My Italian Adventure- Part 4

DSCN0761Wednesday, June 12, 2013: 8:46 pm

Today was so much fun! We woke up early and caught a bus to Vatican City so we could go visit the inside of St. Peters Church. We reached the wall outside of the city and saw a huge crowd. We stood in line for a few minutes until we realized that the reason why we in such a large crowd that early in the morning was because Pope Francis was giving a speech today. A morning service of sorts since today was Wednesday. We decided against staying to see the speech as it was going to be another hour and a half before we were able to see him.

In a turn of an events we took a bus to the Roman Forum. It was more expansive than I thought it would be. We took a self-guided tour around the forum and it was so cool! I saw the original columns of the entrance to the Forum. I loved the history of it all. I thought it was very interesting that the area was originally a marsh and they had the technology back in that time to drain the marsh into the Tiber River. The area was so neat to hike through! It was so strange walking on the stones that people thousands of years ago walked on. It made me feel as if I was taking place in the making of history.

Once we made our way through the Forum we came out and there was the Colosseum in all of its gorgeous beauty! The Colosseum, just like the Forum, was larger than I expected! We walked around the outside of it and debated going inside, but the lines were so outrageous and we were all tired. However, the exterior was quite stunning! It was a grey color which was not surprising, but the fact that the structure has held up for so long is very impressive! I find it to be captivating the architectural skills of that era have stood the test of time and remained intact. In addition, I of course had to get my picture taken in front of the Colosseum a half a dozen times. There is no better way to prove something. Am I right? 😉

After the Colosseum we got on a bus to head back towards our apartment for lunch then a nap. Unfortunately, we got on the right bus going the wrong way so we went all the way to the end of the line only to have to turn back and retrace our steps towards our apartment. All in all we were on the bus for about an hour and half. None of us minded much, though, because we got to see the other part of Rome that we were not going to touch this trip. I also got a tiny bit of a nap until I realized, half awake, that I had a silly look on my face and thought that maybe waiting on my nap was a better idea.

Earlier my aunt and I went on a hunt for purses. I have been looking for a leather purse that will match the wallet I bought while in Florence. No such luck yet. Although, we did come across more street vendors with reasonably priced scarves. I really love scarves. Everyone has that one or two things they love to buy and are a sucker for. Mine are scarves and purses. I am proud to say that I bought eight scarves! Now I know you may be thinking, “Why on Earth would you buy that many?!”. My answer is simple. They were a good investment and because I can. So what? 😉 

Anyway! While we were out we also got gelato. I mean, of course! I got two flavors, Stracchiato (That is may not be how you spell it, but that is the closest guess I have!) It was a chocolate and vanilla mixture which within itself was delicious! The other flavor was eggnog. I so love eggnog and this was very yummy! It did taste different from American eggnog, but not in a bad way! I guess it is a good thing we walked 6 miles today! It definitely worked off that gelato for sure! I believe I have walked almost 30 miles on this trip. Every day has been 3-6 miles so on average I would say it would be about thirty. A high guess would be 45 miles.

So with that fact, It is very obvious that I am worn out, so I will write soon everybody!

arrivederci!

Beth:)

and one last one…

Yesterday was a very relaxed day. We only went to St. Peters Basilica in Vatican City. The Basilica was absolutely gorgeous! Out of all of the churches I visited on this trip, it was the most incredible. The ceiling was so spectacular and it felt like it was never-ending. They had many of the previous popes buried within the church, but unlike all of the other churches we visited there was a little door where u could go inside. The Basilica also had so many large statues that were breath-taking. It was my favorite church that we visited this trip.

Today I was able to go inside the Colosseum and wow. It was just wow. I thought it looked incredible and huge from the outside, but the inside was even more so! It was so neat seeing all of the little areas where spectators sat to watch the gladiator fights. Although with erosion it is somewhat difficult to picture the stadium and all of the seating.  I walked up to the middle section first and it was so steep. The stairs were at a higher incline than we are used to and the “flat” surfaces had an incline. I guess they did not use levels in early architecture! We were able to see the basements of the arena where they kept all of the gladiators who fought and the animals that fought with or against them. It was so neat to see all of the crevices of the basement. It was small compared to today’s size of an arena, but for the era, I can see how it would have been just awe-inspiring.

After the Colosseum my aunt and I went shopping for four hours or so. It was so much fun to walk in and out of the little alley ways that we would have never seen without our mini adventure. And by mini, I mean seven miles…Today’s grand total of walking was 10 miles. So, I am very tired and I can feel a heartbeat in my feet. Do not think that is natural! The adventure was a lot of fun and we poked our heads into many tiny little shops. ( I was looking for a purse.) We were on the hunt for whatever goodies we could find (and we found sooo many!)

