Top ten undergrad moments I think all should experience.

Obviously there is so much more behind all of these mini blurbs but that is half the fun. So, here is my THANK YOU to the best three and a half years of my life.

  • Joining Delta Zeta and becoming a die hard DZ, recognizing who your real friends are, and realizing everyone is your sister. Finding friendship that last, even when you are in different parts of the world. Also, buying a cat and living with these crazy ladies who share your same love and aspirations to be a crazy cat lady.
  • Falling in love.
  • Falling out of love and becoming single again.
  •  Having four internships in three years of college. Getting a taste of the real world and becoming a professional that eventually changes the way you learn and organize your work. Gaining the opportunity to become a professional before becoming officially “college educated.”
  • Going home to my friends in Stark County, they always encouraged and pushed me to do BIG THINGS. Always doing things just like the “old days” but better because this time you are legal.
  • Studying abroad, I wish everyone in the world got the chance to experience and live in the world as it is while adapting and changing in every new environment. Meeting new people that become your close friends from all over the world. Pushing yourself to unbearable limits and growing from them.
  • Taking an alternative spring break on an Indian reservation. Playing with children who may never get out of their town. Staying on a Red Cross cot for a week with snakes in a log cabin YMCA. Seeing children grow to trust you and then have to leave them. However, you find who you will always donate to, knowing exactly where your money is going.
  • Spring breaking in Panama City with EIU friends and making new from all over the U.S. Driving an SUV with seven girls through the rolling hills of Alabama. Sleeping in sand and swim suits.
  • Staying up late and studying in order to go out the next day or staying up partying all night and waking up at 5 a.m. to finish a paper. Going out just to meet up with “that one guy,” staying in to have a wine night and whine about how hard school is.
  • Joining Student Government and eating dinner at President Perry’s house, getting to know city council on a first name bases, becoming student senator of the year. By joining Student Government I learned exactly what the students of my school felt and gained a passion for my alma-mater. GO BIG BLUE.

Nightlife in Florence Part one : Clubs/Discos

Originally posted on Girl in Florence :

I’ve been meaning to write this post for sometime since a lot of people ask me where to go for a fun night out, and unfortunately when you look at the top searches on google for ‘Florence nightlife’, TripAdvisor or the like, they often have places listed that are out of business or have changed names, I just looked again today and saw the same places listed over and over with no regard to ‘quality’ but I also think that some have more active promoters than others.

Being that there is a real need for a decent list updated every year of clubs including the continuous name changes ie: I laugh every time I see places like “andromeda” and “dolce zucchero” which must really confuse those visiting to Florence for the first time since they have long since changed names.

Just some thoughts of the clubbing world in Florence:…

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Praha

Prague is breath taking. I traveled for 12 hours and woke up to a mesmerizing sight of the countryside. Unexpectedly, the landscape looked like Illinois but with more pine trees. In Czech Republic the fall is beautiful with trees changing colors and cornfields being harvested.  It made me happy to see the colors of fall I am used to seeing. Compared to the Florentine fall that is more romantic and the trees are still green. In Florence, you can sense Christmas and that the birth of Jesus will soon be celebrated in the city. Everything in Prague has a sense of home and Europe mixed perfectly together. To me, the Czech Republic culture consists of romantic and gothic roots, goulash and a strong admiration for teen rebellion.

While in Prague, I had the chance to see the astronomical clock tower. It is scientifically engineered by one of the smartest men of his time. After he constructed the clock there was a rumor sent after him that he should be killed. Men of his time killed him. However, it was a rumor and the clock had to be fixed. The story goes, many men of 14 and 15th century that tried to fix it but would always die of a horrible cause. Thinking that the clock was cursed, eventually someone fixed it without dying. Today the clock rings on the hour, every hour with a funny little chicken crow at the end.

During my second day of Praha I saw the John Lennon wall, Charles Bridge and was fed Czech goulash. The wall was full of bright colors and an atmosphere that gave you the courage to believe in love, life and doing what YOU want. I signed the wall and took compelling photos picturing quotes, drawings and names.

 

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After leaving the John Lennon wall, I found myself on the Charles Bridge. The bridge over looks the city of Praha. The bridge is extremely gothic like the rest of the city. After crossing the bridge, I soon downed a dark lager beer and chomped down goulash, which tasted like white bread, gravy and roast. It consists of dumplings and dark roast gravy. I couldn’t stop eating it. So yummy!

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In addition to Praha’s vast buildings to gaze into during the day, there is an unforgettable nightlife. My last evening, Bus 2 Alps took us to an 80′s bar where everything from Backstreet Boys to Hansen were played. Of course, all of us were born in that musical era and knew every song by heart. I took my first, and possibly last shot of Absinthe at that bar. It tasted like straight ethanol and a pine tree mint. Blech.

My adventure in Praha taught me you have to put that past behind you before you can move on. In order for a city to grow, they must embrace there past while still move forward and progressing.  

 

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Fact.

