Even though graduation is still a year away for me, I have been thinking a lot about the qualities I will search for in a job after I do graduate.

The most important thing, to me, is interest. If I am bored at my job, I will dread going to work everyday, and feel unhappy. I have read (in multiple books) that you are most happy when you are so totally engrossed in a project that you lose track of time. I know it is a big dream for me to feel that way at work, but that is what I would like it to be for me.

Then the people that I work with are the deal breaker. If the job is boring, but I work with wonderful, inspiring people, I may stick around. On the other hand, if the job is exciting, but the people are awful, I will dread work anyway. Ideally, I would get to do work I find interesting and challenging, while also working with great people.

And of course, there are the other pesky things that are important - like a good salary, benefits, vacation time, etc.

I am worried that I will be someone who dreads going to work everyday after I graduate. I want to wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and excited to start another day at work - not feeling tired, cranky and depressed. I want to work to live - not live to work. I want to have time in the evenings, after work, to do hobbies, cook a nice dinner, or see a movie.

I know that your happiness at your job has to do with how good your attitude is. But I also think that if I have no personal life outside of work, that will affect my happiness with my job too. I think it is possible to find some in-between balance.


This meme has been all over the place lately...

1. What curse word do you use the most? I actually say shiesa the most, which is German for sh*t. But I also let sh*t slip out every once in awhile, especially if I mess up at work. I had my own anti-swearing revolution last December, so I have been trying to cut back.
2. Do you own an iPod? Nope.
3. Who on your MySpace "Top 8" do you talk to the most? Well, I quite MySpace, but if I still had it, it would be Steven.
4. What time is your alarm clock set for? 12:00 am - because I am using the alarm clock on my cell phone, which does not get service in Italy - so it is actually 7:00 am!
5. What color is your room? White.
6. Flip flops or sneakers? I despise flip flops. I like sneakers during the winter (when it is not slushy), and sandals in the summer.
7. Would you rather take a picture or be in a picture? Set it up on a timer to take it, then jump in!
8. What was the last movie you watched? X-Men III in the theater on Sunday, and The Sound of Music on my computer Monday morning.
9. Do any of your friends have children? Yes.
10. Has anyone ever called you lazy? No.
11. Do you ever take medication to help you fall asleep faster? No way. Falling asleep is almost never a problem for me!
12. What CD is currently in your CD player? Cd player? What is that? Don't even know where mine is.
13. Do you prefer regular or chocolate milk? Yuck. Vanilla Soy please.
14. Has anyone told you a secret this week? No.
15. have you ever given someone a hickey? Unfortunately.
16. Who was the last person to call you? Rixa. No one calls me in Italy, except here, because she lives here!
17. Do you think people talk about you behind your back? Well, the answer to this lies in another question - do I? Yes! Then others must as well.
18. Did you watch cartoons as a child? Yes - Garfield and Captain Planet.
19. How many siblings do you have? Three.
20. Are you shy around the opposite sex? No.
21. What movie do you know every line to? Star Wars.
22. Do you own any band t-shirts? Used to, but I did a clean sweep of my closet.
23. What is your favorite salad dressing? I suppose Italian.
24. Do you read for fun? As much as I can!
25. Do you cry a lot? More than I should. Especially when I bump my head.
26. Who was the last person to text message you? Steven, more than three weeks ago!
27. Do you have a desktop computer or laptop? Sh*tty Dell laptop. I can tell it is going to crash soon. It is literally falling apart in my hands.
28. Are you currently wanting any piercings or tattoo? No.
29. What is the weather like? Warm and sunny.
30. Would you ever date someone covered in tattoos? Only if it was Steven, in a dream.
31. Is sex before marriage wrong? Only for people who need to believe it is.
32. When was the last time you slept on the floor? At someone's house? Maybe two or three years ago?
33. How many hours of sleep do you need to function? Two, but I can only do that for a few days before I crash.
34. Are you in love or lust? LOVE.
35. Are your days full and fast-paced? Always!
36. Do you pay attention to the calories on the back of packages? Oh, yes!
37. How old will you be turning on your next birthday? 22.
38. Are you picky about spelling and grammar? I try to be.
39. Have you ever been to Six Flags? Not that I recall.
40. Do you get along better with the same or opposite sex? Opposite, usually.
41. Do you like cottage cheese? Of course.
42. Do you fall asleep on your side, tummy or back? Side.
43. Have you ever bid for something on eBay? Only once - a Yoda Christmas ornament for my Dad!
44. Do you enjoy giving hugs? Too my family - always! And I have gotten better at it with others.
45. What song did you last sing out loud? A song from The Sound of Music, because it was stuck in my head.
46. What is your favorite TV show? I avoid TV if I can. When I did watch... I don't even remember!
47. Which celebrity, dead or alive, would you like to have lunch with? George Lucas, then follow lunch with a job offer.
48. Last time you had butterflies in your stomach? Last Tuesday, when it was Tom's funeral and I could not be there.
49. What one thing do you wish you had? A smaller body.
50. Favorite lyrics? "The Book of Love," by Peter Gabriel (well, sung by him - I don't know if he wrote them or not!).


