Dolomiti

It’s so good to be back. Although I didn’t really plan on updating this regularly, it’s actually been pretty fun – and over the past week I’ve definitely missed doing so…even if no one’s reading it. I guess it’s good for me to get everything out and let the world know what’s been happening in my life!

So from where I last left you…

After roadtripping across Italy for pretty much the majority of the day, we checked into a little hotel at the base of the mountain in Canazei. It was so conveniently located, within twenty metres of the chairlifts more or less…but that’s only if you’re going skiiing. Ugh, so frustrating – but I’m definitely coming back one day, mark my words!

Besides that though, everything else was practically perfect. It snowed every single day of the week, and to be honest it was absolutely incredible! Even though I’ve been to the snow and seen it all before, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced it in such an intense and amazing way – LOVE.

The second morning, the scenery had completely changed from my initial impressions of the night, SO beautiful! Wandering around town, it was just generally such a cute place. There were heaps of different pasticcerie, bakeries and local market-type shops everywhere! This is Italy.

Up the mountain though, the scenery was utterly spectacular to the point that neither words nor pictures can’t adequately describe its grandeur. Sure, the weather was freezing but it was definitely worth it! Such a good week away, I can’t believe it went so quickly!

Coming home last night also marked the end of the Christmas-New Year’s holidays, so it’s been a little hectic on my end with school re-starting itself today. Although I’ve been thoroughly enjoying school here in Italy, I must say how much I’ve loved having the past two-and-a-half or so weeks off!

xxxxxxx

Serena

[Canazei – Dolomiti]

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Capodanno a Roma

2012 eventually arrived…happy new year!

Allora, una festa with friends from school among others was supposed to be held at home for NYE yesterday, and pretty much everything was set up and ready – however in the afternoon a few people bailed for whatever reason and subsequently the whole thing was called off. Vexing, yet as recompense I spent new year’s eve at the Colosseum in Rome.

As you’d expect, la metropolitana was packed with masses of people, but once we arrived it actually wasn’t as crowded as I’d expected. I guess the main difference was the fact that there wasn’t one centralised place where everyone gathered; rather it was just a huge celebration all around the city!

Vibe is definitely something I can’t describe adequately enough – all I can say is that the Romans know how to party! I fuochi d’artificio was spectacular, but to be honest I don’t think any city can ever rival Sydney. Given amateur fireworks are readily available from the shops everywhere, they were set off all throughout the night which was generally pretty exciting!

At midnight, we toasted spumante along with the rest of the city and once we got home, apparently it’s some sort of tradition to eat ‘cornetti’ (croissants), so in the end I went to bed after 3am. It was really fun though and a great start to the year, I’m really looking forward to 2012 and all that it brings!

xxxxxxx

Serena

Ps – as I mentioned briefly in my last post, we’re going to the mountains for a week so I won’t be able to update anything until I get back. Even though it looks so amazing, unfortunately I can’t go skiing due to restrictions with contracts, insurance and whatnot but hopefully it’ll be a relaxing time away!

[NYE ’11 at the Colosseum]

2011

I don’t think I’ve ever felt this behind the times…literally. While celebrations for the new year of 2012 have already begun around the world (it’s midnight in Sydney right now!), there’s still another ten hours to go before midnight arrives here in Rome (GMT+1). Sitting, waiting, wishing…

But besides time zones though, the timing of everything has been so perfect recently, it’s great! I should also point out the fact that today, ‘l’ultimo dell’anno’ marks my halfway point (give or take) here in Italy on exchange – 26 down, 26 to go!

Reflecting on what’s already past, the whole experience has honestly been so amazing, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed everything thus far. But I’m also really looking forward to and excited for part II – hurrah!

As a whole though, the year that’s [almost] over has been such a great year – for which I am so thankful to God for. I have the most incredible family and friends, what more could I possibly ask for?! And to anyone who’s reading this along with everyone else who has made 2011 the incredible year it’s been, thank you so much – it means so much to me!

So I’ve tied all the loose ends together; have my list of new year’s resolutions ready-to-go; calendar flipped; bags packed for a week away in the mountains and I’m all set. Now for 12am to actually arrive…tick, tick tick.

From what I can already anticipate though, 2012 is going to be another huge and memorable year with things like becoming legal and finishing high school underway! Until then though…buon anno, happy new year, bring on 2012!

xxxxxxx

Serena

[Nemi – cute little town overlooking the sea]

Vacanze Romane [Roman Holiday]

So it’s just occurred to me that I haven’t actually posted anything in Italian besides the occasional blog title, hence:

L’altro ieri ho guardato il film ‘Vacanze Romane’ (1953) interpretato da Gregory Peck e Audrey Hepburn. Mi sono divertita, la trama era tanto carina; però per me la parte migliore era quando stavo vedendo i posti che ho già visitato a Roma come Piazza di Spagna, Fontana di Trevi, Castel Sant’Angelo eccetera. Suppongo che le ‘vacanze romane’ siano esattamente ciò che sto avendo al momento! …è basta.

