Sunday, December 20, 2009


Published by bethany at 8:24 AM

     i'm finally coming full circle and returning to my home in iowa.....we trying at least.
yesterday we left rome around 11:30am and we were supposed to have a 10 hour flight to philadelphia followed by a layover and quick flight to minneapolis afterward.
     oh its funny when you try to plan things. about half way through our flight to philadelphia they informed us that we would need to land in pittsburgh instead because there were bad storms in philly and the airport was closed. we were understanding at this point. at 3:40p local time we landed in pitsburg and we were informed that we were not cleared for customs at thepPittsburgh airport so we would need to fly to charlotte, NC. okay---we can make this work right?
no. before we could go to charlotte we needed to refuel, but while they refuled the planed got covered in ice, and thus needed to be "de-iced." after the plane was "thawed" we expected to fly out and figure out flights to MN from charlotte.
     OH no no no. evidently an issue arose with the start valve on the plane so the maintenance team was called out to work on the plane. (oh and we are just sitting in the gate on the plane this whole time).  by the time that the issue was fixed, FAA regulations came into play. the flight time allowed for pilots and flight crews to operate had conveniently expired RIGHT about the time the plane was finally ready to fly. so we thought we would  just get a new pilot and flight crew, but rather they announced that customs WAS cleared for us now, and we were going to be stuck in pittsburgh for the night.
the next few hours went as follows:
2 hours waiting for our bags
2 hours for customs and a long line for hotel vouchers
30 minutes booking new flights with a new airline
1 hour waiting for a hotel shuttle
10 minutes debating if we should sleep at the airport, or wait longer for the shuttle
> we decided to stay at the airport because it was already near 1:00a and we would have to head back to the airport in about 3 hours anyway.
4 hours of worthless, restless, cold "sleep"....

     we got up around 5am and got ready in the airport bathroom. thankfully our 7:30a flight from p-burg was on time and went smoothly. however, that brings me to where i am currently, which is stuck in milwaukee, WI waiting to get on my last flight home to too, is delayed. hopefully we will be boarding the plane soon. i just want to be with my family, and peter, and friends. i have slept roughly six hours in the last three days and i'm running only on anticipation to see all my loved ones. mamma mia!
okay. i should pack up my computer and pray that we get the plane soon so i can truly...finally... FLY AWAY HOME!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

the final countdown....

Published by bethany at 3:18 AM

only 6 days and 14 hours left in roma. wow.
i am very ready to go home, but i'm beginning to realize how many wonderful things i am going to miss. the final week includes finishing projects, purchasing final gifts, enjoying my favorite things.
there are a few things that i promised myself i would do before i left this week. a few weeks ago i vowed that i would have a caffe' macchiato every single day until i leave. a caffe' macchiato " simply means "marked" or "stained," and in the case of caffè macchiato, this means literally "espresso stained/marked with milk." my particular favorite place to sip one of these is at a cafe right outside my apartment called "noname." the cafe is owned by a husband and wife that are always very friendly and welcoming to us.  lucky for me, one macchiato is just 80 cents so i don't have to feel bad about giving myself this treat.
i will be visiting campo di fiori multiple time before i leave, and while i'm there i will grab my favorite piazza from forno di fiori which is a bakery that is always filled with romans because its terribly delicious.
i will be eating lots of gelato, pastrami sandwiches from bar del cappuccino, going to aperitivo a few more times, and of course eating lots of nutella.

so heres what i have been up to the last 2 weeks or so... schoolwork, homework, studio work, shopping, and doing final exploring. one exciting element of italy in december is the giant carnival that takes place in piazza navona. santa claus is a hard guy to find (which doesn't bother me a bit), but rather, its befana who is the protagonist of the christmas story. befana  is a housekeeper/witch in search of the Christ child. the full story can be read here:

last night a few of my roommates and i went to piazza navona to experience the carnival at night. we had a joyful time- we got treats and rode the carousel.

kind of out of order....but my roommates and i also took family photos yesterday in our courtyard. we were a slightly dysfunctional group to photograph...but here are a few of the best. we love each other and its been a great semester!

top picture: (left to right) joelle, betsy, laura, eek, ashley, allison, tina, katie, megan, me.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Published by bethany at 1:59 PM

main entry: hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia
part of speech: noun
definition: fear of long words
number of letters: 36

so all semester, and prior to my travels, i get a "word" of the day from however, that is unrelated. i discovered this word when i looked up the world hippopotamus, needless to say i was absolutely amazed by this jumble of letters. just interesting.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

best week ever...part one.

