OK, i suck at blogging.

3 Jun

I was looking through my blog and I noticed that people still look at it!

Which means I’m kind of a big deal. Which really means its probably my mom.

Which means I don’t care. I’m still a big deal.

Well here is the wrap up post that should have been done months ago. It didn’t feel right to leave it without a goodbye. I don’t finish most of the projects that I start- so this is the start of breaking a bad habit! I might even go for a run after this! (yeah right)

Sam and I have been home since the end of Feb. sooo that’s like 3 months? That’s crazy! 3 months?!

We came home from our trip with less then 10 buck in our bank accounts. I’ve been staying with some of my old roommates (aka my parents) and saving up some funds.

I temporarily got what I thought would be my dream job but what turned out to be the boutique from hell.

SOOO, I’m back at the old folks’ home pushing pills and whatnot.

Sam is working at a restaurant downtown and working on being a raft guide this summer. He either gets hired or doesn’t this week- so fingers crossed!! (He’ll get hired!)

((knock on wood))

That’s the update.

Next summer I have a family vacation in Euroland. After this family trip we have our sights set on Indonesia. Which means lots of saving and saving.

My last piece of advice to anyone that feel like travelling is:

DO A WORKAWAY! Even if you have all the money in world, do a workaway. you wont regret it. (Unless you get put to hard manual labor with little food in a tiny apartment in Portugual) But aside from that choice, you won’t regret it!!

GOOD BYE, BLOG!

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Hiiiiii!

9 Feb

Hi guys!

Sam and I have returned to the Shanti House, are being fed like Thanksgiving turkeys  (aren’t they fed a lot? well, we’re being fed tons), are warm and cozy, and are as happy as ever.

Lisbon was nice. Our workaway experience was fine, but it wouldn’t have been tons of fun to have stayed there for over a month. The exchange was purely an exchange of work for room and board- which is fine if you really want to see Lisbon, and we did. But after two weeks with little interaction with the family and expensive metro tickets to the city center, we decided to leave 2 weeks early and spend our last month at the Shanti House (as I previously stated in the last post). Such a good plan of  action!

It seems that winter has finally kicked in. Snow is covering Italy which is quite alarming to much of the Italian population. The news has been flashing with updates of the weather every 10 min. or so. Flashes of images of the Colosseum surrounded by snow flurries, children sledding down a grassy hill with little patches of snow on it, sidewalks covered in snow- the horror! Apparently it doesn’t snow in Rome often. I only wish winter would be so gentle on Colorado sometimes.

The area we’re in has been speckled by snow but isn’t too bad. It’s more of the battering wind storms that are keeping people indoors here. It really is wild. The past two nights I’ve laid in bed debating whether or not it would be over-dramatic to leap out of bed and begin to wake the house from slumber and gather everyone in the basement because the roof is about to be blown away. I’m glad I’ve got such a clear head and calm temperament. I just stayed in bed and silently cried.

Ok, but seriously- the wind storms are intense and we’ve all been staying indoors. Sam and I have been entertaining ourselves with Stumbleupon (duh), movies, talking (only in extreme situations, of course), and playing online pool. Yep. Ever played online pool? Just don’t. It’s strangely addicting. So addicting that Sam and I (and I hate to admit this) have been bickering more often. The culprit of this tragic turn in our relationship is online pool. We came up with a system. We each get to play until we loose. Unfortunately computer games aren’t my thing and I never make it past one round (though, boy, do I try!) so I feel like it’s only fair that I get another turn. Right?! RIGHT?!?!

After our two day binge of online pool and after I found myself praying to God that Sam would loose his round (what kind of person have I become?!), we re-examined our life and came to the conclusion that online pool just wasn’t cutting it. Now we’re competitively playing Mahjong Tiles. Juuuust kidding. Mahjong isn’t even a two-player game. Duh. But, really, pool got boring and now we’re doing other things like reading. Ugh, speaking of reading, I’m stuck with a Dan Brown book that I found at our last hostel. Don’t read “The Lost Symbol” unless you’re about to consider playing Mahjong Tiles competitively because its windy outside and everyone’s at work and your boyfriend has the luck of having a good book and can’t be bothered. Even then it might be better to stare out a window or halfheartedly play online pool.