This is awful to say, but it is true, and if I do not tell you about it, I would be leaving you out of my daily "roman" experiences.

Riding the tram here is like seeing a daily freak show.

There is always someone picking their nose on the tram. I know, why do I even notice? Believe me, I wish I didn't, but it is hard not to notice things like that. I know that sometimes you need to put your finger in your nose to get a booger out, but why do it on a public tram?! And what do you do with the booger afterwards? Well, I have noticed about 50% wipe in somewhere (eww) and the other 50% put it in their mouth. Gross gross gross. I always wash my hands as soon as I can after riding the tram.

Who knew there were so many woman with facial hair? This is also rude and inconsiderate, but I have seen people on the tram that I could not figure out their sex! They had breasts, but they had a beard, so what does that mean? What causes facial hair to grow on a woman like that? Maybe it is some sort of hormone imbalance. I should not make fun of it so blatantly, because it is really none of my business, but if I was like that, I would wax or, or laser it, or something. I wouldn't have the self-esteem to walk around looking like that.

There is usually some beggar walking on the tram, asking for money. Or someone playing their violin or accordion on your whole tram trip. The people riding the tram must be used to the "music" because they simply ignore it. I have learned to ignore it also.

Often, there is a drunk, homeless person (especially at night), who walks around with a T-shirt off, harassing people. I do not understand the homeless person, because they talk in Italian, but I can tell that they are harassing people by the looks and comments they get. I have learned to ignore that also.

And the best part - when you are all smashed together with these people, and it smells like no one has used deodorant in their life time. What fun.

It isn't always this bad, but it is usually an adventure.


The effect of music on my mind is astounding. No matter how much time has passed since I last heard a certain song, it can still trigger memories of exact dates and instances.

I decided to use my MP3 player today since I was going to be doing a lot of walking, and I felt like I was taking a stroll through memory lane. Some of the songs on there are a bit "outdated," but they are songs I continue to listen to nonetheless. I was just amazed, that with every song played, I had a different specific memory of hearing it...

Where is the Love? The Black Eyed Peas - I remember hearing this on the radio the first time I drove to Chicago by myself. It was June 14, 2003, and I was driving my mother's green caravan on I-90 to visit Steven. I was excited and pumped to see Steven, and the song only made my feelings more intense. I blasted the speakers when I heard the song come on (I also remember that was the day that Steven bought his first Saab - he hadn't told me about it, just showed me when I got there).

Move ya body Nina Sky - This song was on the radio all the time in the summer of '04. Steven and I used to work together, and I can remember hearing it almost everyday in the car with him on the way to work. It is kind of funny, because the radio station did not play much music in the morning - just a lot of ads and talking, but when they did play a song, it was most likely this one.

Nasty Things Ludacris - The first time I heard this song, I was working late in the armory on a studio project in Fall of 2003. One of my classmates played this song really loud, and got all excited and started singing and dancing. I guess that is what not much sleep, a lot of caffeine, and a deadline does to you - makes you crazy!

Jump Van Halen - One time, when I was really young, maybe eight or ten, my Dad was trying to win a radio competition. The cue to call the radio station was when you heard the song "Jump." For some reason, my Dad asked me to listen for the song, and I wasn't familiar with it (oh the shame!), so he pulled out his Van Halen cd and cranked it really loud on the stereo in our house. I don't remember if he won a prize, but I will never forget the song. In fall of 2004, I went to a Van Halen concert in Ames with my parents and a friend. "Jump" was the first song they played.

