Tag Archives: Italy

Seven Days

This will most likely be my last post from Italy, and that thought makes it feel incredibly real that I am actually leaving. I have spent the past 4 months in a new place, and have learned to make it my home. I can say I don’t do well with change, but 4 months is just enough time to get used to a new place, and now I am leaving it. 

I have certainly had good times, great times, and bad times. Luckily, I have made good friends here that could distract me from that when it made me sad, and I hope I was able to do the same for them. My four months here have not been perfect, I missed my family a lot, my home and my friends. Even though the bad days came, and sometimes in groups, I can say I will never regret putting my home life on hold for four months to be here. 

I have had nights that I will never forget, as well as meals, of course the meals! Some of the friends I made I know I am not saying goodbye to forever. I have learned so much about myself, more than I expected to. While I may keep those experiences off the blog, I can say some things I learned I am not happy about and hope to change, while others made me a new person, and a better person. 


The feeling of leaving is very bittersweet. I cannot wait to get home to everyone who constantly reassures me that they are waiting for me, but at the same time I can’t fathom leaving this new home, and not knowing when I will get to come back. 

I have just a few last adventures to share with you through photos,

Girls of Piazza Stazione take Cinque Terre:





one of the most breathtaking views I have ever seen


There’s something very special about the Italian coast, it makes you fall in love. 



This weekend is one of the very lasts. We still have next weekend but I cannot fathom doing anything but running around the city and eating and packing. This weekend was Easter, which Florentines take very seriously. My entire apartment left me this weekend, so I had to come up with some new Easter festivities by myself. I am not one to enjoy multiple days of alone time, but I can say that I think it was just what I needed this weekend. I did a lot of reflecting and adventuring alone, and I think that is how I needed my semester to wind down. Although I spent most days alone, Easter was spent with friends. We had a lovely potluck brunch which was INCREDIBLE, complete with blood orange mimosas, oh yes. I was really missing my family on that day, I have never had to skip a holiday with them, but being here with new friends felt very comforting. I spent the rest of Easter with all new friends, from many different countries and states. 




Easter in Florence is a really BIG deal. Everyone gathers around the Duomo, mass is done inside, while all the tourists line up at the gate outside to wait for the ‘explosion of the cart’. The explosion of the cart is a Florentine tradition, where a cart is led through the city ending at the Duomo where it sits until mid way through mass it is lit on fire, exploding all of its fireworks. It’s a magical experience. I waited at the Duomo very early in the morning, so I spent most of my time taking pictures of the strangers around me. 



Being here this semester has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I will never forget the city, the people, the food. Italy, I will be back for you and see you soon Texas!



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Photo Dump

I feel so bad for not posting in so long! I now understand why so many students neglect their blogs while studying abroad, you get so busy! I realized there were so many pictures I have not posted from other trips and events I have done!

So this post is exactly what it is called, a big ol’ photo dump!

I also created a website for my photography, yay!



The following are from Siena, San Gminiano, Venice, and a few random things around Florence





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My last three weeks here have started, and I seem to be doing a lot more traveling than I expected. I hope I can keep up!

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The Real Break

Today is March 16th, and it is a warm Sunday afternoon. In just six short weeks I will be spending this afternoon packing my Italian life and making plans for my last night. 

It is hard to believe that the past six weeks have gone by so quickly and tells me just how quickly the next few ones will be, especially once my roommates and I start knocking things off our bucket list. Tonight, we are going to a Fiorentina soccer game, that’s on the list. 

Most things I have done recently are also bucket list worthy. I have taken a few day trips, Siena and San Gminiano, which I meant to blog about…the week after, and now it has been four. Quickly after that came midterms, school is not too serious here but I did still have projects to finish up and papers to write, so I got a little busy not leaving much time for myself to blog. 

After the projects were turned in, I fled the country. I spent a week in London, which was very different. I plan to recap my life over the next few weeks and make it up with some incredible blog posts. However, this post goes out to the most recent week I have had. The week after spring break. Most people were coming back from incredible travels, sad about getting back to class and regular life, but I had been waiting for Sunday after spring break for quite some time now because that meant that Trent was going to be here. When I had to say goodbye to my man three months ago it was “see you in four months”. I did not know that he would end up getting to join me in this beautiful country for a week. 

He arrived Sunday evening and our reunion at the bus stop gave me the warm fuzzy feelings I had been needing. We spent the week roaming around the city so that I could show him my favorite restaurants, streets, and little spots to lay in the sun. We spent so much time laying in the sun because the weather this week was INCREDIBLE, by far the best I have experienced since being here. 

