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I can't get over my luck!! This life is one absolutely awesome adventure!! Can it get any better than this?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Driving and Security....

I finished my skirt but was hoping to have a cleaned up picture of me wearing it to post with the "making of" photos. I have been sewing by hand in the car...in the house...outside on the deck. Any place I can sit and work in peace on it. We have had a rash of illness though that have prevented this log from being my focus for now.

I started today though with a bit of time focused on two necessary activities to be ready for Italy studies. I worked on where to get my International Drivers License and security in the land of pickpockets.

I found out that the State Department says that all the ads that pop up trying to sell me my International Drivers Permit are scams. The only US places allowed to give them out include AAA motor club and another relialble motor club.

On Monday, if everyone is healthy enough, Spencer and I are heading down to AAA to get our IDP. It should be a breeze!

I also found that the best way to avoid losing everything to a pickpocket is to wear a money belt. I found the Rick Steve's silk money belt with two zippered compartments sounds like the best case scenario and is only around $12 at his website and on Amazon. Sounds like he best way to go. I want any of my most important ID to be tucked into my pans or skirt. I know I won't have much money to worry about, so that will be easy to control.

I am so excited!! I am studying in one of the most beautiful places on earth!!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Taxis and Hotels...

For my trip I have to make sure I have my night booked in a hotel and a taxi or translportation to Siena.

I have to make sure that Spencer and I are not roaming around late night with our luggage so I am looking into my accomodations now.

I found a great rate via  the internet but have no idea yet if this really is a great place.....
 http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hotel-Ferretti-Firenze/64693986272?sk=wall
http://www.visitflorence.com/moving-around-florence/by-taxi.html

I am getting very excited...

What to bring....


Since I am going to study in Siena this next term I am in the midst of asking myself this exact question...what am I going to take while Spencer, my 10 year old and I live in Siena, Italy for 11 months while I study the EU and Italy as well as its culture and language.

I am bringing basic attire and of course my son. I am even bringing my EX, Gordon for 2 weeks to help us make sure we are settled and happy. And my boyfriend will be there the last two weeks when I am doing my finals.

I have been a little nervous since I am not much of a fashion person yet I am going into a society where the women my age are done to the hilt when getting groceries. I had to do research on what they wear so I can be somewhat focused on my studies. And I found that I can probably bring all my clothes in one bag. No need to bring any blow dryers or appliances since Italy is the only European country to run on a 3 pronged plug and its voltage was off from everyone else there. I am bringing 2 hair brushes though, they work everywhere thank goodness!

My son wants his Legos, so we are squeezing some into his bag, as well as hoping they are cheaper there, to fill in what he can't bring.

To be ready for the culture shock, we are watching the TV station there in Siena every day (it puts my son to sleep) and I am reading Italian financial news as well. My son is going to have to sink or swim since his school chums will not have had their first English lessons yet...and he is very fuzzy on his Italian.

I am taking two or three books and readying myself for whatever will be my routine there, though through Google Maps I have been able to virtually walk around Il Campo and the Duomo where our apartment is located. I have been doing this to help me to not get lost when I get there.

As part of my Grad School work I will need to complete 2 years abroad to get my PhD in Anthropology so this  is not just fun, (which it definitely is), it is pulling me towards a bigger goal.

This was an assignment that I turned in this morning for my Anhropology course this morning.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My clothes....

I had a few yards of a cheery orange fabric and a pattern I bought last summer with my sister Trisha. Today while getting Manny's X-rays, (he has been very sick adn home from work), I bought some red piping and round red buttons. I am modifying the pattern so I could ruin everything but I want something that is "Terri"...I will pos some pictures when I am further along. I want something that looks cheerful like Amy Adams in the Muppet Movie. Let's hope this works out...I will post even if it doesn't to be honest. I haven' made something for me like this since before I left Sonora...my purple dress with red fuschia blossoms that reminded me of my Aunt Winnie who grew fuschias in her back yard in Oakland...the dress has princess seams and has lines that looks like it is from the last decade...it always gets compliments when I wear it though..here's hoping it works out..

Monday, January 9, 2012

Nervous...

It makes me nervous that each morning, I only understand about 20-30% of what they are saying and have to check the English language version to KNOW what is going on there economically...

But  it pays to have a clue, I guess...I am going to be in Siena in 3 months...I have to get better faster....


http://www.italiaoggi.it/video/video.asp?dettaglio=true&tipo=italiaoggi&SOT=TG&ST=201201061003019489&STBR=300&p=y#

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Help riding to the rescue!!

