Stress, Food, Stress, Food…

This month has really been a crazy one, full of excitement, full of stress, full of food.

After Dan and Oana left I began cramming for the GRE, which I took on Monday. It went alright. I did surprisingly well on the math part (I’m good at guessing), but not as well as I would have liked to on the verbal portion. I find out my essay score via mail sometime next week. I need to get my act together so that I can apply to grad schools in December.

Other than that, I have had three more visitors in the eternal city. Kessler Dixon (no relation) and his girlfriend Laurel were in town. Unfortunately, I was so busy with the GRE that we were only able to meet up once for beers at Bar Trilussa. We had a great time complaining about/loving art history and all things Star Trek. Really, I don’t know how any conversation at Trilussa would be complete without it. Actually, earlier that week I met up with one of Danny and Hallie’s friends, Adam, at Trilussa and we argued over which Star Trek was superior, TNG or Voyager. Is there really any contest? PATRICK STEWART.

Anyway, I’m getting off-topic. So, my third, or rather fourth visitor was Steve Bunn. He’s a doctoral student at UW and he was in Europe pretending to do research. I took him to one of the best gelato hot spots in Rome, Gelato del Teatro, and we walked along the river before having dinner in Trastevere. Yay for visitors!

However, one of my favorite things from the last month was when the ex-director of the Rome Center, Trina, took the office staff out for lunch at a place called Bleve. It is a beautiful restaurant located at the old Medici family stables with a wine cellar larger than my family home. The Medici stables were built on top of ancient Roman ruins (as is everything in the city). When the restaurant decided to expand/remodel their cellar, the construction team discovered a completely intact tufa wall beneath the restaurant. Trina asked our waiter if we could see it and he took us down into the wine cellar for a private viewing of the beautiful stones. I wish I knew something about wine because there were floor-to-ceiling racks of vintage bottles. So cool!

Moving on to the food part, Sunday night the Art program had a potluck complete with burgers and oreos. Can you tell that they’re getting a little homesick? After dinner they held a contest for the best photo from their recent field trip to Sicily. Here’s the winner submitted by Ashton:

Photo by Ashton

On Monday the Food and Culture program had their final projects due. They had to prepare an artisanal dish completely from scratch. For example, Desiree made chesnut loaves and she went to a chesnut orchard and picked, shelled and ground the chesnuts herself. Coral made olive oil and picked the olives herself as well. Some of my other favorites were lamb, polenta and a huge assortment of desserts. Puff pastries, mmmmm.

It was not the end of my over-eating, however. This whole week I have been going crazy trying to plan a Thanksgiving feast for over 70 people: all the students and faculty from three programs and their guests. It all came together last night. Dinner was both beautiful and delicious with very few mishaps. I brought Roberto, the doorman a plate complete with all your Thanksgiving classics. He then asked what stuffing was and we had an interesting five-minute conversation about that… After stuffing ourselves, the Food program and I watched National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation to get us in the holiday spirit. It was a success! Here are a few photos from the night:

Beautiful Dining Room Pre-Dinner

Desiree filling her plate buffet-style

Chaos in the "Dessert Room"

So, I only have one week left in Rome and I have tons of Christmas shopping to do. Happy holidays and see you soon!

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