Published by bethany at 10:07 AM

     unfortunately there were parts of this week that would be better described as "the worst week ever,"  but overall it was wonderful. the less exciting parts of the last two weeks include a huge project due the day before thanksgiving, and a cumulative art history final on thanksgiving day. the excitement began november 20 when peter arrived to rome. i worked religiously on my schoolwork before he arrived, although it was hard to focus with so much anticipation. peter traveled with lauri, a friend of one of my good friends in studio, and they arrived late friday night. we went out to dinner, even though peter and lauri were pretty exhausted. the following morning we began our day with coffee and a tour through rome to see my favorite sites which include the following: campo di fiori, pizza place in campo di fiori, the pantheon, trevi fountain, and my favorite gelato place, palma della roma. oh yea, we went to the argentine ruins as well, but they don't qualify as a favorite. for dinner we went to my favorite aperitivo place called Freni e Frizioni.

      sunday a we lounged around rome and relaxed, later peter and i went to get groceries so that we could finally cook together again.
on monday i had to attend class and get some work done, but peter was able to go to see some other monuments while i was busy. later that afternoon we went to see mussolini's square colosseum, EUR. the building itself is so beautiful and idealistic, however, we were not able to get great photos because it is surrounded with gates. evidently they are renovating parts of it, so its blocked off completely. later we joined some friends and hung out to celebrate one of my roommates' birthday.

     tuesday was a wonderful day spent together. peter and i went to the vatican museums and inside st. peter's basilica. we also ventured up the 551 stairs to the cupola of the enormous dome. the sight of rome from this vantage point was phenomenal and definitely worth the five euro and major leg soreness. we spent the entire day at the vatican museums and we saw amazing works  such as, the laocoon, the raphel rooms, the sistine chapel, mummies, and the belvedere torso. we were pretty worn out after a day full of history, but we cooked a great meal afterward which is always relaxing.

     wednesday was the day that my huge project was due for studio class. i finished on time, because i had worked ahead prior, but i still had to go to studio for jury and later to study for art history. i spent most of the day at studio, but it was nice to have peter drop in once in a while to say hello.
     the following morning, after i had crammed all that i could cram, i pouted for a bit because it was thanksgiving day, and took my art history final. once that was out of the way, peter and i toured the inside of the colosseum. although i would normally be at home prepping food for thanksgiving, i reminded myself that it was pretty special that i could spend this thanksgiving at the colosseum with peter. with the help of my roommates, peter and i had a memorable thanksgiving dinner as well. we cooked a ton of food and we were all super full after the meal.

     friday was great because i didn't have school to worry about, and we visited several other monuments in rome. we went to piazza navona, villa borghese gardens, piazza del popolo, the roman forum, and vittorio emanuele.

thus ends part one of best week ever....the rest is to be continued.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

south of the river

Published by bethany at 3:00 PM

view from the living room
        we are officially inhabitants of trastevere which is south of the tiber river in rome. the weekend of halloween was quite a weekend-moving was a bit of a hassle. after 5 taxis, a midnight trek with blankets, and another midday stroll with boxes, lamps, and drying racks...we were finally done at the montecatini apartment. we looked pretty ridiuclous-i'm not sure what natives thought of a bunch of american girls walking around town with blankets, fans, dishes, and mirrors. on our midnight trek with blankets (because the new apartment had none) we were greeted by a few with facetious statements from italians such as "good night, buona notte." oh well.
       two weeks later we are pretty much settled into the apartment. unfortunately the move has not had all the "bells & whistles" that we thought it would. our showers don't drain, which results in constant flooding. we don't have an oven, we have no blankets, and until yesterday we had no heat. oh rome.
       this post was begun after the weekend that we moved (october 30) and since then we have had lots of issues with the new apartment and very few of them have been resolved. i do love the new apartment though. the area is nice, and i particularly love the apartment in the mornings when its really sunny. it has its quriks, but far less mold and grime- oh and a great sea-foam colored kitchen.

my sleeping quarters

view from my window


my bathroom & non-functioning shower

sea-foam kitchen

living room

Monday, November 9, 2009

"if you should go to venice..."