Hung Up Madonna - Even though they were playing this song in the States before I went to Rome, I can remember it most distinctly from hearing it in Europe - probably because they love Madonna here! I was in a fun shop near Piazza Navona with my roommates (back when we were all still trying to get along) and it came on the radio. The bass in the store was excellent and it felt like a dance club. They played the whole Madonna album and I thought it was excellent - I thought it was more than one artist! I listen to the album all the time now to get pumped.

Peaches and Cream - Not even sure who sings this one, but I have very distinct memories of this song...

This list could go on and on and on, with a lot of good memories and some bad ones. Do other people have this sensation too?

ROUTINE | MAY 27, 2006

Today I am at a loss for what to write here. I have a million thoughts in my mind, and even a list of topics I want to talk about on this site, but none of them seem right for today.

I think I am momentarily stuck in the mundane. I am now comfortable enough here to have developed a daily routine, and a basic understanding of my surroundings. It is easy to lose the spontaneity in life when you are surrounded by routine and schedules.

Sometimes I have to stop and ask myself - are you really taking advantage of life? I am in Italy for Pete's sake! There are so many things I should be doing here that I could not be doing in the States - mainly visiting cities and sites, and enjoying wonderful Italian food.

But living in Rome, just like living anywhere else, it is easy to become enveloped in a comfortable little routine. Wake up. Get ready. Take tram to work. Work. Take tram home. Eat dinner. Take tram to shelter. Volunteer. Take tram home. Sleep!

I am really going to make an effort to enjoy the "in-between" moments of my life. Those spontaneous moments are the ones we tend to remember and cherish anyway!


One of the things I love about living in Rome is that the city always feels alive. I don't mean alive in the same sense that people often talk about New York City - that there is something going on around the clock. It is quite the opposite here, as most things close well before midnight!

But what makes Rome come alive to me, is its people.

Whether it is the tourists and workers in the historic city center, or the families and children a little further out, the people in Rome are out around the clock. They are socializing, eating, walking to meet friends - and spending as much time as they can interacting with the outside world.

This adds a dimension and animation to my normal routine that I am not used to having. In the States, I drive every where, so I miss out on this. But some of the most enjoyable parts of my day here are in the morning when I walk past the bakery and watch the man making bread and chatting with his customers, and when I walk home at night, past a fancy restaurant, and see everyone leave in their wonderful outfits.

All these people put off an energy that makes the city come alive. If you feel lonely, all you have to do is walk outside, and you will begin to hear the chatter of people.

I think part of the reason I do not experience this in the States is because it does not exist in the same manner as here. In the States, buildings are more spread out. You can't always walk from place to place. There are commercial, industrial, housing and other districts. Separating those districts separates those functions and the interactions that occur in them. Here, most apartments have stores on the first floor - it becomes a big mix of commercial and living areas. You are likely to see someone hanging their clothes out the window to dry when you are going to buy groceries.

The most similar experience I have in the States is when I am in Guttenberg, a small river town in Iowa, and we go on walks and wave hello to the neighbors.

I hope I find a similar energy when I return. If not, I will always enjoy it here until I leave.


After my awful experience trying to see "V for Vendetta" in Rome (I finally had to see it in the States!), I am making sure to go see the movies I want this summer as soon as they come out.

So I went and saw "The Da Vinci Code" last Saturday, the day after it was released. I read The Da Vinci Code novel, by Dan Brown in December 2003 ) when Steven's brother and sister-in-law loaned it to me.

Does everyone know the plot by now? A symbolism professor from Harvard becomes involved with a mysterious death that could possibly reveal a secret that would shatter the existence of the Catholic church, blah blah blah - more or less that is it.

The novel is written very well, although it is a bit unrealistic at times (although not nearly as unrealistic as Angels and Demons, Brown's other novel about the same character), so I thought it would be fun to see the movie. It is directed by Ron Howard and has an all star cast, so I thought it would be really good.

