Friday, November 13

Mom & Dad's Adventure In Italy

It was a bittersweet Thursday morning, a day that was so exciting for me, yet so sad for the Rome ISU program.  Exciting because mom and dad were about to arrive, sad because just the day before we were informed that one of our art history professors had decided to take his own life.  I was on an emotional roller coaster as I stood in the pouring rain outside Maison Guilia Hotel watching taxis drive by waiting for the one with mom and dad inside.  Then I saw dad's big hand waving at me and all my sadness went away and I became filled with smiles!  I knew that it was going to be a great week and one that I had been looking forward to since August!

We started out the day with a quick, very Italian lunch at one of my favorite little pizza joints.  After that, I had to head to class for the afternoon, so I handed mom and dad a map that I had color-coded and set them out on their own.  I think that they headed to the hotel for a quick nap and then walked around the area near their hotel called Campo Di Fiori.  I met them later that night for dinner in the same area, and then we headed back to the hotel because they were exhausted from traveling.  I made them go to bed early because I had planned a busy 5 days for them and at that point, I'm not sure they quite knew what they were in for!

Friday morning I had to go to class until noon, so I showed mom on the map how to get to the Pantheon and how to get to my school and set them out again.  I know they loved the Pantheon, but I wish that I could have been there with them to see their reactions!  Pretty sure that was first in line for the audio tour, and know for sure that dad skipped out on that adventure.  I had them meet me at my school after class so they could have a tour of our studio and see how we do things over here in the ancient city. After that, it was off to visit my apartment.  Mom had brought me a huge suitcase full of American goodies, including Oreos, brownies, tortilla chips, and homemade hot cocoa (which is now an apartment favorite late at night!), so we grabbed that and headed for the public tram.  It was their first ride on the tram, a tram that is so wonderful for getting us around Rome, yet so awful because of how it's so crowded and smelly and dirty!  Lucky for them, it was very empty and we even got a seat, which is a very rare occasion.  After a quick tour of my place, we headed out on a quest to see a couple hot spots that are popular at night.  I took them on a long walk that went by the Vanician Palace, down the big shopping streets, to the Spanish steps, and the to Trevi Fountain.  Of course we had to stop for dinner and shopping along the way, but we did that everywhere that we went!  Mom make the walk all the way up the spanish steps and back down, resulting in tired and sore legs, but that's just a minor detail... and I'm pretty sure that they were blown away at the sight of the Trevi fountain.  It is by far one of my favorite places here in Rome; it always amazes me every time I see it!

Saturday rolled around and we set out for a full day of sight-seeing that included a walk through the Jewish Ghetto to the ancient gates of the city called Port O'ctavio.  We then wondered by the Theater of Marceles, the first theater in Rome, and one that was made in honor of Emperor Cesar Augustus' nephew.  We then climbed the steps to the top of Capitaline Hill, designed by Michelangelo.  After that we climbed the to the top of the Vanician Palace to overlook the city center of Rome, Trajan's collumn and markets, and the Roman Forum.  At that point, dad was starving, so we stopped to rest our feet and grab a quick lunch.  We started the afternoon in the Roman Forum, walking through the very first street ever built in Rome, seeing the remains of Julius Ceaser's Palace, the arch of Constantine, etc.  Then we headed up the Palatine Hill and say the very first buildings ever built in Rome, as well as the huge palace where Augustus once lived.  A quick peek at the Circus Maximus, which was the first sporting area ever built seating over 360,000 people, and we headed to the Coloseum.  Mom had been loving everything all day, but I know that she had been waiting for the Coloseum for the past 4 years!  Completely amazed and blown away she stood on the upper level overlooking and absorbing everything inside.  It was so much fun to be able to take them to all these sights and tell them what I've learned.  We finished our walk down by the river with a quick stop on Tiber Island for gelato.  It was back to the hotel for a quick rest and then we met a few of my roommates for dinner in Campo Di' Fiori.  We ate at a very popular restaurant called La Cabanara and had so much fun!  We then went for another round of gelato with all the girls to end the night with dessert.  Another successful day in Rome!

