Wednesday, April 25, 2012


These next few posts are a bit behind. These are my adventures during Semana Santa, the Easter Holiday. I spent the greater part in Italy, starting with the water-bound city of Venice.

Venice was like a dream. It is the kind of city that one sees in science fiction, especially of the steam-punk genre. There are no cars or other street vehicles in the tiny island city. The only transportation used are the boats, including water buses, that splash through the canals.

It is a city of bridges, cobblestone streets, and shopping. The eats are good, as long as you stick to the main island.The people are jovial and laid back.

The clocktower in Venice not only tells time, but also 

The island Murano, located just a water bus away from Venice, is known for its blown glass and glass museum. It is well worth the trip over just to look at the beautiful pieces on display in the shops and in the museum. However, if you want to buy some, it is cheaper on the main island.

 All of the glass is made on the island, and there are many shops that let you see the glass-makers at work.

Burano, another island closely located to Venice, is known for its hand crafted lace. It is also known for the artists who once lived on it, and the bright colors they painted their houses.

 It should be no secret that I want to live on this island. Not for a long time, but at least for one month in my life would be nice.

Just as with the glass, many of the lace shops had weavers working where visitors could see.

My favorite part about these islands is the isolation from the rest of Italy and Europe. The internet, while free to the public, can only be used in public locations, such as the park and water bus stops. This further isolated us during our short stay there. I went an entire three days without even checking my facebook or email. There is nothing more relaxing than being disconnected from the world.

 Rather than having trash cans, the Venicians put their trash bags directly on the street, to be picked up every morning by sanitary workers. Recycling takes place two or three times a week, on specific days.
This fruit stand, filled with tasty greens and so on, is a boat! We bought some vegetables here, adoring the uniqueness of such a novelty. Only in Venice.

It is a beautiful place, and very much worth a trip to. If you are visiting Europe and only have time for a few places, put this one in your top three! You need about two days to see it all, but if you've got more time and want a good place to just relax in, this is my top recommendation of the places I have seen.

(Next up: Rome)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hasta Luego

As my first semester abroad comes to end, I find myself saying farewells to so many people.
The program I am studying through held a get together for students to see teachers and the program directors one last time, as well as our fellow students. With enthusiasm I happily told them each a thank you and told them I'd be back in the fall. I must admit, mine is an odd case. Most students who want to spend a year abroad go for an academic year, I chose the full calendar. I'll be honest, I'm not sure if they were looks of joy or horror when I told my teacher and the directors about my plans. Perhaps it was just polite interest. I know I haven't stood out significantly in my school. I've spent most of my time with a select few other students, quietly and submissively enjoying my surroundings and not causing a fuss.

But there is one place that I know has made an impact on me, and I believe I've made an impact on. My home stay. E and M have been wonderful hosts, despite the over bearing cat they keep. I am fortunate enough to be wanted back for the fall. As E was getting M ready for school this morning, E reminded her daughter that I would be leaving today. "Pero, no es adios. Solamente es hasta luego. Emi va a vuelve en el otoño." "But it isn't goodbye. It is only see you later. Emi will come back in the fall." She told her.
Before she left, M gave me a felt rose that she made at school. It is tradition in Catalonia to give women roses for Sant Jordi's day, on April 22. Since I won't be here, she gave it to me early.

Overall I've made some great friends and had a lot of great times this semester. I even had some people, who  thought were enemies any many ways, turn out to be friends in some ways too.
This summer I will be in Cantabria with my sister, Rana, and her dear in-laws. I am interviewing to be an Au Pair and will be taking Spanish language classes through a university.

Later this week I will update with pictures and stories about my Semana Santa vacation to Venice and Rome Italy.

Until next time: live, laugh, learn, and love!

~your friendly neighborhood Spidar Ant