Going Global

Take a trip around the world and experience new languages, cultures, and traditions as detailed by Buffalo State’s Study Abroad bloggers. Visit the cathedrals of Siena and other breathtaking destinations with the click of a mouse. No passport required!

It’s time. ::

May 03, 2007

I haven’t blogged since March 21st… If I ever get to the events that have happened between then and now, it will be a miracle.

To future bloggers: BRING YOUR LAPTOPS! I think Jeanette mentioned this as well. At least you can type up an entry at home at night and then load it when you arrive at school. It’s too time consuming and stressful to sit down at the one of two computers we have at school to type out an entry. LaptopsLaptopsLaptops!

A lot has happened since March 21st. Spring break (huge trip to Greece - unbelievable), friendships strengthened, relationships with families and professors became stronger, and our group became one big family. The past two weeks have been wonderful and franticl: we had our last over-night trip to Napoli, a trip to Firenze, lots of going out with friends, studying when necessary, taking exams, packing and shipping stuff home.

This past weekend the fam (our group) made an enormous - abnoxiously large - poster for Daniela and Barbara. Every semester the groups make a photo poster for Daniela and Barbara so they’re remembered. We took that into account, pondered, and also considered Daniela’s questions over and over of: “You don’t want to be forgotten, do you!?” Well, we didn’t, and our final response was huge. We found a large refrigerator sized box, cut a large heart shape out of it, added a banner and completely covered it with fantastic funny lovey dovey photos of our group. It looks incredible and the profs got a huge kick out of it. Our love for them is endless!!

Two nights ago we had our “Farewell” BBQ at Daniela’s home - which I believe we’ve now dubbed “See you later!” BBQ. I don’t say good-bye because I’m positive in the fact that I’ll see you again or at least keep in touch. Our BBQ was a blast… Jenna and I made sure wine didn’t go to waste, we played tunnel tag, human knot, and danced like crazy on the back patio. I even played a riveting game of bocce! Thank you Daniela for having a real bocce court. What a riot! Lots of chatter with friends and professors, lots of delicious food, laughing… it was a wonderful evening.

It’s time now. It’s time to say see you later, see you in Buffalo, see you in Goucher, see you in Baltimore, New Paltz, see you in NYC, see you in Italy. Say see you later… it’s good that way. Fortunately I have another month of travel, visiting with Dad in Europe, and then one last “hoorah!” in Siena as Heather and I are stopping in for a couple of days at the end of May. In that event, I am looking forward to seeing Barbara, Daniela, and Lina on last time before the final “see you later.” However i’ve been carrying a heavy feeling in my chest all day. I’m parting from the friendships I’ve had for 3 months, poeple i’ve seen day in and day out, traveled with, laughed with, cried with, partied with…studied with(?)… been attached at the hip with. Now we’re going our separate ways until it’s time for us to meet again. I’m sad to leave them and I’m sad to leave my profs. As Jeanette and I discussed today at “Mensa”, these wonderful people who run the Siena Program are genuine and unique. They are individuals and I’ll never find another person like any of them. They’re going to be across the Atlantic, and damnit, that’s just too far from me! Barbara is someone I look up to in so many ways… she has the energy and the personality that I enjoy being around. We can play and learn. Jeanettie and I love playing and learning with Barbara… we’re all kids. Daniela and I were basically like counterparts in class… she’d crack a joke on me, I’d take it and try my best to top her. Rarely did I succeed, but I loved it. I swear, no one else could do the job they do. To us they’re profs, they are friends, they’re even parental figures… I trust them completely and will miss them. Franca, Franca, Franca is an entirely other story. All I can say is that her and Barbara will be included in my Solo Show next semester. Franca is truly inspirational - one of the most passionate people I’ve ever met. On to my weakness: Lina. It’s time to say see you later to Lina. She reintroduced “family” into my life. She’s my gram. I love Lina.

I want one last cioccolate caldo and a wander in the Cathedral. Heather and I eat dinner with Lina one last time tonight and tomorrow morning we leave for Milano.

