Thursday, 26 November 2009

A nervous smile. A new beginning.

I don't know why I'm writing this. I honestly don't.

I had pretty much given up on the whole blogging thing, simply because too much has happened. When I read my last post and think about all that I have to say, the prospect of trying to pick up where I left off proves too daunting.

I'm not the same person I was when I started this blog. A lot has changed. A lot has stayed the same. Some things I didn't expect. Others that I took for granted never really happened.
There have been ups and downs. Some people have faded out of my life as quickly as they stormed into it. Others have set up camp and don't seem to have any intention of leaving any time soon. I'm feeding them Cinnabons as an incentive to stay. I like these new co-stars in my life.

My relationship with God has been a rollercoaster ride. Soul Survivor changed my outlook on life, but the high's wearing off and I need to recharge, to reconnect. But I know that He's always going to be there, waiting for me to remember that He's the only source of power I'll ever need.

Christmas is almost upon us. I can almost hear those disgustingly cheesy Christmas songs screeching at me from every angle. Matt: I know you love that stuff. I can see the glee on your face as you read this. Don't get me wrong: I love Christmas. I love LOVE love Christmas. The mere thought of all the baking I intend to bang out is enough to send me into a sugar-induced coma. I love everything about Christmas. The mass at uni. Giving presents. Being with the people I love most. Remembering the awesome love that was born into this world some 2000 years ago. But Christmas this year brings with it the end of all that I've taken for granted these past 5 years.

I graduate next year. Me. A graduate. Meaning I need to start thinking about the rest of my life. Scary stuff. Fracking exciting scary stuff. I can't wait. When I think of everything I went through this past year, and the person I've become because of it, there's only one thing left to say:




Sunday, 28 June 2009


*cracks fingers*

you wouldn't believe this, but this is Simon, typing on his mac, but using Krissie's screen from one county to the other. she is just sitting there watching letters appear as my fingers dance across a different keyboard.
*smiles* macs are amazing

It's rather cool actually. Kind of like sharing a brain for a little while. Like two lemmings. Fighting for the cursor instead of the mic. He's trying to make me write bboooobbies guys. Very mature Sim.


Possibilities are indeed endless. I think we should use the evil powers Apple so kindly supplied us with for good. Don't you?

I can foresee many interesting projects...anyway it's even more fun because while i'm typing on her blog (while not signed in to her account, just want to make it clear) I can browse her windows files and so on....her computer is completely open to me .*evil laugh*

*swallows* followed by *nervous laughter* Simon. I can see the cursor moving. STOP IT. (I'm correcting his grammar. He doesn't like it. Well tough. S'my blog.

(we just had a cursor fight)

well....along with having her computer on my screen, i, sadly, have her voice in my ear :P I joke i joke.

*How MEEEEEAN!* (I actually just said that.) As soon as he wrote "sadly" I knew what was coming. Thanks ah!

trust me guys, the capital letters are justified.

Teehee ^^ This could go on for a while Sim. Dammit I should be studying...ah well. If all else fails it's Cafe time!

*with a bow and a touch to the forehead* i bid thee farewell


Ta ta for now.

Friday, 26 June 2009

If I close my eyes, I'm there.

There's the most amazing smell; a mixture of roast coffee, fresh muffins, oil paints and well-worn paperbacks. I can see the art on the walls, the beanbags and squashy sofas, the giant coffee cups...practically bowls with know the ones. The sounds of pages turning, people laughing and the gentle strumming of a guitar being tuned in preparation of a live set.

I can't wait to make it a reality. As of right now, that's my dream for the future. I know my Professor's already planning my Doctorate degree. Right. I'm going to have to break the news to him at some point. Maybe when I tell him about my year out...that's going to be a fun conversation. Ah well. It'll be worth it. The place I go when I close my eyes: I'm going to make it a reality. Just try and stop me.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Positive Procrastination.

It's inevitable. The moment I sit down to work, my mind jumps from one possible for of distraction to another. Food. Email check. Facebook. Tea. More Facebook. Even cleaning up my room (yes, it has come to that.) Anything that will keep me from facing the massive pile of notes awaiting my highlighter. Yes, I highlight now.

Anyway, I'll get to the point. The point being my new Hillsong United CD. The one that has sent me into sporadic spasms of excitement and glee over the past couple of months. Finally, it has arrived. So I have decided to give in to a more positive form of procrastination. I am going to share my CD with all of you :) I have uploaded all the songs onto

Just click on the links below and they'll lead you to the files, all ready to be downloaded.
My procrastination present to all of you hardcore study fiends out there.

