Thursday, July 29, 2010

Snippets

Yesterday, I was having a heart to heart with Phineas because he had said (while laughing and joking, "You're stupid! That's funny..." Let me say in his defense that he has been starting to say this word when he's angry, but in this instance he really thought he was just joking around. So, I explained to him that when he's angry and he says that something is stupid, I don't like it very much. However, calling someONE stupid is NOT okay - ever. We talked for a few moments about how it hurts people's feelings and it's a MEAN word that way. I told him, "You're a nice boy, not a mean one... so you want to use nice words, right?" He agreed and said he was sorry - very cute. However, THEN this was said... to which I almost died laughing, but contained myself:

"It would be cool if God said that stupid was an okay word..." - Finn
(Repressing laughter) "Yep, Finn... but I think God would want you to use other words."
"Yea. But, it's okay because he let's us draw whatever we want. We can, we can draw fire..."

Um... I live Phineas. I love him to the moon, to Jupiter, around the milky way, and back. That's a lot. Each time we say we love each other it's always some crazy distance or amount, and both boys think this is quite funny. Sometimes, I switch it up and say to him or Nico, "I love you more than one million M&Ms on a chocolate cake!," but we seem to mostly talk in distances.

This morning on the way to school, these lovely little remarks were made as Finni rode his bike next to me on the way to school.

"It was raining and then it just stopped... That's funny." Then, he proceeded to giggles tremendously and ride faster. It was ridiculously cute.

I asked him a few moments later:

"Finn, what do you want to be when you grow up."
"I want a bigger bike."
"Ok, but what do you want to BE, not have, but BE?"
"I want to be someone who has a different shirt."

The simple minds are the best sometimes. If that's what he wants to aspire to, why, he'll have reached his goal in the next six months or so. Perhaps I should lower my ambitions.

Unlucky for me, the rain that had ceased as we rode to the Kinderhaus started right back up again after the boys were in the door. I said a silent thank you prayer though, because riding with the boys when it was raining hard would have caused whining, tears, and very wet clothes for their day. I had the latter upon my return to the house. I was SOPPING wet, but luckily had decided to stay in my PJs until I worked out and was coming home to do just that. Thus, I just slipped em' off and headed up stairs to find some dry workout clothes. Done and done.

One last note. I have been reading in Alma with the boys in the morning before school, and we just finished reading about the Anti-Nephi-Lehis burying their weapons although the Lamanites were coming against them. So, I quiz them a bit after I read to them to see what they got from the story and we talk about it on the way to school. Well, tonight after dinner they were playing with their wooden swords and I asked the boys to tell their Dad what we'd been reading about. They knew the names and such, but later as they were getting ready for bed upstairs, I heard Dad say, "Boys, enough. It's time for bed. Put the swords away." Nico said seriously to Finni, "Finn, let's bury our weapons of war. Let's not fight any more."

It made me smile... :)
*muah*

Song of the Day: Luise pointed me in the direction of this song and I cna't believe I had never heard it! It's Craig David and Sting - and AWESOME! Here's Rise and Fall. Enjoy!!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Current YouTube Obsessions

First, I just have to say that I adore when Finni busts out singing Lenny Kravitz's songs... It's a few times a week occurance, and one of the cutest things I haev ever seen.

"I don't wanna be a star! Sitting in an air guitar!"

Okay - those aren't the right words exactly, but he's four. Give him a break.

Okay - this entry is present for no real purpose besides recording some of my current favorite YouTube videos... In a few months, these links could cease to exist for one reason or another, so enjoy them while you can.

Shout out to Steffi for teaching me how to make the videos fit right on my blog - THANK YOU!!!

First - The Funniest Kid Alive (That's the title, but he is pretty hilarious):


Second - Jessica's "Daily Affirmation" (LOVE this! There's a follow-up video of her now, she's thirteen, and she is QUITE a smart girl):


Third - Always (A Disney Tribute)... I was reliving the Atlantic Starr music days of my youth and loving on some Disney classics... I miss Disneyland. What more can I say? If you're gonna skip watching one - skip this one. This is more for me to record where to find it - haha!:


Sidenote: I love "Kiss the Frog!" It's the newer Disney video and I adore it - totally cute and of course, has a great message. Plus, the prince in this one is one good-looking cartoon character! Haha... no, but seriously.

Fourth - Sara Bareilles, "Gravity" (I found this music video right after it came out like two years ago and have loved it ever since -it's ingenious. The lyrics and video together... so creative. However, it has recently become an obsession again... Seriously, this is REALLY cool to watch.):


Fifth, Last, and Most Important - Our True Identity, by Dieter F. Uchtdorf (He's just my favorite, and my love for him has even increased since I've lived here in Germany. This is a BEAUTIFUL message, and I am SO thankful for the reminder to remember how amazing we our in the sight of the one that matters - our Heavenly Father.):


*muah*

Song of the Day: Yep, I am still gonna have a song of the day! Um, remember Will Smith? Yea... and now think if his ADORABLE son, Jaden. Remember him? So, he teamed up with Justin Bieber, who I currently am loving (fun, up-beat jams, appropriate for the boys - perfect.), on a song for the new Karate Kid movie - which was not a priority for me to see, but one day I am sure I will. Anyway, here is Jaden Smith and Justin Bieber's song Never Say Never. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

It Could Always Be Worse...

If you're thinking about how bad your day has been, how stressful your life is, and all the negativity around you...It could always be worse.

This is not my bike. It is also NOT the bike of anyone I know. However, it belongs to someone out there... and now someone new owns the tires. To think the rider thought a bike lock was enough - silly man... or woman... silly individual.

Just so everyone knows, when this picture was taken (two weeks ago) I was pushing a full-sized grill down the street from the U-Bahn in 98Degree weather that we had decided to take to Nico's graduation for the cook-out. I was thinking two things at that time... One: I can do this. Two: This sucks. Then, I saw this bike and started busting up laughing. I put my stuff down and pulled out my camera for a shot, and then I thought of the rider...

It could always be worse.
*muah*

Song of the Day: The OTHER song I am currently obsessed with is the beloved David Archuleta's new single from his upcoming album, The Other Side of Down, set to release in September. Here's David Archuleta's song, Something 'Bout Love. ENJOY!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dance Party!!!

I am thankful for dance parties. I love dancing... breakin' it down to a new jam = sweet perfection. Now, add two adorable children to the mix and it gets even better!

Since I have been in Germany, I have taken to pick out new songs for the boys to listen to that I think they will love and enjoy. I'm 7-0 now.... That's 7 wins and 0 loses, in case you weren't sure. You can take the girl outta the sports, but not the sport outta the girl... or something like that.

Anyway, let me begin by listing to the glorious songs I have helped my "children" for the year become obsessed with...