Anyway, I hope you all have enjoyed my little travel journal for the past two weeks. It has been a very fast, exciting, and adventurous two weeks.I have loved every minute of it and I cannot thank my grandparents enough for giving me this wonderful gift and opportunity. I hope that one day I can come back and visit the parts of Italy I still have not seen, but for now, I am ready to go home. This country has been so wonderful and has taught me many lessons I would have never learned without a visit. I am so very blessed to have been given this trip. 🙂

Arrivederci,

Beth:)

My Italian Adventure- Part 3

RECAP TIMEEE

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Goodness, I have not written much lately! We visited the Uffizi, in Florence, on Friday. The Uffizi is an art museum that showcases many famous artists, one being Michelangelo.

On Saturday we headed to Venice on a two-hour train ride. Walking around Venice was so surreal. All of the canals through the city were absolutely adorable! Our hotel was within a minute of San Marcos Square and was very nice. I loved being in San Marcos Square a lot. It had a lovely ambiance that was enriched with the dueling orchestras on either side of the square. It was very nice to just sit back and listen while eating gelato. On our first day there we went inside of the Basilica. The basilica was gorgeous and the ceilings were amazing! The pictures were made out of mosaics and all gold. My favorite part of the basilica, however, was the fact that it housed the ashes of Saint Mark. You know, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John? Yeah…THAT Mark. It was so awesome!

Our next day in Venice was short, but incredible! We went for a gondola ride through the small and narrow canals as opposed to the Grand Canal. The Grand Canal has way too much traffic on it to be an enjoyable ride. Oh my goodness though, the gondola ride was everything I had imagined and more! The gondolier wore the striped shirt and the uniform hat! We found out that normally it cost extra for them to sing to you and we decided against that, but during a quiet spell, the gondolier starting whistling a melody to go along with the boat ride and while not a big gesture, was still amazing! He was also very informative and showed us where Vivaldi, Mozart, Casanova, and even, Angelina Jolie lived during their times in Venice.

Later that day we got back on the train and headed for Rome. The train ride was a four-hour ride, but I thought it went quickly! Once we arrived a the Roma Termini, we caught a cab to our apartment. I thought the taxi drivers were insane in Florence…then I experienced the ones in Rome. They are nuts! We arrived at about 4 pm so we decided against going out an exploring. However, yesterday was our first day out an about and it was so much fun! We visited the Trevi fountain which is so much more grand and expansive than  the pictures portray. I, of course, had to throw a coin into the fountain and make a wish. supposedly throwing a coin into the fountain also means you will visit Rome again one day. I would not be opposed to that idea at all! It was quite funny. We were walking through all of these ally ways and all of sudden…POOF… we come around the corner and there it is in all of its magnificent glory!

Yesterday we also visited the Pantheon. I loved it! I had learned all about it during Western Civilization class this year and there it was! What I find interesting about it is that there is a hole at the top of it (on purpose) and it is angled in such a way that rain never or rarely gets inside! Fun fact of the day right there! I also did not know that the Pantheon is a church! Who even knew that?! Not me! Fun fact numero dos for the day! 🙂 I enjoyed walking all around and seeing the art inside.

Today we visited Vatican city, which means yes, I was in yet another country today and I did not even have to show my passport! Although, it was like going through airport security all over again! I loved Vatican City! We went through the museum kind of quickly because we were there for the main attraction… the Sistine Chapel. Which, oh wow…that is all I can say. It was fantastic! Michelangelo did such a spectacular job. I found out that there had been so many candles and oil lamps used in there that until the 80’s or 90’s, the ceiling had more or less been significantly darker than the original had been. Then they recovered the Chapel and the colors were so vivid that art critics did not believe that those were the original shades. The people in charge of recovering the Chapel verified that the colors were in fact, part of Michelangelo pallet. They figured this out by looking at work of Michelangelo’s students. The fact that they could verify that is incredible. While we were there we also walked on the grounds of St. Peters Church. I saw were the pope stands when he is delivering services. Tomorrow I believe we will be going back to the church to see the inside. I think that will be fun!