1. Freedom Is Here

2. No Reason to Hide
(I assumed you all have that one already so I didn't bother uploading it ^^)

3. More Than Anything

4. King of All Days

5. Desert Song

6. Oh You Bring

7. Tear Down the Walls

8. Soon

9. You Hold Me Now

10. Arms Open Wide

11. Your Name High

12. Yours Forever

They'll be up for 7 days before the website disables the files so hurry hurry hurry! Enjoy :)

One more thing. For some reason I was thinking about last year's CLC Seminar today. One of the things that had impressed me most was a short film in Spanish that Josie showed us. I won't tell you what it's about, because I'll ruin the whole point of the film. It's really short. 6 minutes, that's all.

While you're waiting for the songs to download, take six minutes to watch this video. It's one of those things that makes you think. And keeps you thinking. I know the aversion that most people have to blog videos, but this is worth it, I promise. I was going to actually upload the video. But my internet is fighting me on this. So I will leave you yet ANOTHER link...but please follow it ^^

So there you go. 
Positive procrastination. The way of the future :)

A Bientot!

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Just a thought...

...on my head exploding.
Do you ever get the feeling that you have so many things floating around in your head, jostling for attention, that a fight's going to break out and your thoughts are going to make a run for any available exit? At the risk of having the remnants of ideas oozing out of my ears, I have decided to relieve some of the pressure here, in my very own Pensieve. Yes. That was a Harry Potter reference. Deal with it.
I apologise for what is to follow. It will probably take the form of verbal diarrhoea.

...on the weather.
I mean seriously. What is UP with the mood swings? My guess is that the world's weather man is PMS-ing.  Two days ago it was so hot I thought the Verona carabinieri were going to have to scrape the-puddle-formerly-known-as-Krissie off the pavement with a spatula. And yet, as I wrote this yesterday during Medieval Art, the sky was black. It was 4pm. The thundering got steadily closer and the tree-swaying became more frantic. Somebody get Al Gore on the phone.

...on canned fish.
In the past five weeks I have eaten some form of tuna salad nearly every single day. I can count the exceptions on my fingers. This is not good. Can one overdose on canned tuna, I wonder? I hope not, otherwise I'm screwed.

...on weddings.
I seem to have missed an incredible day last Sunday. It was to be expected really. Congrats to Joe and Ang! On Saturday I bore witness to a very different type of wedding. The father of the bride was very proud. And I was warned that hers was a family I'd never want to take sides against. Unless I wanted to sleep with the fishes. OK I'll stop now. Bottom line: I watched the Godfather for the first time. Wow. And I mean wow. I am seriously impressed. It was 3am on Sunday 24th May - I'll always remember this date as the day I my eyes were opened to the glory of gangster films. I am hooked. If I buy cotton wool and a grey-striped cat, someone please stop me. Use force if necessary.

...on my sources of entertainment.
A quick shout-out to my daughter and my social date. You know who you are. You have entertained me muchly recently. I salute you. And dance around with my Piglet soft toy, to the lilting sound of Chris Martin's voice, in your honour.
P.S. A collective "heeeeey :)" to the inhabitants of Room 101.
P.P.S. Thanks to Emily, Sam and Charlene for the recent messages :) you made me smile. And I will reply. I promise. 

...on Class Trips.
I've had three in the past eight days. I am mentally and physically exhausted. "Pooped", if you will. Yesterday, in Padova, I experienced something very odd. In the space of 7 minutes I was made to feel both utterly mortified and rather proud of myself. You see, I have this professor who scares me a little. He knows I'm foreign, and yet he persists with asking me question after question, bringing my 'foreignness' to the attention of the rest of the class. During his lessons I live in a constant state of terror. Did I mention that he teaches me a Master's course on the theory of artistic criticism and iconology? I think my mask of frozen panic is justified. 

Anyway, yesterday he proceeded to interrogate me, exposing my non-existent knowledge of the early Renaissance art of the Veneto plains. A tad specific, but still something the art students here seem to have learned alongside their ABCs and 123s. Needless to say, I was humiliated. But then a ray of hope hit my tomato-red face= he turned to the only Baroque painting in the entire hall. Was he really going to hand me my one and only chance to prove that I'm not completely ignorant, a fraud, a wolf in art-historian's clothing if you will? Yes. He was. I nearly broke out into a victory dance. One of the Renaissance buffs started going on about how the painting HAD to be early Seicento. I squirmed with impatience as I waited for him to finish. Then it all kinda wooshed out of me. Nay, my dear fellow. Early Seicento it was not. And I proceeded to explain why, complete with Sciberras-esque acting out of the Classicist affetti. Lis, Nic - you know what I'm talking about.

My professor kissed his fingers to his lips. The visiting lecturer smiled and said: "Perfetto". I felt utterly vindicated. It felt good. Please excuse my blatant lack of modesty. Try and understand; I've spent the last three months with a giant question mark glued to my forehead. I was getting desperate. I beg your forgiveness.

