Monday, November 29, 2010


Tomorrow is a very hectic day for me. I have lots due and even a final exam.  But I do want to take a moment and share some things I am thankful for (because Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday). 

So here is my list (well part of it): 

My parents. They have been my own personal lighthouse (cheesy - I know, but stay with me).  My parents have let me go out and live my life, make a few mistakes, and decide what makes me happy.  But they have ALWAYS been there for me to come back to, to share the joys and the heartache, and on occasion have had to help me (like a lighthouse helping a ship into port - get it? i'm still very aware of the cheesiness). 

My sister.  She is my best friend. Hands down.  I don't think there are enough words to explain how lucky I am to be her sister.  And how proud I will be to stand beside her when she gets married next year.  

My grandparents.  I am lucky that I have these two people in my life.  I spend most Sunday afternoons with them, and I am forever thankful for that time.  They have always been two of my favorite people and two of my biggest inspirations.  They are so in love with each other and I can only hope that I can find that one day too. 

I have some of the most amazing friends in the world.  We laugh. We cry. We text. We facebook chat sitting beside each other. We giggle. We get angry. We get over it (and that is the real gift). 

And then there are things I think we are all thankful for like a roof over my head, food to eat, air conditioning, heat, and running water.  

And today I am so thankful for my support system.  Because school is insane.  Almost over, but insane.  I am thankful for the opportunities I have had at Meredith.

Over the past few weeks, I have really learned to be thankful for who I am.  I am a loved person, and there is no reason to change myself for someone else (not that I've been trying).

So here is a delayed HAPPY THANKSGIVING! 

Friday, November 19, 2010

End of a Semester.

This week was a whirlwind of papers, tests, and presentations.  It was also our last full week of classes.  Next week, we have two days of class and then the Fraziers and O'Quinns are headed to the mountains for Thanksgiving.  (Btws - the mountains in the fall is my absolute favorite.)

Then all I have left is three days of classes, senior sleepover, and three exams. 

And then before too much longer, it will be my last semester of college. Holy smokes. 

I'm not ready, but I'm not really sure if any of us are. Our time at Meredith has been a joy, an experience, and sometimes a pain.  But at the end of the day, we call Meredith home.  And as hard as it will be to say goodbye, I hope to the moon and back that our last days here are the best we can make them.  Exams will come, student teaching/internships will become tiring, papers will be hard to write, and in May we will leave.  

But we will be back, most likely for Cornhuskin'. And we will just have to remember that there is no place like home. 

We still have months till it's time to say goodbye.  And I plan on making everyday of my last semester at Meredith a wonderful memory. 

Like this one: 

Or this one: 

Or even this one of two Duke girls with a wolf: 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Assisi! Rome!

Quick History lesson: 

Assisi is the home of St. Francis, who is the patron saint of animals and the environment. He was a part of the military until in he had a dream (around 1205/06) in which God was calling him to return to Assisi and care for the sick.  Francis called for simplicity in life, poverty and humility before God. He believed that the world was created good and beautiful by God but suffered for a need of redemption because of the primordial sin of man. (some of this information is from Wikipedia - go there for more). If you google or ever see an image of St. Francis, he is typically portrayed with animals or in nature. 

So on June 9th we spent the day in Assisi. It really was one of the most beautiful places I think I have ever been. 

Last week, June 14th -17th, I was in Rome.  I don't really have words to describe how excited I was to be there.  We got there early afternoon on Monday and we headed to our hotel to check-in.   After, we decided to get started on our sight seeing! The first thing we did was go to the Roman Colosseum.  We literally spent 2 and half hours there.  All four of us were just in awe of this place.  It is amazing to think that it has been standing in the same place for so long.  We also kept stopping to take pictures - probably why it took so long.  