1 - Fireflies: Owl City - GREAT song! It's catchy, but chill... and it's got fun lyrics for kids to giggle at and try and determine what the singer is actually singing about. It's a good one, and it's Nico's fave.
2 - We Like To Party: Vengaboys - I did EFY for three summers... what do you expect? I wasn't going to come all the way to Germany and NOT teach these future youth the PB&J dance... No, I wasn't goin' out like that.
3 - Hoedown Throwdown: Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana - The girl with the dual personality wins again. I couldn't resist - the song is PERFECT for kids, SO fun to dance to and sing-along with, and it's clean. LOVE it. Finni loves to sing the echos in "Do the Hoedown... THROWDOWN!" Haha...
4 - Break Your Heart: Taio Cruz - Haha! Okay, perhaps I was pushing some boundaries here, but it's a legit song. Plus, it is TOO cute when Finni starts singing, "I'm only gonna break-break your, break-break your heart!" Is that bad? Nope... don't think so.
5 - Oh, Africa: Akon & Keri Hilson - This one was PERFECT in gearing up for the World Cup, and SUCH a fun song about reaching for your dreams. Nico is also the biggest fan of the harmonies in this one.
6 - Popular - Kristin Chenowith (Wicked Soundtrack) - Yep. The boys are loving on musicals... and I am LOVING on that! Haha... It really is mostly Nico here too. He is SO great with music and picking out harmonies and melodies, and catching lyrics quickly... It's awesome! I also got them addicted to Your A Good Man Charlie Brown when I first got here, but that's faded since about March. They would sing along to Beethoven Day and Suppertime in a heartbeat though - so cute! My future actors!
7 - Most recently..... Love Today: Mika - Chuck, if you ever read my blog, this is thanks to you! Haha... I thought of you dancing around to it the other day and thought it would be PERFECT for the boys to jam to. I was right! They LOVE it! Nico was asking for it all day and even told his mom she HAD to hear the new cool song. It's from a few years back, but still OH, so good! Haha!

Tonight I decided to put on Love Today, after Nico insisted Koko hear it, and we ended up having a MASSIVE dance party between the boys, Koko, me, and Luise for about a half an hour. I got a double work-out in today, that's all I'm sayin'. Haha! This actually happens often with me nad the boys - and I adore it. Music and dancing with my two little loves - it doesn't get better than this right now in my life. Nope - my life is pretty good.

The next song I plan to get them addicted to shall be my "song of the day" - there are two I am vying for, but this is the one I'll start with....
*muah*

Song of the Day: Somebody To Love - Justin Beiber. Don't be a hater - and don't knock it till you try it. I am in LOVE with this one right now!!! I will ask what I asked via facebook... I'm 24 years-old and can't stop lovin' on Justin Beiber's jams... Is that wrong? No. No, it's not. Oh, and the dancing in this video - classic. Enjoy!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Spice It Up!

I couldn't resist... Here are two very short commercials. Take 2 minutes out of your life to watch both (yes, both can be viewed in under two minutes), and compare them. It will make your life a little brighter... whether you're a BYU Alum/Student or not.


OLD SPICE


NEW SPICE

Um... LOVE this. I have always loved Old Spice... friends will tell you I stop in Walmart to smell the goodness. Back to the commercials - BOTH commercials were covered by CBS - double awesome for BYU students and Stephen Jones - the boy I don't know, but should.
*muah*

P.S. This guy is a comedian with BYU's Humor U and is QUITE hilarious... and it's hard to impress me with comedy sometimes. I easily laugh, but that doesn't mean I'm easily imressed with stand-up comedy - I'm not. So, instead of a Song of the Day, I'm going to post one of his videos. I better marry someone funny someday... Enjoy! Haha...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Completly Obscured of one Celestial Body by Another

Friday night I had the chance to FINALLY go and see the new Twilight: Eclipse movie, and I was BEYOND excited about it. Judge all you want, but I just can't help but love those books and movies. Haha! They're really NOT well-written, I have admitted this before. However, I adore the character struggles and relationships.

Koko and I have often talked about the great eye-candy (Taylor Lautner and Robert Pattinson) that they chose for the movies as well... Haha! Okay, we discuss more than this. In fact, these past weeks we have been debating, for books that aren't THAT well-written, what is it that draws people in - especially educated and practical individuals, like Koko.

Recently, there was an article that Koko read where a review stated that people love these movies because of how “hollow” Bella is as a character. I think they hit it spot on. As a character, Bella is surprisingly normal, and under-developed. It allows the reader to place herself (or himself, I guess... kinda) in her place and fill in the spots that are missing around her, and more easily see yourself as Bella. The reader feels as though they are the ones having these strong emotions and supernatural experiences, and for a lot of woman, the love triangle that is created by Ms. Meyer is a confusing, but attractive thing to “be a part of.”

Just a thought...

So, I went to the movies tonight with Luise, after a Twilight and New Moon marathon last night. She had never read the books or seen the movies, so we had to watch the first two. She fell in love with Jacob more than anything, haha! What young girl wouldn't?! Have you SEEN Taylor Lautner? Yea, enough said. Anyway, we went to the movie and it was so fun, but so different from watching in the states.

In a way I was glad I saw it here, removed from the screaming teens and super-fans. There are still PLENTY of hardcore fans here, but it's different... People here don't scream when the movie title appears for Robert/Taylor first appear on the screen. It was nice in some ways, but yet, I kinda missed it... I kind of missed the way Americans get all geared up for premiers and really get into it with the character on the opening few days... It's all about quite watching and nervous quite laughter and whispers when this happens. I made sure to ask Luise first if people screamed at those places, and when she said she had never seen it there, I thought it best to restrain myself. Haha!

My point? I really liked the film. The acting is getting better with each film - I'll give some credit to the actors, but I give most of it to the director. Good directing has a LOT to do with effective portrayals of characters and emotion. The CGI for the wolves and special effects were great. The makeup gets better with each film - thank goodness, cause the first film was super terrible. It was well-done and I really enjoyed it... For my guy friends, there is even a massive fight scene between the wolves and the vampires. Yea. Okay, so most of you still won't see it. It was worth a shot, right? Haha...

So, whether you are a fan of the books or not... whether you are female and a fan of beautiful men, or not (that would be weird)... or just a man extremely comfortable with their own sexuality - or want to impress the cute girl from your BioChem class... you should go see the movie. Yep, this film is officially endorsed by Linze. Your Welcome, Eclipse.

P.S. Entry Title = Free Interpretation. Am I speaking of the Eclipse film title itself or the celestial bodies WITHIN the film?

*muah*

Song of the Day: It is only appropriate that I choose a song from the Eclipse soundtrack, correct? Haha... This really is a fabulous song, by an artist I fell in love with two or three years back. This is Sia's song My Love - brilliance. Enjoy!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Slimmin' Down Over Reality TV!