Sunday and Monday we spent traveling to the Tuscan region in Italy.  We rode the train Sunday morning to Florence, home of the Italian leather!  I was excited to go shopping there and get lots of quality goodies!  We walked through all the little streets looking for the markets, but most of them were closed because it was Sunday.  After seeing the outside of the Acedamia, statues of David, and a ceremony with drummers and dancers, we wondered down to the river flowing through Florence.  It was very beautiful, but better yet, it lead us to a great little leather store.  We met one of the best salesmen I've ever seen named Fabio.  He was hilarious and after a long time eventually got dad to buy a couple things, including a fabulous new leather coat.  It was a great place, in fact after lunch, dad went back there and sat in the comfy chairs and talked to Fabio while mom and I shopped all around.  It took me a long time to find just what I wanted for a purse, but eventually I did and I love it!  Strange enough, we wondered upon another location of the same store that Fabio worked at.  We ended up finding a couple good deals there including purses for both mom and I, and an awesome new weekender bag that I absolutely love!  I love it so much that I don't want to use it, but rather just look at it!  I can't wait to be 50 and come back to Italy with my weekender bag and think of how I got it when I was so young and all!

That night we took another train over to Siena to spend the night and see that town on Monday.  When we got there that night, we were recommended by our hotel lady to go to a quaint little joint just a short walk away.  It was delicious!  Probably the best meal I've had since being in Italy!  Off to bed we went and up again we were for another full day of shopping and exploring.  I really enjoyed Siena, even more then Florence.  It was so quaint, clean, quiet, and relaxing.  It was so much fun just to wonder the little streets and stop in all the shops for little goodies.  I found my dream pair of black leather boots at a little store there and love them so much!  I wear them all the time now... so excited about them!  Mom also found a nice pair of brown leather boots there too... she's going to be so sassy and hip now!  It's a good thing that we were the same shoe size so that I can steal hers every now and then!  We also wondered to the Duomo that afternoon, a beautiful church that was gigantic!  It was decorated with the coolest black and white marble stripes, and housed tons of very famous paintings.  It was one of the best churches that I've been too and I've been to one heck of a lot of churches throughout Italy!  That night we headed back to Rome, exhausted from our two big days of traveling!

Monday was our last day together before they had to go home, so what better thing to do then visit the Vatican City and it's Museums!  But before that, I took mom and dad to my favorite little cafe called Bar Del Cappuccino for lunch.  They make the best sandwiches to order, and they loved it!  It was only a short walk to the Vatican City from our hotel, but little did I know it was another mile to the Museums!  We just kept following the signs that took us way outside the city ways and around a few corners that ended up being an extra hour worth of walking.  A little more then we expected, so everyone was a little cranky about that!  But those feelings quickly left when we entered the huge museum and were taken back by all the incredible paintings, sculptures, busts, and tapestries.  It was insane how many building were consumed by the museums, and how each room you went into had a new design that occupied everything from floor to ceiling!  So beautiful and breathtaking... the sites are indescribable!  Later that day, we were going to go to St. Peter's but the lines were huge, so we decided to wait and do that when mom comes back at Thanksgiving.  We shopped through a little outside market filled with scarves and jewelry instead and stopped for yet another round of gelato.  We then grabbed a taxi back to the hotel, jumped on the tram down to my apartment, and went for dinner at a pizzeria right around the corner.  By this point we were so exhausted from the week and ready for bed earlier, especially since the alarm was going to go off at 4:00am the next morning!

Our 5:00am goodbye left me with a bittersweet feeling, just like I had when they got to town.  Sad that they were leaving and our week of family fun was over, but excited because I'm one of the only students here who is lucky enough to have two sets of visitors this semester!  I'm so excited for another week-long adventure!  But before that, let's wrap up with a few of my favorite things that happened while mom and dad were in Rome...