Since we were all seniors (oh goodness - I finally said it), we took some time to spell out a special message in the rocks: 

After we took our time walking back to the hotel, Barbs and I went and met Ari and Linley for dinner and to watch the soccer game. There is no place better to watch an Italian soccer game than Italy!Barbs and I may have gotten a little lost on the way to meet the other girls but it made for a pretty picture: 

After the game, we walked around a bit and headed by the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain. Barbs and I both got a little teary-eyed when we got to the Trevi Fountain.  This is probably the one thing that I have always wanted to see. And now I have. Crazy. 

Tuesday morning we got up early and headed over to the Vatican City.  We had schdeduled a tour and we thought it would only be about 3 hours.  It ended up being closer to 5.  But it was still amazing.  Here is a little model of what the city looks like: 
We got to see the Sistine Chapel and all the Pope's tombs.  And of course St. Peter's. We were all pretty tired after that and still had a full day to do things so we headed back to the hotel for a bit.  We also hit up Hard Rock for dinner.  And watched another soccer game (by this point they were all making fun of me for wanting to watch the games). 

Wednesday morning we got up and headed towards the Roman Forum.  I played tour guide and read all the information about each thing that we were seeing.  Once again, it was pretty amazing to be in a place that had been there for so long.  We took our time and took lots of pictures.  We also climbed up to Palentine Hill.  

Next we went to the Pantheon (2nd time for me and Barbs but this time we got to go in).  We also headed back over to the Trevi Fountain.  It was super crowded and I felt like you didn't get the same effect as we did when we went at night.  The 15 minute walk from the Pantheon to the Trevi Fountain also ended up taking a lot longer than 15 minutes, probably closer to 2 hours after we stopped so many times to go into stores.  We went back to the hotel, took a short nap, and then went to dinner.  We once again did a self-guided night tour, back by the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain (and yes, we took a ring picture), and this time we added in the Spanish steps.  The view was amazing (second picture)! 

Thursday morning, we took our time leaving and did some shopping.  Once we got back to Sansepolcro, we knew that things were going to be rushed! We had class Friday and Saturday.  And there is a group of Meredith Alums here this week that we had lunch with on Friday.  Our final projects and presentations were due today (Sunday) and we leave Sansepolcro for the last time tomorrow! Very bittersweet.  Tonight we are having our host families over for a final dinner.  We head to Switzerland on Thursday and are there until we come home on Sunday! 

I can't believe how fast time flies!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Verona! Venice! Florence part 2!

I am so bad about updating this thing. 

Last week we had a travel break starting Monday and we (10 girls) headed off to Verona for the night.   It was really exciting to see Juliet's house (even though it's not really her house).  I had gone to see Letter's to Juliet the afternoon before I left for Italy with Hannah so it was really cool to be able to be in the same place.  The courtyard and the famous wall were definitely my favorite part of the house.  We didn't go inside the museum (because it was closing and cost money).  But the main attraction is really the wall anyway.  Here are some pictures:

Statue of Juliet (she doesn't look 13 to me)

Some of the notes:

Needless to say it was a beautiful place.  Maybe a random place for us to go but we are girls and do like a good love story.  

Tuesday morning/afternoon we traveled to Venice and were there until Thursday.  If you don't know anything about Venice: it is 117 islands connected by 400 bridges.  The best way to get around is by water taxi.  

I think if I ever moved to Europe and decided to live near the water - I would come to Venice.  It is sooo easy to get lost (and we did - about 4 or 5 times).  But that just adds to the adventure.  

Our hotel was pretty out of the way and not my favorite place in the world.  After checking in, about 6 of us headed over to St. Mark's square to just look around.  We spent about an hour there, taking pictures (we tried to take pictures with the birds - but they just didn't like us).  We went to meet the other girls for dinner for MK's birthday and then went for a night time gondola ride.  It was nice but pretty hard to see anything or to get good pictures.  

Okay, so here is the thing.  I'm clumsy.  I don't have good balance. I never really have.  I trip and fall constantly. Just ask my parents or my sister or anyone who has ever gone anywhere with me.  When we got back to the hotel the floor was slippery and I fell.  And I may or may not have broken my little toe (pretty sure I did though).  And a week later, it looks A LOT better but still hurts pretty bad.  

