Monday, April 25

From Armenian CooCoo to una cena di Pasqua Italiana

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Easter has always been a good-feeling holiday…there’s no fuss, no long preparation, no present stress. It’s a holiday filled with early church goers, family, cute pastel dresses and the best holiday mascot…the Easter Bunny!

Italian Easter was different then the coocoo, zook, egg games I am accustom to from my Armenian background…I woke up early in the morning…took my time getting ready, wore my favorite green dress and took a walk. At 10am I ended up at Il Duomo, the center of Florence where the traditional “Scoppio del Carro” festivity was to take place at 11. The place was filled with every single Florentinian and tourist so my view of the celebration was slim to none.
Scoppio del Carro, the exploding cart, is an old Easter Florence tradition that dates back to the first crusade to the holy lands in 1099 AD. The crusade was set to liberate the holy sepulture from the pagans, the first soldier Pazzino dei Pazzi climbed the city walls and held the Dukes banner for all to see…in this act of courage dei Pazzi was rewarded 3 pieces of rock from Christ’s tomb. From then on ever Saturday before Easter Sunday, the Bishop would light a fire with sparks from these holy rocks and would carry it throughout the city lighting a fire in every home he passed…the burning fire would symbolize dei Pazzi’s courage and purify the homes and families that lived there. Being a part of Italian tradition that dates back to 1099AD was awe-inspiring and absolutely unbelievable.
 I spent Easter dinner with Jenna and her Mom and Pop which reminded me of my family and made my heart smile. We went to their amazing hotel, Monna Lisa to have a few drinks and then had dinner at Il Paoli Restaurante which was once a church! Everything was perfect the food, the drinks, and the company. Thank you D’Argenzio’s for making my Pasqua Italiana so very special.


Saturday, April 23

Music & Mexico

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Spring time always calls for festivals of all sorts…the best being music festivals particularly COACHELLA. Unfortunately I was in Italy this year and flying back home for a weekend was not a realistic idea but I did get a little taste of music festival fun here in Florence. On April 20th MTV’s TRL put on a free concert in Piazza Santa Croce. Although it was filled with Italian musicians and the only word I understood was balliamos it was fun nonetheless. Jenna and I got a little twisted and entered into our own storytelling world where nothing mattered but me, her, and Italy.
The following day we took a trip to Mexico! Not really but we did hang with my classmates Edell and Andres…both from Monterey, Mexico. They served us authentic Jose Cuervo tequila straight from the motherland, chips with some really intense hot sauce, and I proceeded to chug whiskey from a bowl which led to the rest of the weekend staying in. oh, how I’ll miss these fuggedupflorencenights.

Tuesday, April 19

An Italian Love Sonnet

It was on that day when the sun's ray
was darkened in pity for its Maker,
that I was captured, and did not defend myself,
because your lovely eyes had bound me, Lady.

It did not seem to me to be a time to guard myself
against Love's blows: so I went on
confident, unsuspecting; from that, my troubles
started, amongst the public sorrows.

Love discovered me all weaponless,
and opened the way to the heart through the eyes,
which are made the passageways and doors of tears:

so that it seems to me it does him little honour
to wound me with his arrow, in that state,
he not showing his bow at all to you who are armed.
Era il giorno ch'al sol si scoloraro
per la pietà del suo factore i rai,
quando i' fui preso, et non me ne guardai,
ché i be' vostr'occhi, donna, mi legaro.

Tempo non mi parea da far riparo
contra colpi d'Amor: però m'andai
secur, senza sospetto; onde i miei guai
nel commune dolor s'incominciaro.

Trovommi Amor del tutto disarmato
et aperta la via per gli occhi al core,
che di lagrime son fatti uscio et varco:

però al mio parer non li fu honore
ferir me de saetta in quello stato,
a voi armata non mostrar pur l'arco.
Francesco Petrarch possibly the most famous Italian poet known for his collection of love sonnets, The Canzoniere, dedicated to the love of his life Laura is the inspiration behind this dimly lit and utterly raw mini photo shoot.


Saturday, April 16

Culture Week!

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I’ve been spending a lot of alone time lately, trying to focus on papers and not only see but fully understand and live the Italian way. Sometimes I get homesick, sometimes I wish I had my Blackberry to BBM Tina a picture of a horrendous outfit or send an “I don’t remember anything that happened last night…” text the following morning but I keep reminding myself that my time here is short-lived, so live.
I guess the timing of being alone is perfect though because its Culture Week here in Florence, April 9 to the 17th which means free entry to all the absolutely amazing museums! I took this opportunity to visit The Pitti Palace, The breathtaking Boboli Gardens, Accademia Gallery housing Michaelangelo’s famous David and the Medici Chapels. Unfortunately I got yelled at for taking pictures at the museums but I got some amazing shots in the Boboli Gardens and Medici Chapel.
It’s so weird to actually see all these monumental paintings and sculptures, the Mona Lisa (Paris) and the David…I would have never thought I would actually see them...only read about them. I wish there weren’t so many hordes of people so that I could sit and analyze for hours but I guess that’s the price I pay for free admission.

Thursday, April 14

Master of Faces

16 Faces...the master of making faces...I get bored with just one.
Don't judge me.
Shout out to Birra Moretti...thanks for the many drunken Italian nights...I owe you big.


Tuesday, April 12

You go to school...rememeber

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You think staying focused is hard back home? Try staying focused when you have an apartment to yourself, half way across the world, with a pretty awesome roommate…impossible. As the final paper deadlines loom overhead I have to keep reminding myself that I’m here for school!
Jenna and I spent our break time in an empty class in Via Giglio on Tuesday…she sketched and painted away while I spent my time working on my blogs…when I should have been researching for my four papers. We had a little fun with my camera as we always do but can you blame us….every moment is an epic one when we’re involved.

Monday, April 11

if the walls could speak...

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We often live our day to day lives running. Running from home to school, school to work, work to an enormous amount of errands, errands to bed, and then repeat.  No one takes the time to slow down, take a deep breath and look at what’s around them. Being in a foreign country, with little to no responsibilities has given me the opportunity to slow down, take a deep breath and look at the beautiful world around me. It has opened my eyes and heart to the idea that the little things do really matter. If you pay attention to detail you can find inspiration from a crack in the cobblestone to the graffiti plastered on the wall.
If the walls of the world could speak they would shout these crazy sayings tagged on the streets of Paris, Madrid, Athens, and Florence…all of which I captured because I took the time to look around.
So slowly go from running to jogging, jogging to skipping and skipping to strolling because you never know what amazing bit of art...or life you pass by.