...on my Bible.
It still hasn't arrived. Ho hum. I'm fed up of having to use internet Bibles for my quiet time. I guess it's my own fault for forgetting both of mine at home over Easter...

...on tanning.
I refuse to spend hours in my balcony sprawled on a chair in an attempt to go from white to bronze. I need a cooling device- shower, pool, sea, something! I can't just lie there until I'm covered in sweat, with nothing to look at except blocks of flats. Not to mention the leering men with whom you have to avoid eye contact. Not my idea of a good time. So, until I get a natural tan, white will just have to do. Thankfully most of my friends are Scottish.

...on poverty.
This probably deserves a blog to itself, but I'll try and condense my thoughts, as this is turning into a post of epic proportions. I can't take it anymore. Nearly every single day someone comes up to me asking for money or food, or for me to buy the rose/lighters/tissues they're selling. I don't know what to do. Every time I give them something, I feel like I could have/should have given them so much more. And then someone else comes up to me. I look into their eyes and I hate myself for spending three euros on soyamilk, or thirty euros on a dress. The Italians ignore them and tell me to do the same, but when see a beggar on the street and just walk past  without even giving them the chance to form the word "monetta" with their lips, I feel like I've just walked past Jesus and spat in His face. Like He set me a test, and I failed. I don't know what to do. Should I build up a collection of lighters that I'll never use? Of roses that will turn black and die? I don't understand how the State can let this happen and go on as though everything's fine. I think about the month I spent in Egypt and I feel like a hypocrite. I honestly don't know what to do. 

...on a more positive note.
I can actually sign off with a "See you soon", because I will! Thank you Maltese government, and your eagerness to bring me home to vote for the EP Reps! My mum phoned yesterday, and her opening line was "Kris, do you want to come home to vote?" I think you can guess what my answer was. I will have to study while I'm some work for my thesis...Blurgh. Other than that: bring on the swimming, Dr.Juicing, chaplaincy-ing, CLCing, Community-ing, Y4J-ing, baking and general joy. 

Bye-bye for now. See you in eight days!

Just a thought...

Monday, 11 May 2009

Time to wipe the dust off my blog.

I am so very ashamed that it has taken me this long to blog again.

You must understand, I was trapped in a stalemate. With myself. You see, I haven't blogged for so long that I have lots of things I want to say. The more I have to say, the less inclined I am to say it. The more time passes, the more there is to say...and so on and so forth. See what I mean? However, Simon has convinced to let my voice be heard, so I am blowing the proverbial dust off my blog.

The last time I blogged it was Easter-time and I was home. For two whole glorious weeks I was out every single day spending time with the people I love. I was happy, and it stuck. To continue with what seems to be a common blog theme at the moment, I realised that I love my life. Honestly. I had what translates as a two-week holiday to my life, and it was amazing. A pointless conversation about Disney songs, grocery shopping with mia madre, the alarmingly-large amounts of time spent at Dr. Juice. The most banal things of my everyday existence kept a smile on my face for fifteen days straight.

When I was talking to some friends of mine here in Verona before I came down, I remember one of them saying that she didn't think she could go home, as she wouldn't want to come back. This thought did cross my mind, but when it really came down to it, I was ready to leave. The reminder that this, my life, will waiting for me when I go back home just made me determined to enjoy my time in Verona to my utmost ability. This experience has the potential to be a chance for me to really get to know myself, and to try and discover what I really want to do with my life.

Fine, my procrastination is epic, my side of the room is always slightly messier than hers and I eat the same tuna salad every single day. But I'm happy. I've found true friends here. I love to explore and discover a hidden piazza, or a picturesque street. The weather is finally reaching appropriately sunny levels. My mum gave me a mini-telescope to further facilitate MuseuMe. 

Life is good.

See you in 2 months and 2 weeks.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Dear Achie...

OK. So. Right.

I looked at my last post and realised that I have a lot to blog about. And I'll get to that eventually. What this really is is a comment on a certain someone's blog that kind of turned into a blog in its own right. The excessive length would've made it a bit of a strange and I would have probably been forced to stop myself at some point. Here I'm free to go on and on and on as I see fit. And so, I will proceed to write my very first blog-answering-blog. I apologise for the lack of structure of any kind.

I'm proud of you. For many reasons. Some of which I will proceed to list:

You went for it. You wanted to do something completely random for yourself and you did.
So, it didn't work out the way you hoped it would. You shrug, put on a beanie and deal with it. So many people can't do that. Instead they whine and whinge and make everyone around them feel miserable and prone to violence. You do your own thing and don't give a rat's ass about what people might think about that. To me you're real and natural, no matter what the colour of your hair may be.

