasta
- Red light
- Room service
- Pea soup
- Christmas pollen
- Old couple smoking
- Playing pool
- Burger king
- Scarf bar
- Dick chocolate
- Lamb sausage
- Fish bag
- NH museum quarter
- Crazy lady in Pinocchio bar
- Rijk useum
- Nasty pancake
- Airplane sandwich: veal and cream cheese
- Small talk caffe
- Stolen louchuffe glass
- Weita beer
- Danger stairs
- Candy and gummies
- Some crazy movie
- Bike traffic
- Coffee shops
- Trionfale market
- Lost my phone by the pantheon
I understand that this is a crazy long list, so take some time to soak it all in.
So as my days continue on I am having a marvelous time.. I feel so lucky because my sister visited me for 7 days over my spring break and the day she left Neil came for 10 days. When me and Jess arrived in Florence after a long unnecessary 4 hour 17,50 euro train ride, we navigated our way to our hostel. Our hostel was great. We had a perfect location and our own room with a big bed (well, 2 pushed together but that’s how they do it in Italy). Florence was beautiful, the only downside was the weather because it was freezing there! I’m not really used to that. Me and jess saved a lot of money while she was in Italy by eating the delicious all the time. By the time she left we had eaten 11 pizzas!!
In our few days in Firenze we saw everything, we walked around for hours. The second night we were there we bought 3 bottles of wine at the grocery store. When we got back to the hostel we realized we didn’t have a bottle opener so I borrowed one from the drawer of the reception as well as glasses out of their cabinet . One of the bottles was spumante so when I opened it in the bathroom I forget we had been walking around Florence with it and it exploded all over me and the bathroom haha. It was really funny. So then me and Jess got drunk in the room and then wandered near our hostel for a delicious feast. I had a really great time with Jess, lots of memories we did so much stuff!
In the apartment I live in we are not allowed to have guests sleep over but I came up with a plan every night and got Jess in to my room every night. Sometimes I would make her wear my clothes so the porter would think it was me. The day after she left the manager of the residence knocked on my door and came in and starting yelling at me. He said he knew I had a guest and they would find me and call the police next time!! It was scary. So we immediately made sure we had a place for Neil to stay every night that he would be here.
The hotel we got on the first night was so cheap and amazing! It was about 50 meters from the vatican and St. Peter’s basilica with a 3 floor terrace outside that looked straight at it. It was gorgeous and in the morning we got 3 trays of free breakfast delivered to our room! I never had that before, it was awesome. When I dropped Jess off at the airport and said goodbye it was only sad for a minute because I got to go pick up Neil
I missed him a lot and it is great to see him and spend time with him. The day we got here we planned our trip to go to Amsterdam for the next day (Saturday) until Tuesday which would mean I would miss 2 days of class but I think Amsterdam is a good enough excuse. Amsterdam blew my mind. Neil and I had both been wanting to go there for a long time and I’m really glad we got to do it together.
We did so much and saw a lot of stuff, we went to a museum and rented bikes for a day. Biking there was crazy, there was so much bike traffic. So that was really fun. Our last night there we went to the red light district. It was ridiculous. It was unreal, like a movie scene. I’m not even going to take the time to write about it on here because the streets are quite vulgar. The rest of Amsterdam is a beautiful place to be.
Last night when we flew back to Rome, I cooked Neil dinner .. it was pretty good Today I had 2 classes and in between I took Neil to piazza del popolo, the pantheon, the capital building, the colosseum and other things because it was a beautiful day outside. Tonight we are going to dinner at one of my favorite places in Trastevere and tomorrow I have 4 classes from 9-7:30 and Neil is coming to the first excursion with me. I will write soon about me continuing advenctures and post pictures! Ciao
- This is a list of our major events that Jess wrote down yesterday:
- Lost in Termini
- Linea A
- Getting bueno bars
- Scarf on my head
- throwing coins in the Fontana di Trevi
- tie shop
- guy that almost killed us at the hostel (joke)
- check out by putting your keys on the desk
- 19 scarves
- line at the movie theatre (more like a crowd)
- shoving slow people at the market
- Grey’s anatomy in Roma
- the awesome Hill
- gelato, gelato, gelato
- dog shit
- 2 pizza for 10 euro
- stuck in the elevator
So right now I’m on Spring Break and I’m laying in my top bunk with Jess listening to music in my apartment. I’m having a really great time with her; we’ve done a lot of fun things including things I haven’t even done yet right here in Rome. We’ve gone through a lot of adventures already in the short 3 nights she has been here. It involves a lot of sneaking around and breaking the rules.