Over the past month or so, I have grown rather fond of working out in the mornings while catching up on some of my favorite American television programs. I ride the workout runner upstairs (I'm sure there's a real name for it, but I don't know what it is - haha!) for an hour and set up my computer on top of the TV to stream the shows form the internet... I love those blessed sights that find ways to put up the recent episodes of my favorite shows, because Hulu won't let an American in Germany log on. Haha!

Anyway, there are more benefits to this TV/workout routine in the morning than my SLOWLY getting smaller thighs and waist-line - though I am SLOWLY beginning to enjoy those benefits... and hope that they continue on and on... The other benefit is that YOU get to read my thoughts on all these "great" (debatable, I'm sure) television programs! Or, you can skip the entry... either way, I'm bloggin' about them because they're on my mind. Haha!

So, let's begin with the one I really want to touch on... The Bachlorette. I know, I know... I got into The Bachelor last season for the first time and so I knew when they picked a girl from that season as the new bachlorette, I had to watch - right? So, when the season began I started watching right off the bat and have to say, I think it's one of the cutest and yet, cruelest shows ever created. Those two things should NOT be said next to one another, I know, but they roll together in this show somehow. I mean, it makes me smile and roll my eyes when someone says or does something cute, because there are numerous guys fighting for ONE girl and she's ultimately leading on a huge chunk of guys.

Of the three left, I'm rootin' for Roberto. He's great for Allie, I think, and they both seemed initially and genuinely attracted. I just really like him... and I think he goes best with Ali. I like Chris a lot, but I think there is someone that's a MUCH better fit for him out there... He should be the next Bachelor - just sayin'. I like him. That guy was a fave from the start, and I think he'd go great with Ali, but I there's so much holding him back. However, who can blame him? I mean, all I also love Frank! his fears are legit. He says, "I could be confident in our relationship one day, and that night you send me home," and he's right. That's the name of the game... excuse me, "show." It's a sucky situation overall for everyone involved - and all SO public. I could never make-out on camera like that - ew.

Okay, so that's The Bachelorette. To go along with that, there is a video below that is a complete parody of the season so far and it's CLASSIC. If you know anything about the show, and perhaps if you don't, you'll enjoy this...


Alright, onto the next show... Um, this one will be short: The Hills. The series finale was last night and it left you with a knowledge that we all knew in the back of our minds... It's totally loosely scripted. Haha! I mean, com'on. We all knew it... Well, all of us who watched the show. It was the perfect ending for the show though (which the last minute is below, so you'll see what I mean)... creative, and left the audience fulfilled and yet, with a sense to know more... good job, scripting - for once. Haha!


I can not explain why I liked this trashy show, especially after LC left the show and Kristin made her grand entrance. The show was TEN TIMES better when LC was the star - love her. In fact, I will be reading her books when I arrive back in the states. Haha!

Okay... The last reality show I want to touch on is my FAVE right now - So You Think You Can Dance. Um, I ADORE this show! I don't know what it is about it, but I always get a tad emotional watching it. There is always something that moves me and makes me want more and more... Love it. I was CRUSHED last week when Alex Wong (first video) tore his Achilles heel and had to withdrawal -that kid is fire on toes... seriously, amazing! However, my FAVORITE in the competition is still in - Kent Boyd (second... and third video - haha)! Dang, that kid is fabulous as a dancer and a person... I am just SO impressed with him. If you have not had the pleasure to see either of the boys I talked about dance, then you should thank me for the videos I am posting below. These guys are boss dancers -serious.






(The last video is Kent and another contestant, Lauren... and I also LOVE her! It's also my favorite dance Kent has done...)

Along with the dancing though, the show provides the viewer with the names and artist for each song used. You can find GREAT new finds on that shows as a lot of people use more obscure artists or pieces from well-known artists - aka: non-singles. I have FILLED my Ipod with songs form that show over the past three seasons... Love that.

Last, I just have to say that I am in love with the show Lie To Me. The scripting and themes are crafted and creative, and the characters are great. They're developed enough to care, but leave holes enough to keep you grasping to know more. Each show is intriguing and thought-provoking. I like it... a lot. And, it's not even a reality T.V. show! Haha... I know, big surprise there, eh? Y'all should check it out.

Okay... enough on the media fill for now.
*muah*

Song of the Day: I am currently "re"-loving on Jason Mraz. Here is his song with James Morrison, "Details in the Fabric". Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Italy, Part III: Ostia, the Final Installment!

I am a woman who loves the beach. I love the sand between my toes as I walk along the shoreline, and the cool water splashing up my legs. I love the golden sun rays beating on my face and the sounds of children laughing as they get dunked in the ocean waves. I love the smells of the ocean and tanning lotions, and the taste of a cool, fresh shaved ice! I love the sunsets over the ocean tide... Yep, I am a woman who loves the beach.

So, I was stoked when I found a cheap hostel right outside of Rome that would allow me to spend the last two days/nights of my long vacay outside of the city, just relaxing in the sun. Actually, dedicating a whole entry for those two days is completely legit (cause it was awesome!), but I didn'd DO a lot there, so there isn't much to tell. I spent the two days laying in the sun, getting tan, and watching World Cup games at a bar on the beach. Though, they were ONLY playing games on the weekends and evenings... In fact, most places were only OPEN on the weekends or evenings - even gelatorias. That was a bit bizarre, but it was fine.

Another thing that was bizarre was that most of the beach was separated into private and public spaces that weren't very long. I was kinda blown away by how much separation there was... I wasn't into that. You could walk on the water line, but not go a certain amount of feet onto the beach space if it was a private area - totally weird. I mean, is the sun that much better five feet to the North or South? Yes, I guess it is. Also, I'm pretty sure I was on "paying beaches" most of the time I laid out, but I didn't really know so... I plead ignorance. Haha!

I also took time one morning to walk down to the big boats docks and check out the local "scene." Though there wasn't much of that, it was still nice. It reminded me a lot of a San Deigo feel, right near the boarder. People were driving around with Italian and Spanish rap blasting from their cars, the building were more run down, and everyone was beach bummed out. It was a chill feel, and reminded me of the summers of my youth in Cali. I loved that...

I also found WAY more good looking Italian boys there at that beach! Haha... The ones in the city seemed so... greasy. Not just their hair, but their attitudes and language - greasy is a good word to describe it. However, out by the ocean it wasn't as prevalent, but the arrogance was still present. I find that Italian men came across very cocky... and I was NOT into that. Oh well... No Italian lover for me this time around. Haha!