I wasn't very disappointed. I thought the acting was very good, and they more or less stuck to the script of the book. Of course, there were a few scenes and lines that were added in for humor and even some I think for sexuality. And there was a whole added scene at the end that literally changed the outcome of the movie from the book, I think in an attempt to bring more closure for the audience.

It is always interesting to see movies based on books you have read. You lose part of the element of surprise, as you already know all the character's true motivations and identities, but then you are able to focus more on the subtleties of the film. I think that in this film, knowing the plot made me more anxious at the theater, and made the film feel slow. But I also think that if I did not know the plot and story, I might not be able to follow it as well. A lot of research was done by Brown to write the book, and not all of that could be put into the movie. So I am happy I knew as much as I did.

Anyway, I think it was a good film, but I definitely recommend reading the book first. It is fun to see the characters come to life, but reading the book leaves so much more to your imagination!


Last night, I had a really depressing conversation with Rixa, the lady that runs the cat shelter at night. I think she is about the same age as my grandparents, but she is literally my closest friend in Rome, and a very special person to me. She is originally from Germany, but moved to Italy over 30 years ago to be with her (then) husband.

Anyway, we were talking about Tom. She asked me if I knew any more about what happened, and I told her that he had a massive heart attack - half of his heart was functioning no longer. We started talking about death, and whether or not people are prepared for it. Obviously, Tom was not. He did not have a fatal illness and was not prepared.

She told me that a lot of people tell her they would prefer to die this way - where they only feel pain for a short while then pass, rather than living the last years of their life in agony. But she said she was different - she wanted to know when she was going to die, so she could prepare - prepare to have someone take care of her cats (I think she has eight or ten).

Then she told me that sometimes she is so sick of life now that she wished she would just pass away, but that she ignores those thoughts because she has her cats to take care of, and she loves them dearly.

Now, I know what you are thinking, and it is true - she is a "cat-lady" to the extreme - she communicates more with cats during the day than with humans.

Before, I didn't think much of this. Yes, she spends a lot of time with cats, but she would also tell me about her friends in Italy and Germany, and I know that she has children and even some siblings in Germany.

But last night, she literally told me that her cats are the only thing she cares about in her life. I felt so sad when I heard her say that. I know that she does not keep in touch with her children or ex-husband, but I surely thought she still felt love and compassion for them.

I asked her, "What about our friendship? Isn't having friends something worth being around for?" Her response was that she was old enough to be my grandmother, that I was leaving soon, and that I had friends my own age in America. I told her the truth - the difference in our age does not matter! She is still my closest friend in Italy, and I will miss her a lot when I am gone, and be very eager to keep in touch.

And the conversation ended there because we had to get to work.

It left me feeling so strange - sad for her and the way she feels, but grateful for all the love I have in my own life. There was just this eerie tone in her voice when she was speaking to me - I knew she was being serious. There is not much I can do to help, I can only continue to be her friend and show her the love and compassion that a friend gives. I just feel in pain to know that someone so dear to me feels this way.


Tom's funeral is at 1:30 pm (Central Time) today. That is where my thoughts and prayers will be all day.

Tom would have loved to hear all about my European adventures when I got back - and now I will never be able to share them with him. He also would have wanted to know what it was like to work at Fuksas - whether or not I liked it. It would have been fun to tell him about all the interesting projects (and interesting quirks in my coworkers).

I never got to see the pictures from his New Year's Eve trip to Mexico, or his last trip to Jamaica, or even his recent trip to California and Arizona. I never got to see his newly remodeled garage, even though we talked about it a lot.

I wish I could be there today, just to hold someone's hand and receive a hug from a family member. I am so happy that Steven is going. I don't feel like I can even begin to express how grateful I am for that.

I am sorry to share this bad news with everyone, and to be so frank and open about it. I really wish that I could be and talk with a family member, but I can't. And it really helps to write down and express what I am feeling.

Here is the last picture I have of me and Tom together. It was on Christmas day in 2005. You can tell it was Christmas because of all the boxes and wrapping everywhere. I think I was saying goodbye to Tom - telling him to have a good time in Mexico, and he was probably saying the same to me about Rome. That is the last time I saw him.

Goodbye Tom. I love you and I will miss you.


Kevin's post at kapgar today got me thinking... again... about something I tend to think about a lot. And that is being anti-social.