The people are different here than the people in Florence. For one, the people on the streets trying to sell purses (not out of a tent, as they are carrying them) are fewer than those in Florence. Still as direct, but there are less, so we encounter them less often. Personally I like that…I respect that they are out there trying to make a living, but after being asked for the hundredth time if I would like to buy a purse, I start to get slightly annoyed… bus alas, in a big city, what do you expect?! I am not complaining! I am in one of the greatest cities in the world with the best people! This city has been thriving for thousands of years and I had the absolute privilege of getting to see it and I could not even  be happier! 🙂

Well, that is all I have for tonight.

Until tomorrow (hopefully…I need to be more regular than this)

arrivederci,

Beth 🙂

My Italian Adventure: Days 12 & 13

Yesterday was a very relaxed day. We only went to St. Peters Basilica in Vatican City. The Basilica was absolutely gorgeous! Out of all of the churches I visited on this trip, it was the most incredible. The ceiling was so spectacular and it felt like it was never-ending. They had many of the previous popes buried within the church, but unlike all of the other churches we visited there was a little door where u could go inside. The Basilica also had so many large statues that were breath-taking. It was my favorite church that we visited this trip.

Today I was able to go inside the Colosseum and wow. It was just wow. I thought it looked incredible and huge from the outside, but the inside was even more so! It was so neat seeing all of the little areas where spectators sat to watch the gladiator fights. Although with erosion it is somewhat difficult to picture the stadium and all of the seating.  I walked up to the middle section first and it was so steep. The stairs were at a higher incline than we are used to and the “flat” surfaces had an incline. I guess they did not use levels in early architecture! We were able to see the basements of the arena where they kept all of the gladiators who fought and the animals that fought with or against them. It was so neat to see all of the crevices of the basement. It was small compared to today’s size of an arena, but for the era, I can see how it would have been just awe-inspiring.

After the Colosseum my aunt and I went shopping for four hours or so. It was so much fun to walk in and out of the little alley ways that we would have never seen without our mini adventure. And by mini, I mean seven miles…Today’s grand total of walking was 10 miles. So, I am very tired and I can feel a heartbeat in my feet. Do not think that is natural! The adventure was a lot of fun and we poked our heads into many tiny little shops. ( I was looking for a purse.) We were on the hunt for whatever goodies we could find (and we found sooo many!)

Anyway, I hope you all have enjoyed my little travel journal for the past two weeks. It has been a very fast, exciting, and adventurous two weeks.I have loved every minute of it and I cannot thank my grandparents enough for giving me this wonderful gift and opportunity. I hope that one day I can come back and visit the parts of Italy I still have not seen, but for now, I am ready to go home. This country has been so wonderful and has taught me many lessons I would have never learned without a visit. I am so very blessed to have been given this trip. 🙂

Arrivederci,

Beth:)

My Italian Adventure: Days 6-10

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Goodness, I have not written much lately! We visited the Uffizi, in Florence, on Friday. The Uffizi is an art museum that showcases many famous artists, one being Michelangelo.

On Saturday we headed to Venice on a two-hour train ride. Walking around Venice was so surreal. All of the canals through the city were absolutely adorable! Our hotel was within a minute of San Marcos Square and was very nice. I loved being in San Marcos Square a lot. It had a lovely ambiance that was enriched with the dueling orchestras on either side of the square. It was very nice to just sit back and listen while eating gelato. On our first day there we went inside of the Basilica. The basilica was gorgeous and the ceilings were amazing! The pictures were made out of mosaics and all gold. My favorite part of the basilica, however, was the fact that it housed the ashes of Saint Mark. You know, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John? Yeah…THAT Mark. It was so awesome!

Our next day in Venice was short, but incredible! We went for a gondola ride through the small and narrow canals as opposed to the Grand Canal. The Grand Canal has way too much traffic on it to be an enjoyable ride. Oh my goodness though, the gondola ride was everything I had imagined and more! The gondolier wore the striped shirt and the uniform hat! We found out that normally it cost extra for them to sing to you and we decided against that, but during a quiet spell, the gondolier starting whistling a melody to go along with the boat ride and while not a big gesture, was still amazing! He was also very informative and showed us where Vivaldi, Mozart, Casanova, and even, Angelina Jolie lived during their times in Venice.

Later that day we got back on the train and headed for Rome. The train ride was a four-hour ride, but I thought it went quickly! Once we arrived a the Roma Termini, we caught a cab to our apartment. I thought the taxi drivers were insane in Florence…then I experienced the ones in Rome. They are nuts! We arrived at about 4 pm so we decided against going out an exploring. However, yesterday was our first day out an about and it was so much fun! We visited the Trevi fountain which is so much more grand and expansive than  the pictures portray. I, of course, had to throw a coin into the fountain and make a wish. supposedly throwing a coin into the fountain also means you will visit Rome again one day. I would not be opposed to that idea at all! It was quite funny. We were walking through all of these ally ways and all of sudden…POOF… we come around the corner and there it is in all of its magnificent glory!