Published by bethany at 3:44 PM

north field trip

     early wednesday morning my five interior design roommates and i ventured to termini train station once again. (this time we took a bus rather than making the 45 minute walk). we arrived in milan around lunchtime so we grabbed some grub and then walked through the city. our next interior design project is to design a store window, so we walked and window shopped at all the stores that we will never be able to afford. (which is okay with me anyway).  later we visited the "triennale di milano" which is a huge exhibit of the most fabulous industrial italian design from Fiat's car the Panda to Alessi's espresso makers. oh, we also saw the duomo in milan which is the third largest cathedral in the world.

the duomo in milano

inside the teatro alla scala (nose-bleed view)

     wednesday night we went to the historic teatro alla scala to see the ballet "giselle." the theater was a great experience. we were in the nose-bleed section, but that was good since we were extremely under-dressed for the ballet.
     on thursday we visited the personal studio of Achille Castiglioni. He is one of Italy's  most legendary industrial designers and my current idol. Achille and his brother Pier-Giacomo designed together in their studio in Milan for the entirety of their careers. Now, Achille's daughter runs the studio and offers tours and insights on the great history within the studio walls.

gondolas in venice

     late thursday night we took a train from milan to venice thus, we arrived in the sinking city in the dark so we didn't get to see much at night. from the moment i woke up and saw the flowing water streets i couldn't stop singing the song my mom used to sing to me as a child.
"if you should go to venice, you'll find a magic town. the streets are flowing rivers and the boats go up and down..."
the next morning we visited a few major tourist areas such as the piazza san marco and doge's palace.  we also went to a large art exhibit at the arsenale which is part one of venice's "bienale". it was very interesting, but very cold since the entire museum is basically outside. we also took a boat to the nearby island of murano which is known as the the prime location for glass blowing. we went to the school of glass, Abate Zanetti where we saw amazing glass blowing demonstrations by a master glass blower. later, we had a delicious four course meal with amazing seafood such as octopus, squid, angel fish, and shrimp. desert was a bite fo cheesecake and chocolate mousse with cayenne pepper. delicious.

apetizer of octopus, squid, scallops, and shrimp. yum!

another gondola

saint mark's basilica

campanile di san marco

     on saturday we went to  the second part of the Biennale called "giardini" which is a space where there are multiple pavilions designated for different countries. inside each pavilion are art installations specifically commissioned for the Biennale. The weather was beautiful on saturday & the rest of the day we explored the city, saw leonardo da vinci's vitruvian man at the Academia museum. Our classmates departed from venice in the early afternoon, but my friend tina and i stayed an extra night to see a little more of the magical city. we stayed in a fun, character-filled hostel where we met lots of other students and twenty-somethings who were traveling italy. we had a great time conversing with people from all over such as poland, australia, london, vancouver, and michigan. rather than spending ours on a train tina and i decided to fly back to rome. unfortunately we were greeted by freezing rain when we got to rome, a great start to a busy week. i'm glad to be back in roma, and i'm looking forward to my upcoming events- a cooking class next week and peter's arrival the following weekend!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

out with at bang.....?

Published by bethany at 3:28 AM

it was a sunday afternoon, prime time to do homework, and i was settled in my usual position at the end of the living room table when suddenly my chair collapsed and put me on the ground. in the picture above i hadn't moved an inch.
with the news of another montecatini malfunction i also bring news that we are moving out! at first we were hesitant when offered a new apartment, but after visiting the new location and dealing with the continuous decline of our current apartment we decided to go ahead and accept the offer. it was just last week that the housing office informed us that they had just finished refurbishing a new apartment building in trestevere. they were also interested in dropping the contract with the landlord who owns our apartment and another apartment where isu students are living. there are 16 students in all that will be moving tomorrow afternoon to our new apartment santa maria in cappella. the area is very safe and its occupied by more locals than tourists which will be a nice break for us since all we see are tourists near the pantheon. we will have a porter at the new apartment so i will be able to receive mail there, when i know the address i will let everyone know.