On Friday morning is when me and Jess planned to meet in Termini at the McDonald’s at 8:30 AM. However, this was bad planning and I waited at McDonald’s for 2 hours for her freaking out and calling my parents when it was the middle of the night in America. I gave them a heart attack because I was having a heart attack and I almost called the police I thought I would never find her. I was wondering why she didn’t call me while I sat like a sad puppy with an umbrella looking through the thousands of people for Jess.
Then, I began walking around the station and walked back and forth between every McDonald’s I could find until I finally saw her standing there! It was a magnificent reunion and we then got on the metro on the way to my apartment and to her first cappuccino and cornetto. She still can’t chug it fast like I can (a true Roman).
The first thing I did with her was take her food shopping with me at the open air market. We got tons of fresh cheese, meats, prosciutto, eggs, olives, bread, fruit, veggies everything we would need for the week.
Then we left my apartment and walked to the Vatican and got gelato at old bridge and she loved it. It is the best gelato around. It was a beautiful sunny day and she loved seeing the vatican. The hostel we booked for that night just in case was only 10 euro a night so when we went to check in it was a frightening experience. It was randomly on the 3rd floor of a building and there were only like 5 hostel rooms and no locks on the doors. I
Anyway, I cooked a feast for Jess and Cailin and Veronica. I made chicken parm which fresh parmaggiano reggiano for the second course. For the first course I made a pasta dish with fresh pasta made that day and olive oil, onions, garlic, zucchini and other ingredients. It was delicious.
The next day we walked to the capital building and I showed her lots of arches, obelisks and landmarks. We also went to the Trevi fountain which was gorgeous and threw coins in to ensure our return to Roma. We also visited the Colosseum and the arch of Constantine and Jess really enjoyed that. On the metro stations throughout the day I got Jess on the trains for free every time because we were sneaky and I would pass her back my month pass
That day she had her very first piece of delicious pizza and that night we got 5 euro takeout pizza from the pizza place next to my residence. It is the best pizza everr!!! It is sooo thin I love iBefore we came back in I took her to THE HILL a beautiful overlook of the entire city.
On Sunday we went to the Porta Portese market which I hadn’t done yet because its always on Sundays when I’m not in Rome. The market was AWESOME!!! We got so much stuff for so cheap. We got rings for 1 euro each and scarves for one euro each. I’m having a really great time with her. After that, it was rainy out so we decided to go to an Italian movie. We saw 127 ore at the cinema and it was really good!
Today we checked out of the hostels that we haven’t even stayed in at all. We are going to mass at the Vatican tomorrow and then I’m taking her to my favorite restaurant later. Tomorrow we are going to Florence (Firenze) for 2 nights. We are going there by train. Today, we have been trying to get in contact with our relatives that live in Rome but we can’t get an answer from any of them.
So this weekend , I went to Palermo in Sicily with 8 other girls. The flight was only 50 minutes and it was such easy traveling!! When we got there we couldn’t check into our apartment for a couple hours so we laid on the beach, it was warm and amazing until the weather quickly changed its mind and it began to rain. We finally checked into our apartment right on the beach. We had 2 rooms since there was 9 of us and the rooms were really nice.