Blonde want brown, straight want curly, long want short. Whatever. It's hair. We've moved past that now I think...
We always think we know what's best for ourselves. It takes a lot to admit to ignorance. But there really is bliss in knowing that you don't know. It feels a little scary to let go of that sense of control. OK so maybe it feels a lot scary. It reminds me of those trust exercises we always used to do in Personal Development classes. 

You're falling backwards, your eyes screwed shut. Your arms are outstretched and you can't stop your hands from trembling, just a little. You can feel the ground rushing towards you. There's that moment of panic when you think no-one's going to catch you and you're going to hit the ground...hard.

Except you don't.

The hands that catch you are hands that will never let go. Never let you crash to floor. We just refuse to realise that sometimes. We spend our energy hoping we land on a mattress instead of enjoying the freedom in the fall.

We all need reminders. The rant wasn't pointless.

Oh and thanks for the phoqo. Let doooooon? No. I was not.

One mooooore thing: Uncle rocks my socks.

Simon: learn how to spell prefer please. It pained me. You know I love you.

You know what? I don't really care who has more fun. I am neither blonde nor brunette and I think I do pretty well for myself...

Monday, 6 April 2009

Working backwards.

The pebbles slide out of my hands. I hear the noise they make as they hit the stones already in the basket. 

I look at the red marks on my palms where I'd clutched too tightly. Even as I stare they begin to fade.

They're cooler than I expect. That's the first thought that crosses my mind. Some are sharp. Others have had their edges worn away by the relentless sea. Some are small, almost forgotten as they slip through my fingers. Others are bigger, coarser, more stubborn.

I look at them and I see bits of myself. The bits that scare me. The bits that make me want to run and hide. If I let them grow, together they build a wall around my heart. Trapped by my own sins.

That's what I see, right there in my hands. And then I smile. 
Rubble. That's all that is left. A love greater than anything I could every conceive has broken that wall. 

Blood and Sacrifice.


I am saved.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Just me thinking aloud.

I want Lenten talks.
I need Lenten talks.

I'm stuck and I don't know what to do.

This isn't going to be my normal sort of blog, sorry to disappoint. I just needed to 'think' out loud, and that tends to work best when I'm writing.

I miss home, yes. But not just usual "Family and Friends" missing. I mean that's pretty strong through, but not impossible to work through. More than that I miss the presence of God. 
I know, God is in everything we do, every action we choose to make. God is in old women who say Pace to you in Mass and in strangers who smile at you as you walk down the street. He is with us everywhere we go. I know that. 

I miss CLC. I miss MaranaTha'. I miss Chaplaincy.  I even miss Y4J even though I only went a grand total of one time! That one time had a pretty strong effect on me. I miss being in an atmosphere where I know that people understand what I'm going on about. Where I can just be. Where I can praise and worship God the way I know how. I need that. I didn't really realise just how much I need it until I came here. Without God, my life would have no meaning. I could try to live a 'good' life, but without Him it would still be dry and empty. At home I am ridiculously lucky to have amazing friends who understand that about me, and who feel the same way. I'm not judging people who don't feel this way, don't get me wrong. I just need the push. The whole holding-hands-together community feeling. I have nowhere to go on Thursday afternoons. I think of Cantarei. On Friday evenings. I think of M'Tha. On Saturdays.  I think of Y4J.

I know that the only thing that can save me in this respect is probably the most important thing. Prayer. And yet I feel I'm stuck. I need guidance. The feeling of peace I get after I pray is probably the most amazing I've felt over here, but still sometimes I forget this. And I wonder why I'm feeling empty. Why I'm not 'happy'. Then I remember. And I can't believe I could have forgotten. 

I need to learn how to really pray on my own and deepen my relationship with God. It's what I've been trying to do over the past year or so. It just gets harder when you're on your own. 

I need to be the person I can count on to remind myself how prayer makes me feel. I don't know if that even makes sense.

I've been reading so much about Lenten talks and meetings and the like. You guys sound so busy! And you're so lucky. Please don't forget that. You don't know how much I would give right now to be in your shoes.

Everyday when I walk out of the house, I plug in my headphones, turn on my mp3 and sing Hillsong. All the way to uni. And back. People have got used to me by now I think. Well, if they haven't already they soon will.

God Bless you.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Two words: Lon. Don.

I am back.

I have been meaning to update this for a while to be honest. But I was tired. And I wanted to at least try to do it properly. So now I am attempting to write on an uncomfortable plastic chair in the shade looking at the Italians frolicking on the lawn. And smoking. They're always smoking. I think I'm going to come home with emphysema. Ah well. Maybe I can do one of those ads on the Dangers of Second-hand Smoke.

