dear mama hely,

July 31, 2010

i know that after 36 years without your son and 49 years without your husband,
you must be more than happy to be with them again in heaven.
and while i know that you're finally, finally home,
the home you left down here won't ever be the same without you.

mahal kita,
i love you.


l'università di bologna

July 30, 2010
the university of bologna is the oldest in europe (founded in 1088). these are just a few images from the university museum with its many globes, and then also from the terrace rooftops. bologna has the prettiest red roofs and these angles really allow you to see the towers, as opposed to the bird's eye view from the towers.

scenes from potsdam

July 29, 2010
potsdam is a small city 25 minutes outside of berlin by train. it's known as the location where the potsdam conference was held and overall is a very historical town. (it's really famous for its palaces, but more on those later). this is where david spent his 4 months in germany- studying at the university of potsdam. i was fortunate enough to visit a few times- once when we were just finishing our european adventure, the second when i had just come back from the philippines, and the third when we spent our last week in europe together before flying home. these photos are from one day when we started at the dragon house and then took a path that took us into a random residential area. it's a bright, quiet, charming kind of town.


July 26, 2010
getting home was quite the adventure- a four hour layover in munich turning into 6.5 when our plane was delayed and then the other 11.5 hour flight just to get to san francisco. but 206 days and 12 countries later i am finally here.

within the first 24 hours i have eaten my mom's cooking, seen my two adorable nieces, watched eclipse (finallly!), eaten a burrito and gotten a new phone (which i dropped within the first 3 hours of owning.. fail, i know). i have a lot of photos from the last few days in europe, but they're all on david's camera so those will come soon enough.

being the procrastinating person that i am, i still have photos that i never posted from bologna, berlin, potsdam, and a few other cities so hopefully i'll get those up with this new-found free time and non-moving life i've returned to.

oh, and that's just a photo of a burrito because 7 months without one is almost like torture for a california girl.

zoo[logischer garten]

July 21, 2010
after my latin summer school program in bologna, i flew to berlin to stay with david for our last week in europe. before now, i've been to berlin/potsdam twice before- early april and then again in late june when i had just come back from the philippines. other than this post, however, i haven't written much about the stuff i've done here.

on sunday, david's aunt and the exchange student she hosted in california drove over to visit and we decided to spend the day at the zoo. zoologischer garten is a pretty lively area with its huge shopping street with FOUR H&M's (i'm not kidding you, there are 4 all on one street), the kaiser wilhelm memorial church and the endless döner shops. but up until sunday david and i had never been to the zoo so we spent the afternoon there.

before sunday, the last time i'd been to a zoo was at least 4 years ago at the san francisco zoo. seeing these amazing animals in person really reminds you of how incredible they are. my two favorite parts of the trip were seeing hippos up close (and seeing how the GIGANTIC creatures are so good at swimming) and also the fact that it was summer and most animals just had babies in the spring.


July 16, 2010
although ravenna used to be the capital city of the western roman empire and later the kingdom of the ostrogoths, my interest in ravenna lies in the fact that it is home to some of the best preserved byzantine mosaics in the world.

going into the basilica san vitale and the tiny baptistries, you'd never think that the art on the wall was actually mosaics of gold until you saw them glitter in the sun light. my little pictures don't do any of them justice.

in less than 24 hours i'll be on my way to berlin, my final european stop before heading back home next saturday. it's bittersweet knowing that today is my last day in this beautiful country.

roma, firenze, lucca, pistoia, fiesole, rimini, san marino, perugia, assisi, napoli, sorrento, pompeii, pisa, siena, volterra, san gimignano, montepulciano, pienza, viareggio, cinque terre, venezia, verona, bologna, padova, ravenna and still so much more to see.

tornerò per te, italia.


July 12, 2010
true to my wanderlust, i couldn't resist a little day trip to padova this weekend and enjoyed the sunshine. i guess in english you would call this city "padua," but i think "padova" is much nicer to say so i'm going to stick with that. padova is a quaint little town in the veneto region (it's close to venice) and it houses one of the oldest universities in italy (after bologna, of course).

other than the basilica di san antonio, i didn't have a lot on my agenda. the church is gigantic and beautiful. not only is the nave beautiful, but there are several courtyards that glowed with sunlight. i think that a lot of catholics come to this basilica to pray to san antonio, the patron saint of lost things. along with reliquaries and reminants of his tunic from the 13th century, there were altars where people left prayers and photos of loved ones. i'm not catholic, but seeing people's hope and prayers is always touching.

this normally quiet town was particularly quiet because it was a sunday and most everything was closed. the city, however, is cute enough to enjoy just walking around and appreciating its sleepiness.

san luca

July 10, 2010
on wednesday my friend nikolas came up from florence to visit me here in bologna. bologna is pretty small so we mostly just walked around and then we decided to take the hike up to the basilica della madonna di san luca, or.. just san luca for short. when i took italian last fall, i did a report on bologna so i've known about this walk for a while and wanted to walk up when i visited in february but didn't have enough time.

the trail up to the church is a 30-40 minutes walk through 666 porticos, uphill and with many steps. it was quite the work out just walking but once in a while we'd get passed by someone who was actually working out (running, speed walking, etc). i think they were pretty dedicated to the bella figura to be running up the porticos in 89 degree heat.

the porticos felt endless. every time we thought we saw the end of the porticos, we'd turn the corner and see another long stretch of porticos before us. but, we FINALLY made it. the little church was lonely and beautiful, and we felt triumphant.