Friday, May 30, 2008

Having a Good Time

Hey everyone! Just wanted to let everyone at home know we're having a great time :) We have class and critique during the week and we all eat dinner together at either the pizzeria in Montone or at our hotel. For the most part, everyone gets along and we're having a blast. Montone is very relaxing and peaceful and we love that but are looking forward to the energy of Rome and Florence. 

Daniel Lang is amazing and has been very gracious in his critiques. The other night there was a slide show of his work and he talked about his inspiration, methods, and preferred imagery. I hope you all have at least googled him because his work is amazing. I'm still working on getting some images up on the blog but I'm technologically limited here. Hence the reason I haven't been posting daily. 

To me, one of the best things about this trip is not only that we get to experience all the art and culture of Italy, but also that we have a camaraderie with each other in the group. I know that I'm making friends with people now who will hopefully be lifelong. We are also meeting new people in Italy, most of whom don't speak english, but they are all very friendly and accommodating. 

I shall post more next week. This evening we are taking a trip to an artist's studio and I'll take pictures and let you know about all the festivities that occur over the weekend. 


Dinner at the Pizzeria

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

More photos from Montone

These are some photos Professor Brimer took during the first Communion celebration.

Here is part of the group:In the foreground is Greg Howard and in the back is student blogger Jennifer Hanley.

Bree Bedsworth works on a floral design before the ceremony starts.

Monday, May 26, 2008

First Critique with Daniel Lang

Today was our first official day of class. We climbed the mountain (which we all have different names for) and drew and painted in the morning. Then around 11:15 we had a critique with Daniel Lang, an amazing American artist who lives in Montone for half the year. He lives in New York the other half, but he is actually from Oklahoma and you can find his work in both the Philbrook and the Gilcrease.

He is a soft spoken, kind, and humorous man with an incredible knowledge of art that he is sharing with us. I'm running out of time of the computer today, but the next time I post I'm going to try and put some of his work up and give a little background info on him. Until then, feel free to Google him.

Now it's back to class. The group I'm in today is with Dr. Ford and I believe we're going to start learning a little art history and study the literature that accompanies it.

Ciao for now!

First Communion Festival

This was a truly magical experience. First of all, the whole town comes out and lays flowers on the street in patterns and designs all along the alleys and walkways (which are also the streets by the way). Most of the students helped and a few of us created our own designs in each square. Most of the designs though were done by the townspeople. What we assume is that each person has a section in front of their down that they decorate. In some areas it was definitely a case of each person trying to out-do their neighbor.

The laying of the flowers alone was wonderful but then around noon the procession started. The first to come through was Jesus on the cross under a little gold embroidered canopy held up by three men of the church (clergymen?) and then there was a band, then a big canopy with what I assume was the priest or bishop (I'm not up on my Catholic hierarchy) holding a religious item of some sort. This was followed by the altar boys and girls and then the young children (dressed in angel costumes) who were receiving their first communion. They walked up and down and around most of the streets and stopped once in front of what was either the church or the school (it may have been both) and then stopped again in the piazza for the ceremony.

Now, I'm not Catholic, and I'm not even very religious, but it was an incredibly moving experience listening the the priest/bishop and watching the children and then watching, all at once and in unison, every villager cross their chest. Not to get too much into religion, but in whatever form you may believe God exists, I felt that there on that day. I even feel it now as I remember the experience. It was breathtaking and emotional and incredibly spiritually moving. I teared up a little bit and others said they did too.

Not to sound cliche but I know I'll remember that moment for the rest of my life.

Beautiful Montone

I'm going to do a couple posts today because they are each about different things. First, I just wanted to provide you with a couple views of Montone. On my previous post, I showed you Montone from afar but these are interior views.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

We're here!

Well, it took us about 25 hours to get to Montone but I must say the wait was well worth it. You know the stereotypical idea of Italy where there are rolling hills and old buildings and lots of vino? Well, I do believe that is Montone. However, on the drive to Montone from Rome, there was an amazing mix of industrialization and older buildings and culture. 

Okay, the first photo is me after that 25 hours of travel and about 2 hours of intermittent sleep. The second photo is the view of Montone from our hotel. Now, what we did not know was that our hotel is in the valley and the actual village of Montone is on top of a very big hill. It took us about 45 mins to hike up that hill. And we hiked up that hill the same day after we had traveled 25 hours. It was the longest and hardest walk of my life. But the third photo is the view from the top. It was the most beautiful view I have ever seen in my life. 

Well, we have been having internet problems at the hotel so I will try to post as often as possible but I really wanted to post ASAP to give you all my first impressions. All I can say is that is just breathtakingly beautiful and I'm almost overwhelmed trying to take it all in. Almost but not quite. It's just wonderful. I'm trying to be poetic and descriptive but I'm still quite tired. I will be writing in a journal while I'm gazing out on those beautiful views so the next time I will try to put in some of my poetic musings when I'm able to put some on paper. 

"Talk" to you all soon!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

And we're off!

Alright, it's almost 11 pm. That means in 8 hours I and the rest of my intrepid travelers will be boarding our plane. Everything is packed. The lists have been checked and double checked. I know I will forget something anyways. Tis life. Or c'est la vie as the French say. I need to find out what the Italian version of that would be.

So the next time I post something I will be in Montone. :D I want you to imagine the biggest smilie face emoticon you can possible think off and that is how I feel. And a little tired too. But still...very pumped.