  • Eating gelato at least once a day, sometimes twice
  • Having a glass of wine with every dinner, even though they don't like it
  • Dad's quote one night while he was half asleep, "Tomorrow I'm going to have to put ice on you two's throats from all the swelling.  you two talk waaaayyyy to much!"
  • Mom having a little trouble while walking and turning around to see dad picking her up off the sidewalk... it was a good thing that she had just finished her gelato!
  • Dad thinking that it looked nice outside the window, so he wore shorts and froze to death walking around
  • Dad and Fabio becoming good friends in Florence at the leather store
  • Mom and I stuffing sweet waffles down our throats real quick before we picked dad up at the leather store so he wouldn't know that we had a treat without him
  • Dad tripping and breaking the bed a the hotel, resulting in me sleeping on the floor
  • Dad trying to get mom to makeout with him at the trams stop, just like all the Italians do
  • Mom giving me a big while in the Colosseum and being so happy to be there

Monday, November 9

Long Over Due Updates

So, it's been a crazy few weeks and I haven't had time to do much besides school and travel!  I guess that's what I'm supposed to be doing here, but I've sadly neglected my blog.  So here's 3 weeks worth of updates!  We'll start with school in this post...  It's been pushing us to our limits every second of everyday!  I'm a little overloaded and overwhelmed with all that STILL has to be accomplished in the next 39 days!  Yes, that's right, I'll be home in 39 days, which actually means that my projects have to be completed in 36 days for our exhibition and let's take out the 7 days that Jason, Leslie, and Mom will be here, so now I'm down to 29!  Ahhhhh!  No worries though, I love working under pressure and pulling all-nighters with the roomies, especially when we have 4:30am Michael Jackson dance parties!  We have decided that cappuccino-fest has begun and that the little coffee shop below our apartment is going to love us this next month when we triple their business!

Here's a look at my type project that I finished the day after mom and dad left... it was for sure an all-nighter, completed to perfection at 6:30am :)  I showed a couple different pictures of it before in the process, the ones that were black and white type and shapes.  It looks a little different now, but still has the same elements within it.  It has a long story behind the projects and each element has a certain meaning.  There are four different poster plates, each having a specific list of requirements.  All in all, to put is simply, the whole project tells the story of when I got to Rome and how it has made me feel so far.  I can explain more later, but here's a peak at it!

For another class, our main studio, we are working on a project all semester long that is the branding and corporate identity of a location here in Rome, which is called Isola Tiberina.  I know that I've mentioned things about it before, but  here's a glance at finished logo mark and signature.  It took a cursive "i" and a "t" and combined them with a wave like splash to create one quarter of this mark.  I then twisted the letters around, moved and smoothed parts of the form until it became just what I wanted.  I then repeated the image and rotated them to create the four piece logo.  I wanted my final form to be an organic cross to represent both the hospital and church that are located on the island, as well as have the feeling or presence of a snake, which is what the history of the island is based on.  It doesn't seem like it should have taken lots and lots trials, hours and a couple all-nighters, but I got just how I love it!  I'm currently working on the website, stationary, maps, and wayfinding for the location as well.  Plus there is a whole bunch of other things still to be completed for this project too!  But we'll get there... someday!

For another class, I'm working on a packaging project that is called Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.  We are to create a packaging that after it is bought and used up, it can transform to have a new use and purpose.  I decided to do a packaging system for hair styling tools, such as curling irons and straighteners.  It will transform into a package that is heat protector for the storage of the styler, as well as a travel kit for hair supplies, and a wall-mounted storage container.  It is a little hard to explain without showing pictures, but just think of it as a container that will store all your hair products and protect all your surfaces from becoming burnt.  For the identity of this project, I decided that the brand name will be  "Dangerous Damsel" and with that, I want to create a personality or personal identity for each type of styler.  An example may be a skinny 1/2" curling iron with the name "Sultry Scarlet."  I want it to be fun, sassy, and appealing to girls around my age.  We'll see how it actually turns out...

Those are just a few highlights of main project that I have going right now.  Of course there are a million other things going that I'd love to tell you about, but I think that maybe I should actually get some work done on them now instead.  Can't wait to tell you more about what happened in these last few weeks, so look for more a little later!  Love to all from far away!