I’ve been so busy complaining about my Dan Brown book and talking about online pool that I forgot to mention the most important thing ever! Beau had three puppies two nights ago! I was basically the midwife and delivered them all. No, not really. I pretty much just watched in horror/fascination/disgust/excitement/happiness. Have you ever seen an animal give birth? I hadn’t. Beau went to the downstairs couch and basically pooped one out. Martina and I went down with her once Martina noticed that Beau was going into labor. Beau began to push and this little, purple, slimy sack plopped out. The first puppy really freaked Beau out (probably not as much as Martina and I). When Beau noticed that something just exited her and was moving, she began to panic  for a second and stood up with the sack/puppy/slimy thing still attached to her and started walking in circles. Martina was brave enough to grab the puppy and move Beau to the birthing area that Martina and Franco had previously set up. From then on things went more smoothly. Beau pushed a pup out, tore off the afterbirth, ate the ENTIRE afterbirth of EACH puppy and severed the umbilical cords with her teeth. Beau was a pro. There are now three little puppies downstairs!

Now that Sam and I have shaken off our obsession with online pool and the weather was nice, we went for a long walk today. I started off the walk nice and warm and came back frozen. Sam loves me so much that he threw me into a snow bank. Revenge will be sweet.

But really, we’re having a fabulous time, eating lots of good food, surrounded by the best company, throwing each other into snowbanks, relaxing, hanging out with puppies, chopping wood and hiking and being all woodsy- We love the Shanti!

We’ll be back home in about 3 weeks. Crazy to think about!

Rome, Paris, Lisbon

29 Jan

Hi!

Right now Sam and I are in Lisbon. Lisbon is great! The night life is bumpin, the weather is nice, and the Portuguese are friendly enough. Today Sam and I gave in a took the metro (we’re on a budget) and went to the city center/ historical district and hung out on the docks. Because we’re being so cheap we have been walking everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE. Going to see a site in Paris meant a one or two hour walk.

The family has been judging us because we’ve been in Lisbon for about 5 or so days and have yet to see the city center. Well, we thought we saw it. We thought we were walking to it every day or so. Turns out our “city center” was just a big roundabout with a few shops which was just about a half way point to the real center.

The real center is pretty nice! Lots of shops, restaurants, black and white cobble-stoned alleys, fountains, docks, plazas and statues. Aside from neat city center, we’ve also met some other workawayers that the family is hosting. They were all super cool. Sadly everyone else left today. Big bummer.

At the docks

We’re staying with a family and helping them fix up a flat they plan on renting out. Everyone is really nice buts its just not the Shanti House. We have decided that for the last leg of the trip we want to spend it in beautiful Italy at the ever cozy and welcoming Shanti House. We head there on Saturday! YAY!

On our last trip to Europe we skipped some of the major stopping points that tourists normally take. Specifically, Rome and Paris. Realizing that this may be the last time we are in Europe for a long time, we decided to check out those two places out.

 

 

Rome:

Rome was a really great experience. It seemed like every metro stop we got out of had some massive building that’s thousands of years old or a huge plaza with some crazy fountain or statue. We stayed in a really cool hostel and met some equally cool Australians. (special shout-out to Kendall)! <- K, that was kinda dumb. But, Kendall, we miss ya! We walked the whole freaking city and saw tons of historical places, went to a huge flea market, ate lots of pizza, and had a grand ol’ time!

pantheon

 

 

Paris:

We loved Paris! One of our recent favorite movies is “A Midnight in Paris” which only, of course, fueled our passion to go to Paris.  We even got to experience Paris in the rain and picture how it would be in the 1920’s. Unfortunately, we didn’t meet the Fitzgeralds or Hemingway, but we did meet some pretty cool cats at our hostel. We met an awesome couple that made our last night out in Paris tons of fun. We also met one especially cool cat, Gregory, AKA: the human encyclopedia.  Paris was beautiful, the crepes were delicious, the wine was tasty, the Eiffel tower was big, and the Mona Lisa was small, ah Pari!

