Thursday, April 26, 2012

14 Days, 21 Hours, 9 Minutes til AMERICA!

As our time in Florence comes to a close it's all starting to hit us that this fantasy world we've been living in these past 4 months will soon be over.  I'm starting to realize how much 4 months abroad can truly open your eyes to so many things.  I've learned so much about myself through this process of living abroad and I hope that I come back to the states a more knowledgable and cultured young woman.

Since we're trying to do as many things as possible before leaving Florence we decided to take advantage of our day off school and spend the day in Chianti wine country horseback riding and tasting the wonderful Chianti wines.

I can truly say that this trip has been by far my favorite and most memorable one while abroad!

Myself, Josephine, Brittany, and Adair set off to a camp ground in Chiant where the tour group FlorenceTown was stationed.  Here we were told that the horseback riding group was too big so we would split up into 2 groups.  We ended up having our own private tour...lucky us!!

Our tour guide Tom was a 24 year old student from London studying in Florence to become a sommelier. With a british accent, fluent in italian, and a wealth of knowledge for wine the girls and I were in heaven!

We spent the day roaming the streets of Tuscany with Tom visiting Machiavell's house, a small local deli to try new cheeses and meat, and ended at the Principe Vineyard.  The wine was fantastic and with our own personal sommelier with us we were able to learn so much about the different Chianti wines.

The winery is also known for its extra virgin olive oil.  With their most popular being their organic, double filtrated oil, we couldn't leave without buying some!

Mom- I had wine and olive oil from here shipped home so expect it to arrive in about 3 weeks :)

After lunch we were taken to the horse stables and geared up for a ride through the vineyards.  Since it was just us 4 girls on the tour our guide took us on a little "advanced" journey through the trails.  As we galloped and trotted around 2 guys on dirt bikes decided to fly by us causing my horse, Golia to freak out!  He went completely bonkers and I ended up being thrown off him and tumbled onto the ground.  Luckily Golia was a very small horse so it wasn't a big fall, however I broke my watch :(

I got up quickly and watched as our guide cussed out the dirbikers in italian..quite hilarious to see.

Other than the horse incident the day was so fun!  I enjoyed spending time with the girls and of course, hanging out with Tom. lol

Sad to have only 16 days left in Florence, but excited to be back home soon to see everyone! Ciao Tutti.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Relaying For Jenny!

Today's the Day! Virginia Tech's Relay For Life event will commence later today and last all throughout the night.  
Cancer doesn't sleep and neither do we!  
Hokie Bird!
Last Year's Virginia Tech Relay For Life Committee Members 
I Relay in memory of my Aunt Jenny Hancock.  Jenny was truly a wonderful person and is missed each and every day.  After losing her battle to breast cancer in April of 2009, I joined the Relay For Life team at Virginia Tech to raise money for the American Cancer Society.  No one should have to battle cancer and we will not stop fighting until we find a cure.
Jenny and I hanging in the hot tub
At my Sweet 16 Birthday Dinner
Hanging Poolside with Aunt Jenny

Last year I was able to raise $2,500 for Relay, but this year with the help of my wonderful friends and family I was able to raise $4,151 for the American Cancer Society!  Thank you to everyone who allowed me to raise the bar and fundraise over $1,000 more than last year!  I truly appreciate all the help and support and I'm glad to see everyone working together to help find a cure for this terrible disease.

At last year's VT Relay For Life
Also, special thanks to my mom and all the members at LaPlata Fitness Club who participated in Zumba For A Cure helping to raise over $800!  You ladies are awesome!

Since I couldn't be at the event today at Virginia Tech, my friends and I Relayed in Florence as a way to remember those we have lost to cancer.  I will never stop relaying until we find a cure.

Again, thanks to everyone who donated and together let's kick cancer's butt!
Ciao Ragazzi!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Buon Compleanno!

Unlike most 21st Birthdays celebrating back in the States, my 21st Birthday here in Florence consisted of a lovely birthday serenade by my wonderful girlfriends as well as 5 delightful days spent with my family.  

Here are a few pictures starting from my 16th birthday!

My Sweet 16 Birthday
17th Birthday Flower Cake
18th Flowers and Balloon
19th Celebration with Alpha Phi

20th Party at Mark and Kenny's
It's really an odd feeling to finally be 21 and it's an especially interesting celebrating it in a country where it's just another regular birthday.  I'm sure it will finally hit me once I'm back home.

I enjoyed my birthday here with friends in Florence on Tuesday was quite the wild experience, but luckily the night ended drama free and we had lots of laughs!  Let's just say myself and the Florentine group did our best to show the Italians how us Americans celebrate a 21st birthday.  Big thanks to Mina, Josie, Brit, Alyssa, Amy, Greg, Paul, and Stephen for celebrating with me!

Last week my family came to Florence.   Hanging with Mom, Brad, Aunt Kelly, Liz, and Doug was so much fun!  I truly enjoyed spending time with my family, especially the late night kabob run and cracking up in the hotel when my soda exploded on me. LOL

Missing my friends and family back home and can't wait to celebrate my first official night of being 21 when I get home!  28 days until we'll be back!