Sunday, September 30, 2007

Hello. Sorry about the long delay. I have kind of been in a panic recently. I had a dream last week that my parents adopted a replacement for me. yeah. I know. The traumatic part was he was a senior in high school. Yeah. The funny thing about the dream is that I recognized the guy. It was very difficult for me especially since my parents where trying to keep it a secret from me.

In other more exciting news I went to mass at the Duomo yesterday. It was beautiful. They have an English mass every Saturday at 5 PM. The homilist was from Ohio and it was good to see another American. After mass, Erin, Sara and I went to Fiesole. The view of Florence from up there is beautiful. We then had dinner at a small little place and I had a great Spaghetti alla Carbonara. It was the most delicious thing ever. We then went back up to the hill to see the city lit up. I love it here.

I finally uploaded my pictures. Berlin, Krakow, and Prague. You might note that there are no pictures from Auschwitz. That is mostly out of the fact that I felt horrible treating that place like a tourist spot. Oh, and yes the photos are on facebook, but the links are the public ones so everyone can see.

I would like to thank the congress for passing the increase spending for keeping children healthy. God forbid we do that.

I almost got a Falafel today but I kept thinking of Bill-O and loofas so I didn’t. I had a kebab instead.

Other than that life is pretty slow, and less than two weeks before the rents and AA get to town!! Yes, I will be referring to them as AA.

Oh, and I will now be doing a video of the day. So, we shall see how this goes.

Video of the day: Baby panda being way too cute.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

greeting form florence. this is a great city, and I love to just walk to school. granted, it has only been two days of class. I love it. beyond words.

for yesterday’s first day of school I took the classic first day of school photo. I don’t know where that family tradition comes from, but I just don’t ask questions about that. I will post it later.

I finally got the chance to watch the president’s address from a few days ago. I always feel as though I must question what he says. it is known that he lied to us in the past, not just in justification for the war, but also in what it will take to succeed. so why should I believe him now? I really don’t know. “I didn’t vote for him, but he’s my president, and I hope he does a good job.” John Wayne was right. I hope Bush does a good job, but I fear that he will not.

also, did anyone find it odd that Bush read from a paper when he read a part of that email. I do not mean to lessen the sacrifice that they made by these comments, but it was an email, not a personal letter. why did they print it out? couldn’t his speech writers put it in a more convenient, less awkward place where he didn’t have to break the rhythm of his speach? no? okay.

Bill O’Reilly really is a horrible person. I usually just link to KO’s nightly roundup of horrible people, but this one must be expounded upon. Billo believes that 1000 more American deaths is worth the next year of the war in Iraq for only possible success. where is his gun? where is his son? where is his sacrifice?

if anyone wants to see Gonzaga get slapped on comedy central they can watch this video from the daily show.

that is all, but I should be updating more often since I am now settled into my room Ciaò

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Congratulations to my parents on the 29th anniversary of the wedding day. their love for each other is a model for all of us. Congrats, I miss you, and i wish i could give you a hug today to celebrate.

yesterday the bus ride to Prague took forever, but then i went to a bar with women dancing on the tables and cheap beer. that was fun and all, but we then made it to the 6 level club. each floor has its own different music style. great fun.

not too hung over today, but tonight i will be returning to this wonderful place. we had a walking tour in the morning. this city is amazing. it is too bad that i will only have 2 full days here, but i now hope to return one day.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

yesterday's Auschwitz tour was beyond word. so much history really got me thinking which is, as we all know, a dangerous thing. the power of politics and politicians to rally people around a cause is phenomenally, and should be respected. the power of fear as a tool to turn people's opinions also need to be watched. by all people.

some people on the bus were talking about how the two party system we have in america prevents people from being able to do that in america. this is not true. the two party system will not automatically balance itself, just look at prohibition. the two party system will work most of the time, but only if both people are willing to play by the rules.

today we went to the salt mine, which was cool but a little long. they never even really showed us how they take the raw material and process it. it was still fun though, and was followed by all you can eat and drink for under 7USDs. all and all a good night, now i am off to the bar in the basement of my hostel. tomorrow, Prauge.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Krakow is a great city. the conversion rate from the dollar to the zloti is pretty darn good. dinner involved David, Debra, girl who's name i forgot, and myself walking around sketchy Krakow for half and hour and then finding this pizza place. i had a huge personal pizza and ginormous beer for just over $7. i had most of the beer before the food, and after not having eaten since lunch i was a pretty cheap date last night. my pizza involved peas and paprika, and was a little strange, but it was pretty good.
this morning will be a walking tour of Krakow and in the afternoon going to Auschwitz. i am not too suyre about the lattter, but i am fairly sure that pushing myself will be good.
hoping all is well...