Obviously, he had an experience that caused him to feel like people were upset with him for wanting to be alone.

There is nothing wrong with wanting time to yourself!

We can't all be social butterflies. Not everyone has the desire to have the most friends, go to the most parties, and talk to the most people.

I think that Americans tend to be more this way than people from other nations - they want their own space, time and privacy. It comes from how we are raised. Sure, some of us want it more than others, but I think that inside everyone, there is a desire for some "me-time" every now and then.

Of course, I do not mean the "never talk to me, look at me, or come close to me people." I know when it is appropriate to be social and not social (as I think most do).

And I can also tell when people want their space - and I try my hardest to give it to them. I wish I received the same in return.

Gosh, this is really not coming out the way I want it to sound. I feel like I have lost touch with my writing skills. I really have other things on my mind. I hope this fog leaves my brain soon.


I don't know if this is appropriate or not, but right now, it just feels like the right thing to do. And anything that will help me understand my emotions and what I am feeling is a good thing.

During Friday night, my uncle Tom passed away.

He was my dad's brother. He was not very old, and he was not sick. He got up during his sleep to use the bathroom, and something caused him to pass out. They are not sure yet what the cause was.

When I was a child, Tom was a mystery - even a bit scary to me. He did not take well to children (which I can understand now, as we were brats), but when I was older, we developed a very special relationship. He lived in Ames for awhile, and helped me get my job there. He was very supportive of my college career, and would visit once or twice a semester when he was in town - always taking me to lunch or for ice cream. He treated me different than my siblings and cousins. We had a special bond.

He was confident, honest and courageous. I came to admire him very much. He gave a lot in his life - he was always helping other people, whether it be donating to charity or helping friends in need. He had many admirable hobbies, and was able to live a life full of foreign travel and many adventures. He also had so many friends - from all over the States and parts of the world. He was well-loved by many.

He had a wonderfully sardonic sense of humor. He would tell me the best stories, always making me laugh.

He was really excited that I was coming to Rome for school - and was one of the people who encouraged me to stay for the summer.

Right now there are so many thoughts running through my brain, but I am having a hard time sorting them out here. I feel shocked. I feel sick. I feel so far away from everyone I should be with right now.

Only in my worst nightmares did I imagine this would ever happen while I was overseas. Now my absence during this time is making me feel so sad. There is not much I could do if I was home, but at least then I could be with the people I love. I have never lost anyone I was so close to, and I simply do not know how to cope.

All my prayers tonight go to Sue, Tom's wife, and my grandparents. If I am in pain, I cannot even imagine how they are feeling.

HOURS | MAY 20, 2006

Hours put in this week:
Working at Fuksas: 46 hours
Volunteering at the Cat Shelter: 11 hours
Using Public Transportation: 5 hours
Giving Photoshop Lessons: 2.5 hours
Working at School: 2.5 hours
Total: 67 hours

No wonder I am so damn tired. I know I am doing too much and I am wearing myself down, but I would rather be busy and tired than doing nothing at all. I still have my weekends free.


Have you ever found yourself very disappointed in a friend? Not after an argument, but just disappointed in them as a person, for something they said or did.

The other day I was shocked when I started feeling a major disappointment in one of my friends. I felt shocked because the feeling was really intense, but it just came out of no where. She said something to me, and all of a sudden I thought - "wow, you really are not the person I thought you were!"

I respected the person I though she was. I admired the person I thought she was. I believed in the person I thought she was. I did not think she was a negative, unsupportive person.

It may be impossible, but I try to avoid negative people. I just feel happier when I am away from all the moody, self-doubters who want to rain on everyone else's parade. And seeing this side of my friend made me realize she is not a friend who can give me the support I need. Her mind is too negative to do that.

Realistic, I like. Finding the worst in everything, I do not.


I love how people in Rome wear the same outfit for days in a row! It is genius! It must make dressing decisions much easier in the morning - "Hmm, I liked this yesterday, I think I will go with it again today!" I imagine they still change their undergarments, but I think they are on to something with wearing the same outfit continuously - if it isn't dirty, why not wear it again?