    Thank Goodness I have a buddy with tons of fashion sense!! She sent me a personal list of what I need to get going on a wardrobe for the schoolterm that I will be living in Siena, Italy!! It probably is a list I hsould have had anyway to live in any place but it sounds exactly like what I am going to need to survive and keep my mind on my studies instead of how out of style I could be!!

     Looking at the list I have a pair of jeans and black pants, (that are incredibly comfy!!)...I will keep my eyes peeled for a pair of skinny jeans...I don't have any yet, though I did wear hem back in the day!!

     It jus makes me amazingly grateful to have such wise voices from my high school in my life...it sure doesn' hurt to lean on them and use their wisdom to get by in this time and place too!! I send my love to Carol K and Laura M...they always had a clue!
http://www.newspapers.jobingreece.com/greek/

This was my first try at reading a Greek paper!! It took me forever to negotiate just one want ad!! I am going to have to really work on this.....

Foreign Gionali

http://www.repubblica.it/economia/2012/01/08/news/cameron_tobin-tax-27759923/?ref=HREA-1

Today is my first day reading the Italian and Greek papers to make sure that I am up to date on my reading in Greek and Italian. I understood most of this article but very little of the Greek. If my schedule works out, I will be pushing for Greece in Fall and need to be getting ready now for that adventure too. Manny says I should just work on one language at a time, but I think it is practical, (and fun!) to be getting geared up for both!! Besides 3 months after we get back from Italy we will be leaving for the Athens, "Green District" of Mets.

I can barely contain my excitement when I wake up in the morning!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Italian Studies....

     Today we go to another class at Aux Trois Pommes in Santa Cruz, where Spencer will work on his Italian to be ready to go to Italian elementary school while he is there in Siena. Apparently they don't have English lessons yet at his age so the teacher told us to not expect the children to know much English at school. Hence a bit of a harder try on our part to get our language up to speed.

     We have been playing Italian games on the computer and hopefully that will help, but we are in for a great adventure. I hope he comes back being pretty fluent since he is so young.

     When I think back on the Terri who tried really hard to succeed in Sonora.....what I was striving for, I already have attained. Adventure, Education and a certain amount of self esteem. I can feel some success at this point...it has been alot of work but it sure has been alot of fun too.....I guess any investment in ourselves is a wise investment.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Heaven Sent Fashion Guru!!

     While I was researching last night about my Siena Study trip, I started asking the more mundane but mandatory questions, like what are they wearing in Siena now? ....For my age group?

....And the answers unnerved me! Apparently a woman my age should be stylish and careful in her dress. As anyone who knows me can attest, without my sisters and Ex, I barely pull together "tidy" much less "stylish."

At my first small fashion boutique, I tried on uber expensive "sweatshirts" that were longer then waist length and had really cool hoods and sleeves....but alas, $225 is too much for a poor college student, and besides, they said no one wears sweats or shorts there. The lady working in that shop was gracious and sweet and did not make me feel like I was out of my league or older then her normal clientele, but I probably won't be back...
     
       But I lucked out at the next shop and found simply the most helpful person at a place called The Twist in downtown Santa Cruz!! The saleswoman was splendid and though very young, had an amazing knack for picking out things for me to try on....she had awesome taste!! She found things for me that made me look elegant and classy!! If you go into the Twist on Pacific Avenue look for Britt to get real help!! And on top of it all the place has layaway!! I hope her boss realizes what a spectacular employee she is!!

I have to drag Manny down tomorrow and have him look at me in the clothes I tried on.

Thanks to Twist and Britt, I don't feel so insecure anymore about how I am going to look while shopping for jobs in Italy and going to school.

New Adventures on the Horizon....

I am delighted to still be in Santa Cruz, and starting an adventurous New Year here in the happy city by the Monterey Bay. I have somewhat exact plans on the horizon and clear ones down the road.
I am still at Oregon State University, though I am no longer trying for a Political Science degree since the department didn't seem to have enough clarity. Now I am seeking a degree in Liberal Studies with a specialization in International Studies.
As part of my quest to get into grad school, I am shooting for time abroad. I also am excited about gathering some practice time in the languages I have been studying. I have two years of Italian and also have over a year of Arabic. Yet thanks to the Arab Spring, I am not so sure I belong there studying now.
I am grateful to be scheduled to study in Siena, Italy this Spring.

I kept jumping through the hoops without any chance of affording it, and then I got the Gilman Scholarship!

So I am holding my hat and hanging on for the ride...Siena, here I come.