On one note, my room in Ostia was for six girls, but there was only two of us the whole time. In my room it was me and an Argentinian woman in her forties, who was awesome. We watched the Argentina and Mexico game together while this boy from Ghana made us dinner - it was totally classic. I made close with all the staff there and hung out with them - all older Italian couples, but it was a blast. It was just FUN and chill... I totally recommend hittin' up a beach on your way outta Rome, though perhaps stay even a bit more out of the city area... It could have been nicer in a less crowded area, though it was a convenient area.... I took the Metro and then train right to my stop on the same ticket.

So, that was Ostia! I got a beautiful tan, some beautiful men to look at, and my last scoops of gelato to each on the beach - glorious.

Sidnotes: I had the BEST pizza in all of Italy on that beach, and a whole one for 5Euro... brilliant. Also, two cute moments: One, when a little boy saw me watching a crab and came up to me, asking in Italian if he could join me. Haha! SO cute! Also, when I was walking back to my hostel the first night, there was a dance going down for older people - like 60 and 70 year olds. SO cute! It was all ballroom and I thought of my friend Sarina marrying her Italian fiance and one day doing the same thing -haha! Totally cute! There's a video below of that and the feel of the place... check it.
video
On one other note - I watched more of the World Cup in my month of travel than I ever have in my entire life! It was fabulous... though I was rootin' for Netherlands in the end, and they lost... My teams (in order) were: England, USA, Germany, and The Netherlands. Just to let y'all know.

I officially love soccer - ahem... football. Nope. Still can't say that - American Football is still my favorite and I can't interchange the two names. Though Nico did ask me today, "Why do they call it football in America if they mostly use their hands?" I replied, "Nico, that's the rest of the world's question."

*muah*

Song of the Day: Today's song is going to be a new one from the one really good thing that came out of American Idol: Season 9 --> and he's not even on tour with them right now, cause he was voted off to dang early. Just sayin'. So, here is Alex Lambert's song, "I Didn't Know," but you should also check his song, "Dream With My Eyes Wide Open." The video is kinda blech, but the song is SO worth it. Serious. He sounds like a young James Morrison meets John Legend - LOVE this voice! Enjoy!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Italy, Part II: Rome!

Roma, Roma, Roma! I can not say enough about this city, and the amazing time I had while I was there. I love Rome. Really.

First, I need to take the time and say how blessed I was with great roommates on the whole London, Paris, and Italy trip. Some places were better than others in this area (Paris was the best!), but at least all my roomies were honest with my stuff. I thought I booked hostels with security lockers, but all of them were places you have to provide your own padlock, or could only lock it in a general area. Thus, I did not lock up my stuff in any place I stayed. Yep. I put stuff under my bed and just hoped... and my stuff all remained safe. I give the credit to honesty and prayer... so a shout out to honest roommates... and prayer.

Another thing I have to talk about from the overall trip is my tan. Yea! I got a hot tan startin' out there and I'm hoping by laying out two or three times a week here, that tan will continue. I look so much hotter when I'm brown... truth.

Now, on to Rome! I was in the actual city for about four days and then headed mid-Sunday to Ostia, a beach outside of the city. Both the city and the beach had their pros and cons, but I had a good time in each location. I was VERY glad I spent my last two days on the beach, just chillin', tanning, and enjoying a different culture – very “San Diego-ish” to me. So, let's talk about specifics from my adventure!

When I got to the city, via train, I was BEYOND excited! I walked straight to my hostel and it was only about five minutes from the main station, which was great. The hostel that I stayed in was called Legends, and let me just tell you, I loved it! It was clean, and I got RIGHT into my room. They include breakfast AND dinner in your price for a bed if you'd like them, and they're actually decent meals. I met some great people there while I watched the World Cup games in the evenings over dinner – that was perfection.

Anyway, the city of Rome is SO vast and contains SO much to see, but I somehow squeezed what I wanted to do into four days and still had time to chill out and read in the park, eat gelato, and stroll through places NOT on my original list. The first day I got there, Italy was playing in the World Cup, so that afternoon (after a morning of seeing the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Santa Maria del Popolo and Popolo Piazza) I found a little trattoria around Piazza Novona and asked for some of their famous lasagna and brushetta... Um, AMAZING. Simply said, it was the best meal I [randomly] had in all my time in Italy. Oh, so yummy! The game was fun to watch there too because it wasn't near the touristy area, and I was the ONLY American there. It watched with thirty Italians in the little place -screaming and yelling at the screen right along with them. It was great! One of the girls there sat and chatted with me a bit, and gave me tips on HER favorite parts of Rome that were off the beaten track. That turned out to be a HUGE blessing later on...

video

That evening, I headed back toward the Pantheon and checked that out before heading back to my hostel. The Pantheon in the most in-tact building there from ancient times – very well-preserved. It was cool to see, but not my favorite thing in Rome... That came later!

Friday, was day two in the city, and I dedicated the day to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. WOW. The Colosseum is HUMONGOUS and so incredible. I took a ton of pictures and read all the signs... It was really neat to see. I was SO glad I didn't rush through. It was nice too because, as much as I wouldn't get a Roma Pass next time, it was nice to skip the lines to get in (which weren't that bad, actually). I imagined the movie Gladiator while there too... Oh, Russell Crowe. Haha!

After the Colosseum, I spent HOURS out in the sun just wondering through the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill! It was AMAZING. I didn't want to pay for a tour, so I wondered around and listened in on peoples tour when I would hear something interesting. Haha! I know, I cheated the system a bit... but I was okay with it. I learned some really cool stuff, and it was nice to hear different stories from different people. You could tell the people who really knew their stuff and the ones that seemed newer at the whole guide thing. Haha!

I heard stories about Caesar and the beginnings of democracy. I learned about Caesar's desires to be accepted and the time he brought giraffes in for show, which was a huge deal with how foreign they were. I learned about laws, and how most of the time things weren't set in stone... It was a lot more wishy-washy than today, which I knew. However, there is so much that needs to be done to improve ours, but it was definitely a huge improvement from their democracy. Just sayin'... They would tie people in bags with rabid cats and throw them into the sea over little infractions. Yea. And, just like today, if you knew the right people, you could often walk. Some things never change, I suppose.

Sidenote for Shakespeare: Dear Billy Shakes, when you wrote Julius Caesar, you were wrong about where the death took place. I know you were trying to add dramatic effect, but I feel the need to clarify. Julius Caesar's death took place not at the Capitol building, and not the Theater of Pompey. It's okay – you're amazing. Thus, we forgiveth thee.

When I had roamed all of the Roman Forum (good word choice, huh?), I wondered back along a side path that wrapped around the entire area and wound up in Palatine Hill. I think I was suppose to go back through with my Roma Pass, but I was in for free on it anyway, so I just kept going. I was kind of confused as to how I got there without a check-point, since it's listed as two different places, but... I did, so that's that. That was cool too, and I wondered around there until later in the afternoon – definitely worth the time and money to see! It's cool to think about the years of history that went down there.