Yesterday we also visited the Pantheon. I loved it! I had learned all about it during Western Civilization class this year and there it was! What I find interesting about it is that there is a hole at the top of it (on purpose) and it is angled in such a way that rain never or rarely gets inside! Fun fact of the day right there! I also did not know that the Pantheon is a church! Who even knew that?! Not me! Fun fact numero dos for the day! 🙂 I enjoyed walking all around and seeing the art inside.

Today we visited Vatican city, which means yes, I was in yet another country today and I did not even have to show my passport! Although, it was like going through airport security all over again! I loved Vatican City! We went through the museum kind of quickly because we were there for the main attraction… the Sistine Chapel. Which, oh wow…that is all I can say. It was fantastic! Michelangelo did such a spectacular job. I found out that there had been so many candles and oil lamps used in there that until the 80’s or 90’s, the ceiling had more or less been significantly darker than the original had been. Then they recovered the Chapel and the colors were so vivid that art critics did not believe that those were the original shades. The people in charge of recovering the Chapel verified that the colors were in fact, part of Michelangelo pallet. They figured this out by looking at work of Michelangelo’s students. The fact that they could verify that is incredible. While we were there we also walked on the grounds of St. Peters Church. I saw were the pope stands when he is delivering services. Tomorrow I believe we will be going back to the church to see the inside. I think that will be fun!

The people are different here than the people in Florence. For one, the people on the streets trying to sell purses (not out of a tent, as they are carrying them) are fewer than those in Florence. Still as direct, but there are less, so we encounter them less often. Personally I like that…I respect that they are out there trying to make a living, but after being asked for the hundredth time if I would like to buy a purse, I start to get slightly annoyed… bus alas, in a big city, what do you expect?! I am not complaining! I am in one of the greatest cities in the world with the best people! This city has been thriving for thousands of years and I had the absolute privilege of getting to see it and I could not even  be happier! 🙂

Well, that is all I have for tonight.

Until tomorrow (hopefully…I need to be more regular than this)

arrivederci,

Beth 🙂

Week in Review

Hey everyone! I hope you are all doing well!

I know I said I was going to do a daily post of “things I hear in the hallway”. Unfortunately, right when I wanted to write about it, I stopped hearing interesting tidbits. So, alas, that idea turned out poorly! The last week has been unlike a normal one. With the events of last weekend mixed with my slow classes, I had an interesting week…and by interesting I mean one filled with a multitude of emotions.

This week I had to prepare for my Solo and Ensemble competition with my violin piece. I originally was not too thrilled to do this competition as it was just part of my grade. However, I practiced all week a lot and got a higher score than I thought I was going to receive. A score of 1 means you go to the state competition. I received a 2. Not bad! I had prepared myself to get a 3, so a 2 was quite unexpected!  Many of my friends played so well that they received a score of 1! Which means I am friends with some VERY talented musicians! However, I was happy that I did not get a 1. I am not only not majoring in music, but the state competition is on the same day as Prom. No thank you. I do wish my classmates the greatest of luck when they so go to state!

I think the best part of the experience was my music teacher telling me that this was the best he had ever heard me play. Well that right there is a confidence booster. Especially when it comes from someone who has a few masters pertaining to music, teaching, and composition!

Before I could make the much anticipated appearance at Solo and Ensemble, I went to school. On a Saturday morning… at 8 a.m. Bright and Early. Now, many of you are probably asking, “why on Earth would you put yourself through that on a Saturday?!” My friends, let me explain. You are currently reading the blog of an overachiever. I had a practice AP English Language and Composition exam this morning until 12. Okay so I am definitely not a complete overachiever. If I was that I would have also received a National Merit Scholarship as 3 of my friends did and I would have gotten a 1 on my solo. So  no, not a complete overachiever. However, I do want to feel prepared for the test come May. I need a three on the exam. I do not think that will be too difficult, but I do not want to take a chance on messing up because I did not prepare enough.

On a side note, I some new, amazing music.

Here are my favorites this week:

So Why Should I Volunteer?

Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation’s compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain loving one another. 

~Erma Bombeck

I love to volunteer. I don’t think I could go a month without volunteering somewhere. I do not volunteer because it makes me look good  or so people will think I am a good person. I do it for myself because it makes ME feel good. I love the feeling I get knowing that I am potentially helping someone. I haven been involved in numerous volunteer activities. In fact, I just participated in one today!

