Tag Archives: free dinner

Skeers Family Fun

After returning from Barcelona, I had to scramble to clean my studio in time. My friend John would be there in just a few hours to photograph me in the intern apartment. He photographs people in their bedrooms (not creepy) for a series he’s working on. You can check out his work here and my photo below. Isn’t it awesome?! I will cherish it forever. The UWRC will use it to promote the internship! Thanks, John!

At Home in the Intern Apartment

Only a few days later, my apartment became a home for two. Maggie, my former roommate Chad’s sister, visited Italy for 18 days, mostly spent in Rome with a few weekends away in Pisa, Florence and Cinque Terre. More on that later. On her first evening in Rome, I took Maggie on my impress-people walk and we ended up at Castel Sant’Angelo, a frequent motif in my blog posts. The next day Maggie took a solo-trip to the Colosseum and had a run-in with a guido. She escaped by latching on to a tour guide who fed her false information about ancient Rome. Don’t worry, I cleared things up.

Maggie and Me at Castel Sant' Angelo

By the next day it was already time for our trip to Tuscany, but this is just a teaser. Look for the next post about shenanigans in Pisa and Florence. We came back from the trip loaded down with goods and ready to be home in our Roman beds. On Monday we decided to explore a different neighborhood of Rome, Trastevere. This neighborhood across the river ranks as one of the best Roman rione in my opinion. We wandered down the tiny streets stopping in boutiques and bookstores and ending up in Santa Maria in Trastevere.

Below the Pincio in Piazza del Popolo

Later that week we were yearning for some green and made plans to visit Villa Borghese. We began at the Pincio and wandered through the gardens to the gallery. I played tour guide in the museum and Maggie and I started to wonder why many of those mythological stories are so similar. There’s a whole lotta love, lust, rape, murder and suicide. Since we’re in the mood for mythology, my next post will contain a poem by Rebecca Hoogs, Creative Writing professor. It’s a modern spin on an old classic she presented during summer quarter.

Maggie in the Borghese Gardens

The next day brought us to the Spanish Steps. Finally some sun! Why was June so wintery anyway? We basked in the sun on the steps, got a little sweaty and then it was time to head home.

That night we invited our neighbors out to my favorite bar, Birreria Trilussa. You remember the giraffa, no? Me either. After we had finished TWO of those, we descended to the river where booths selling trinkets and grub are set up on the banks all summer for Estate Romana.


I woke up a little fuzzy, but ready for our trip to Cinque Terre, one of the most beautiful spots in the world. So beautiful it warrants its own post. Check back later!

The day we came back from the Cinque, I spent running around arranging things for the faculty welcome dinner in the penthouse that night. Maggie cut bread and I scrounged up enough plates and glasses for all 16 attendees. Lucky us, the faculty dinner was the same day as Saints Peter and Paul holiday. That night we ran from dinner to Ponte Principe Amedeo di Savoia, which is pretty far, to catch the fireworks set off from Castel Sant’Angelo. We ran directly after eating so many courses that I thought I might puke; I managed to hold it in.

The next day Maggie and I tried to escape the heat with a trip to the beach. Not sure if it really worked. We spent the majority of our time on hot, sweaty public transportation, but we did make it to Lido di Ostia. We laid out on the black sand of the free beach and waded up to our knees in filthy water. It was then that I thought to myself, “Gee, I really need to see a nice Italian beach before I leave.” More on that later.

After we cooled off seaside, we heated back up in Ostia Antica, an ancient Roman port city. We climbed over ruins and through the grass rediscovering the empire of past days. It was a nice excursion, but it was over too soon. The site closed before we made it to the Casa di Diana. We did have fun in the amphitheater and temples though.

Fun in Ostia

The next day brought a walking tour of Rome. We made a checklist of all the things Maggie had left to see so that she wouldn’t miss anything. Our walking tour took us through the Ghetto, up to the Campidoglio, down beside the Forum and heading back towards home along Trajan’s forum. Check, check, check and check. The end of Skeers Family Fun came soon after. Maggie spent her last day buying goodies for the fam.

Us in Piazza Navona

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“Non vedo l’ora di vedere Julia Roberts.”

Well, this post has quite the story, but it will have to wait until I’ve covered the lame stuff.

Leisha arrived on Friday and we had a wonderful time crashing some free dinners. At the Law, Societies and Justice Program Dinner we sat next to a law professor and an art historical guide discussing their educations. One had gone to Yale and Harvard and the other went to Stanford and Harvard. WOW.

Sunday was another free day at the Vatican Museums, so Leisha and I woke up early and waited in line. This time we had a game plan. As soon as we were let in, we rushed through the museum, taking all the short cuts and got to the Sistine Chapel before it got crowded. There were about 25 people there when we arrived and over 100 when we left. I think my favorite part of the Sistine ceiling is the large figures of the prophets and sibyls. We spent an hour and a half enjoying the chapel and then we headed home and lounged all day.

Julia Roberts on set, which also happens to be my front yard.

Julia Roberts on set, which also happens to be my front yard.

Now what you’ve all been waiting for:
While studying Italian in our apartment, Leisha and I learned a new phrase: “Non vedo l’ora di…” It means “I can’t wait to…”. So, when Sabrina walked by, we asked her to give us an example of how to use it and she said, “I can’t wait to see Julia Roberts.” AND, I kid you not, less than five minutes later we heard the girls in the next apartment screaming, “Did you see her?” Leisha asked who and they said, “Julia Roberts!” NO JOKE. Sabrina is prophetic. As it turns out, Julia is in Rome filming scenes for her new movie based on the book Eat, Pray, Love. It just so happens that three of the scenes take place right in front of my building. The film crew blocked off the whole piazza and all of the students and office staff and I spent the better part of the day staring out of our third-floor-windows down at the top of Julia Robert’s head. She filmed one scene walking through the piazza, one eating in the Restaurant on the ground floor of my building and one dialogue scene walking past my front door. In the evening when I left to go to Federica’s house for dinner, the were still filming the last scene. When I came down to the front door, I asked a crew man if I could leave and he shushed me. I didn’t realize they were filming a scene right in front of me. So, I watched Julia Roberts complete a scene of dialogue and then the crew man said I could go. In the confusion of trying to get out, I ended up smack dab in front of Julia’s gigantic body guard. I asked him if I could get by and he moved to the side while I passed between Julia Roberts and the guard. I was within twelve inches of her! My mom is so proud. The next day Leisha and I walked through the piazza and got “souvenirs”, remnants of the fake flowers they used in the restaurant scene. Ah, what a wonderful conclusion to my first celebrity siting.

Anyway, Wednesday was quite an adventure as well. Leish and I decided to go to the British School library so that I could check out books for my research project. It started off well; we found an international grocery store and bought the ingredients for burritos, enchiladas and sushi. Success! However, the address I had for the library was wrong. Failure. But we wandered around for hours and eventually found it. Success! But when I tried to check out books, the stuffy British librarian denied me because I’m an undergraduate. Failure. But we found a bus and didn’t have to walk home. Success! But it was the wrong bus and we had to transfer. Failure. But we finally made it to the AutoGrill for lunch. Success! In our irritated, post-lunch coma we made it all the way home for some well-deserved naps before hosting a film screening for UW and RISD students. We screened Caterina va in cittá (Caterina in the Big City). It was a very cute, coming-of-age story about a girl who moves from a small Italian town to Rome, the “big city”. Kind of like me. Except that I’m not Italian. And I’m not 12.

Anyway, it’s been an exciting week now that Leisha is back. It promises to get even more exciting; I am going with the Law, Societies and Justice program on their field trip to Orvieto on Friday.

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