Back to the point. Last week I made a very spontaneous decision. You see, lessons on Wednesday had been cancelled and since I am as free as a bird on Thursday and Friday I decided I had to go somewhere. For a brief moment it seemed as though my sister was going to join me in a trip to Florence. But she bailed on me for "educational reasons". I don't really blame her, she's doing her O Levels. 

After that there was only one logical choice really: London! I mean, why not? One message to Jenny later and I had booked my flights. It was perfect timing actually, considering that it was Jen's twentieth birthday yesterday. She's all grown up now. No more teen years. It's all downhill from here. Next year our lungs will start deteriorating. (Thanks go to Ruth for that lovely nugget of information).  Another shout out goes to Jeremy B, my godbrother (?...I say it exists.) He turns sixteen today God bless :)

I planned my journey down to a tee. I even wrote down all the info on a fullscap that I would carry around with me. I was oh-so-efficient. Or so I thought. Looking back, it's probably a good thing I didn't take my laptop with me. Otherwise you would have read a blog dripping with bile and venom and HATRED towards all Italians. Joe, you would have been proud. Let me explain.

I arrived at the airport bright and early, a full 30 mins before my train was scheduled to leave. I looked at my watch and smiled. Plenty of time. I'd planned to arrive at the airport in Milan half an hour before my flight to Gatwick opened for check in. Loads of time. I sat on a bench in the sun, pulled out my book, looked up at the announcement board, and frowned. A little red notice had come up: my train was now running 35mins late. No matter. Had time to spare. I sat there for forty minutes. Then, I heard the dreaded jingle that precedes all transport-related messages of panic and anxiety. I listened. I froze in horror. My train had been cancelled. Cancelled.

I RAN to the Admin Office and pleaded with them to find me another way to get to Milan. I called my dad a couple of times. My breathing became more erratic. The man in charge made a few calls. Then he told me that the next train heading to Milan would leave at 12.06. It was around that time that I started to hyperventilate. But there was nothing I could do. I would still make it. Just. So I waited.
Eventually, 12 o'clock rolled around.





Where's the fracking train????

Yes. You guessed. It was delayed. By the time I got to Milan I missed my shuttle to the airport. I had to get on the next bus. Surprise surprise: it was late. I was oddly calm at this point. The lull before the storm. My exit from the bus can only be described as a leap. I was halfway through the security check before I realised that hadn't actually checked in. That was it. The boarding gate closed. I had officially been beaten by the Italian transport system. 

Thankfully the next flight was at 6.00pm. A mere three hours later. Fifty Euros poorer and still pretty pissed off, it didn't feel like much of a consolation at that point.

Once that ordeal was over, I could finally enjoy myself. Like Jen said: It's happened to me once. At least the first time won't be with 7 screaming kids or something. Her words, not mine.

I love London. I really do. It's one of those places where I don't feel like a tourist. I love the be-who-you-want-to-be vibe. I love the energy, the life that I feel when I'm there. Oh, and I l-o-v-e the food. Seriously. I went mad. Jen lives 5 minutes away from a place called Planet Organic. That's all I can say. Pret-a-Manger? If I could live there I would. For the muffins and cinnamon granola alone. There was even an EAT. in Topshop! Too good. Sigh. I'm really going to miss the food. You get tired of Caprese after a while, you know? Chicken doesn't seem to exist in Verona, in any shape or form. And I'm not really a prosciutto crudo kind of gal. They don't get it. It's quite fun to observe their helpless expression when you ask them for a meatless option. Quite precious. So the flag is flying at half-mast today as I mourn London food.

OK, you knew it was coming. You must have been preparing yourself for the raving that is to follow, so here it comes: the ART! Oh my. I went to the National Gallery twice. Did I mention I was only in London for two days? I couldn't help's so big! I actually took down notes on my musuem map so that I would remember all that I'd seen. Van gogh, Cezanne, Monet, Manet, Degas, Caravaggio, Carracci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Picasso, Velazquez, Ribera, Van Eyck, Titian, Rubens, Rembrandt...the list is endless. Alone and teary-eyed once again, museum-Krissie took over for the six hours that I was in that building. I think I need a moment of silence to appreciate the glory of the experience.


And we're back. Honestly, I think I'm going to have withdrawal symptoms when I come home and leave all the artistic magnificence behind. Sniff. I don't even want to think about it. I bought a badge. It says LoveArt. I think I'm going to pin it onto my bag so that people will be warned of my crazed addiction before it hits them. It's the right thing to do.

Ruth joined us on Friday. We laughed, we sang ABBA at karaoke, we made lists (ahemm.), we went to Camden and played dress up, we ate a lot of muffins. OK fine. I ate a lot of muffins. I can't resist their blueberry goodness...

It was grand. Thanks again Jen.

Oh and, in case you were wondering, I made it home without so much as a five-minute delay. Actually, I was early.

Oh Pret. I'll miss you so...