Anyway, after words I was tired and just wanted to get some gelato and take some chill time. However, Victor Emmanuel II's memorial building (SO beautiful) was right there... So I took a gander. It was magnificent and huge, but the things inside were all about the Italian armies and held little to no interest for me. So, I walked slowly through and then headed toward the Trevi Fountain to hit up a gelato place a friend had told me about. There were two specific places I had to hit while I was there, and both were no let down. Haha!

I got some gelato, sat down and ate it, and then headed back to my hostel to catch a nap before dinner and the World Cup game. Another great day in Rome! Beautiful...

Saturday I planned to take the advice of that girl I had met at the Italian restaurant. She grew up in Rome and said that the walk along the water on the Southern part of Rome is actually really beautiful. I had no intention of going over there, but decided I would do that in the morning and walk up to the Castle Sant' Angelo from there. It was heaven... I found my favorite part of Rome in that walk... I mean, there were tons of cool moments in Rome and five “favorite things” to see, but this was my favorite area, by far. I was amazed by the trees along the river and the little back-streets that were less touristy. I found myself just enjoying the walk. They call the area “Little Sicily,” so if Sicily is anything like that, I MUST go before I die. Haha!

After my walk up and around the river, I headed to the gates of the Vatican City just to take outside pictures (I wasn't going till Sunday). I wondered the area a bit, trying to find this specific gelatoria that Sarah had told me about numerous times, and swore by. I had no luck at first finding it because I wasn't sure how far to follow the Vatican wall and kept turning to look at other things – haha! Eventually, I just went to the Castle Sant' Angelo and had a great time looking around there. I got some cool shots of the city and enjoyed myself, but it wasn't a must-see in my mind going. I've seen so many castles... but this one was more of a fortress, so it was different and cool.

Afterward, I ventured back toward the Basilica and after asking around, found Old Bridge Gelatoria! Haha... It's a good thing I did too, because it's closed on Sundays and I wouldn't have gotten any if I had waited till the next day to search. Sarah is right... It was PRETTY amazing! Haha... That and Blue Ice had my favorite gelato in Rome. Oh, gelato in general... How I will miss you. I'm sure my thighs will not though...

That afternoon, I found a sports bar to watch the World Cup game and got some mediocre cannelloni... Don't order nice stuff in Italian sports bars. Stupid me. Well, the game was good though and it was just nice to chill and have a place to relax after so much “go-go-go” time. I spent the evening reading and then watching soccer with people at the hostel. I also met two girls who I ended up going to the Vatican museum with the next day.

That leads me to... The Vatican! Haha! We wanted to go on Sunday because it was free – the last Sunday for each month is free to the public. We went super early to beat the huge line of people.. We were prepared! Well, we ended up getting in the wrong line and going into St. Peter's first... When we realized what we had done, we decided to see that first and just wait in the line. It turned out to be a two-hour line, but it was fine... Anyway, going to St. Peter's first was great because we met a couple from Florida that knew so much about St. Peter's history. I met them while walking in and I started talking with them randomly... and it was great! The guy ended up being a devote Catholic and knew SO much. He was there in Rome because the leader for his specific congregation in FL was being made an Archbishop and they were taking part in the ceremony and week's events – including a cocktail party in the Sistine Chapel! Yea. So suave... Haha!

The man taught us a lot of the Catholic history and then asked us to attend a Mass later in the week. I would already be gone, or I would have gone to check it out – who cares if I'm not Catholic. Haha! In fact, I told the guy I was Mormon and for moment really thought he was going to shut down and be turned-off to the idea of chatting with me. Sometimes there is a HUGE clash between Mormons and Catholics over anything religious... I think the two religions have KEY differences and many similarities, and we should all just love each other. That's all I'll say on that.

The man's wife pulled back a lot, but he kept chatting and before he left me he said, “By the way, you're guy was our guy for President.” I said, “Oh, Romney! I worked with his campaign – I was really rootin' for him.” The guy said, “Us too, but I think religion got in the way... It's sad because he would have done a great job.” I agreed and then he thanked me for being so engaged and interested in his beliefs... it was cool. I felt an understanding was made and I hope that as generations continue to grow we can learn to share beliefs and accept that there are differences.

After the Basilica, we waited in the MONSTER line for two hours before we got through to the museum. My only regret from the trip was doing that on Sunday, because we were rushed through the place (it was only open till 12:30pm!) and I didn't really see much. (The picture to the right is The Trinity Painting.) I DID take a good chunk of time in the Sistine Chapel though. I wasn't going to let anyone push me out there... I didn't care if I was in there for free... I moved around the people as they cleared groups out and stayed to stare at the ceiling and walls, and just take time to marvel. It's amazing that Michelangelo was SO young when he really did amazing things in his “profession.” He did the David when he was 26. He did the Sistine Chapel in his late 20s and early 30s, and it took him six years. PLUS, he was brilliant in the sciences too – a student of anatomy. There was an article released right before I went to Rome that my mom sent me about John Hopkin's and scientific discovery that Michelangelo hid the the human brain and brain stem in the neck and beard of God!

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/22/science/22brain.html?_r=1&emc=eta1

It was cool because I went with the knowledge and then actually got to see it! I snapped a few pictures undercover (you weren't suppose to), but they aren't the greatest quality.... I mean, that's what I get for taking an un-legit picture. Haha! It really was SO cool to see...

After the wondrously fast walk through the place, me and the girls I was with stopped for lunch on the outside lawn area and then headed to grab gelato before I headed out to the beach for the last day and a half in the Rome area! It was sincerely the perfect way to end the time out... but I'll get to that!

We wanted to hit up Old Bridge again, but found out that it was closed... So we just walked until we came to another gelatoria – so not far. Haha! We ended up chatting with the owner for a little bit and his family. He father owns a bakery across the way and he was in there talking with his son. The dad and I tried to talk, but he doesn't know English, so the granddaughter and son translated a bit. I was telling him how great gelato is, but it's gonna make a big woman bigger – haha! He replied. “Big is beautiful – many women could do with your confidence.” It was nice cause it wasn't a creepy Italian guy hitting on me, it was a genuine and simple comment from a family man. It was just a good moment – very cute.

Well, that was Rome in a nutshell! However... There's still one more thing to address – Ostia! Virtually, it's a part of Rome, so we can lump it together, but I think I'll separate it out because this entry is already ridiculously long. Thus, in the next week there will be one last entry about Italy, “Part III: Ostia!”

*muah*

Song of the Day: One of my best friend, Sarina, is getting married next month and I was looking at her wedding website today... Well, last year when we were in Hawaii I made a little jam mix on my Ipod to have for the car - Recall our glorious convertible? Yea... I miss that car. Haha! Anyway, there was a song on there that we LOVED and Sarina put it as one of her and her fiance's songs. So, here is one of my favorite songs by Chris Rice called "When Did You Fall (In Love With Me)," now permanently dedicated to Sarina and Christian! So gut! Enjoy!