Wednesday morning we got up and headed back to St. Mark's and went in to the Basilica.  We didn't pay to walk into the various parts, but most of it you could see in the area that was free.      Wednesday was also a national Italian holiday so we got to see part of that celebration.  We then went to Murano, a small island off of Venice that is famous for it's glass.  We got to see someone make a glass horse.  It was one of the most amazing things I think I have ever seen.  

We spent the majority of the day there, and right when we were getting ready to head to the taxi stand it started to rain.  Pictures before the rain: 

The plan had been that I was going to go back to the hotel for a bit to rest (my foot was killing me by this point) and the other girls were going to go shopping and then I was going to meet them for dinner at the Hard Rock.  But with the rain, we all ended up back at the hotel napping.  It was probably the most amazing nap ever. 

We still went to Hard Rock - we met three other girls there.  Have an iced drink and free refills was fantastic. Being in Europe makes you appreciate things like that back at home. 

Thursday we pretty much just traveled back to Sansepolcro. 
Friday we had class and our second family dinner. So fun! I was so nervous about family dinners but they have truely been some thing special. And of course I was thinking about my own family back in NC doing all that they were doing on Friday and Saturday.
Saturday we had class all day. 
Sunday was the same. And I had skype date with Hannah.
Monday we went to a local museum here in Sansepolcro and saw Piero della Francesca's The Resurrection.  And then had class. And I got to talk to Emily and my parents for a little bit.

Today, we had class this morning (our class took a bit of a field trip and went to see a couple of  churches and the market).  This afternoon Anna, Barb, Ari, Linley, and myself skipped lunch at the Palazzo got on the bus and train and went back to Florence.  We only ended up being there for about 3 hours but it was so worth it.  Ari and Linley climbed the Duomo while Anna, Barb, and I went to Santa Croce.  I was so excited! Our first trip we missed getting to go in and I had really wanted to.  So we went in and spent more time in there than we meant too.  The sad part was that the tombs and memorials that were of the people we knew (Dante, Michaelangelo, Machiavelli) were being worked on and we couldn't see them.  I guess that just means I'll have to go back one day (cough ellen-graduated-from-college-frazier-family-trip?cough).  We also went to the market and did some shopping - look out friends, I got some of you presents today! 

All in all, the past few days have been fun.  Tomorrow we are going to Assisi - so excited about this! I am the first one in the Frazier 4 to go there and that doesn't happen often or ever.  


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Florence! Anghiari! Arezzo!

Get ready, this is a LOONNNGGGG post.

So Thursday we traveled from Sansepolcro to Florence.  We took a bus and a train to get there and the same on the return trip.  As soon as we left the train station, Dr. Goode was telling us to take pictures of various buildings.  It was already clear to me how historical this town is and how much of an influence it has had in other areas.  We were able to stop at the Duomo, Baptistry, and the tower while we walked to the Bargello museum. 

The architecture and design of these buildings is a wonder.  They took so long to be built and are so carefully cared for.  I think that coming from America where very few buildings are cared for in such a way, really helpes me to appreciate the beauty behind the buildings in Florence. 

Our experience inside the Bargello museum was very interesting.  I mean we were ushered in the back door instead of having to wait in line to go in - all because of Meredith College.   I was really interested in seeing and learning about the works of Michelangelo; we got to see many of his incomplete works.  The guide(who was a 35 year old attractive Greek man who spoke English with the prettiest accent - I LOVED the way he said Leonard da Vinci) was very informative in telling us about the history of each sculpture.  In the chapel were beautiful frescoes including the oldest known image of Dante (like as in Dante's Inferno).  That was pretty cool - I have a picture, you can see it when I get home.

As part of our prep for going, I had to briefly research the Santa Croce.  In case you don't know - many famous Italians and honorary Italians, including Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli and Dante are either buried there (in Dante's case there is a memorial).  I really wanted to be able to go in and explore but when we were on the way it started to rain.  It is definitely on my list of places to go see again at some point in my life.  We even stopped and got this nice German man to take our picture. 