I so should have bought that hat.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Reflections, Bucket Lists and a Broken Umbrella.

It's me again. 

It's been a very long week. So long, in fact, that I'm going to need to work backwards to make sure I don't forget anything.

Today, Sunday 8th March, Women's Day, was a very good day.

I woke up determined to track down a Catholic Mass...and I did! Turns out that about seven minutes away from my appartment there's this beautiful church called S. Giovanni Fuori Le Mura. That's what I love about Verona; it's full of these little surprises. So much so that I have decided to devote a Facebook photo album to all the churches that I come across while I'm here, famous and forgotten alike. I wonder how many I'll end up with...

Anyway, back to today. Well, I arrived at around 10.05 and, since I was told that the mass started at 10.30, I spent half an hour taking photos, wandering around, looking into the windows of Pasticcerias and just faffing about in general. Sadly, I had been misinformed. When I walked into the church, I stepped right into the prayers of the faithful. Oopsy. 

At first I was upset but soon all I could feel was this wave of relief to be back in a church again. I had missed Mass last week because I just hadn't got everything together at that point and I had no clue where to go or what to do. I had, and have, been feeling a little lost recently and being in that Church today just made me realise how much I've missed CLC, and Community and Chaplaincy. I've been feeling alone and sad, without knowing why, and this morning, surrounded by the congregation of Borgo Venezia, mouthing words I wasn't used to but which felt so familiar, I felt like part of something again. 

I felt...weightless. And so happy. It's funny; when I reached out to shake the hand of the old woman next to me she smiled back when she said "Pace". She gripped my hand tightly and really looked at me when she said it. It was almost like she knew what I was feeling. And then the last thing I could have possibly imagined happened: I started crying. I guess I really am turning into my mother! 

I walked down towards the city centre to meet two friends of mine and together we went on a hike to the Sanctuary. This monastery was built right at the top of the highest point in Verona. It is now my second most favourite place in the whole world. Taize still comes in at number one. What can I say, I have a thing for monasteries.

The sanctuary is the building that looks kind of like a cupcake, on the far left of the top photo. As you can see, the walk up is quite brutal. A constant curving uphill, followed by many, many steps. But I would do it a hundred times over. And I probably will. When you finally reach the top of the hill and look out onto the horizon, all Verona is spread out before you. The river, the bridges, the endless churches and their campaniles, the snow-capped Dolomites; all of it. The atmosphere of the sanctuary was so calming; a place of prayer and reflection. The few people who were up there with us felt the same awe and reverence we felt, and there was a silence that none of us wanted to break. I want to go back there to sketch. It's one of those places where you could sit for hours without seeing the time pass. Where you don't have to can just be.


Like I said, today was a good day.  

Thursday 5th March. 
The day I would finally cross something off my Bucket List.

"In short, he who doesn't go to Venice is a fool". Anton Chekhov knew what he was talking about, believe me.


One of the places I promised myself I would see in my lifetime. I can't even remember what made me fall in love with the city. All I know is that whatever it was, it was justified.

Even though it was cold, with torrential rain and Malta-style wind, Venice's charm was irresistible. The canals! The bridges! The gondolas! The blind-ending streets! The sour-faced locals! The endless stalls of Murano glass! The time spent wandering around as you get lost over and over again! Ah, Venice. There's really nowhere like it.

I loved every second of it. And I wasn't kidding about the rain. Exhibit A: the bins full of broken umbrellas. Sadly, mine was destined to join them.

The trip was totally unexpected, as the best things in life usually are. As we were only there for a day,  St Mark's Square and Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari (i.e. Titian-land) were on the top of my hitlist.

First things first: we got totally and utterly lost. Please note: I had a complete street map. I never claimed to have good direction skills. We (Anja and I) decided to stop for lunch to get out of the rain and maybe figure out where we were. A piadine and panino later and we realised we were a total of five metres away from dei Frari. Figures.

It's a really really really big church. And I'm short. 
But mostly it's just really big.

TIIIIIIIIIIITIIIIIAAAAAAAAAAAN!!! I will typescream his name for all to hear! Before going to Venice, and more specifically de Frari, I never really put him on the same level as Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael, the Florentine masters. 

I was wrong. 

This is for the lady who shouted "NO photography" at me: The Assumption is miiiinnnee muahahahaha. What can I say. I'm a rebel.

I must, and will, go back to Venice. No other place can make you feel so confused (try walking up and down the same piece of waterfront for half an hour looking for a pizzeria that you know is there... in the rain) and enthralled (St Mark's Basilica in all it's golden, mosaic-ed, Byzantine glory).