We took one day trip to Cinque Terre, which was one of the highlights of the week. I never thought I would get to see such an incredible place, with such an incredible person. 




Were pretty cute. 


These photos were just a glimpse of our little vacation we had together. Today Trent is back in America and I have six more weeks until I get to return. It was definitely hard to say goodbye and not be able to just hop on the plane back with him, I am starting to get a little antsy to get back home. But I still love it here and can’t wait to take full advantage of my remaining six weeks. 


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San Valentin

Today is dia de San Valentin, or as we call it in the states, valentines day.

We know it as a day filled with red flowers, chocolates and eventually some belly aches and if you are lucky some belly rubs. I was lucky this year, but in a different way.

Florence doesn’t celebrate the way that Americans do. I was not constantly reminded of the somewhat tacky holiday today, but reminded with all the love I saw. I swear people said Florence was romantic and today really showed me. The weather has gotten a lot nicer this week– we all needed some cheering up- and I found myself a little local valentine- Sydney Vize. She lives with me and is a truly great friend I am lucky to have spent so much time with here! I could say it’s because she’s one of the only girls from Texas.. But I admit it’s more than that!

We spent our day walking through the citu, it was CROWDED today. Tourist season seems to have begun early this year… But the city was also celebrating the day in it’s unique ways. We spent quite a bit of time in piazza republicca where there was a woman singing opera, and later a man playing the cello. Artists were creating portraits and men were selling flowers, it was very old fashioned.

We finally went to a restaurant/caffe we have been wanting to try called Gilli. While it is over priced, it’s got a great outdoor atmosphere, so we splurged.


I had a caffe al ginseng— still not sure what it was… But small and delicious.

Sydney had a cappuccino and we split a gotta donna caaaa? Something.
Custard, almonds, flour? What else do you need. It was my Friday pastry.




We spent the entirety of the sunshine walking around town. When I got home I had a text from sweet sweet boyfriend asking if my gift had arrived… Well, if you have been abroad you may know surprised are HARD to keep surprises. I knew something was coming but had no idea what… So I ran back to school and there they were! A bouquet of the prettiest red tulips.. My face turned into a red tulip when I grabbed em.



Ain’t they pretty?
Sweet boyfriend thinking about me 5,636 miles away from him.

Sydney and I continued our evening with a dinner reservation al due ( for two).




One thing I have failed to mention in my valentines day post is the all mighty chocolate festival. It has been here a week. Across the street from my house. I’m a chocoholic. Can you see where this is heading?


Have a looksie

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Even though I was missing my man I had an incredible day in the city.

I will go eat my chocolate covered fruits now…


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28 days

I have been in Florence now for a month. 4 weeks as of last Wednesday and it has flown by. I have shared most of my important adventures with you and I hope that I can continue to share you with you in my remaining 3 months.

It has rained so much here and if you know me you know how much I love the sunshine and warm weather, so this has not been easy. I get out of class and want to just go cuddle in my bed, and I do. I originally felt bad about it, but it’s what I want to do in the lousy weather so why not just do what I want to do!
However, I have made some small goals to feel accomplished.

One: try a new pastry every Friday.
I have done this for three weeks now. Sadly I could not even tell you the names of them because they aren’t even listed anywhere, I use broken Italian to point and say ‘uno’, it works.

This one is like a chocolate cookie roll with cream on the inside. It was good, not too sweet which I liked!

I regret not taking a photo of the one from this Friday because it was delicious, but it was like a flattened sweetened flakey break, like a croissant but with a glaze, then folded with some chocolate in the center. This one was a bit too sweet for me but Sydney and I really enjoyed sitting in the loft of the cute cafe!


I think my next endeavor will be a cannoli! Although that might be too much crema for my little tummy, good thing they have miniatures….

Along with dessert, I have had a lot of incredible food recently. When I first got here I was not that impressed. Obviously the food was good but it didn’t blow me away, especially for how much I was paying for it. I learned that the better food for the better price was out of the center of the city, so usually across the river.
The other night my housemates and I went to Osteria Santo Spirito. Go. You must.
They let you order small portions for a cheaper price, so you can order many things!
We got a bottle of wine to share and each ordered a small portion salad, which honestly was a big enough meal for me BUT I was on a mission. I came to this restaurant specifically for their formaggio (cheese) gnocchi with truffle oil. So I got a small portion of that, and boy was that a BIG small portion.


OH BABY. Look at that baked cheese. I wish I could bring it all home with me.