What a time.

It’s foolish not to study abroad in Siena.

The SUNY Siena Program 50th year anniversary is in 2011. I am so there!

Bittersweetness, onto a new chapter of my life ::

So I have some advice for the following bloggers… BRING YOUR LAPTOP!!
This wonderful program only supplies two computers and after spring break, when finals are prowling in front of you, everyone needs the computer to write papers, make study sheets, research, etc.. and you’ll never have time to blog. It’s a fact, be prepared.

Allora, The end has arrived very quickly. It seems like yesterday I was just meeting this strange group of 21 people and getting acquainted with an Italian family that now I am dreading to be separated from. It’s ironic that I’ve become closer with these people that I’ve spent a short 3 and a half months with than I am with some that I grew up with and spent years seeing on a daily basis. We’ve made incredible, unforgettable, irreplaceable memories together in a magical, mystical, medieval city. We’ve trampled all over Italy throwing this new Italian language around hoping that we make sense to the well versed natives. There’s nothing bashful about the Spring 2007 SUNY Siena group, I can tell you that!
As much as all of us have been counting the days remaining, I don’t think any of us ever thought it would come. My experience here has been surreal. : Fun, Harmony, Laughter, Learning, Friendship, Companionship, Compassion…
Good Food ALWAYS, good conversation, always someone who is interested to get to know you better, people that love you for who you are, they embrace your every move, are always ready to support you, always want to hang out with you, BECAUSE… life is short and we only had three and a half months together. We knew that, but it felt like it would and should last forever. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? It was.
Our last minute trips included a weekend in Naples, which we also visited Pompeii and Sorrento, Florence, and Follonica, the beach. Barbara changed my whole point of view on Naples. My first visit was during Spring Break and it was aweful. It felt dirty and dangerous and it smelled really bad and the people were not very nice at all. Once tourist season started it got better, I suppose, or Barbara simply knew the best places to take us, which is more likely. haha We conquered Florence in one long, exhausting day, and we have spent the last two weeks studying, taking exams and packing.
Just a little info about spring break: I had an absolutely exhuberent time. I decided to stay in Italy and use the Italian I had learned. Most of the others decided to travel to other countries and they had a wonderful time as well. I chose a couple places in Italy and now I can confidently say that I have eliminated one country from my to do list. I’ll be back, though. : ) The best advice I can give, however, is to chose 1, 2, or at the most 3 places to see and really enjoy them. Don’t spend half the break in some form of transportation.
Anyway, it’s been very enjoyable writing to all of you about my travels and has really halped me keep up my English. haha Encourage every youngster you know to travel abroad, it will be the best thing they could do for their own personal growth and experience!
Think of my group tonight…we’re all sleeping in the Rome airport!! HAHA one last night to end the trip…

PACE, AMORE, ARRIVADERCI

- Jeanette

Bologna, Rimini, and Eight Lovely Ladies ::