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Week in the Life of a German Au Pair!

The other night while we were eating dinner, we were discussing the fact that a new friend has recently come into our lives through our basement... We discovered this new, little buddy when we started to find holes in the bags of our food-storage bags downstairs. Yep, we had a mouse... or HAVE a mouse. I'm not really sure. We haven't seen any evidence of him/her in the past week... since we put out mouse-killer food.

Yep. We murdered a mouse... I think.

So, Finni was downstairs with his dad and touched some. We decided that we needed to discuss with the boys that this poison is dangerous and they needed to leave it alone, which led to a 30 minutes debate on killing the mice. Nico stopped all of us as we started to talk about it and said, "Wait! Stop! Are we KILLING mice?" Haha... We explained that the pink stuff downstairs that "makes mice go to sleep," to which I added, "Forever." Koko thanked me for the dramatic touch - I just didn't think about it - but we all had a good laugh.

Anyway, the kids ideas about the mice... Finni said he had a suggestion. "We either give them cheese... or we kill them." Great Finn. Haha! He was very serious about this too... He said it about five time while eating, "Cheese or death..." HAHA!

Then, I said jokingly, "We just need a cat," then remembered Patrick was allergic. Nico reminded me. We talked about it, but Nico finally said, "Let's sell dad and get a cat!" Patrick laughed and said, "We could do a trade. An Austrian father for sale!" Haha... It was QUITE a hilarious dinner conversation. Finally, we somehow changed the subject and led it to other things... which were just as great.

Later in the week, I was chillin' with Finn and Nico after dinner. Finn fell asleep on the couch after a few moments, but Nico was chatting with me and asking me to sing him some songs from musicals that I've been working on. That was nice, won't lie... When the boys ASK me to sing, it makes me happy! :) Haha... Anyway, I was telling him about different musicals and Wicked came up... So, naturally I sang some of "Popular" for him. Haha! If you have NEVER heard the song, you need to listen to it -classic. Anyway, before I sang I was telling him what the song was about and Nico's proceeded to tell me what's cool... "You have to dress so the girls and boys think you look cool. To get into the movies, you have to do really dangerous things or be able to do super, awesome tricks." Haha! He then proceeded to tell me when to wear a lot or little bit of makeup and such... He was super funny, but interesting because I wonder where kids get these ideas about what's cool... especially when they don't see much of the media in this house. I wish that the idea of "what's cool" wasn't established at such a young age.

Um... there's not a lot to say on this except that during Finni's psycomotorik class this week, Nico's and I spent a half an hour telling knock-knock jokes and making videos of them. HAHA! It all started with him telling me, this one:

"Knock-Knock."
"Who's there?"
"Boo."
"Boo Who?"
"Now don't you cry!"

It was SO funny how funny he found me, and himself... and he WAS pretty hilarious. Some of them are posted below. ENJOY! Haha...
video video

So, on the side of my facebook there pops up one of the recommendations for things you will probably like... "Like John McCain - Those who like Mitt Romney like John McCain." No. No, they don't. Haha! Okay, for SOME this is true, but not for this one. Just sayin'.

Okay... now - two nights ago I went to the pool with Patrick, the boys, and my new friend Luise. Luise is a total sweetheart who recently got back from her mission in DC. She use to live here before the mission, but her family lives in Berlin. She moved back here after being home for five or six months to work and live in Bonn. Anyway, we went swimming at the pool in Friesdorf and decided to try out my camera in the water. One of the features I chose the camera for was it's underwater ability, but yet I have been terrified to try it out underwater in case something went wrong. However, last night I was brave and tried out some underwater magic. Let me tell you... Best photo-shoot EVER! Haha... It was hilarious trying to get a good underwater shot... I don't know HOW models do it while looking beautiful and effortless.

Anyway, while we were doing the photo-shoot Nico really wanted to take a picture underwater, but couldn't go underwater to do it, so he just stuck the camera under and pushed my head down - haha! When we looked at the play back, the picture was a zoom-in on my chest, to which Nico yelled, "I got a boob shot!" Haha!!! I died. Right there in the pool, I died... laughing that is. It was SO classic.... When we all started laughing, Nico of course got his high-pitched laugh on, which made us laugh even more... It was great. (I will NOT be posting the picture he took, in case you thought otherwise...)

Otherwise, I got Nico to try swimming techniques with his floating board by playing sharks and guppies. I would give him the floating board and then swim away a bit and say, "I'm a guppie... you're a shark! Come and get me!" Then, I would keep swimming back and it MADE him use his legs and swim toward me... It was good. I was proud of helping him, because I kinda was NOT sure how to help him with swimming.

On a Finni note, over and over again he would say, "Can I show you something?" Then he would proceed to jump into the pool with his floating noodle and splash like crazy... and get SUPER excited about it. It was just about the cutest thing I have ever seen.

We went last night again and I taught Nico to hold his breath and that is REALLY helping him be more confident in swimming. Yay!

On one more note, this hot weather is making my room hot and making me have BIZARRE dreams! The other night I dreamed up a good episode of "Lie To Me"... It would be a good one too. Each night I wake up around 5am or 6am from some bizarre scenario with random old and current friends mixed all together in obscure and new places. Do dreams really mean something? Sometimes I think they can, but sometimes there is no way, or that it just stems from something that happened earlier in the week or day. Just sayin'...

Last weekend I went to a concert in the park with Patrick and Koko and saw this awesome guy named Max Herre - he was pretty good! Yea, he sang mostly in German, but I dug his sound. He sang a song dedicated to the German soccer (football) coach because it was the day they had won and gotten into the top 4... but that ship has now sailed. Haha... It was cool in the park. The whole park had three HUGE stages and tons of people there, bungee cording, food, and it was crazy... Just a little note on that!

Anyway, this entry is random... and yet, a taste of what life and conversation is like in the life of an Au Pair. Love it.
*muah*

P.S. Next Entry WILL be about Rome, Italy.

Song of the Day: There are a few songs this week that I have discovered via So You Think You Can Dance or The Hills. However, I must choose one for now... So, here's Pink's song "Love Way To Happy." I just really love her voice and this song is an awesome break-up jam... even though I have not broken-up recently. Haha! Here it goes - Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Part I: Venice,Florence, Siena... Italy!

i.heart.italia.

So, I suppose that I should get a jump on this entry about my trip to Italy... This one is gonna be a doosey! Haha... Strap yourselves in ladies and gentlemen, cause the story-teller is set to go and she ain't stoppin' till the stories have all been told. This could take awhile.