Paris in the rain

 

 

Well, that’s all. It’s time to make some dinner. Due to our budget we’re getting creative. Pasta with beans. Yum?

good attitude for bad food

Bullshit

13 Jan

Tomorrow Sam and I depart the Shanti House for Rome.

This new adventure is exciting but also brings sharp pangs of sadness to our hearts. We love the Shanti House. As I’m typing this I’m also shoving pieces of apricot/peach tart with brown sugar and crushed nuts into my mouth- pausing only to wipe crumbs off of my keyboard. How could I not love this place? If you ever want to spend a few days or months in the mountains of Italy, right next to the coast- I suggest stopping by the Shanti House. Its super cheap (only 15 euro a night). With this meager 15 euros you will dine like royalty, be cozier than you’ve ever been, will be surrounded by beautiful forest, can pet a really cute (possibly pregnant) dog, meet some of the nicest, coolest people ever, jam out to reggae music, take a quick bus to the coast and get some lunch, and basically love your life.

Here is the website in case you ever want to visit:

http://www.shantihouse.info

Sam and I will be in Rome for 5 nights, then Paris for four, then Lisbon for 2-4 weeks (we aren’t sure yet). Those are our current plans.

This past week I’ve started a mini project. Through our walks in the woods, washing dishes, sitting on the couch- where ever- the conversation between Sam and I usually leads to bullshit. Or Sam starts bullshitting (its not really bullshit, that’s just what I call it. It’s more like rambling). Some of the ridiculous things he says bring me to tears of laughter and some (most) of it makes me roll my eyes. Either way there’s nothing as entertaining and sometimes not entertaining (though rarely) as one of Sam’s ramblings.

Here are some that I could remember:

“hmm necrophiliacs. I wonder if necrophiliacs will ever get rights? Kind of a scary thought, huh? I hope they don’t. I mean, I’m fine with all kind of things, homosexuality, bestiality- but live animals- not dead ones, I’m not a freak here for Christ’s sake. ” (pondering sexual morality while walking home)

“I wonder how you’re feeling right now. I can only imagine. You never thought you’d have a boyfriend who could do this, did you? One minute I’m your sweet loving boyfriend, the next I’m with my double barrel shotgun protecting my land from zombies. Don’t roll your eyes like you’re not impressed. I’m so impressed with myself it scares me”  (playing a computer game)

“Ok, I think we’re lost. We’re spending the night out here and I have a feeling someone’s gunna die. Its going to be you or me and you know that we both need shelter from bears and whatnot. I guess I’ll have to kill you then hide in your corpse. And you know what? I’m going to be rude about it- I’m going in feet first.” (going on walk as its getting dark)

“Ok Tabitha, I just farted. I’m getting out of here before it can be linked to me. I suggest you follow suite. It’s not going to be pretty.” (a quick confession as we are cleaning up the downstairs during the new year’s party)

“Oo hoo hoo, wouldya look at that. Its going to be a tight one. You’re going to have to hug the wall, make a right and just shoot right through. We’ll risk a burned leg but I think its manageable. Should we find Martina and have her translate that into Italian for Pippo- just so he knows the battle plan for navigating through this bitch?” (discussing if there was enough walking room in between the drying rack for the laundry and heater)

Ok, that’s all!

I can’t think of anything else to write about.

Ciao!

Shanti Life

4 Jan

Hey folks!

Christmas and New Years have past. Happy holidays to everyone!