My feet were soaking wet the entire day [MEMO to me: check weather forecasts], I ate a chocolate and almond pastry bigger than my fist, I walked past Byron's old haunt, I heard a gondolier sing, I nearly fell into a canal, I bought more books than I could carry, I envied the art students sketching in the rain, I unleashed my inner tourist and I broke my umbrella.

Not bad for one day.

I think I'll stop here. 
I know: two days don't really make a week. So I guess I'll be back sooner rather than later.

Oh and thanks for all the support! You have no idea how much it means to me. 

And I apologise for never uploading more photos to my last post. I would say that I'll try to remember, but I know I won't. I'll put them all on Facebook. Soon. Promise.

Miss you,


Sunday, 1 March 2009

Take Two...

I'm writing again!

It seems I've taken to this whole blogging thing surprisingly well... go figure.

First of all I'd like to say THANKS to all the people who commented or let me know that they read my first blog and want me to continue writing. I felt connected with everyone, like I could really share what I am going through. No wonder Simon keeps bugging me to comment on his blogs... [yes, Sim: they are excellent and worthy of a comment in every possible way.]

I went to Milan on Saturday!! That's the main topic of this blog in fact.

I have reached a conclusion: Milan is only fun if you can afford to shop there (highly unlikely in my case), OR if you're interested in seeing a lot of art. And when I say a lot, I mean A LOT.


Sorry about that, but you know me... ART...(angel choirs singing) ... Good times. And totally random! It just goes to show that Erasmus Nights at pubs were created for a reason... but I'm getting ahead of myself, so I'll start from the beginning.

Now I really reaallly didn't feel like going to the pub that night. Most of you have witnessed my hermit-like tendencies in some shape or form, and so you know that no matter where I am, no matter how many times people try to assure me that the party/film/gathering is going to be "off the heezy", if I don't wanna go, I'm not gonna go. I'm boring. I have embraced it and moved on.

So when Thursday rolled around and I was feeling tired and lazy, the thought of a pub stuffed beyond comprehension with other aliens didn't really excite me. At all. AND I was pretty certain that my room mates hated me. See, they're older and they work, so they have to wake up early. And I kept coming in late. I could have sworn that one of them was coughing at me when I walked in at 12.30am the night before. You know. Coughing. Cough go to sleep cough now cough or else...

Yeah. Partying wasn't really high up on my to-do list. So I walked home and chit-chatted with my roomies, or co-inquiline as they are known here (my vocab is slloooowly expanding). Turns out, they can't hear a thing when they close their door! And one of them, Patrizia, had done an Erasmus exchange and she was all like go out, have fun, take the plunge, you're only here once carpe diem and all that. So I went.

I ended up meeting these two really sweet girls, Anya and Catherine. Random fact: Anya's dad is Maltese. I know, right? What are the odds... Anyway, we were talking about how none of us had plans for the weekend and then *poof*, suddenly we had promised each other that we would go on a day trip to Milan! And just like that I woke up super early, caught the train and less than two hours later I was in Milan. Simple pimple. 

Ah Milan... I feel like I should take a drag from a cigarette, or throw a scarf around my shoulders or something when I say that. It really is quite posh. We stopped in front of La Scala for a quick photo and walked through the very beautiful and oh-so-expensive Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele. The only things we could afford were a coffee and muffin from the McCafe. Yes, shock horror, I was in Milan and went to McDonalds. I. Moi. Me. And it felt good. How shameful. 

Pretty, right?

Anyway, so we walked through the arch and stopped dead in our tracks. For right in front of us was one of the most impressive buildings that I have ever seen in my life: the Milan Duomo. Honestly, I nearly cried. Words cannot describe how amazingly impressively, exquisitely...yeah, you see? I got nothing. 

At this point the many toddlers wandering around dressed up as lions and princesses and power rangers hadn't caught my eye. I mean, I was too busy gawking. But when silly string shot across my boots that got my attention. I looked around. As far as the eye could see [i.e. up to the giant Zara...that place is everywhere...] there were children. Hundreds of children dressed up in costumes. Throwing confetti. Spraying silly string. Doing other children-type things. 

Please note the confetti.


I still don't get it. I mean Ash Wednesday had passed and everything. We were officially in Lent and I'm being totally serious when I say that Milan was overrun with beings under two feet in height. Odd. 'Twas cute though. Right up to the point when I got sprayed with silly string. Yeah. Not so cute then.

After eating the crappiest meal in the history of tourist trap meals, I escaped to the Pinacoteca Brera by myself. I didn't really blame the others for not coming; by that point I had already dragged them to a Futurist exhibition. To be very honest I was ready to explore by myself...I hate to feel rushed because I'm worrying that someone else isn't enjoying themselves. So I found the museum, took a deep breath and walked in. An hour and a half later I stumbled out, red-faced, glassy-eyed and totally satisfied. I had lucked out. It was the 200-year anniversary of the opening of the museum. Can anybody say "Caravaggio Exhibition"? I walked into the screened off area, clutching my time-slot paper like it was the ticket to heaven. This time I really did cry. And more than once too. I was like a loon. A lonely loon on loon tablets. Wandering around the paintings, reaching out to them whilst muttering under my breath and 'shedding a tear', as my mum would say. I had reached new heights of geekdom. And I enjoyed every minute of it.