Volunteer activities I have participated in during the past few months:

  1. Setting up a Christmas light display in a park
  2. Working at my local library to sign id’s up for the summer reading program

    English: NORFOLK (Feb. 19, 2009) Sailors sort ...

    English: NORFOLK (Feb. 19, 2009) Sailors sort through food items checking expiration dates while volunteering at The Food Bank of Southeastern Virginia. The volunteer project was part of a two-day training conference at Naval Station Norfolk to promote the Navy’s Community Service Program. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Maddelin Angebrand/Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  3. Stuffing backpacks with school supplies
  4. Packing shoe boxes with essential items for children in need
  5. and this weekend…I will be sorting food at a food pantry.

I think volunteering is such a good activity to be involved in. Not only does it make you feel great and give you something to do, (as if we do not already have jam-packed schedules) but it also helps people in need and give back to our communities who need the unpaid help. When I volunteer, I know that many people are benefiting from what I and other volunteers are helping with.

Volunteering is so much fun too! You meet very kind people who are there to do the same thing as you. You all want to accomplish the same goal.

I am not trying to promote myself as a goody who just LOVES TO HELP EVERYONE.. I mean I do, but I am not trying to promote that. What I am trying to promote, however, is how wonderful the community can benefit as well as you, the volunteer-y.

I wish more people would realize how great volunteering is and would give a little time a week to help someone or an organization. It is such a great, fun, and even exciting thing to do.

Just wanted to tell everyone how much I love volunteering… did you see my excitement?!

Thanks for reading! It means a lot to know you all read. 🙂

Do any of you all have any volunteer activities you participate in? Please comment and let me know, I would be so excited to hear!

Have a splendid weekend!

Beth:)

Homecoming Weekend…Part 2

This was the best homecoming I have ever had! I had such a great time at the dance and it was a great way to leave my Homecoming memories.

10:00 am: The Parade

Yesterday, I went to the parade at 10 am to see Emily wave to “the peasants”; Emily was voted Homecoming Queen. It was so exciting to have a good friend receive that honor. It was my first (and last) Homecoming Parade. It was fun to see all the little kids chasing the flying candy that was chucked out of cars and floats. At one point a bunch of candy was thrown towards me and Emily’s cousin was right next to me collecting all the pieces of Tootsie Rolls. I gave him all the pieces next to me. Emily’s brother was filming the parade and filmed me giving the little guy the candy. I will forever be in the video “doing my good deed for the day” as it was recorded in the video. It was a fun experience. The band did great, the Homecoming Court looked awesome, and the clubs and sports showed their spirit!

2:30 pm: Time To Get Ready

One of my really good friends, Brittni came over so we could get ready for the dance together. It was so much fun and entertaining to get ready with someone else and have someone to talk to when I was getting ready. Doing our hair was quite the experience as well! We were both nervous about our hair messing up and spent about an hour doing, fixing, and hair spraying pieces. Honestly, we probably used and eighth of my hairspray between the two of us! Yet, it was so worth it! our hair turned out amazing! When we finally finished getting ready, we took some pictures. This was a great experience for my last homecoming at my school.

5:00 pm: Show Time

My date (aka my boyfriend(Tj) for a year and half) came over to my house with his family so we could take some pictures and so I could pin the boutonniere and he could put on my corsage. Let me say, pinning a boutonniere is…interesting. This would be the third one I’ve pinned and I think I did a very nice job!

After we took some pictures at my house, we went to meet up with a group at a park. The pictures came out so nice and the background was beautiful. (When I get the pictures, I will put them up!) We spent about 45 minutes at the park getting pictures in this, that, and the other angle. I love taking pictures though, so it wasn’t bad and not to mention the weather was perfect!

7:00 pm-…: Dance

The dance itself was really fun! I got to dance with my friends and Tj and it was such a blast. There’s not much to say about the dance itself except we danced… 🙂 Everyone looked so nice and pretty. I wish we all wore those outfits to school everyday. Just keeping it classy!

After the dance, Tj and I went out to eat.We were so hungry too! neither of us had eating in 8 or 9 hours. After dinner we went back to my house and just hung out and talked about the funny things that had happened at the dance. It was such a nice way to end the night.

I really love Homecoming and dances. The entire school comes together to have a great night and we never fail to have a great time.

Any Homecoming stories? I would love to hear!:)

Have a great week!

Beth:)