Sam and I are still in Northern Italy at the Shanti House. Christmas was celebrated with  big lunch consisting of the best lasagna I’ve ever tasted with lots of sweets, appetizers and drinks. Franco’s parents came over for the lunch. Franco’s mother has Alzheimer’s disease which made her forget every 10 minutes or so that we didn’t speak Italian. Every now and then Franco and his children would remind her “Mama, they are American! They speak English!”, to which she would reply, “Ah! I know! They understand me though!”. Although we didn’t fully understand everything she was saying, she made our Christmas lunch experience even better. She was quite fond of reminding Franco how he used to sleep on her big breasts like they were pillows when he was younger. Maybe I’m partial to older people, but I loved her. I wanted to take photo of her and her husband but they left before I got a chance. After another delicious meal at dinner time, Martina surprised Sam and I with a present. We both got a super cool pair of socks and tons of candy!

dolci

For New Years the Shanti House was  packed to the brim. Every room was full and every nook was filled with spare mattresses. A DJ bumped music on the bottom floor where everyone rocked out to American 80’s hits. The neighbors popped off fireworks and made the evening nice and festive. Again, lots and lots of delicious food. A good way to start off the new year I would say!

Shanti life is pretty laid back. Martina tells us our tasks for the day which range from 30 min. to a few hours. After our work is finished Sam and I usually take Beau, the dog, out for a hike around the mountain. Yesterday Sam and I walked to a nearby waterfall with an Australian family that was visiting. We decided to go off the path and climb (or cling if you’re like me) up the mountain. The forest around here reminds me of Lord of the Rings when the hobbits are taking the ring from the Shire into the forest where they begin to run for their hobbit lives (Sam thinks it looks like the Shire but he’s totally wrong. Its the spooky forest they have to adventure through).

hobbit/dwarf/elf country, AKA: Shanti's backyard

Shanti is pretty awesome. The food is ridiculously good. I think I’ve already gained 5 pounds- and that’s me being nice to myself. I don’t dare look at a scale. The people are super nice and there’s always good music playing.

We’re thinking of heading to Venice and then Rome in about a week or so. After Italy we’re probably going to Lisbon for another workaway.

That’s the update!

Ciao!

Catching Up

19 Dec

Well that semester sure flew by!

I made so many really great friends that I’ll never forget. As much as I hate to admit it, I really miss my roommates and the other friends I made. Way too much. It blows.

While it sucks that the semester is over and everyone went their separate ways, the fact that I’m typing this from one of the prettiest places I’ve ever been, perks me up a little bit. But just a lil’.

Sam arrived in Seville on the 14th of December and got to meet all of the people that had become such a big part of my life in Seville. The 17th quickly approached and we set off to the Shanti House, a bed and breakfast in the Northern Italian region of Liguria. We are in a tiny little town in a valley surrounded by mountains and vineyards called, Zanoni. Never heard of it?! Yeah, that’s cause it has the population of like 200 people. You can type it Google and it doesn’t come up- that’s how small this place is.

IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL! I can’t even imagine how pretty it must be in summer. You can look out any window and see a mountain rising up in the near distance with tiny little houses dotting the slopes. Martina and Franco run and own the Shanti House and their good friend, Pippo, cooks and does other jobs around the bed and breakfast. Martina is super welcoming  and works in the national park. Franco also works in the park as a ranger. Pippo cooks and does art. Every time he enters the kitchen, the most amazing, mouth-watering, tears-of-happiness inducing, aromas pour out. The taste lives up to smells. I’ve only been here for two days and the food that is served has been some of the best meals that I’ve ever had in my entire life- that’s not an exaggeration.

Right now there aren’t any guests. It’s just Sam and I, Franco, Pippo and Martina. You might think it would be quiet and boring in such a small town- especially because there aren’t any guests, but that isn’t the case at all. The Shanti House has a constant trickle of guests and neighbors coming in. The guests always stop by for a quick cup of Italian coffee and without fail, always bring a treat along: homemade focaccia bread, pastries from the bakery, wine, homemade grappa, slices of meat, cheese, ect. Everyone sits in the kitchen and snacks and talks and drinks and smokes.

Last night one of Franco and Martina’s friends came over for dinner. She was explaining how she had just come back from Milan and how after being there she appreciated her life in Zanoni all of the more. She commented on the fast pace of Milan and all of the clubs and how the food is awful. She said now that she was older the importance of her quality of life was at an all time high. Good food is very important, good company, clean air, relaxation and tranquility was her description of a high quality life. Here in Zanoni, you are sure to find that.