March 21, 2007

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Bologna? Bologne, food, Italy, etc…
Well there’s also a selection of churches, museums and yes more leaning towers. I saw an incredible statue carved by Michealangelo and Nicola Pisano in the church of San Domenico. It was a magnificent piece of artistry. Very powerful and then I walked around it to the back and there was the bones of St. Domenico inside a reliquery. Wam Bam thank you M’am! It was pretty much awesome.
Then we went to the Santa Maria dei Servi in which is contained the Madonna and Child painted over 800 years ago by Cimabue. Imagine how much it has been destructed and how many people have seen prayed, cried, shouted, kissed, blessed, etc, in front of that painting over 800 years. It adds a lot of meaning to things when you think like that. I’ve learned to think like that when visting church after church after church.. it can get old, but each is special in it’s own way and impacted a selection of people lives and gave meaning to someone somewhere. It’s really interesting and you don’t have to be religious to understand that.
To answer your question, OF COURSE I climbed up one of the leaning towers. 500 steps up there baby. That means I climbed 1,000 steps altogether. The view that high is always delicious and I never want to leave.
I had the best gelato since I’ve been here. SO, go to Bologna if you want the best gelato.
Then we took a train to Rimini, a town on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. We stayed in Hostel Jammin’. It was very affordable: 18 euro/night for a four person room with private bathroom, fresh sheets, and breakfast in the morning.
The first night we got there very late becasue we got lost after getting off the train. We got lost for an hour and a half. haha We ate at a nice restaurant called The Bounty. The service was excellent, the environment comfortable, the food delicious, the beer cold, and the music acceptable. What more could you ask for?
The next day we spent at the beach. The sun was bright, it was a gorgeous day and I was ready to strip down to my bathing suit and take the beach by storm. So that’s exactly what I did. I took in some sun and jumped in and out of the water. It was a little chilly, but you know how that goes. It’s just cold in the beginning and then you get used to it. We were out there all day and then went back to the hostel and took a nap and then came back out for dinner and to celebrate St. Patty’s Day the American way.
The Bounty was pleased to receive us for a second time that weekend. This night we ate better. I had the best tortellini that has ever graced my palate. AMAZING, I can’t stop thinking about it. It was stuffed with cheese and assorted seafood and tossed in a creamy cheese seafood vegetable sauce. Oh! out of this world. We laughed and laughed and laughed and then danced and danced and danced. The next morning we woke up and were sufficiently worn out from the weekend and made our way back home by lunchtime.
Wonderful…..

Assisi ::

First stop!!!!! The Basilica of St. Francis: built 1228, two years after the death of St. Francis. I’m sure you can deduce that it was built in his memory. This basilica comemorated his life dedicated to the simple life, in his belief, closer to God. St. Francis started life with his wealthy family and then renounced all his material possessions. He started the Franciscan Friar movement, if you will, and his tomb is kept in the crypt below the lower church.
The Basilica is composed of an upper and a lower Chapel in which many famous artists were commissioned to contribute including, Giotto, Simone Martini, Peter Lorenzetti, and Cimabue. Giotto’s fame in the Basilica is The Cycle of the Life of St. Francis which can be viewed in a series of panels in the upper church. The other artists have tramcets devoted to their work in the lower church.
The lower church gave the idea of protection when I walked in. It was painted mostly in a deep blue with huge dramatic arched ceilings. this was the only place that we have been to in which the Silence Law was striclty enforeced. It really makes a difference in the experience. Silence makes the impact a greater magnitude, possibly because your imagination can take you back a few hundred years faster in silence than not. The Upper Church was much brighter, painted in shades of white and adorned with Giotto’s work. Jesus felt like more of a friend in this church rather than a judge. I really enjoyed the visit here.

Second Stop!!!! The Basilica of St. Claire: St. Claire was the closest friend to St. Francis and started a nunnery. They are built near each other in Assisi and St. Claire’s is built in beautiful pink marble with several buttresses cascading down from the left side. It’s a beautiful story as I’m sure you can imagine. Best friends renouncing their material possessions for a life devoted to nature and God, gaining followers along their journey, dying and being honored by these enormous and beautiful Basilicas and their way of life maintained and their message passed on for hundreds and hundreds of years. Ain’t bad if you ask me.

Third Stop!!!! San Damiano: This was the Church the St. Francis frequented in Assisi. The walk to here was all downhill, which made the walk back really challenging, but onward… I was taken away on the wind, through the trees. It was gorgeous. I didn’t go inside the Church because I felt that St. Francis owuld have stayed outside. Weird, I know, but it was a sensation that came over me and I followed. I walked down a path in the park around the church and admired the statues of St. Francis; I found a solitary place in the woods where the sun shown down and sat and relaxed in silence. It was really nice. Empowering. Nature is baffling, miraculous if you look closer. I can’t say much about this experience because it was truly, very personal.

The important thing is that Assisi was beautiful and is a great day trip to embark upon.

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