Okay so I have to share this picture of part of our lunch.  This was seriously the best bruschetta I have EVER had.  And it made a fun picture!

We also went to see the fake David statue before heading back to Sansepolcro.  The train ride back was fun too - Ari and I got to sit with some very interesting Italians. But that's a story for another time.

Saturday was another travel day.  We went a little closer to home, visiting Anghiari and Arezzo.  We went into various chruches and small local museums in both cities.  Google image Anghiari and you will see the village on the hill.  And yes - we climbed all around that place.  But the view was amazing.  Pictures will follow on a later post.  Arezzo was a bit more non-hilly. We did get to see Piero della Francesca's Legand of the True Cross.  Google that too if you don't know what it is.  Part of the different sections of fresoces is missing.  It really is an amazing thing to see.  No pictures of that though - it is under super climate control and light control - meaning no flash! Our professor did mention that there will come a day when this fresco will be so faded, it will be impossible to see.  Apparently, the restoration and cleaning of various frescoes is a HUGE debate in Italy.  And I can see why. 

Today was a day full of classes but we did get to go to the Flower Festival (first time it was held).  In the past couple of days, I have gotten the chance to talk with Hannah, Lizzy, Mom and Dad, and my Grandparents. It was such a treat to hear/see all of their voices/faces.

I have literally taken 420 pictures since I got here.  Most of which are of buildings and landscapes for my class but still pretty.  I'm really enjoying getting to experiment with my camera and try and get some artsy shots.  And since tomorrow we leave for our first travel break, I'm sure there will be more pictures to come!  I'm off to Verona for Monday night and Venice Tuesday-Thursday! I'll post again once we get back for sure!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Busy, Busy

The past few days have been super busy. 

Monday, we had our first Italian class before going to Casa Buitoni. They are famous for their food, some of which you can buy in the US.  (google the brand - I bet you recognize it)

Pretty fountain at Casa Buitoni. 

Here is Barb, me and Anna outside the back of Casa Buitoni.  We were able to eat our lunch out there and the view is ah-mazing.  We also met the head chef and some of the other chefs that come up with all the food they sell. 

After returning to the Palazzo, I had my art class.  After class, a couple of us went exploring around town and took pictures.  This town is seriously one of the most beautiful places I have ever been! I was also able to talk to my parents, which is always a nice treat! 

Yesterday, we were in class from 8-3.  It was pretty killer.  But we did get out an hour early before lunch to be able to go to the local Market.  It was pretty similar to the flea market at home, people selling various goods.  It felt like the majority of the town was out and about.  Sansepolcro seems to have this sense of community that even small towns in North Carolina are lacking at times. We also planned our travel break for next week - Verona for one night and Venice for two! I'm pretty excited! 

Today was a half day, meaning we only have class in the morning.  This afternoon, I attempted to do some school work.  I also got the opportunity to meet a member of my host family for our family dinners! She is 30 and speaks limited English and her parents speak even less.  Luckily, i'm paired with another girl, so I'm not going by myself.  Either way - it will be fun! 

Tonight, we also went to a soccer game, or futbol. Let me tell you, Italian soccer is so much more aggressive than what I know soccer to be like.  Some of us only stayed for the first half and just in that short amount of time 5 players were hurt, including the goalie.  Annnnndddd they jump so much higher than I think I have ever seen an American soccer player jump.  It was pretty neat to watch.  

Tomorrow we are off to Florence for the day.  So I'm off to bed for an early morning! 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

being somewhat adventurous

I am not very adventurous, in the "let's-go-climb-a-mountain" kind of way. Never really have been. I have quickly learned in the past 2 days that being in Italy, you have to be somewhat adventurous. 

Yesterday, we took a short tour of the beautiful Sansepolcro (essentially we found out where the grocery store is located).  And after dinner at the pizzeria located downstairs, some of us took a walk around the town at night.  Let me tell you, this place is hopping on a Saturday night (especially after a soccer game). 