On Friday, we walked around the city, wandering into churches and eating the local cuisine. We went to a dock with a bunch of sail boats and all of the sudden out of NOWHERE, it was like the sky fell and we were in a monsoon. So we took shelter for 15 minutes underneath a boat that was turned upside down it was really fun. Th at night we went to dinner at a place where I had delicious fresh clams and mussels in the best sauce ever to “scarpeta” (sop up with bread) and we drank wine for a few hours. I also got pizza with artichoke hearts, olives, mozzarella, zucchini and mushrooms on it.
At that point, it was late, around midnight and I was really tired from being awake at 4 AM to make our flight out of Rome, so I went to bed. It was really annoying having so many people with us because it was difficult to pick things to do that everyone would be happy with so most of the time we were split up into two groups. The next day we went to the market which was lined up and down a street for a couple miles. They were selling really cool cheap stuff. I got a pocket knife that has a corkscrew, bottle opener, fork, knife and spoon attached. I also got a vintage leather suitcase for 4 euro which I checked for free and got it back to Rome!!
For lunch we found an amazing local place that looked delicious and very cheap. We were there for hours and ate a 4 course meal with wine and it only cost 100 euro for all 9 of us!! I had pasta with swordfish, eggplant, calamari, a canolli which was to die for, bread, cream puffs, olives, cauliflower, it was great. At the end of the meal I asked the waiter for a cannoli and he got on his vespa and drove somewhere to pick them up for us! It was a great meal.
That night we decided to go out to the street where all the bars and clubs were. We were having a lot of fun and I even ate a famous spleen sandwich that I bought off the street (I didnt like it very much). Something bad happened that night to one of the girls with me and I’m going to write it here because I don’t want to censor my posts and I feel like this needs to be said because it is what really happened. In the bar, my two friends went to use the ladies room and two men followed them in without them knowing. They pushed open the stall doors and one of my friends ran out and got away, the other one got pushed against the wall. We got her out of there ASAP and ran out of the place, but it was such a scary close encounter it left a lot of us in tears. I don’t want to scare my loved ones who are reading this but I think everyone should know this is not a fairytale, and you have to be safe and smart and travel in packs.
This week I have midterms I have 1 tomorrow, a presentation on Wednesday and 3 on Thursday. Then its spring break! Woohoo My sister Jess is coming on Friday until next friday!! I haven’t planned anything yet because I don’t know where she wants to travel. Then, Neil is coming the day that Jess leaves for 10 days and I will be going to Amsterdam with him. The weekend after he leaves I will be meeting my friend Shona in Madrid and the next week my parents are coming for 10 days & my birthday!! So, I will be very busy having tons and tons of fun and I’m excited!!
So, my time here is flying by, I can’t believe I have only 2 months and 10 days left here in Roma. I love it here, I’m definitely starting to believe that this is the most beautiful place in the world, especially since I’ve been traveling around. This weekend I went to Milan for my Inside Italian Design class. There’s 20 people in my class and we went on a high speed train that going 360 km/hr! It took 3 hours to get to Milan. It was the smallest and most expensive city. Every metro stop was so close to the next one, unlike Rome and you could probably walk across the whole city in like 20 minutes.
I visited a lot of art galleries and designers’ studios with my design professor. We saw some really cool and famous stuff and we had beautiful weather the first 2 days we were there which is unusual for the city. We went to Achille Castiglioni’s family run studio as well as the workplace of Michele de Lucchi. We also saw a lot of Gio Ponti’s buildings. The duomo ch. urch there was the most beautiful building in the city.
We found an amazing pizza place that a lot of famous people and models go to and you have to make a reservation. So we made a reservation and ate the best and most cheap pizza I’ve ever had. It was so good that we got it twice and the pizza guy made our pizzas in the shape of a heart the next day haha! The girl I was rooming with’s friend was in Milan for the weekend staying with her cousin who lives in Milan. We went to her apartment and it was beautiful and she let us drink amazing wine and was so nice and inviting. Her brother has a gelateria in Rome I will be hitting up soon.