[The other night I watched ‘Roman Holiday’ (1953) starring Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn. I really enjoyed it, the plot was really sweet; but the best part was definitely seeing all the different places I’ve already visited around Rome, like the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Castle of Sant’Angelo etc. I suppose a ‘Roman holiday’ is exactly what I’m having at the moment!]

Alright in other news, late last night I watched Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) in the cinema which was pretty good, despite the fact that it was in Italian with no subtitles this time! I must say it was dubbed really, really well; something I didn’t expect given the quality of some other foreign/dubbed films! Surprisingly though, I understood enough of it with the help of slyly looking up the plot beforehand haha…

This morning was so productive – even though it’s nearly the end of the year I somehow managed to find the motivation to get some schoolwork finished! It felt so good…but there’s SO much that needs to be done in such a short space of time! In the late afternoon though, I went dress+shoe shopping for a new year’s eve party!

While I was there, I also decided to buy the book ‘Un giorno’ [One Day] by David Nicholls – in Italian. It should be a good read, and I’m pretty excited to see how much of it I actually understand once I get going!

Buona notte!

xxxxxxx

Serena

[Un giorno]

Una giornata bella

Today was surprisingly an extremely pleasant day! I guess it started off in a routinely fashion, but after having skyped one of the loveliest people you’ll ever meet (thanks, by the way) and going to the markets…it just got exponentially better.

So far, I’ve been to a few of the local markets and most of the stuff sold there is all pretty similar. Except for this one stall I saw at the very, very end today. It was SO exciting – and I seriously bought like the entire ‘bancarella’.

Lunch was even better than usual; but hey, I’m in Italy – it doesn’t really get much better than this anyway, and in the afternoon I went out with friends ‘in giro.’ It was a lot of fun, I ate the most AMAZING nutella crêpe in the world and just generally had a really enjoyable time. It’s been a good day!

Ci vediamo dopo!

xxxxxxx

Serena

[Mercatino di Genzano]

Buon Natale da Roma!

Christmas Eve: Yesterday I revisited the beautiful city of Rome and saw the most incredible places! Sure, I’d seen photos of places like St. Peter’s Basilica before, but I guess I didn’t quite realise the magnitude and splendour of these landmarks before I experienced them myself. To be honest, they’re absolutely magnificent – one definitely has to go and see Rome for themselves sometime!

So during the course of the day, I went to St. Peter’s Square, saw the Pantheon, walked all 138 of the Spanish Steps, threw my coins into the Trevi Fountain, and just generally embraced the festive Christmas vibe of places like Piazza Navona and the Piazza di Spagna, among others. Rome is one of the most amazing cities of the world in so many different ways!

In other news…Merry Christmas from Italy! I trust everyone had a lovely day regardless of your whereabouts and what time zone you’re currently in – remembering the true meaning of it all!

‘And they shall call him Immanuel – which means ‘God with us.’

xxxxxxx

Serena

PS to my dear family, it definitely felt a bit weird being so far from home today – and I wish we could have celebrated Christmas together instead of being separated over three different continents. At least our combined skype session made up for a large part of it though. I love you and miss you all!

[St Peter’s Basilica from St. Peter’s Square]

[All’interno – Basilica di San Pietro]

[Fontana di Trevi]

[Piazza di Spagna]

Vacanze

During the past few days, I guess nothing overly exciting or new has happened – but here I am blogging to keep you all updated anyway!

First to the weather: the temperature currently sits at about 2˚C in the daytime, however it definitely sinks to negative territories at night. To be quite honest, it’s freezing! Since my arrival though, I seem to be cherishing that extra minute of sleep every morning. Fortunately school is only a two-minute walk away and the teachers always arrive late!

On the way to school though, it’s slightly uphill and there are parts where it gets really, really slippery because there’s ice all over the ground. Alright, I haven’t stacked it as of yet, but definitely expect that in a post sometime soon!

In other news, tomorrow is the start of ‘le vacanze di Natale’ which also equates to the fact that I’m now officially on holidays! As per usual, we had a massive party at school to celebrate the end of the year – and I must say although it has certain downsides, one of the great things about staying in the same classroom throughout the day is that in this case, the party just stretched out as one, long, continuous event!

So while I’m really enjoying everything about school, I’m also really glad about the forthcoming break as I really need it. Having been immersed in such an environment where listening, understanding and speaking Italian is something I constantly have to do requires at least double (if not more) the amount of concentration. And hence, it’s fair to say that I’m exhausted!

Having said this, it’s been a lot of fun and I’ve really enjoyed every experience so far! Even though Italian is still really difficult I think I’m improving ever so slightly each day…well, hopefully at least!

xxxxxxx

Serena