In Czech Republic, much of their energy is solar powered. They are also a highly industrial country in my eyes because they have massive semi freight company’s shipping goods back and fourth.

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The Dutch of Amsterdam

The city of Amsterdam has a culture that has evolved from the 15th and 16th century. Located in the Netherlands of Holland you can find a city that has the idealism that everyone deserves a right to be an entrepreneur. Their culture values entrepreneurship, revenue and all viewpoints of their people. Many Dutch say that God built the earth in seven days, but the Dutch built The Netherlands. This is manly due to the fact much of the Netherlands is under sea level. By peering into Amsterdam’s history one can see the reasoning for legal prostitution, world trade and coffee shops.

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Prostitution is legal in Amsterdam. However, the women are forbidden to have pimps. The women are self-employed entrepreneurs that declare income and pay taxes. In the red light district the windows, the women stand in are rented out to them for 8 hrs. If you want to pay for a woman, I am told, 15 min for 50-75€ will get you basic services. To kiss a prostitute etc. is more money. My tour guide said they get you to spend money.

Right across from the red light district is the church. Some say this is because long ago the church clergy poorly behaved. In the beginning of the city’s time the church would sell indulgences. Indulgences are when one confesses sin and pays money to be forgiven. The Dutch are so organized around money they sold indulgences before many travelers got off ship. They had human corruption that had a Protestant reformation. During the Protestant reformation, they attacked churches, paintings and statues. They did this because theses items symbolically stood for evil built from humans.

Soon the Protestant community made it illegal to be catholic. Technically, it was illegal only in public. Therefore, many had hidden catholic alters inside their homes. For instance, Yan Hartman turned his house into a church. When Napoleon came through and reined over Amsterdam he liberated the Catholics. The Catholic Church today faces central station.

Much of the Dutch business and trade started at the Vak, which stands for the weight or market. The Vak is the mid evil gates into the city. It was also a meeting place for guilds. Guilds were a society you belonged to if you wanted to be a painter, stone smith etc.

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During the Golden age, a union formed known, as United East Indies Company it is similar to today’s modern capitalism. I stood at the courtyard of United East Indies Company that was founded in 1602. The corporation was made when many merchants got together. Being a merchant with one ship was too risky.  They choose safety and numbers. It was the first company to issue public stock.

After establishing a wealthy city, they found themselves with many hard drug problems. In 2000, they had 10,000 hard drug users. Since the Dutch like to organize, they decided to focus on the hard drug situation. Therefore, they allowed coffee shops in the city. However, it is still illegal to buy, smoke, sell or grow cannabis. The police force and city choose not to do anything about it. It is a public health issue. Three percent of Dutch citizens do drugs today. American’s, Italian’s and the Irish use the coffee shops there. The city wanted to keep people working and paying taxes. You don’t hurt anyone but yourself. They only arrest for hard drugs.

Compared to other countries U.S. uses the most cannabis in the world. New Zealand is first percentage wise. Italy is second at 14.6 percent and ahead of Spain, Czech and France. 28.8 percent in Czech. French ages 15-16, 45 percent smoke cannabis. French also send Amsterdam the most criticism.  Always want money flowing. Dutch come in at 5.4 percent of uses. It is mainly the tourist smoking, not the Dutch.

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All in all, Amsterdam equals out to be a play ground for tourists around the world that stimulates the Dutch economy. They are smart entrepreneur business dealers. They work hard for their money. The culture highlights opportunity for all even if it can be controversial. The city is a beautiful and historical mantra that should be studied by people from all over the world.

Fact.

Before Napoleon people didn’t use last names unless you farmed or owned land. Instead, they put plaques on houses to know a family. It was called a gable stone.

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Fact.

Rembrandt chose to live in Amsterdam’s Jewish community even though he wasn’t.

Jews were taken from Amsterdam during WWII, along with Anne Frank and her family never to return.

So many Jews lived wealthy in Amsterdam. They participated in everything. After the war the city was liberated and made laws to protect their people.

The Ever Changing Berlin

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Berlin is everything and more of what I imagined it to be. As Germany’s capital, Berlin is a city that will forever be changing from its past historical events. For instance, in Berlin Adolf Hitler killed himself, where the memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe is stationed and where Albert Einstein taught classes. Almost every building has been built or rebuilt at some point in time. The city looks industrial and new, while at the same time has battle wounds, never forgetting what happened in the past. For instance, in Germany, the German Parliament building was rebuilt with a dome where people could travel and walk to the very top over Parliament officers. This is to remind the officers whom they serve for. When looking up from their seats officers see ‘the people’. Today, it is illegal to say that the Holocaust never took place.

Many Germans will tell you that the Holocaust has different meanings. However, stationed in Berlin one can find a memorial dedicated to the murdered Jews of Europe. 6 million Jewish lives were taken from Hitler’s dictatorship. The memorial is highly controversial; its true meaning is questioned because there is no explanation of it. The artist that made the memorial said when you see it you are to interpret it as your own view of what the dedication means. To me, the memorial looks like a massive graveyard. There, each stone stands for the families and lives that were progressively taken throughout the war. In the middle of the memorial, large cement blocks tower over you. I feel that this stands for the significant number of deaths that were taken in 1940 during the middle of the war. When you stand on the outside of the memorial you see smaller cement blocks you can see over.