Since my mind is clearly on food, I am excited to say that the chocolate festival has begun. For 9 days, artisan chocolates have booths providing you with ANYTHING chocolate you could crave. Did I mention it’s across the street from my house?!
A post will certainly come soon from that….

I am currently writing this post at “the American coffee shop” by my apartment. I know it’s totally lame to be doing this but when a girl needs a comforting soy chai and bagel…
It’s nice to be able to sit, sip, and relax.

Now here is a big photo dump:

Aperitivo: €3 wine and all you can eat snacks.

Boboli gardens from inside pitti palace. It was raining of course.








My spring break is coming up! That means midterms are due and planning my trip. Easy-peasy.

It also means I have a visitor coming, and I CANNOT wait to share this beautiful city.

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Vintage Seleczione

Sundays were never my day. In the past, Sundays have meant homework, too much television, and saying goodbye to those I cared about. It is the start of a new week, but it always seemed to be the end for me. I now understand the rather random band name ‘Taking Back Sunday’, because I am taking it back! I am going to start embracing it as the beginning of the week. As it should be. 

Today is Sunday. 26 de gennaio, 2014, and it was an incredible day. 

I finally left the house before noon. It needed to happen at some point, and this was the second day in a row of pure cloudless sunshine, I couldn’t NOT take advantage of it. The weather has been so cold, overcast, and damp. I needed the sun to uplift me this weekend and it did. 

I got up, already excited for the day just because it was SUNNY. New friend Riley and I went to Stazione Leopolda, which was a warehouse. It reminded me of the winter and spring street studios in Houston. We went to Vintage Selecion-Vintage Selection. It was a giant vintage market that only pictures can fully describe. BUT when people talk about beautiful italian fashion, beautiful Italian peoeple, and more. Well, this is where they were. All here, and all beautiful. 





There was an art exhibit in one part of the warehouse that was completely blocked off. We entered and a very eerie music was playing, with drafts of cold wind. There art pieces were all made from garbage. Chicken wire, glass, etc. 







I think finished out my afternoon on the river for a nice job. If you are wondering why you dont see any florentine buildings in this photo it is because.. well… I ran out into the suburbs. The florentines really enjoy the weather, and the calm lifestyle. So many people were out just on afternoon walks in the sunshine. I found some of the most peaceful places to sit and listen to my music. I was very thankful to be able to exercise again. Bring on the cannolis!


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January 26, 2014 · 8:13 pm

Great Expectations

disclaimer: This post has nothing to do with some culty book I never read.

I hear so many people saying they need to create a blog or record their life stories here, well clearly I have been trying to do that on this blog with Nadeen for over a year now. I haven’t always kept up with it as you may know but I told myself I really would try while I was here. It has not been that difficult… Mainly because I take so many damn photos here. 

I have now been here ALMOST two weeks, and it feels like two months. I would love to fill the blog post with amazing stories of the new friends I made and the inspiration in life and in art stemming from being here, but in reality, it’s not all that simple… So I guess this post is a small wake up call to anyone who expects to go abroad and be happy and excited all day long. 

It’s difficult. I think this difficulty stemms from these great expectations our family members, friends, school advisers, and peers have try to emulate to us. 

I have been a little too shy to really branch out on my own, surprise. So I stick with my comfort zone, my housemates. They really are truly great people, they are there for me, they make me laugh, and we all like pasta. You probably haven’t seen many pictures, which is again a surprise because every other friend you know that is abroad has uploaded a hundred pictures, half of which are selfies with their new best friends that they made on day two. The friends everyone says will be with you the rest of your life, well yes I do like to keep friends, who doesn’t? But how can you tell which is which? And how does meeting them here change the relationship? This is what they don’t explain to you in all the pre-departure sessions. 
Anyway, here are a few photos of housemates that we scrounged together. We decided it was time to whip out the cameras, gotta show all the spectators that I too am studying abroad. 







Along with this somewhat unfamiliar shyness that has come over me has come a bit of fear. The ways Italians tackle the streets, just crossing and hoping they don’t get hit, is not the fear I have. Its a new fear, one I haven’t quite felt yet. I think it comes with the new environment. I am fearful of not doing everything that I want to and not embracing this beautiful and newfound culture that I have wanted to be apart of for so long. 

So I guess my whole point of this is to say that I am going to start being proactive. I am going to step out of my comfort zone, talk to people, go to these places my crazy Italian professors recommend, and just not let myself leave until I feel like I have done all I wanted. 