I made up for the crappy lunch later. The Calzonpizza is a wonderful thing. I don't care what my godfather says. God bless the Italians.

And that was Milan!

I'm going to have to go again though... I mean, I didn't even see Da Vinci's "Last Supper"! Apparently you have to book 60 days in advance...stupid Da Vinci Code.

Good night and God bless you.

Oh, and you'll hear from me reaaaaally soon this time. I have lots more to say and you're a very good listener...

Miss you, as always,


P.S. More photos to come. I got bored waiting for them to upload.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

"In fair Verona, where we lay our scene", I write my very first blog.

Where to start.

No really...I have no idea. Never in a million years would I have thought that I'd be here, in one of the student residences of the University of Verona, writing, of all things, a blog.

Let's be honest. I'm a technophobe. I take ages to answer emails, I forget about MSN. But here I am. And it's all because of you, whoever you are reading my blog right now. If you care enough to be reading this then you're one of the people who I am currently missing very much, one of the people responsible for the current state of my inbox, and I love you for it.
I miss you. I want you to know what I've been up to.
So here I am, writing my blog.

I like it here. It's really pretty! I go for walks and only realise hours have past when it starts to get dark. I honestly don't get bored walking in these streets...I get what Shakespeare kept going on about; Verona is the perfect backdrop of a city. Hopefully my own shenanigans will be slightly less tragic and bloody, but I can really see myself living here for the next five months. Just ask my parents, and I quote, concern soon turned to envy. It really is beautiful.

Speaking of my parents, I should really give them a shout-out. They came up with me for the first couple of days (thankfully), and we spent Carnival weekend exploring. It was great. Loads of hilarious, and I mean hilarious, moments. (Oh Ma, by the way, the woman in the bookshop thought you were my friend! I went back today to check out the phrasebook and she was shocked when I told her you're my mother! Thought you'd like to know hehe)

The funniest episode had to be the last meal before they left. The restaurant looked Louis XIV's boudoir. They gave us gold leaf and coloured glass goblets to drink our water in. Nuff said. The waiters were utter CHEESE, and one looked like Macaulay Culkin. And my mother thought she had bought the entire choosing platter of biscuits and proceeded to bag them. She was supposed to choose a couple. Tea came out of my nostrils I was laughing so hard.

The food here is beyond amazing. Sorry Miguel, skim through this part, k? Honestly, Mike you'd be proud of me. The masses of food that I'm managing to stuff down my throat never cease to amaze me.


You are looking at the best pizzas I have ever tasted. Yummy yummy in my tummy. I have yet to eat one bad meal, Campus canteen included. Between this and my luggage I'm afraid they're not going to let me back on a plane. Don't get me started on the coffee...

I've met some really nice people so far. The Americans are really friendly! Namely these two guys, Giancarlo and Matteo, both half Italian. My first actual friends! My roommate for this week is an English girl called Polly who is hilarious, I was in fits the second time I spoke to her! AND she's been to Malta and loves it! We played "OK, where's that?" with the photos on her phone. It was nice to see photos of home. Actually, most people are friendly when you mention you're an Erasmus student. It's funny, when I told Matteo that I'm from Malta he was shocked. To him it was on par with talking to someone from Fiji. I can honestly say it's the first time I've ever felt exotic. Strange. Had my first Erasmus party last night; Wa-hey! It was fun, met lots of nice people. Danced so much I woke up stiff. 

Next week the real work starts. Gulp. I had one proper lecture so far. In which the professor warned her Italian students that the textbook would be particularly difficult to understand. Just great. Looks like it's going to be a fun course though, all about archeological digs and stuff. My sister would love it. I might do a class in Creative Writing which would be really fun. (That would be in English though.) 

Oh, and the campus is just as pretty as the rest of the city in case you were wondering! This  on the left is what you see as soon as you go through the gate. There are frescos on the wall!
 Real honest-to-goodness frescos! And a huge lawn! I foresee many grass stains on my jeans...

The funny thing is, I feel really strange here for now. I miss home, but at the same time I'm enjoying myself. I think about my family and friends a lot. Sometimes it makes me sad, but mostly it makes me happy. I am truly blessed to have so many people in my life who I'm sad to be away from.

Anywho, I THINK I have nothing more to say for now. Wow. I wrote a lot. My apologies! I promise the next one won't be so may be soon though. I told you: I miss you.