Okay...I'm logging off for now. I'll see you all in Italy (you know...metaphorically speaking).

Monday, May 19, 2008

Well folks, it's getting closer and closer. I now only have two full days in between me and a Boeing 777 bound for Rome. I've starting packing and am fully packing my suitcases so I can weigh them and shift things around as I need to. We are allowed to take two 50 lb bags that we can check in and one carry one and one "extra item" like a purse or laptop bag.

Now, of course we ladies know how to work that extra bag like nobody's business. We bring the biggest purse/bag we own and stuff our smaller "real" purse inside another bag. But we should be able to work the system! Do you have any idea how much extra crap we have to carry around? I mean really! The makeup, the hair products, the skincare stuff...oy vey! And yes, I did just say oy vey.

Anyways, the cat (Tigg) is getting rather concerned because I've had my suitcases out in the living room and have been putting stuff in them. He knows I'm leaving him and he has been very clingy and sad the past day or two. My sis and I came home from running errands and he was sleeping in my suitcase. Awwwww! So sad!

Alright, that's all for me now. I'll do one more quick post before we leave Thursday morning.

BTW, I think the whole "intrepid student blogger" thing is going to get REAL old REAL quick. But I do feel like I need to have something to give my posts a smooth finish...any suggestions? Oh, and nothing rude people...the comments are being monitored by RSU and if ya'll are jerks and post obscene things on the site then comments will be disabled and I don't want that. I want to hear from you guys back home :) So behave!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Less than a week!

Alright, we've now got less than a week before we board a plane at the Tulsa International Airport and jet off to Rome. Okay, we're actually jetting off to Newark and then we're jetting off to Rome (after a 5 1/2 hour layover). So, as you can imagine, I am quite busy getting things together. I'm making lists and checking them twice for everything that I'm going to take. This is the beginning of one of my lists with the things that I need to buy hilighted. Anal right? Hey, whatever. It gets the job done.

I've made a list for toiletries, clothes, medicines, accessories, art supplies, and the all important: miscellaneous. I've done a little research and found a couple good sites for those about to travel extensively:

Rick Steves' Travel Tips Rick is cheesy but his site offers great packing tips and lists.

TSA for Travelers A good place to check if you have ANY questions about what's safe to bring on the plane.

Europe for Visitors-Italy Good all around...explore.

Oh! Also, I went to Radio Shack and picked up my power converter:

It's dual watt so it has a setting for things like laptops, phone and ipod chargers, etc, and a setting for 1600 watt devices like hair dryers and curling irons. Guess what ladies? Did some research and it's not a good idea to bring your expensive ceramic flat irons to Europe. It's very hard to find a converter that will work with them and won't fry anything. So I'm just going to bring my tiny 1600 watt hairdryer and curling iron. I'm going to get some mousse and just go curly/wavy over there. I think it's probably best. I don't know how humid it is in Italy but I'm guessing there's a decent amount of moisture in the air and I'd be fighting the frizz anyways.

Oh yeah, I just checked the weather over there. Right now it's 4:30 in the morning over there, 54 degrees and 91% humidity. Sounds like home right?

Alright guys, that's all for me now. I'm doing my shopping this weekend to get all of my stuff together and tomorrow is the last meeting before the trip. So I have to go. Lots of stuff to do!

This is your intrepid (and tired) student blogger signing off!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

14 days and counting...

Well folks, this is your intrepid student blogger, (Jennifer Hanley) and there are a number of things I feel I need to discuss in this post. The first order of business is this:

WOO HOO!!! FINALS ARE OVER!!! Do you hear that heavenly sound? It's a choir of angels singing HALLELUJAH!!! HALLELUJAH!!! HALLELUJAH!!!

Okay, now that I have that out of my system...on to other items. Firstly, I am on the prowl for an automatic converter for all my appliances to work in Italy (my hairdryer, flat iron, phone charger, etc) but that is proving much more confusing and expensive than I thought. I guess I was under the misconception that you just had to buy a little plug thingy and there ya go. That's all you need. I assumed that would cost under $15. How wrong I was. There are cheap plugs but they only work with dual voltage appliances. I haven't checked yet if any of my appliances are dual voltage but I'm guessing they're probably not. So I have to buy an automatic converter kit and guess what folks, that costs in the neighborhood of $45-$60. That is not an expense I had figured in.

Anyways, that's life right? Poor me, I'm going to Italy and I can't figure out which converter to buy. Right about now you're saying "cry me a river!". Well, it's an issue and I'm the blogger so :p

Furthermore, now that finals are over I am going to start officially blogging more. I will share with you all of the trials and tribulations I go through as I prepare for this monumentally exciting journey. And then, of course, once we all reach our destination of Montone, Italy I will blog on a regular basis about all the fantastic adventures we have. There will be pictures but I promised RSU we'd all at least appear sober. Or at least we have to keep the bottles of vino out of the picture. I even allowed to blog about this? Don't worry, folks, it's all legal for me. I'm 25.

Moving seriously folks, it's going to be exciting. The trip of a lifetime. Hopefully not once in a lifetime but ya catch my drift. Next time I'll try to include some pictures so you all will have something to look at. It might not be exciting though...just warning you. It will probably be a pic of my luggage or which ever converter I end up buying.

For now, this is your intrepid student blogger signing off!