Friday, July 22, 2011

Rick Steves Could Rule the World

He really, really could. And, you know what? I wouldn't mind. I feel that Rick (and I can call him Rick... I've seen nearly all episodes of Rick Steves' Europe. If that's not enough to launch me into the informal tenses, I don't know what is) would use his power in a benevolent manner, unlike friggin' Oprah, who'd just blow things up.

Seriously, Rick Steves has gone everywhere in Europe. Literally. Okay, not literally... but he's definitely working on it. I'm not going to lie, I've watched most of his episodes over the course of the week on Hulu, beginning with the ones on Italy and then moving on to Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Greece, Spain, Germany, and then begrudgingly France. Homeboy knows his shit.  I'm pretty sure he finds things that don't even exist... like, he goes Harry Potter on our asses and says something in parseltongue and shit just appears. Sure, he can be a bit boring, but he's so endearing. Hearing him trying to speak Czech? Hilarious.

By the way, have i mentioned how utterly jealous I am of Rick Steves? So friggin' jealous. I realize that he and his crew probably work extremely hard and get super tired, but they get to travel for a living--and then tell people about it without sounding like bragging bastards. His book sales alone must make him a millionaire. That is just cray-cray*, man.

I would normally put a plea here begging Rick Steves to be my best friend and hide me in his suitcase when he jets off to Prague or Venice or Diagon Alley, but I'll refrain. Because that'd be super creepy, which i'm not. Really, i'm not creepy. I just have creeper tendencies. There's a difference.

That's my gushing review of Rick Steves.

PS: This morning I rediscovered how incredibly hot Ryan Gosling is. I realize that this is totally random, but whatever. He's so hot it's ridiculous.

*Cray-cray = crazy. I won't provide this translation again.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Goals for Study Abroad

Whenever I tell people that I will be studying abroad in Italy for 10 months, a lot of people tend to respond with, "Oh, so that'll be nice. I bet you'll be travelling the entire time, eh? Because no one actually studies when they go abroad..."

That's when i just stare at the person until he/she* becomes uncomfortable enough to walk away. I used to try and be all, "Oh, no. I'll actually be studying while abroad--you know, at an actual Italian university. Yeah, Italy actually has some of those... blah blah blah." Now i just stare, usually like this:

See why it freaks people out?

Needless to say, it gets the job done. In my head, you can bet your ass that i'm thinking, "Bitch, please. This isn't an Australian study abroad program." After all, i have to speak another friggin' language. Why can't anyone understand that i do not speak-o the italian-o. Okay, that's kind of a lie...

Anyway, i realized that i'm starting to get super lax about studying abroad. Since everyone always assumes that i wont be actually studying abroad, I've let myself pretend that's the case. This needs to stop. Like, now. If i forget how to ask where the bathroom is, I'm screwed. Like, s-c-r-e-w-e-d. A girl's gotta pee, yo.

Naturally, i make a list of goals i want to accomplish whilst in Italy. Because making lists is my #3 preferred method of procrastination, third to only Youtube and online shopping. It makes you feel productive while not actually being productive. This is generally how i roll.

Goals for studying abroad:

1. Meet Rick Steves. This guy is a BAMF, and quite possibly homosexual**. I have been on the quest for a gay best friend for my entire life. This guy is the way to go. 

2. Become the female version of Rick Steves (minus the whole him-being-gay thing. Despite what my mother thinks, i am very much straight.)

3. Learn to speak Italian. Like, actually speak it--not just pretend to.

4. Not die. No further explanation necessary.

5. Not get napped and sold into white slavery. I'm not cut out for prison and i'm definitely not cut out for slavery.

6. Travel as much as possible--within Italy, outside of Italy, down the street, around the corner, across the continent. I'll take what I can get.

7. Find a legitimate job once I graduate. Despite the whole i'm-taking-the-GRE thing, grad school is a back up plan... one that needs to not happen.

8. Make millions off this blog. Easy peasy.

9. Not look like a total idiot while among Italians.

10.  Not get fat(ter). I'm vain but honest.

11. Get some really bitchin' shoes.

Obviously some of these goals will be more difficult to accomplish than others. I mean, everyone knows it's easy as pie to get a job these days. The perfect pair of shoes, however, sometimes evades you for months.

Unlike Rick Steves, my priorities are straight.***

*Auntie Kay would be so proud of me for being grammatically correct here.
**Allegedly. I base this prediction solely off the 256 episodes of his show i have watched... although i'm probably right. I know my gays.
***This is a terrible joke. I really do like Rick Steves and really, really, really want to meet him. Sure, I'll be a little disappointed if i find out he's not gay, but then we can just go get an espresso somewhere that no one knows about except Rick Steves. Best friends forever!

Things I've Learned About Study Abroad... BEFORE Studying Abroad

With 37 days left until I depart for Bologna, I've realized just how much I've learned about studying abroad before even leaving American soil. Here goes nothing...