The only reason I picked up on this is because one of my friends pointed it out to me last semester. Her studio instructor wore the same three or four outfits all week, every week. I probably wouldn't have noticed (I normally do not pay a lot of attention to what people are wearing), but the instructor had wild outfits - big necklaces, striped pants - so it was easy to notice when she wore them again. But if she looked good (which she did) and the outfits were clean, why not wear them again?

And at my office, most of the people in the model-building department wear the same thing more or less all week. It makes sense. We wear aprons over our clothes to protect them from materials, glue, paint, etc., but they still get dirty. (I felt so funny my first day of work - I showed up wearing khakis and a nice button-shirt, while everyone else was wearing jeans and t-shirts!)

I think there is a big gap between the American and Italian ideals of cleanliness. In America, I have been made fun of once or twice for wearing the same jeans two days in a row. But here is my question - who is shallow enough to notice those things and care? Worry about yourself! I know that I am not the most handsome creature on earth, but because I do not fret over what other people wear, I never get too worried about what I wear. I imagine if I am not too worried about their clothes, they will not be too worried about mine. Of course, we are all different though.

A BIT OF ADVICE | MAY 17, 2006

A bit of advice - mostly to myself - do not make jokes with people you do not know well. Do not make jokes with your boss. Do not make jokes with people who don't speak the same "mother-tongue" as you. Don't tell weird stories to people you have just met. In fact, do not tell "weird" stories at all... even Steven may not want to hear them.

I am usually successful at not making myself look (or sound) like a fool. But lately (last two weeks), I feel like I have said things that have people staring at me with that what?! look on their face. Yesterday I tried to make a joke with my boss, before I was told that he is one of those people who likes to joke, but does not like it in return. That explains his reaction (and would have been nice to know beforehand).

I try to say funny things when I work at the shelter at night to make it more fun. Sometimes it works, but other times, I have to explain why it is funny, then it is not so funny anymore. (I guess that is what happens when you are talking to someone in english who originally speaks german but is living in Italy).

Then when I was at home with Steven we went out to dinner with some friends. And I told this story, then only after I told it did I realize it was not appropriate. I felt like such an idiot, as everyone struggled for something to say...

I swear, I used to have appropriate social skills. But one too many bad experiences makes me want to be a mute. I will now stick with weather as my only conversation topic. You can't go wrong with that.

(P.S. Thanks to everyone who left a comment after yesterday's post. I felt very happy to have so many people share a story or some advice)


What is it about me that makes me stand out as an American, on a daily basis?

Is it my lighter skin and lighter brown hair? Is it my lack of fashion and the fact that I cannot walk on cobblestone in heels? Is it that I walk faster and look at my watch more often? Is it that I do not smoke? Is it that I do not speak Italian (very good)? Is it that I eat while I am on the move and am generally bigger than most women here?

I can live with most of that - because that is who I am. I am a conservatively dressed, prompt, smoke-free American. But I cannot live with the last part - anymore.

Don't worry - no one came up to me on the street and said, "hey, you're fat - you must be an american!" (although maybe it would help if they did). This is just me being honest and speaking my true feelings.

You know you are unhealthy when you feel out of breath going up two flights of stairs. But what about when you feel out of breath simply walking in the street? It has not become that extreme with me, but I do admit to feeling out of breath when I shouldn't - on my history walking tours, going up the (60+) stairs to my old apartment in Rome, running back and forth between classes... the list could go on and on and on!

And this is not a current realization (unfortunately). My lack of self-control (I blame this on no one but myself) caused me to gain about 40 pounds over a year ago! Wow that is a lot! What an awful secret to share.

The worst part is that I know how to live healthy and take care of myself, but I generally choose not to. I am one of those "all or nothing" and "I will start living healthy tomorrow people," meaning if I am going to be healthy - I want to be completely healthy - no sweets, no fried things, no soda! And if I have one little slip, say a donut for breakfast - there goes my whole day - I might as well blow it and start fresh tomorrow.

This is extremely destructive, unhealthy behavior! No one gets very far by restricting so many things from themselves (except for extremely disciplined people and anorexics).

And I know where I picked up this behavioral pattern - the same place I picked up all my behavioral patterns, good and bad. But since most of us probably know where we inherit our behaviors from, I will not mention any specifics.

So when will I finally grow up and learn the discipline to take care of myself? Is now the time? I think it is...