Today, we began classes. The first thing we did was attend Mass at the local Catholic Church.  We left before the service was over so that we could climb the bell tower (this is where the adventurous part in us came out).  The stairs were pretty steep and a little scary.  The ceiling was low down at some places and we had to seriously duck.  And climbing back down was pretty scary, especially since the handrail to the stairs was pretty much just a rope.  And did I mention I did all this in a dress? But the view was worth it. 

We also got to watch the bells be rung.  There were three older men and one young teenager (about 14/15 maybe).  The teenager was able to speak very broken English and once he learned we were from North Carolina, he told us that Michael Jordan is his hero.  Watching bells be rung in an old Italian Cathedral was truly amazing. (And as I type this they are being rung again). 

I'm pretty much in love.  The only thing that would make this better would be if I understood the language. 

Friday, May 21, 2010


We are here! And it's beautiful!

I would not have made it to the airport and through the night before leaving without my wonderful sister. Thanks Lizzy!

Also, the view from my room is extremely pretty.  This picture does not do it justice but here it is anyway:

So far, I love it!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


i literally just zipped up my bag and weighed it to make sure it was under 50 pounds. (it was only 30 btw). and i think i have everything i need/want to take. i'm kinda proud of myself.

i have spent most of the past few days running around like a chicken with it's head cut off. but with the help of some of my most wonderful friends and family, i think i'm ready to go.  i'm grateful for all the help and support the people in my life have shown me.  i mean my sister is driving to raleigh late tomorrow from charlotte to be able to take me to the airport early on thursday. (thanks lizzy.)

and as i type this, the song leavin' on a jet plane is running through my head. probably because i am on thursday.(but i do know when i'm coming back).

i have wanted to go to italy since i could locate it on a map. and now it is here. and i'm nervous and excited and just ready to get on the plane and go.  and i will. in less than 48 hours. 

it feels very surreal to know that in just a couple of days i will be in italy. and i'm so excited! 

Saturday, May 8, 2010

life is a journey

I took my last exam as a junior in college. 
I am 13 days away from getting on a plane and spending 6 weeks in Italy. 
I spent quality time with four of my dearest friends (and not all at the same time). 
And I finally realized that it is okay for my life to be about more than just tests and papers. 

Needless to say, it was a busy day.  But a beautiful one.  

I love Meredith College. I really do.  But sometimes classes get in the way of me really appreciating it.  As thankful as I am for this semester to be over, I am somewhat apprehensive about how quickly three years have gone by.  I feel like I just moved in to Poteat dorm yesterday.  I have come to think of Meredith as my second home, full of friends, family, and tradition.   And tomorrow is no exception in the tradition department (and I'm pretty sure my favorite): it's Class Day.  A day the sophomore class celebrates the graduating seniors.  A day that begins early for the younger class and typically ends in tears and hugs.  Last year's Class Day (see picture of very tired and proud Ellen and Allyson) was a beautiful experience and one I'm glad to have been a part of. 

But Class Day means that the school year is coming to a close and I'm not sure I'm ready to admit that I'm a senior.  

I am, however, ready to get on a plane that is Italy bound! This is an adventure that I have been ready for since I could locate Italy on a map.  There is still so much I have to do in the next 13 days but I'm looking forward to getting ready.  I am also really looking forward to going home for a few days to spend time with my parents before I leave.  This will be my last visit to our house in Elizabeth City (since they will be living in Cary when I come home) and I'm looking forward to making the most of it.  I'm sure I'll be packing my room, visiting my mom's classroom, and staying busy.  But I wouldn't change a thing.   

I've had this song stuck in my head for a few weeks now.  It's one that I have played over and over and over.  The song is A Beautiful Day sung by India Arie.  you should look up the lyrics.  or you can look at this video: 

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  Now it's time for some much needed sleep before another beautiful day tomorrow - rain or shine. Though I'm hoping for more shine than rain for Class Day.