From now on I make goals, and take each day at a time. With no expectations. Starting tomorrow, I am going to the community garden to start volunteering. 
And the next day, who knows.. I do not want to have expectations.

All I want to say is that I do not want to have another weekend where I only leave the apartment once a day, to get groceries.. 

The next post shouldn’t be too far from now… my boyfriend says : “You’ve been blogging a lot! I love it!” Guess I gotta keep it up.. after all I am abroad, and people are expecting it. 



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Soon came the first weekend in Italy, that brought along with it the first field trip. The field trip was to Ravenna, a smaller city northeast of Florence. We went as a group on a coach bus, to my surprise their charter buses were very much like ours in the states, and traveling in them with a bunch of americans made me think I was at home for a little while. 

The view that appeared when leaving the city was a quick wake up call that no, I was not in the states. I was listening to The General Specific by The Band of Horses and the sun began to rise. 
Quickly the sun touched on patches of fog, lighting up all the tiny houses on vineyards and small towns that were in the mountains. Description does not even do the sight justice, but I can confidently say it was the most beautiful sight I have ever seen. As you can tell I have a lot of feelings right now. They say that comes with moving to a foreign country…. huh.

If you do not know much about Ravenna one thing to know is that it is full of churches. I honestly could not tell you all the names BUT there are famous ones if you follow art history, such as San Vitale, which is absolutely incredible inside. 

Ravenna is also where you can find some of the most incredible mosaics. 

Here are some photos:











As for life, I have been learning my way around FLorence so much better. I can finally always find my way home, find my way to all my studios, and know where most supermarkets are. I have made a few new friends and hopefully in the next post I can tell you all about friends and what we have been doing!

FYI: Spotify picks up on your location, so all of my ads are in italian.


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Welcome to Firenze!

Well I am officially no longer in the US. Can I get a whoop?

I will say that leaving the US and landing in a foreign country was not as climactic as I thought it would be. I thought I would have a rush of emotions and strange new feelings. I thought I would feel like a new person, but I didn’t.

I was mostly just worn out and ready to be in Italy. I still can’t even believe I am here, even while I write this post from my bed in my gorgeous apartment.

Traveling started at 7:30 am.. And my mom insisted on this picture. Glad she took it though!

The gate was decorated for Christmas, it appeared to be jolly but at 6:30 in the morning no one is around to make you feel the holiday spirit.


My flights continued from Houston To Washington D.C., To New York To Zurich, Switzerland And finally to Florence, Italy . A whopping 24 hours later.

I can officially say I’ve never gone this long without sleep.
Check for typos..

BUT I was so pleased to be dropped off at my new home and it is absolutely beautiful:



Plane shots:




Dare ya to guess which one is which!

For now, exploration and much needed sleep. My cat naps on the planes led me to weirdly vivid dreams about food so I think I need some real sleep in a bed.



Filed under Jacque, Under the Tuscan Sun

Ciao Italia!

I am long overdue here… But I have some great news!
I am going to just be blunt here..

I am going to Florence, Italy in two weeks!
For those who don’t know me well should know that
-I never travel
– I just got my first passport ( so I’ve never left the country)
– I’m not quite sure what to do in airport
-and I’m leaving my family…

I am very close with my family and love spending time with them.. So to leave for 4 months and go across the globe is going to be very difficult but I’m so lucky to have this opportunity!

That’s my sister, I am hoping she will come visit and get to explore Florence with me, but who knows!

I am going to a local art school and studying art and art history, including photography!

Now let’s catch up on some things that have made life crAzy

I spent some time making a grill.
Yes a grill for your mouth. Yes Miley may have inspired me.
Yes it’s metal. No I will not sell it. It’s custom fit for my mouth!



Is it cute?
My mom thinks not… But I think she’s just jealous.

My cousin had her baby! #littleladyblake is 6 weeks old!


A garden began…
What is used most is the basil but a few heads of cabbage have showed up aaaand


Butternut squash babies!
Go mom!!!

I wanted a more travel friendly garden



And then came Christmas parties.. I’d say I’m about 110% done with cheistmS music. Sorry



So far I’m enjoying my time home, I’ve only been here a full week!
I’m not sure I’m ready to leave yet… But Italy is definitely calling my name..

Some things I will miss:

This guy for sure



MAaaaaybe this guy too


This special lady!


I’ll probably miss coconuts a lot too… I love coconuts..

And my family ❤



We’ve been besties all along.

I will be creating a new tab soon for the blog contJnjng my posts from Italy, so you may not here from me until then.

If that’s so,

Ciao Italia
Buenanotte Texas

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