It really is as simple as moderation - enjoy the things you like, just not too much of them - so I will start there.

Does anyone else struggle with these problems?


I really like my job - it is interesting, I get to do some different every day, I feel busy all the time... blah, blah, blah - but right now, the language barrier is kicking my butt. It is not such a big deal if I am left out of chit-chat conversations; I really don't mind. But when they are discussing the project, and what I am supposed to be doing - I would like to understand it! So many times today I did things wrong because they were miscommunicated between me and my coworkers. They try to tell me how to do things in english, but it does not come naturally for them, so it gets screwed up.

Nevertheless, I was very frustrated today. I felt like I was being inefficient and useless.

Now the question, how fast can I learn Italian? Right now I can pick up on 20% of the conversation... is that is not enough! I am trying to learn, I really am...


Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers in my life that I can't see today, especially mine. I am missing you all very much and hoping you have a wonderful and relaxing day!


I have my very own Saturday, all by myself, to whatever with it that I please... and what do I want to do? Well, I would love to -
1. Sleep all day (I still have major jet lag)
2. Use the internet (somewhere, anywhere!)
3. See Steven (What am I doing all the way in Rome when I could be with him right now?! Am I crazy?!)
4. Did I mention sleep all day?
5. Explore the neighborhood
6. Work in my Adobe Illustrator workbook or my "Learn Italian' workbook

PADRE PIO | MAY 12, 2006

Is it just me or does this "Padre Pio" character look very similar to Sean Connery?

Padre Pio, an Italian fil about... who knows what?

There are all these little movie billboards that sit on the edge of the sidewalks in Rome. You see them everywhere, and they are changed almost every week. I keep seeing this one and I thought that he looked so similar, I even looked to see if Sean Connery was doing this character's voice (he isn't). Who even knows what it is about... my Italian is definitely not good enough to read it.

I also keep seeing billboards for "The Da Vinci Code" (or "Il Code Da Vinci"), which I will definitely be seeing when it comes out on the 19th of May. I read the book and am really excited to see the adaptation I also would like to see "The Devil Wears Prada," for the same reasons.

LESSON #1 | MAY 11, 2006

Today I learned that beautiful models are not necessarily the result of perfection, but of being really good at covering up common mistakes. Today we had to finish the apartment model (complete with site) we were working on yesterday because Fuksas was coming in to look at it tonight. It was amazing how fast the whole model studio came together to pull it off. We made little mistakes but quickly fixed them or covered them up, resulting in two beautiful models.

It was funny to work so efficiently with a group of people that I just met yesterday. I have known most of my ISU peers for four years, and we can never seem to get things done efficiently when we try to work together as a studio. I guess that is the difference between working with students and professionals (who care!).


My first day at work was good. I got a short tour of the whole office from a German intern, then they threw me right in. I began working on a conceptual model of an apartment complex. I am not sure where it is (in the world, I think somewhere in Italy...) or what they are planning on actually making it out of, but we were working with styrofoam. I got to use one of those machines that heats up a wire really hot to cut styrofoam - that was fun. I had never used one before.

I think I am going to be working really long days - these model builders seem really enthusiastic about their work. I already had a lot of fun on my first day, so I hope it stays that way. Everyone I work with seems really nice (about 5 women and 6 men in our department) - they like to make jokes and have fun while getting things done. About half of them are interns like me - and they are from all over the world.

I feel really cut-off from everything. No internet and no phone is a bummer (I have been using the internet at the shelter to update the site!). I miss writing emails, talking online and reading all the other blogs that I frequent. I hope everyone knows that I miss them (or reading their site) and hope that I can be in contact with them soon...

SO FAR AWAY... | MAY 9, 2006

Here I am, all the way in Rome, getting ready to go to bed in the apartment of someone I have never met. She is not here, but is nice enough to let me stay in her empty apartment for three months while I am working.

So I have this apartment all to myself - a bathroom, a kitchen, a living room, a bedroom and a balcony. It is in Trastevere - a region of Rome just southwest of the city center. It takes a 10-minute bus ride and then a 15-minute tram ride to get to the city center. Not bad.

