Published: May 1st 2010April 30th 2010
As usual I have committed the grave error of procrastination. I put off writing this very blog because of how impossible it seems to write about my incredible week. I had two amazing trips back to back, each one more than enough to fill a blog by itself, so I have little Idea how to put them both in one, but I will do my best, and hope the pictures help.
The first trip was a short one to Milan with my host mom to the 'Fiera'. My host mother is an architect, but when I say architect I mean she does everything in the designing of a house, from the blueprints to the furniture. Every year there is what I guess I would call a sort of furniture convention in Milan for brands from all over the world. People come from all four corners of the globe to see what will be the trends of the next year for kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, and more. As it is a part of her work, my host mother goes every year, and this year she was kind enough to bring me along. It is absolutely colossal. Were there all day and say
just a fraction. It is all indoors in these sort of giant warehouses that are connected by the covered passageways seen in the photos.
We started in kitchen section where men in fine suites milled about the hundreds of branded areas testing the coffee and munching the results of a stovetop demonstration. The styles of kitchens were far more diverse than I had expected, not showing a general trend as one might expect. There were designs ranging from a sort of mix of rustic and modern, with a subdued earthy feel, to ovens and burners in a sleek style reminiscent of Apple's MacBooks and Ipods, shiny surfaces of pepto-bismol pink and sunshine yellow.
Next was on the the bathrooms. This was by far the highlight of the day for me, it was simply incredible. There were sinks with faucets that came down from the ceiling, waterfall showers falling on imitated streams, and bathtubs of marble big enough for three. I got a fair number of pictures from this area, but there were hundreds of other fantastic waterworks that are not represented, just to explain how vast this fair was. After that we moved on to furniture, but there
was just nothing to compare with the awesome elegance and creativity of the bathrooms. I will let the pictures and their captions do the rest of the explaining of this event and move on to my second adventure: Rome.
I haven't the slightest Idea where to begin, Rome is one of (if not the) most amazing cities I have ever visited. It was a four day trip with Rotary that brought us 25 exchange students to the doors of the Pantheon and the summit of the St. Peters Basilica. There is only one metro line in Rome, despite it's large city status. This is because the ancient romans had the habit of just filling in old houses and building new ones on top. This means modern Rome is built on top of ancient Rome, and therefore tunnels underground are not easily created. We had the luxury of a guided tour on the second day, starting at the Colosseum and covering a number of famous places and monuments before ending at the Catacombs. I really have no idea what to write about these places, they have a sort of power to leave you in a confused awe. Just trying to
wrap you head around how long ago they were created and how long they survived is practically impossible. As I stood in the center of the ruins of the ancient downtown Rome, I squinted my eyes in attempt to imagine the temples as they were, people walking about in togas, famous philosophers orating from the stone steps. It was certainly not a perfect image that I conjured, or even a very accurate one, but it still filled me with excitement and marvel. I wont even begin trying to explain what it was like to see the Pieta di Michelangelo in the Basilica. We were extremely lucky as far as lines and crowds and had no problem getting in or with too many people inside. Unfortunately we didn't go and see the Sistine Chapel, but I will most definitely be going back at some point in my life. The last thing I will say about this trip is about a personal triumph of sorts. We had a guide all day the second day and she talked in Italian of course. While all of the kids from the states have been here the same amount of time as me, the three Australians
have only been here about three months and thus don't understand as well. I did some random translation throughout the day for one of them who lives near me, mostly just answering questions or summarizing briefly after the explanations. However, by the time we got to the catacombs, I had gotten more and more into it. The guide for the catacombs talked just about without stop, so by the end of the tour I was translating what she was saying, as she was saying it. It was an ugly translation, and my brain was so occupied doing it I didn't really realize what I had been doing until it was over and Lizzie (the Aussy) says, "Thank you SO much Julia, that was amazing". I was so happy, and still am, I hadn't really recognized the fact I can understand two languages until that moment. In the end, those sunny days and cool nights in Rome were filled with wonder and delightful revelations of how lucky I am; Lucky once to be fortunate, and lucky twice to realize I am fortunate.
There are more photos below