One thing I really appreciate about Rome is the fact that they have water flowing everywhere from the aquaducts and it is delicious so you can fill your water bottle up for free wherever you are. Every other place I have doesn’t have that which is disappointing. The only thing Milan basically has to offer is fashion and finance. The stores there were ridiculous and the people watching was ridiculous! When we were waiting for our train in the station we saw 15 police men run and tackle a man on stairs and they beat him up! It was wild. Almost every woman in Milan had heels on. We went into a lot of designer stores. In Armani, the workers would follow you around because they didn’t want you in there drooling over their 15,000 euro dresses. I can’t believe what these people pay and the lifestyle they live.. you have to have millions to live in that city. At night, a beer was 7 euro at a bar! That’s ridiculous.
On the last day there it was rainy and we went to a graphic design museum and it was amazing! I saw so much cool stuff! On the train home, a girl in my class had her bookbag stolen while she was sleeping. It was awful. I’m starting to get more homework and more things to do. I’m getting worried about midterms which are already next week.
Today I went to “the hill” which is a beautiful lookout point 10 minutes from my apartment which gives you the most amazing view of Rome. Its magical, as funny as that sounds. I am going to Sicily this weekend with some of my friends and I’m excited because the weather will probably be even nicer than the 70 degree sunny days here in Rome.
I’m having trouble with my internet recently so its not letting me post pictures but I will asap! I can’t even get on skype
Well, I’ve been here for a month now and Rome is starting to feel like the place I live now. I realized that when I went to Prague this weekend and missed Rome. Prague, or Praha was a very successful trip. The city is very beautiful and there’s many beautiful things to see. I went with 4 of my friends, one of them is my roommate. We left at a 7 am flight on friday morning and got back Sunday night. The flight was only 1 hour and 30 minutes!
When we arrived we had a bit of a fiasco because for some reason we had directions to the wrong Hostel. When we got there they said they didn’t have our name for a reservation so we realized we were at the wrong one. It took us a long time to find the right one and it was cold and dreary outside. When we got there, there was snow on the ground but the next 2 days were beautiful and sunny. We went to the clock tower in old town square and ate authentic Czech cuisine. It was NOT GOOD. I couldn’t wait to get back to Rome to the delicious cuisine. After I ordered roast duck and bread dumplings I decided to try pork ribs for dinner. It was the worst thing I ever ate. So, then I ordered chicken wings and I couldn’t even eat them because they were disgusting.
I discovered that the only Czech food I like is beef goulash, apple strudel and their beer. The beer was SO cheap and it was delicious. Also they had really good soft pretzels. I bought a lot of really cool stuff there but I’m not going to say what I got because some of the things are gifts for people We went to the Prague castle and it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.
We went out to one of the biggest clubs in Europe. It had 6 floors and each floor was a different type of music and like a totally different club. It was awesome, we had a lot of fun and met a lot of people from all over the world. This week I have a lot of homework to do actually and I’m going to Milan for the weekend with my “Inside Italian Design” class.
Last week on Wednesday we have a wine tasting night at the school and had a program from a wine connoisseur for about 2 hours. It was very informative and I’m learning a lot about wine. I bought a February metro pass for only 30 euro. I can ride the metro, buses or trams as many times I want all month. Today it is 70 and sunny outside and it will be for the rest of the week. My roommate’s 21st birthday is tonight so we are going to dinner at our favorite place to eat, Pier Luigi, to celebrate.
So, I had an awesome time cooking at my professor’s house on Saturday! We were there all day drinking wine and cooking and talking it was lots of fun. First we started to make the pork spare rib sauce and then we learned how to make gnocchi from scratch. We made a lot of gnocchi and while we were doing that, we learned how to make a fritatta which is a basically an omlet. Since the sauce was taking so long to cook, we made two different types of bruschetta and then finally dinner was served. We also had homemade pastries for dessert. I cannot wait to cook this meal for my family when I get home from Italy.