But right now, I just feel utterly alone. Even though I have all the luck and fortune to have this place all to myself, I feel frustrated and anxious. Today was not relaxing at all. I was moving my things around town, trying desperately to contact people... yuck. And I am really nervous about starting work tomorrow.

At least I have Minou with me for company.

LIMBO | MAY 8, 2006

This has been the strangest week of my life. I felt like I was stuck in some sort of limbo - trying to take care of things at home and visit as many people as possible - basically rushing to get things done because I knew I would soon be leaving.

It really wrecks havoc on my emotions to be home for such a short while. I am grateful that I got to see my family and spend so much time with Steven... but I feel so guilty about leaving everyone behind for three months.


Muah ha ha. Check more out here.


I finally (went to the store and) got my copy. Do you have yours?

The Lost Blogs by Paul Davidson


What is the story behind these "TLC Life Lessons" figurines? I saw a commercial using them last night at the theater (I finally got to see V for Vendetta!!!). It seems they are using them to advertise two shows on TLC - Honey We're Killing the Kids and Shalom in the Home. Well, I don't know what they are for, but they are HILARIOUS. Click here to see them.

Dating is awkward, but so is becoming the crazy cat lady.      Not everyone's dying to see your baby pictures.      If you go for the extra large soda, bring your extra large bladder.

These are a joke, right? Or are people meant to take them seriously?


The Sunday edition of the Chicago Sun Times lead me to the American Decency Association website, and I could not help but think of a film I watched in my seminar class this semester - Le tentazioni del dottor Antonio (The Temptation of Doctor Antonio).

Le tentazioni del dottor Antonio is part of Boccaccio '70, a film with four different episodes, directed by four different Italian directors. This episode is directed by Federico Fellini and stars Peppino de Filippo and Anita Ekberg.

Filippo is Doctor Antonio Mazzuolo, a very moral, Christian man who works for the Ministry of the Show and lives with his mother and sisters. When a billboard goes up in front of his apartment home showcasing Anita Ekberg's breasts, he does everything in his power to get it removed, claiming it is indecent and ruining the minds and souls of everyone who sees it. I won't spoil the ending for you, but it is a very funny film.

The reason that website reminded me of this film is because it is absolutely ridiculous. It is absolutely ridiculous in the same manner that Dr. Antonio is ridiculous in the film.

They are telling people to boycott Victoria's Secret because of its "aggressively foisting unwelcome sexual imagery upon the public via window displays, TV ads and catalogs." (Hmmm... does not seem very "unwelcome" to me. The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show is one of the most watched fashion shows, and I do not think that people are being forced to watch it.)

Boycott Walt Disney because it "allows homosexual celebrations in its theme parks, produces and airs such degraded television shows as 'Desperate Housewives' and 'Life As We Know It.' " (Are you kidding me? What about all the smut on television? You might as well ban tv all together! And I do not think that the children in the theme parks care if there is a homosexual celebration, just the close-minded adults!)

Boycott Abercrombie & Fitch because of their "long term trend toward using sexual imagery that cheapens human dignity." (Have they not noticed that everyone uses sexual overtones for advertising?)

I am not pro-pornography, but this is also not pornography, which is what it is being compared to on this website. It is absurd. There are a million other campaigns that use that same advertising techniques for their products and are being completely ignored. What about all the illicit perfume and cologne ads? Cigarette ads? Calvin Klein jeans? Why not just boycott the everything?

Americans are more prude than I remembered. In Italy there are ads that feature completely nude people and it does not bother anyone (of course, Italy is a bit extreme). I don't think these people are going to be able to do anything to protect the rest of society. I think they just need to work on not letting it bother them so much.


Realizations after being home for merely one day...

·Having a clothes dryer is such a luxury - the clothes are so soft and fresh when they come out!
·I have so many nice things here that I forgot about...
·Data's fur is so soft
·Riding in the car with Steven is a lot of fun
·Driving a car is a lot of fun
·Having my own sink in the bathroom is great
·Our pantry is so full of food!

Immediately upon my arrival I felt spoiled to have so many nice things here - a nice big, comfortable bed, a library full of books (in English!), my own walk-in closet, a cupboard full of clean dishes... I feel like this week back will be one of luxury because I have not had these things in so long! Being gone for the semester really makes me appreciate the things I have at home!

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