  • That airplane tickets to Italy are hella expensive... like, two-thousand Washingtons expensive. I mean, I nearly sold my phantom firstborn child to get my ass to Bologna, which I suppose isn't a terrible price to pay, considering I don't plan on having offspring. Like, ever. Sorry, Mom. This brings me to my next point...
  • StudentUniverse.Com is a lifesaver. My sista by a notha mista friend Dru, who you will be hearing about every blog post from time to time, found this awesome website that sells tickets to students for discounted prices. Although the site looks kinda sketch at first, it's legit. I managed to get a round trip ticket for under $1200, which is unheard of in today's shitty ass market. While I may not use the return ticket, it's a better value than one-way... and it's usually required for visas.
  • Speaking of visas, do you know what a "notary public" is? Because I didn't until about 2 weeks ago. Of course, I waited a week before the visa deadline to send in my application (hey, at least I didn't wait until the actual deadline, right?)... only to find out three days before the deadline that they would not accept my application since it wasn't signed and stamped by a notary public. I was all, "WTF is a 'notary public???' I thought those died with Cesar." Apparently, you need to get your visa stamped by a bank or a government servant, whereas I thought having my brother witness me signing the application was legit, especially since we were both eating Cocoa Puffs at the time. Yeah, no.
  • Express Mail is ridonkulously expensive. It cost nearly $40 to send in my application materials, including an express mail envelope to get my shit back... and that was before I had to send in the application again. Thankfully, my mother paid for it that time.
  • Emails regarding study abroad crap are endless. There's, like, 23 every single time you check your email. Some are genuinely helpful, but most are just infuriating. Let's reflect on some things such emails have said...
    • You will need X, Y, and Z upon your arrival in order to get... 
      • X is usually a money amount. Y is usually something that requires money to get. Z is more money. Note to study abroad head-honchos: I'm broke. Stop requesting me to spend so much fucking money. Kthanksbye.
    • When you arrive in Bologna, go directly to Hotel Holiday, NOT the BCSP office.
      • Okay, that's fine. Thanks for the heads up.
    • Pack light. Limit the amount of clothes, cosmetics, and other toiletries you bring...
      • I'm pretty sure that I said an "Oh hayyyyllll no" when I read this line. Why not tell me to limit the amount of shoes I bring, too? DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND THAT I LOVE MY CLOTHES, COSMETICS, AND OTHER MISCELLANEOUS TOILETRIES??? Thanks for crushing my materialistic soul.
    • When you arrive, go directly to Hotel Holiday. Do not go to the BCSP office.
      • Yep, you said that already.
    • Print A, B, C, D, E, F, and G before you leave. Copy H, I, J, K, L, M, N, and O and bring them with you to Bologna. Copy the copies of H, I, K, M, O and assorted pages of L...
      • Tree killers. What'd they ever do to you? Are you sponsored by Office Max or something?
    • Do not go to the BCSP office when you first arrive. Go to Hotel Holiday.
      • Seriously, you can stop saying that. We get it.
    • No, you don't. Go to Hotel Holiday and NOT the BCSP office.
      • STFU before I make you STFU... or else I will go to the BCSP office just to piss you people off. 
        • By the way, if anyone actually goes to the BCSP office instead of the hotel when they arrive, they are obviously twats. 
  • It's annoyingly hard to figure out how to get prescriptions abroad... start figuring it out early. Like, when you're in the womb.
  • Insurance companies suck. so. hard. Don't even get me started. 
  • Summer goes so friggin' slowly when you're anticipating what will surely be one of the best times of your life. Period. 
  • I don't know any Italian. Those six semesters I took? Somehow erased from memory. I blame extraction... or is it inception? No, definitely extraction.
Obviously some of these realizations are more important than others... that's not to say, however, that any of these are significant in any way. During the summer, my brain turns to mush. I'm surprised when I manage to put on my socks in the morning. No joke. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New Layout

So, I spent most of my night/superearlymorning/morning working on a new blog picture... and I may or may not have been slightly tipsy when the project began sometime around midnight last night. My mother was lurking over my shoulder this morning as I pieced the cork board together. Here is our conversation:

Mother: Where did those pictures come from?
Me: What do you mean?
Mother: I haven't seen them before.
Me: Oh, yeah... I must have taken them when you were drinking your lemon slushy.
Mother: They're really good!

Obviously, I will now become a professional photoshopper... taking people's facebook photos and superimposing them onto scenic backdrops of the world's finest sites. Despite the fact that my mother is largely computer illiterate and not wearing her glasses, I will take this small victory.

Ciao for now,


PS: I was clearly joking above. My photoshopping skillz aren't nearly as good as I think they are. This, however, will not stop me from photoshopping you (yes, i'm talking to you, reader!) into my next project. Taj Mahal, anyone?