On Sunday, I went inside of the museum and I paid for an audio tour. The inside is breathtaking its hard to image what its like unless you are actually there. I booked a flight with my friends for Prague this weekend!! The weekend after that I’m going to Milan for a class trip and then the weekend following I’m going to travel to Sicily with my friends.
I’ve been eating so much pasta that I have to think of other things to cook.
P.s. They finally fixed the shutter in my bedroom.
I’ve had a very loooong week of classes. Every Thursday I go on two separate 3 hour field trips plus have 2 other classes. So its a lot of walking but I’m getting used to it. Yesterday in my Late Antique/Byzantine Art class I went to a few different Mausoleums and to the baths of Diocletian. In my Italian Design class we visited a place that Mussolini built during his time, which I will be putting up pictures of as well.
REALITY CHECK for one of my friends.. yesterday she had her wallet stolen on her metro. That’s why I keep all of my belongings glued to me at all times.
The weather has been a lot colder lately, and yes my apartment is still freezing unless we’re cooking or taking showers.
Today I woke up really early, and went on a bus trip with some of my friends to Umbria. We went olive oil tasting first which was very interesting. I don’t think I’ll ever do it again since you actually have to swish olive oil around in your mouth but it was an experience to remember. I learned how olive oil is made and how to tell good extra virgin olive oil from bad.
From here, we went to a vineyard. We got a tour of the winery and did some wine tasting. The wine was so delicious that I had to buy some! I learned all about how and when to swirl wine, how to look at it and how to interpret the taste. From there we drove to a small town that basically has one craft: ceramics. We went into a place where a man spun a beautiful pot out of clay in about 30 seconds. We saw every step of the process, including the women who were hand painting the pieces. The finished ceramics were very expensive. Some of the plates cost 200 Euros each! So, instead of buying things from there we went down the street and bought similar handmade items for cheaper.
Right now, me and my friends are cooking a lavish dinner I’ve been eating so much food its wonderful. Tomorrow I have another adventure.. I will be going to a professor’s house, eating a 4 course meal and learning how to cook it, and drinking lots of wine. It should be really fun. As for now, I have to go help chop onions!
On Sunday, I went on the famous “Wall Walk” that is held through my program here at Temple Rome. I’d say about 150 of us started the walk but only about 70 finished. It was a long walk and very hard; it was about 12 miles and took 8 hours.. By the end, my right foot felt like it was broken. The walk was led by Jan Gadeyne. He is one of my professors and has been on the history channel and Belgian radio many times.y I really like him and am enjoying the class I have with him so far.
Recently, the weather has not been as great as it was when I first got here 2 weeks ago when it 65 and sunny ever day. Now its much colder and has been raining. Today, the metro and buses of the city went on strike! I don’t know why but I had to walk to classes today despite me feeling weak because of what happened yesterday which I’m about to explain now.
Monday night 11:00 PM: My roommate tells me about a stomach virus that’s going around. I feel fine and hope I don’t get it.
1:30 AM: I wake up and start throwing up for about 24 hours. I miss all my classes and have a high fever. This SUCKED! I didn’t know what to do. I was scared and didn’t know if I should go to the hospital or not. My roommates got me gatorade and bananas which I was eventually able to keep down and I talked to Neil at home and he helped me get through it. Today, I feel much better and made it to all my classes.
Don’t’ worry about me, I just was simply informing.
Here are photos from the “wall walk”
My room is basically the same temperature it is outside. If its 30 degrees outside, thats how cold my room is because they shut the heat off. I basically freeze to death in the night. Also, they are doing construction in my building from 7 am every morning till 5 pm. Its so loud it sounds like a jackhammer in my ear when I’m trying to sleep and it wakes me up every morning. The shutter to our bedroom balcony broke and I called the porter 5 days ago and nobody has come to fix it yet so our room is even colder now. I needed to get that off my chest.
I’m starting to forget previous thoughts about what Rome would be before I came and beginning to conjour my own ideas about the city.