I absolutely loved Seville, but the Shanti is the perfect place to be right now. The mountains, the fresh air, the good food, the tranquility is right up my alley at the moment.

This morning I stepped outside and heard all of these bells tinkling. It was a herd of cows coming down the side of the mountain and through the yard of the Shanti. These cows were gorgeous. They had shaggy, clean, white fur with light brown spots. Each wore a leather collar with a little cow bell. The man who was herding them had this poncho thing on and a little stick. The whole thing was so picturesque. I ran back inside the house to tell Sam to come and look. As I did this, Beau (the dog here) ran outside and managed to turn this postcard scene into udder (ha) chaos. One cow Beau took a particular liking to, was chased all the way up the mountain. At this point the herdsman, Franco, Pippo and Sam were all running around yelling after Beau. They managed to get Beau but the cow was lost somewhere on the mountain. Beau and I were in trouble.

The cow was eventually found and Beau and I were eventually forgiven.

Pictures will be posted soon!

Cordoba & Granada

29 Nov

Hi everyone!

Thanksgiving here was pretty great. CEA treated us to a Thanksgiving dinner that wasn’t too shabby. We were served turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, corn on the cob (that was the best part), and pumpkin pie. No tofurky or cheese but I was satisfied.

The weekend before last CEA took us to Cordoba and Granada. We were in Cordoba for about 2-3 hours and visited the Mezquita-Catedral.  The Mezquita is a huge mosque in Cordoba that was turned into a cathedral after the Spanish Reconquest. When you walk into the cathedral it looks like a mosque (because it originally was one), but once you get to center of the cathedral there is a large Christian altar. In my opinion, the large Christian altar seemed a bit offensive and gaudy in the center of the mosque. There are so many beautiful cathedrals in Spain that it is a shame that the mosque was gutted and turned into a cathedral. Either way, La Mezquita is quite beautiful and it is interesting to see the two different religions represented side by side in a place of worship (although Muslims are not allowed to worship inside the church).

After Cordoba we bused over to Granada. I loved Granada! Granada is a little Spanish town that seems a bit more industrial than Seville but is still beautiful! The city is very clean, it still had the European feel to it with the winding alleys and a large cathedral looming over the city. One thing I especially loved about Granada was one, I could finally see mountains again, and two, the Islamic/Mediterranean influence on the city. Yes, I loved all of the essential oils, incense and spangley jewelry, but I especially loved the food. falafel! I had falafel balls with humus and chicken duram! Oh, I loved Granada.

Since we only had one night in Granada we decided to make the most of it. CEA set us all up in a pretty nice hotel which set the perfect scene for mini hotel parties all over the building, of course. After socializing in our various rooms we decided to check out this reggae bar that Maria had heard good things about. We (“we” being the girls I normally go out with- Courtney, Maria, Jess, Jackie, Nat, Eva, Kendall M. and the UNH students- who I went out with for the 1st time [great idea]) left quite early (1ish) and apparently the bar doesn’t get hoppin’ and play reggae until about 3 or something. Either way, they played some fun swing/jazz (I don’t really know what type of music is was) and we danced the night away.  After the dancing ended a few of us went on a shawarma/duram/falafel quest that ended in no food and lots of hunger; the only sad part about the night.

The next day my falafel/shawarma craving was satiated and CEA took us to the Alhambra. A great start to the day!

The Alhambra is gorgeous and is an absolute must if you’re ever near Granada. The Alhambra is a tiny little Moorish village that hosts a huge palace. The whole place is breathtaking. The gardens were my favorite part. The flowers and trees were beautiful and it was a perfect fall day. The whole place put me in a good mood for the rest of day.

Ceiling in palace

Speaking of good things, we just got our shower fixed! I no longer have to balance on the edge of the shower and only stick my head in so I can be somewhat cleanly. Hot showers! Even better, our showers have never truly been hot. Warm, yes. Hot, no. Turns out we’ve just never turned the heat settings up. Silly us.