Just up the block from the memorial you find one small sign explaining that Hitler and his wife committed suicide in their underground bunker. The small sign signifies that it happened however, does not glorify it. Rumors are that Hitler fatally took his life by shooting himself when biting down on a cyanide capsule to insure his death. Then he made his soldiers burn his body above ground to destroy the evidence. (Cool fact, the Nazis were low on fuel and were unable to burn his body fast enough. The Soviet Union was able to find his body and dentally confirm his body was dead.)

From Hitler’s reign you find the building where the Nazis were stationed. This building has more offices than the pentagon in the U.S. The same building also was soon to be found next to the East Berlin Wall. Today, pieces of the wall still exist to remind them of the past.
Also from Hitler’s reign you see Humboldt University where the Nazis burned all the books. This happens to also be where Albert Einstein had once taught astronomical lessons. Next to the library there is a memorial that you view empty book selves that will forever remain empty from the knowledge that the Nazis tried to erase.

Berlin is much more than meets the eye and has been built then built again and rebuilt. The city is still being rebuilt to this day and will continue to while at the same time recognizing the past.

 

Creative Video Making

One of my favorite classes at Florence University of the Arts has been my Creative Video Making Class. I have learned several editing techniques so, I decided to play around while I stayed in on my first Tuesday evening.  In this video I used b-roll from Florence, Positano, and Pompeii. Enjoy and take a walk in my shoes around these beautiful cities!!

GOOD VIBRATIONS

Each and everyday is a new adventure. My roommate and I approach each day in Firenze with only good vibes. If you keep your mind in a positive state when everything is headed towards a negative state you are able to fake yourself out of a bad time. For instance, finding the laundry mat, walking in heels on cobble stone streets or even zero amounts of sleep from an eight hour bus ride can sound like a recipie  for disaster. I turn these moments into lasting memories.

How do you bounce back from searching for a laundry mat for several hours, you may ask? Well, accept you are totally late for your next task of the day. Before Italy I was NEVER late. Here, I am learning to accept that it can be okay to be late. Unlike Americans, Italians do their own time management at a pace the eventually works out.  If they are late, you will wait. By laughing off the fact you are late, is a huge stress reliever. So, laugh it off and know you are THAT GIRL who is always running late because of a series of epic unfortunate events.

Next, I can only bounce back up when I literally tumble down the streets of Firenze. Wearing my infamous black wedges on cobble stone streets is a bit different than the paved sidewalks of Chuck Vegas (EIU). After a few glasses of wine you can find me rolling on the cobble stone. *Note to self, buy kitten heels even though Lauren Conrad says no… Besides has she ever been to Italy?* Waking up the next morning and just picturing how uncoordinated  you looked only leads to hysterical reinterpretations. Once again, laugh it off.

Now, it is time for the tell all of surviving miles of travel. Sleepless days can make anyone cranky. However, positive pants over here acts like there is only happy thoughts in her head. If you are missing out on sleep because you are headed to the most beautiful place in the world, make fun of yourself for being mad. Girl, you are blessed. Hardly anyone gets the chance to travel.

Also, start and end your day with laughing conversations, setting the playing field for that day to be strictly GOOD VIBRATIONS  and free sensations. You can take years off your life and be the girl who lights up the room with her smile.

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One of the first nights out with my roommates.

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Glass of wine in Santa Croce.

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All smiles on the beach.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eSN8Cwit_s

Allora

Allora, allora, allora (so,so, so) I am in Italia and it is different! However, it is a good different! Adjusting to a new lifestyle has been exciting and exhilarating. For example, this weekend in Amalfi Coast was amazing.

From granita drinks, to the tippy top of Mt. Vesuvius, Amalfi Coast is absolutely beautiful and breath taking. The opportunity to see the world is once in a lifetime. This experience makes me realize that my soulmate HAS to want to travel the world with me! There is so so so much more than a USA small hometown. So here is some advice to all, GET OUT to SEE, HEAR and FEEL THE WORLD!!!!  See, the colorful villas in Positano. Hear, the sound of waves and Italian children playing in the Mediterranean. Feel, the rocky costal beaches beneath your feet on a hot fall day. 
 
Having the opportunity to submerge myself to the world, has helped me learn more about who I am as a person and where I fit in. I have the chance to experience other cultures in an environment that is natural, unlike in the U.S. Where I always felt diversity was forced. Here it is natural and I am finally the minority. For most Italians, seeing a blonde Irish girl on the street is a bit odd. While embracing the Italian culture, I still rock my blonde locks and quirky smile to proudly represent where I am from. All in all, I am learning everyday who I can be and what my purpose is in the world. 

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Ponte Vecchio at night.

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Amalfi Coast. Lovers lane.

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Coast of Sorrento, Italy.