I must start with the CRAZY trip getting Italy - you would never believe all the things that almost prevented me from getting there and the amazing people I met because of this event. Luckily I felt impressed to leave rather early that day for the airport... SO, this crazy experience includes me getting on the wrong bus to the airport, and thus, heading to the wrong airport in Paris. It also includes me finally getting to the right bus and finding it takes an hour and twenty minutes to get there, having the bus break down halfway to the airport, and getting there twenty minutes before my flight - you read that correctly... 20 MINUTES before my flight! Then, because I was flying Ryanair (They're crazy, people...) they had me do a passport stamp, bag check (I can't believe I got through with my size bag!), and THEN security before going to my "gate" - that doesn't exist till they just call your flight destination out of virtually the only exit there is - bizarre. Anyway, that was the reader's digest version of the tale... If you want the entire thing, let me know, but it was seriously the CRAZIEST four hours of my life.

On the same lines though, I did meet this AMAZING woman named Martina that I sat with on the bus and plane, and then she helped me get on the right bus in Venice at the airport. She was an Italian woman who works as an interpreter all over the EU. She's currently writing a book and taking other risks in life that were so neat and inspiring to hear about... and the more we talked, the more I was enthralled with her stories and ideas about life - we are SO on the same page it's a bit unreal. She and I just shared an instant connection and she carried this overwhelming calm over me, and inspired me in SO many ways. She is an INCREDIBLE woman and I wish that you all could have met her too so you could understand what I mean... It's rare to meet a person and share that instant bond, but with her it was present and wonderful!

Anyway, we talked for hours about life, work, religion, everything, and she ended up giving me her number and email in case anything happened in Italy while I was there and I needed anything, plus to just keep in touch. I love randomly meeting and connecting to people! Forced meeting of new people is always nerve-wrecking for me... but when it just happens - bliss. (That might surprise some that I feel that way about meeting people... I love the new friends I meet, but the actual initial meeting... UG. I hate it. Haha! I do it, and do it well... but it's blech. Haha!)

Okay - enough about that.

Sidenote: I also met some study abroad kids who were living in Florence and they invited me out with them while I was there, but I didn't get to meet up. They were cool too!

SO, when I landed in VENICE (my first stop in Italia!), it was night-time and raining cats and dogs... or raindrops that were really big. This rain did not cease completely (though it did lessen) the entire time I was there - which was a mere day and a half. However, for some reason I was instantly in love with this sinking city of Venice. Yes, Venice is sinking apparently... and yes, the water level was SCARY high while I was there actually. I didn't care though. I was in love with wondering the streets, talking to people, getting lost on the bridges... It was just so fun! In fact, I didn't go see any "sights" (or even get a map) while I was there, cause I just spent the whole day wondering and taking it all in... and shopping a bit. What? I saved my money specifically for the Murano glass jewelry there. It the city I did my shopping for friends and family - and that was perfect.

I also had my FIRST real gelato there. *Moment of silence*

It was THAT good. Oh, man... I think I was in heaven for a moment. Yep, I am quite positive that gelato will be a regular consumption in heaven. What? That's not in the gluttony category, right? Either way, I'm still getting slimmer, so bring on the gelato - haha!

Favorite moments from Venice:
- Random boys singing "I Will Survive" through the streets...
- Bruno! This cute little Italian man who really wanted me to buy his stuff, but loved me even when I didn't - haha!
- Getting directions to my hostel at a local pizza joint where they took me in the back and were SO nice and helpful! Everyone there was SO willing to help and so kind... good people there in Venice.
- The masks shops that are EVERYWHERE and are EXQUISITE! They have the most incredible masks all over that city - robot masks, animals, classic masquerade gear, art work, planes.... things I never thought could be made into a mask. It was a theater nerds dream come true! Haha...
- Watertaxis - SO cool! In fact, that's how EVERYONE gets around... even the police! Crazy cool.
- Italian Pizza!
- The rustic-beauty if the city. It was old and worn, but so majestic and quaint. I fell in love with the city and WILL return with my future hubby someday - done and done.
- My random hostel mates - haha! The first night I had a random older couple from Colombia - SUCH sweethearts, but I walked in and the guy is just chillin' in his underwear on the bed - a bit awkward. Haha... The second night, I had a bro and sis from Ukraine and they were chill.
- The rain. I know it could have ruined the experience, but it was just okay with me in Venice... I would have not loved it in Rome or Florence, but in Venice... I loved it. Even though I was alone, it was romantic. So, I basked in the romantic feelings myself - haha!

Sidenote: There was a moment when I was walking that I caught a sight I was saddened by... Two men and two women were walking together through the streets, each with an umbrella (as it was raining in Venice). The men had nice, sturdy ones that had remained un-ruined. However, the women were holding the sides of there's and they were broken badly... They couldn't help but get wet a little bit. Now, as an individual who is proud to be a strong, independent woman, I still ask, why did the men not give their umbrellas to the women? That's a passing judgment, I understand, but all the same... In my opinion that equals true chivalry, and I would hope that whomever I date in the future would do that for not just me, but any woman around them who might need some help in the storm...

I also saw this in Rome, where the men would not move on the sidewalks for the women. The women were made to move down to the street to pass on the sidewalk more often than not. Way uncool... The end of that thought.

On to... FLORENCE! Haha...

The Tuscan Hills in Florence were fabulous! I was SO glad that I took time to stay there and see all of Florence, AND do a day trip to the countryside and Siena. It really has a unique and yet, classic beauty to it. I was under the impression that Siena was a mini Florence, but Florence and Siena are very different from one another too, so I was glad I got to see another side of Tuscany. While I was there I took a lot of time to just walk the hills a bit too and see the city from above... It was awesome. I have this whole new appreciation for hiking and exploring - it's probably because I don't get as winded doing it anymore, but all the same - the new drive is present in me now.

On that note, I found that I was def. breathing heavy as I climbed the Duomo in Florence, but I wasn't winded. I wasn't overly tired at all, when I would ahve been before. It was a cool moment to realize that I really am getting more into shape... I'm no skinny chick yet, but I'm healthier and slimmin' a bit where it's important... I just feel really good and that's what matters most.