Monday, September 10, 2007

a german man just asked my a question... in german... i panicked, but i do know how to say that i do not speak german, so i was able to get him to leave. today is a very rainy day in Berlin which makes for a rather lazy day. i would go walking around, but it goes from light sprinkle to all out downpour very quickly. last night involved me falling asleep far too quickly and missing out on the fun. but, in my defense it had been a long day.
Berliners live with constant reminders of WWII. monuments and memorials are viable everywhere. if a memorial is not within a five minute walk you can at least see some damaged building from the war or an unattractive building from the time of the two berlins. as i have reflected more and more on the tour yesterday morning, i realize that those who believe the atrocities of the holocaust never occurred need to visit this city. driving away from a shopping district in west berlin you drive past a sign that reads something along the lines of 'never forget these dark places' and then lists the major death camps. our tour guide mentioned that there was much debate as to whether this was an appropriate place for such a sign, but it is just one constant reminder to never get swept up in fear or massive political shifts.

i certainly hope to return to this city in the future. i would like to see the new memorials built for the other groups murdered by the Germans. and that is exactly what i have taken from this city. they accept that it was the country as a whole that murdered 6 million, not a single man, not a political party, not a few narrow minded people, but a country that sat back and let them do it.

on a lighter but still related note, yesterday i returned to a statue that i had been fascinated with during our morning tour. it was the sight of the only recorded civil disobedience resulting in the release of Jewish men from the Germans. i cannot find i picture of it online, but i will post one after in find it. it is located on Rose street and doesn't get alot of foot traffic, which may be the problem.

hoping all is well with you...

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Hello, i hope all is well with you. i am now in an Internet cafe in Berlin. the keyboard is really throwing me off. my flights went well, and check in was fun. there are far too many names being thrown around and i am catching very few of them. this morning i went to mass said in a conference room in the hotel said by fr. paul. followed by an okay breakfast in the hotel and a bus tour of berlin. saw lost of very interesting place. they live with constant reminders of horrible things that happened in their past. the memorial to the murdered Jews is absolutely beautiful in the simplicity. the memorial to all who died in WWII is also amazing in it's ability to calm people.
this afternoon i am going on a walking tour of berlin churches. then dinner with friends and going to a club. last night we went to a bar called aose. it was supposed to be mexican themed, but after 11 they started playing techo. i left pretty early so as to sleep, but some people were out very late. i also didn't drink much because i was meeting so many people and wanted to remember their names. that is all i have for now. hoping all is well with you...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Hello all. Sorry about not updating sooner, but I was in Denver and then tried to role right into packing. As some of you may have heard, my flight from Denver to Seattle was quite the adventure. Don’t worry I didn’t get the scar!

I boarded the plane on time: 8:00 AM. It was a 757 that was stopping in Seattle then going on to Japan. We took off a little late, 8:45 and I was ready for a quick flight. When I sat down the person next to me started talking and I could tell she was a talkative one. I love to talk and all, but I am not a big airplane talker. She is a hypnotist and was flying to board an Alaskan cruise as an entertainer.
While we were watching the pilot to Chuck, a new show on NBC which was actually pretty good, the pilot came on, said that we were having navigational issues and would be landing in a few minutes. Shortly there after, 10:30ish, we land in Rock Springs, Wyoming. We turn pretty quickly off of the runway, which makes me think it was short, and turn toward the terminal. The hypnotist and I both look out the window and see a fire truck roll on past with its lights on. We both laugh pretty hard. After landing the pilot told us that they had multiple plans in the works, one of which included driving a staircase up from Salt Lake (just like Arrested Development) and that the firetruck was there just to be safe, because we had actually broken a windshield.
They have a one level terminal building, and no stairs tall enough to reach a 757. The pilot came through the cabin to make sure that there were no medical issues and to double check that the two babies on board had enough formula. We sat on the plane for three hours, ate pizza that was delivered to us, and watched Ocean’s 13. Right as it was just starting to get good, they stop it so we can get off the plane. We took a hydraulic lift. Once we got to my group, row 22, they started to have us put out carry-ons in the cherry picker of the fire truck, which meant 5 people on the lift instead of three.
From there they bussed us to Salt Lake City. This three hour bus ride was nice and boring, but they had water for us. When we arrived they had itineraries for each of us. Including all 37 people who had missed the cruise!!!!! They also had a very nice letter from a manager and a $500 voucher. Very nice. I was scheduled on a Seattle to Spokane flight at 8. the plane landed at 7:55. when we landed in Seattle we started clapping, which I was really hoping for because they always do it in the movies, but never in real life. When I told the hypnotist this she laughed.
I went to the United 10:05 flight to Spokane and explained my situation. She laughed and said that they had scheduled me for the 8, 9, and 10:05 flights on three different carriers. She gave me a ticket number and a gate to got to. So I went to the 9 flight and gave them my ID. They asked me where I would like to sit. I laughingly told them my story and said I would be willing to sit in the aisle. The ticket agents commented on the fact that I was laughing and that was a good thing. They put me in first class.
Another lady from my flight, who was not as happy as I was, was two people in front of me boarding. She hadn’t checked in so the guy told her just to present her ID and she would get her ticket. She didn’t like that answer. I sat in first class and told the man sitting next to me and a steward joined in on the story. I mentioned that someone else from that flight was on board and didn’t have nearly as good an attitude. Right then she turns the corner, recognizes me, and shots me a dirty look for being in first class.
Many people got emotional scars, which is why this was an adventure. I came out clean!!!

Highlights of the Denver trip: extreme go-carting, good food, seeing people one last time before leaving, rubbing Quinn’s belly.
Lowlights of the Denver trip: some girl at a party spilling half her beer on my foot, the juggler not juggling fire, leaving.

Last night I hit the point of “what the hell was I thinking signing up to leave the country for 8 month.” Packing is going slowly, and Mother doesn’t like it. I will update one more time before I leave Friday morning, but then I have no idea when I will be able to update again. Hoping all is well with you…