So this week was my first week of classes and for once in my life I don’t have one science class!! Its really weird but very freeing at the same time. For once I don’t have to go to a 3 hour physics lab, but instead I get to go on 3 hour field trips to Roman neighborhoods. My “Inside Italian Design” class has a mandatory weekend trip to Milan in a few weeks which I am thrilled about and my “Late Antique and Byzantine Art and Architecture” course has a mandatory trip for 4 days to different places in Northeastern Italy. I cannot wait!
As the days go by, I learn more and more italian and become more familiar with the city. There are a few caffes that already know what I want when I walk in because I go there so often. I am really enjoying my time here. Besides today, everyday has gotten up to about 65 degrees F which has been wonderful. Some days I do not have to wear a coat which is strange because I know back in Frackville, PA its been snowing and sleeting for days. Its strange because even when its warm out, the italians still wear big puffy coats and fur so I guess they dress for the season and not for the weather. Today, the weather was terrible. I had class from 9:00 Am- 7:30 PM and 6 hours worth of field trips in the cold rain. I was not a happy camper.
I’ve pretty much gotten everything I need to survive except for hangers. I really have no idea where to find them yet. Even though its only Thursday its the start of the weekend because we have no classes on Friday! yayyy. Last night I cooked a delicious pasta dish for me and my roommates. It may have been the most simple yet most delicious thing I have ever cooked, most likely because of the fresh ingredients I used.
All my previous knowledge of italian language is flooding back into my brain which I am ecstatic about!! Also, I FINALLY found a channel on the internet that I could watch some american TV shows because I was getting sick of watching shows in only Italian.
Ciao! My wonderful experience is continuing on. I have maid service every day which is really nice. They even make the beds and every Tuesday they wash the linens. I really like my apartment except they shut the heat off at night so when I wake up some mornings I’m freezing! I’m going to go out sometime this week and buy a heavier blanket.
Yesterday I went to the market for the first time. It was wild. There were tons of people and hundreds of vendors selling meat, cheese, bread, olives, blankets, toys, wine, eggs, etc. Everything was so fresh! There were so many people all rushing around and bumping into eachother. There is no such thing as a line in Italy… you pretty much just have to push your way to the front. This was very frustrating at first but I eventually got the hang of it. I got fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, cheese, bread, and olives for VERY cheap. When me and my roommate got back we made sandwiches (I made the most delicious sandwich I ever had).
Last night I went to an amazing dinner with three of my good friends here. I went to Pierluigi, a place I had gone a few days ago, and they remembered me! We didn’t order anything off the menu. We said yes to whatever the waiter suggested and it was absolutely delicious. I drank the best wine and ever! We had a great time and were there for about 3 hours.
Today was definitely my best day yet. We woke up early and went on a bus trip about 2 hours away to a hill town in Umbria called Todi. It was beautiful! Then we (about 250 of us) went to a castle and ate a 14 course dinner over a period of about 4 hours. This was probably the best meal I’ve ever had in my life. I am going to post pictures of all the courses.
Tomorrow classes start and I’m actually really excited! I do miss everyone at home but I’m glad that I’ve made friends here and that I get along really well with my roommates. I’m really enjoying every little thing here but I wish I could share it with everyone that I love at home.
Everything here is smaller. The furniture, the cars, the amount of personal space… but certainly not the locals’ personalities!
I am already in love with Rome! My roommates are awesome and I’ve already made a ton of friends. Let me start off with a short recap of my flight situation. I flew out of Philadelphia and went to London. When I was at the Philly airport, I found out my flight was going to Heathrow Airport in London and that I had to get my bags and get transportation to Gatwick airport, which was really annoying. Luckily, I found a luggage cart to help me. When I finally got to Gatwick after taking a bus (which was weird because in London the cars drive on the wrong side of the road), I ate at a cafe and then boarded my flight to Rome. Coincidentally, the girl I was sitting next to was also going to Temple Rome! I later found out there were 6 total people on my flight when we got in the van transportation to take us to the residence. I got to the residence and my roommates were not there! I looovvveee the apartment. The only thing I don’t like is my bed. It’s hard as a rock and so is the pillow. I need to do something about that but I haven’t gotten around to it. As soon as I got here I went to the bathroom and COULD NOT figure out how to flush the toilet. I freaked out and it took me 20 minutes to figure out I had to push a button on the wall haha.
