Exploring Firenze

Ciao tutti!! (hello everyone)

I know it has been awhile since I have updated you all, but I have been feeling under the weather for the last few days. School officially started last Thursday, and Italian has definitely been difficult to pick up. Between the little Spanish I know and the two years of French I took in high school, I have been able to understand some words, but it also can make it a little more confusing at times. I keep catching myself saying merci instead of grazie. School has kept me pretty busy, but I still have been trying to find time to explore my new home.

Last Friday my friend Leighanie and I went into town to get an Italian sim card put into our phones. After waiting in line we learned that we needed our passports in order to get the card, which of course we didn’t have on us. We decided that we should make the best of it and explore our city. We started out at the Duomo and then walked down to the Ponte Vecchio. Words can’t describe how beautiful this city truly is. I still get excited thinking that this place is my home and I hope that feeling never wears off.

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I mean just look at this place… It takes my breath away!

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IMG_0252Florence is filled with tons of cool street art

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IMG_0234Even the little alleyways are gorgeous

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IMG_0316I took a picture of this door for you, Mom!

IMG_0276Oh the Ponte Vecchio!

IMG_0331And of course the day ended with a gorgeous sunset

 

Cinque Terre

Who knew that I would be going to the place at the top of my bucket list within the first week of arriving in Italy?! We woke up at 5:30 am and rushed down to the bus station. After a two hour bus ride and a few train rides we finally reached Cinque Terre. Let me just start by saying drop. dead. gorgeous.

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As we walked through the allyways I had a stupid smile plastered on my face the entire time. I probably looked pretty ridiculous. I just kept asking myself, “Are we really here? This is so unreal!” As we took the train from city to city the sight just kept getting better and better!  IMG_0053

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The water was that perfect aqua blue where you can see straight to the bottom.

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When I turned around and saw this view I felt as if I had walked straight into Pinterest. Literally postcard worthy.  IMG_0112 IMG_0120 IMG_0126

We found a cute little archway that led straight to one of the beaches. I just had to put my feet in to feel the water! It seriously felt like bathwater.

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Also while we were there I was able to try my first focaccia pizza. The mozzarella literally melted in your mouth! It honestly is probably one of the greatest things I have ever had in my entire life. I am also a sucker for pesto, so that made it even better.

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There were tons of beaches for swimming, but unfortunately I had forgotten my towel. I am definitely going to make it a point to return before I leave though!

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 And of course I had to finish the day off with some tiramisu gelato!!

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Cinque Terre is officially one of my favorite places in the world! I had the time of my life and can’t wait to return and explore it some more!!

Ciao from Florence!!

When I originally started this blog as a requirement for class, I never truly believed that I would actually go to Italy for a year. Now here I am writing to you from Florence!! I arrived here on Sunday evening and have been getting settled in for the past two days. I am so excited to share more about the school and my many travels to come. Adventure here I come!!

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This was my view as we were descending in to Florence. Gorgeous right?!

 

 

 

All Good Things Must Come to an End (kind of)

The main reason I started this blog was for a requirement for a class that I took this past quarter. As I have mentioned in my last post, it’s dead week so my quarter is basically over. That means no more required blog posts.

Overall I have enjoyed my blogging experience, so I don’t plan to stop, but I may not be posting as often. I plan to keep you updated on Italy and hope to keep in contact with all of you.

So now I’ll leave you a picture of my cat.

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Ta Ta for now!

Brain Food: Foods That Help You Study

As I had mentioned before, this week is Dead Week for us La Sierra University Students. So I thought that I would share some foods to increase your brain functions and to improve studying.

1. Eggs (Yolks included!)

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Egg yokes contain a nutrient called lutein that is often linked to cognitive function. Lutein is found in your blood stream, as well as your brain. Studies have shown that people with higher levels of lutein are able to process information quicker than those with less lutein. So whether you whether you whip up a quick omelet in the morning, or have some scrabbled eggs as a midnight snack, these babies are going to help you pass those finals!

2. Fish

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Salmon and other fatty fish such as mackerel or tuna contain a healthy fat called DHA. DHA is a major benefit for brain development as an early age, but it also is important throughout the rest of your life as well. Like the lutein found in eggs, DHA also helps improve your overall cognitive function, which helps your brain remember things. Fish is also an amazing source of protein, and protein has been shown to help the brain’s ability to be focused and alert. So even if you are in a rush, stop by your local sushi place and pick up a salmon roll to go!

3. Chocolate

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I know, what? Chocolate is good for you? Who knew. Studies have shown that people who consume a small amount of dark chocolate daily have improved verbal and visual memory skills. Dark chocolate how been shown to increase blood flow to your brain as well as your heart. It also increase cognitive function and chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), the same chemical your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love. PEA encourages your brain to release endorphins, so eating dark chocolate will make you feel happier. Finally, dark chocolate contains small amounts of caffeine as well, so instead of grabbing a monster at 2 am, have a little bit of chocolate.

4. Leafy Greens

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Leafy greens such as kale, broccoli, chard, collard greens, and spinach contain awesome sources of vitamin E and folate.  According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, dark leafy greens may protect against cognitive decline in older adults. This is attributed to the high folate content of the greens. Studies performed at Tufts University concluded that a diet high in folate protected against decline in verbal fluency and another cognitive test called spatial copying wherein subjects were asked to copy shapes and figures. So, grab a yummy salad or make yourself a green smoothie and feel that brain power increasing!

Happy studying everyone!

Destresser: Lorde

It is the week before dead week, so of course I am completely overwhelmed with giant projects. I am not one who deals with stress very well, it almost paralyzes me. I get to the point where my brain is done, and I can no longer think productively. So while deadlines creep closer and closer, I find myself trying to escape the stress.

Two things that help me keep my cool are lists and music. I feel so productive when I am able to cross things off of my to do list, even if there are still a hundred more things left to complete. While I’m working on projects, I love blasting my music. While this may not work for some, it soothes me.

Recently I have had Lorde’s new album, Pure Heroine on repeat. While she is most known for her songs Royals and Team, the rest of her album is also quite brilliant. I love her unique sound. Her voice is almost haunting. The song that I have been obsessed with recently is Bravado.

I hope that this song can bring some calm to your crazy. Happy studying!

Must Eat List: Italy

If you know me, you know I love food. I guess you could say that I am some what of a foodie. I literally live for food. If you ask me what I did over the past weekend, my response will be all the places I went to eat. So of course, when it comes to Italy, I am going to have a list of all the things I want to try while I am there.

Potato Pizza:

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Some of my friends went on a trip to Italy a few years ago and came back raving about this potato pizza. Ever since then I have been dreaming of it. Apparently it is a classic, and can be found in most restaurants around the country. Essentially it is just pizza dough topped with potatoes that are sliced almost paper thin, rosemary, sweet onions, and olive oil. Sounds like carb heaven to me!

Gnocchi:

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One of my favorite foods of all time is gnocchi. If we go to a restaurant and they have gnocchi on the menu, it’s pretty much 100% guaranteed that I will be ordering it. I don’t care if it is made from ricotta, flour, or potatoes, I love it. I can not wait to try to authentic, made  Italian kind.

Burrata:

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I love cheese. Burrata may be on the very top of my cheese list. Made from fresh mozzarella and cream, it is a very soft cheese. Whether it is served with fresh tomato, or eaten alone with a little bit of salt and olive oil, this stuff is to die for.

 

I could go on and on about the many other things I am so excited to taste. Shoot, I could have a whole post solely dedicated to desserts I want to try over there, but we’ll talk about that later…