Saturday, October 22, 2011

Olive you!

Okay so about last week: it was not super eventful but it’s worth mentioning since it was another week I spent here and it was a landmark week here. Wednesday marked the halfway point in our program! Only seven weeks left, a very sad thing to realize.

Obviously, since it is half way through the semester, last week was also midterm week this week. Placed sporadically throughout the week we had tests to take; some I did better on than others. I love learning and being in these classes and I definitely did my best, but luckily, I was only super stressed about two tests. This was because only two of my classes are counting towards my GPA; the rest are pass/fail. So I know I’ll pass them all and get credit but I am determined to do “A” work in the two for grades.

Now, this may not come as a surprise to most everyone who reads this, but I’m very clearly my mother’s daughter. I was reminded of this once again this week when, along with my studying and lack of sleep, I came down with a gross cold. The only reason it is worth mentioning is because of the humor I saw in the situation. The difference between my mother and I is that I know when I need to stay in bed for a few days; she doesn’t until she is forced to by mere inability to do anything else. So Mom and Dad, be proud! I slept a few days away and although I am not better yet, I’m getting there!

Friday was the day of our last midterm, Italian (dun dun duhhhhnnn!). Scott and Matty came over Thursday night, accompanied by pizzas and wine and we (Kacie and I) began studying.  Working our way through a hundred photo copies filled with prepositions and verb conjugation wasn’t easy but we gave it our best. The boys gave it their best effort too, but I think maybe the tea, pizza, wine, and coffee hyped them up a bit too much.

[Oh and just as a side note, having wine sounds a bit irresponsible while studying, I understand. But the thing about Italy is this: wine is considered another food group, just like pasta, pizza, and salad. Wine is served with almost every meal and people are brought up on it. It’s not given the stigma it is in the United States and I think it works for them here! Just an fyi :]

Friday morning we tackled the midterm as best as we could and decided that after walking out of the room, we were on break and nothing else mattered! HELLO TEN DAY BREAK! I’ll find out my grade when I get back, but there is nothing I can do about it now J. To kick off our break, Casey E. and I went to grab some coffee over a long talk, and then rejoined the world at AHA, finalizing plans for our trips and hanging out before everyone went their separate ways for a week.

At some point Mary and her friend that was visiting, Jessie, found me and informed me that our director, Filaberto, would be taking us to see his olive garden. A REAL olive garden! (I thought maybe it was called a farm? But garden makes more sense I guess). I’m so happy I have a roommate that asks questions! So he took a small group of us out to his garden consisting of 385 olive trees and three different kinds of olives. It was a beautiful spot out in the country and had a run-down brick house (he hopes to fix it up some day so he and his wife can live there). After showing us around and explaining everything, he took us to an olive press. There, they use some of the older methods of pressing olives which is definitely cool to see. The smell was amazing; the moment you got close to the building it was overwhelming! Filaberto showed us around and explained how everything worked, what things are used for, and process of extracting the oil from the olives. Anyone can bring their olives in for pressing and then take their oil home with them. The thing that surprised me the most was the color of the oil! It was a bright green-ish yellow color, nothing like the clear liquid you get from the store.  He says that it only stays that color for a couple of weeks and then the pigments fall to the bottom. As a little token, one that none of us asked for, the people who owned the shop brought us two little bottles of fresh olive oil. It was so nice of them and it is easily the best oil I've ever tasted!

After we left there, Filaberto drove us around and showed us a small walled city and then took us to a church just outside Macerata. It was an old church, two floors, and simple but beautiful. It is believed that this was a church that Charlemagne spent much of his time. With Filaberto’s infinite knowledge, he explained what everything was, what was more modern and which relics were from the Romanesque time period. We got cappuccinos at a small café nearby and headed back. We stopped at one more church on the way back, one that was mostly white on the inside except for the apses.

It was quite a mini-excursion, one that I know was unplanned, but Filaberto was more than happy to take us on. This goes back to what I said about the staff here being more than just staff. They are true teachers, ones that go above and beyond what they need to do because they care that much. I don’t know what other directors are like in other programs but it seems to be that Filaberto has just as much passion for the program now as he did the day he started.

Friday night was a relaxing one. The boys came over and cooked us a delicious pasta dinner that would give Rachel Ray a run for her money. Then, in honor of the upcoming Halloween, we watched Amityville Horror. Ryan Reynolds was amazing but that movie was beyond terrifying! I love being scared though so after the boys left and I locked all 5 bolts shut on our door, I slept soundly.  I did however threaten each of my roommates that if they tried scaring me while I was sleeping, I would never speak to them again. I don’t know if I could have lasted, but no one scared me in my sleep so no worries! 

Italy is such a wonderful place but I am more than ready for this ten day break. I am spending the first couple of days being lazy with Eva since we are both leaving Monday. Neither of us wants to be sick, and since I am, I probably won’t be doing anything exciting. But Monday I’m making my way to see my German family, the Guth’s and I’m stoked! Germany will be a nice change of pace I think. Then for Halloweekend, Emily is flying up and we’re going to Amsterdam. Matty says it’s beautiful than Paris, so I’m beyond excited to see it. We’ll probably hit up a few museums in Berlin and Cologne as well a couple in Amsterdam so by the time I get back, hopefully I’ll be a little bit smarter!

I cannot wait to write about my trip when I get back but until then, I’ll try to keep track and remember it all! 

Have a wonderful fall week everyone and Happy Halloween!

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