The absolute best part of my apartment is the fact that there are 2 balconies! It is a dream. The first night I got here, I unpacked, got a shower, and went out with one of my roommates and a group of about 30 other students in the program. We walked for about an hour and got lost on our way to The Drunken Ship! Across the street from the residence I bought a bottle of wine for 2 euro and drank it as I walked along the streets. The bar had a lot of American students and a lot of Italian creepers who try to hook up with American girls. I had an amazing time! It was sooo much fun.
The next day was orientation at 10 am. I walked to the University with my roommates. It took about 45-50 minutes and we stopped at a Bar (which is like a cafe) for pastries and espresso. It was delicious!! After the orientation, we got lunch for free and then took the bus back to our apartment. Then I took a 5 hour nap because I was exhausted. I got up and went to the store with my roommate and bought groceries, soap, laundry detergent, etc. It was much less expensive than I thought and everything so far is delicious. Then I went to my first real dinner around 10:00 pm with about 25 people and had the most amazing pasta dish of my life. We then went to a club because it was one of the girl’s 21st birthday. I left early because this morning we had a walking tour with one of the professors.
Today was absolutely fantastic! I learned so much about Rome and feel so much more comfortable with the city. We walked around from about 9:30 am – 5:00 am. It was well worth it. I saw beautiful churches, ate amazing food (and gelato), and saw things that were jaw-dropping. I couldn’t stop taking pictures, which of course I will post lots on here Then we took the metro. We were packed like sardines. We got off at school because a professor was doing a cooking demonstration and gave us a cookbook. So far, I’m having the time of my life and I finally got my internet working.
Well, I had one last amazing weekend with the people I love. I had my last day at Wachovia as a bank teller on Friday and they got me a cake! I will miss them all they are like a second family to me. Friday night I finished packing all of my stuff. I paid to bring an extra suitcase but its still hard to fit everything I think I will need. I had to leave a lot of stuff behind. On Saturday I shadowed at the doctor’s office my sister works at and got offered a job for the summer woohoo! Things are looking good. Saturday night I went to a family reunion type thing with my boyfriend Neil and ate awesome food and saw all of my family one last time. Sunday I woke up to a massive and delicious breakfast my mom cooked for me, Neil, Jess (my sister), John (her bf), Ryan (my brother), herself and my dad. Then we all went sleighriding! It was so much fun Neil left a few hours ago, it was really sad to say goodbye. I love him so much and its hard to think that I won’t be seeing him until I get back home.
I just printed my boarding pass and I’m getting pretty excited! Its crazy to think that I’ll be on my plane in less than 24 hours. Tonight is the last night I will be sleeping in my bed at home. I can’t believe I won’t be going back to Susquehanna this semester. I will really miss everyone but I cannot wait for this new experience. My dad is taking me to the airport tomorrow… I will post again as soon as I have internet access.
Buon giorno! My name is Natalie Cicioni. I am a junior at Susquehanna University majoring in biology and minoring in health care studies. I am embarking on a journey of studying abroad in Rome, Italy for the Spring semester of 2011.
I depart for Rome in two weeks! Its hard to believe that its already time for me to leave Pennsylvania. As the number of days leading to my departure shrinks, I become more excited but more nervous at the same time. I still cannot picture myself living in Italy. The thought of trying to speak the language and explore the culture is both exhilarating and gut-wrenching. I have put so much time, energy, and money into the planning of this adventure and now its finally here. This thought makes me so terrified that I almost want to turn around and walk away from this opportunity. I know it may be difficult at first learning a new language, meeting new people, and fitting in but this is exactly what I want. Once I get past the stage of being an awkward tourist, I hope to have the time of my life and I would like to share it with all of you.