So, here are the highlights for Florence:

- Meeting kids from a high school in VA at the baptistery and then meeting some JMU study abroad kids. It gave me a little VA pride in Italy! Haha...
- The most AMAZING sandwich (panini) shop EVER! They had these panini's with fresh pesto, tomato (I'm starting to like tomato - I know, who'da thunk it?), fresh mozzarella, and turkey. OH MY WORD. So good. SO good. Plus, it was really cheap. No fear - I went there everyday. Not kidding.
- The smell of leather good everywhere - haha! It was seriously all over the place... On a side note, Point Vecchio bridge was WAY too rich for my blood, but fun to walk on and see all the shops - very cool.
- Hiking above the city... and finishing one of my books a top the mountain point. Oh, that felt great! Who ever would have guessed that I would write hiking as a highlight... I know. I'm a changed woman.
- The Baptistery and climbing the Duomo - both super cool! The baptistery was just COOL to see and learn about what the doors and mosaics on the ceiling meant. Climbing up the Duomo was cool because I got some AMAZING shots of the city... and it was just good. I met a little couple I was climbing with and they were adorable. On a side note, there was couple that was doing separate itineraries on their trip... and they were on their honeymoon. Yea. Does that seem bizarre to anyone else?
-Seeing "The David"! I actually was thinking before I went to the Academia to see it, "Maybe I should bail on it... It's expensive to get in and there isn't tons more to see inside." The line was like waiting at Disneyland, but there was no ride at the end - haha! Anyway, I am SO glad I did it! It was HUGE and learning about how old Michelangelo was when he created the sculptor (which was started at 23 and ended at 25!) was very inspiring. I am just amazed by how perfect it really is too... so exact. Many say that it is the most correct statue of all time (proportions, etc.) ever created, and I can't argue. It was magnificent to see... AND I got a picture! Haha... I didn't know I wasn't suppose to until I had done it (bluntly in the open) and put my camera away. Then I saw a lady chastise another girl. Oops. Needless to say, I kept my picture though. (The unfinished sculptures in there were really cool too!)
- Religious "pop-up" art. Haha! Seriously, the Italians love putting religious art onto popped out boards and backings, and it looks like "pop-up book" art.
- Seeing the tombs of Galileo and Michelangelo.
- The funny British man in my hostel who would get fairly drunk and loud each nice. He was a very nice drunk though! Haha... I also met a girl named Laura that I chatted with a lot while I was there and that was nice... good times.
- The language. Seriously, Italian is just beautiful and it was bliss listening to it being spoken everywhere. It's SO similar to Spanish, so it brought me back to Cali a bit at times too. I told me friend, Jake Lee, he had to teach me since he served his mission for my church in Italy.
- The sculptures that are EVERYWHERE! There is always something the see in Italy - on every street you walk.
- The gelato... again, it was fabulous!

I did get a TAD bit homesick while I was there... I can't explain it, but I did. Eh - I got over it though... I talked to my mom at the hostel and it was fine. I just needed to touch base with home and such. It's great traveling alone in that no one rushes you and you have a lot of time to ponder and plan. You also can just take everything so CHILL. It's a great way to learn about yourself and I did a LOT of that this trip - which, I loved. However, there are disadvantages too, and one of those is getting a bit lonely. You can be standing in a crowd and still feel lonely, as most people know. It's a weird sensation. You just want to turn to someone and share the experiences with someone else right then - that's what I was missing. Overall though, I didn't feel that way - and it was great.

I noticed something there too. I noticed that the first things I always learn to say in any language are "Please" and "Thank You." Even when I came to Germany... That is ALWAYS what I ask how to say first and I think it's SO important. I mean, if more tourists could say "thank you" and "please" when visiting places, I think tourism would have a better rep in some countries.

This is not a highlight by any means, but a note that it took me FOREVER to find the bus station to catch a bus to Siena... I kept asking people and no one could give me a direct answer until the FOURTH time. I found that people in Italy are SO willing to help and so happy about it, but OFTEN gave wrong directions. I'm not sure if it was the language barrier or just them not knowing their streets as well... I don't blame them - it's confusing there! Haha...

Highlights and memories from Siena:

- The street market that goes on the one day a week I was there - totally crazy and there were SO many people! I didn't get anything, but it was fun to wonder through and just see people and culture there.
- The "circus cathedral" in Siena. Sorry if this offends anyone, but to me it was one of the most beautiful cathedrals I had ever seen... and yet looked like a circus cathedral with all the colors and layers of black and white stone. There was SO much detail to the cathedral (to all the Italian cathedrals actually) that it was AMAZING to see. It's interesting because in contrast, the LDS Temples are very beautiful to me as well, but it's different... It's a simple, plain beauty. We have chandeliers and carvings, etc... but it's not as cluttered. They're all so beautiful, but in different ways.
- Seeing some AMAZING cars! I thought of my friend Nicole each time I saw one - haha!
- Watching people "watch people" - haha! I'm a people watcher - everyone knows this. However, it was fun to take some time and observe people as they examined others... their expressions and reactive mannerisms... It was funny.
- The statue in the cathedral of the lion eating the lamb... The was a more of a memory than a highlight. I thought it was interesting because of the scripture that the "lion shall lay down with the lamb" in the last days, and how this statue was showing the opposite. I was curious as to the symbolism behind it and whether it was meant to be a for-boding statement or a hopeful one for the future's change.
- Interesting also, were the faces on the cathedrals and how they all seemed to peer down at the onlooker. It's a bit unappealing and leaves one feeling that they're trying to be intimidated. I thought that was just an interesting observation... There are nicer ways to portray your past bishops and priests than to have their faces staring at you from above with angry eyes... St. Peter's in the Vatican City does a better job of this in some places.
- There were some moments were I felt a bit overwhelmed as I watched the handicapped going through all the sight-seeing places all over Italy... I just felt a lot of compassion for those people, and I wanted to reach out and help them when they were struggling to walk or stand up.

Other note: People in Italy LOVE the song "Replay" by Sean Kingston right now. Haha! They played it EVERYWHERE I was going... In London it was "If We Ever Meet Again" by Timbaland and Katy Perry.... Paris, Ich weiß nicht.

Also, I noticed how much time I spent looking and sitting in cathedrals while I have been in Europe... why do I not spend more time in the temple back home? So, I set a goal for when I'm home. I'll be going to the temple at least once every other week. I won't say every week because it's a bit over-zealous. So, in case I lose track of a week, I'm good... but I'll really be trying to go each week.

Okay - I still have to blog about Rome, but that'll be part of "Part II" in my next entry, or this will never get posted. Serious. Haha!


Sidenote: Italy was AMAZING, but made me miss Hawaii just a bit... That is still my favorite place I have ever been on this planet. I miss it even more now that my two besties, Sarah and Sam are there! EFY opens some great doors for you once you've paid your dues... haha!
*muah*

Song of the Day: I chose this song because of my trip... See, everyone is so sweet to worry about me going around Europe by myself, but truth be told, going on a trip alone was kind of exciting. Yes, because of who I am I would rather go with someone, but I was just fine out there... It was fun! Italy is a VERY romantic place, but that part of it can wait for another time. For now, I'm single and loving this independence to do my own thing and travel around the world at my own pace. For that reason, I looked into my past songs and found a perfect one for how I feel right now about my life. I'm not opposed to anything "love-wise," but I am rather content. So, here is Natasha Bedingfield's, Single. Enjoy!

Natasha Bedingfield - Single (Official Music Video) - Watch more top selected videos about: Natasha_Bedingfield