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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

TFF {Torino Film Festival}

I feel like a broken record when I talk about Torino, cars, movies…oh and coffee. Yep, that is what this city seems to be built on. Well I guess that’s not true as it was built on Roman ruins, but you know what I mean, right?
So this week is the Torino film festival. I spent Sunday watching 4 films. In a row. Yeah, it was kind of a lot. I am a saver, so I wanted to get my money’s worth and the best way to do that was to get a day pass and watch a lot of films in one day.
The first was an American film but one that I probably wouldn’t watch at home and it was entertaining. It also helped that it was 9 am and I didn’t have to read subtitles. Sorry Italian viewers {otherwise known as everyone else in the audience}. So after watching Win Win, I was one for 4.
The next film was the one that I planned my day around. It was intriguing to me. It is called 17 girls (17 filles) and is about the pact that a group of girls made in 2008 to get pregnant at the same time. I spent a whole school year doing a report in 2007 on unplanned pregnancy and I have a huge heart for adoption, single moms and most of all babies. There is a lot of controversy surrounding these events that took place, and there was some strong opinions voiced when the French film makers announced their project. The film did a good job of telling the story and showing the different viewpoints of the people involved without saying if there was a correct path or view point. I was now 2 for 4. {I did a little bit of research and found some news articles about the actual events. Authorities could not actually state that there was an official “pact”, as was portrayed in the movie.}
After this we {I went with my friend Megan, who had to go to the festival for class} watched two short films that were paired together. The first, I’m going to be honest was not my favorite. It was a documentary that seemed to stray from a plot or storyline. It seemed like the director didn’t have enough material so the scenes were long. From an artistic standpoint it was done beautifully. From an entertainment standpoint there are many things that they could have done better. The inspiration behind the film was from the stories that the producer heard from his Italian grandfather. The grandson wanted to preserve these memories and lives in NY {which I could tell from how he spoke Italian}. The director and the producer were both in the audience which was neat. I would have to say I was 2 for 4 still.
The director was also in the audience for the last film which was a documentary. It was done in an interesting way, but told the story well. The plot and the end goal of the movie were not apparent until the middle of the film. It was the story of the immigrants to Italy from Libya. This is a story that does not get told often, and it was fascinating. There was every view represented, the compassionate, the hardened hearted, the people caught between wanting to help and not being able to and the immigrants themselves. It stirred my passion for people. 3 for 4.

That seems like a good record to me, for not knowing what I was getting myself into! It made me want to be lazy for the rest of the day, but I was good and got some work done.
The festival goes the rest of this week until next Sunday. School has picked up, so I don’t think I will be able to go to another showing. Have you seen any good ‘films’ lately?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Barcelona {2}

Day 2 we got up and had the typical European hotel breakfast and then it was time to conquer Barcelona. We started out with heading to Montjuic Park not too far away. Just happens to be huge and had many of the buildings used when Barcelona hosted the Olympics. We did not venture to the stadium, because what do you see at a stadium once it’s not used. We kept laughing because there are escalators in the park.
After tromping around and seeing the fountains, the modern art museum and some other random statues and fountains throughout the park we headed into the town a little looking for a snack to take back to the park. We didn’t find anything but kept walking and found another park. From there you could see the bull ring and the kindergartners having a park day. I wish that we didn’t have so many liability issues so that American kids could have more park days in school. I think they are educational and healthy.
By this time it was afternoon and although we were enjoying the park we decided to go walking and look for the churro and hot chocolate place that we passed the day before. Usually we can’t find a place twice, but we were determined. The lady working the shop was so sweet and wanted to make sure that we enjoyed it. I could have sat there all day! She reminded us that we needed to watch our purses and cameras, which made us feel uneasy, but I appreciated the concern. {We got told a total of 3 times that we needed to watch our stuff…and most of the time there was no one around.} Churros and chocolate is a thing here, and from what I hear is most commonly eaten for breakfast. The churros were cold, but by dipping them in hot chocolate they get warmed right up {we did as we were instructed by the shop lady.}

After this we walked around the cathedral which was more like a village and then out to the port. We enjoyed the people passing by and the crisp air. We walked along the sea to the Columbus monument and then headed back to the hotel for a few minutes of rest.

This guy was making bubbles outside the cathedralWe changed are plans multiple time because we kept finding out new information. There is this light and fountain show that is supposed to be “magical” looking. We of course wanted to go see it, but the times are confusing because it is off season. We got there at the correct time, but the fountains were under construction and being cleaned. I was so disappointed! {especially because we had arranged plans around this site}. It was off to the Casa Batllo, and at this point I was just hoping the lights would be on. They were, but it didn’t look how I thought it would. That was ok, because it’s a weird structure in itself. Gaudi was a deranged man. Although he was brilliant in his designs, I’m glad I didn’t commission him to design anything for me…

At least they had some fun lights on at the non working fountains

We passed some more fountains on our jaunt down Las Ramblas so we of course took some pictures. As we continued on our way we looked for tapas and paies. The two local specialties that we wanted to try before we left. We accomplished both. I have to say that tapas were not what I was expecting, but all the food was good. After our meal we rambled and found some dessert. I split the Catalan cream with a friend. So delicious and not what we were expecting! It is lemony and similar to crème brulee.

It was perfect way to end our time in Barcelona.
The next day we went back to the Arc de Triumf while we waited for our bus back to the airport. And then we were on our way to Torino. We did so many things in Barcelona, but really tried to enjoy the time there and relax a bit. {There are lots of projects these next few weeks.}

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Barcelona Update

Real juice!

This city blew me away by the fact that there is a uniform vibe that flows through the city. Just look at the architecture and you will know what I mean. Just by the buildings style you can tell what city this is. I’ve said it before and I will again, that you can tell when you are in a European city, but every city has its own unique style.
We arrived mid day Thursday after our Wednesday night thanksgiving meal {more on that later}. We had to take a bus into the city from the airport because I am a college student and I fly cheap flights. The reason that I went to Barcelona is because in total I spent $20 on my flight. Yeah Barcelona!

The first thing we noticed when getting off the plane was that it was somewhat warm, our usual California winters! After arriving we wandered to see the “Arc de Triumf” and then it was off to the famous open air market. Have you seen fresh squeezed juice in November? It was delicious and I contemplated going back every day that we were there. I rounded my experience off with an empanada. We checked into our hotel that was on the same street as little India in Barcelona {I had no idea it existed…}. Then it was off to the Sagrada Familia building by Gaudi. My, oh my, could you put any more decorations on a building?
Yes, those would be snailsWe hit up a grocery store for some snacks/dinner and did our own little walking tour. That day we seemed to have trouble reading maps. We went to the park in the city that boasts a mammoth, don’t worry it’s just a statue. But who sees a mammoth on a regular basis? We also were surprised by the beautiful fountain and we passed a library owned by the university. It took a lot of strength and convincing for me to give up on finding the entrance. I miss the library.

This a public park fountian...amazing!

We ended up eating our snacks by the fountain and then doing a little more of a walking tour. We passed some shops that we marked to go back to {mainly they involved food and our tummies couldn’t handle more food}. Then we walked Las Ramblas until it was time…

Time for a Flamenco show! It was Thanksgiving and we splurged. It was worth it. If I couldn’t spend the day with my family I might as well make a memory. After watching the amazing dancing and sipping on some famous sangria we walked home and it was time for bed.

Because I don’t want to overload you on details {as I have already overloaded on pics} we will save day 2 in Barcelona for tomorrow. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and got to spend time with your families!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Where in the world is Haleigh?


pic via google

I hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving yesterday! I spent my Thanksgiving Day traveling to Barcelona, Spain. I'll get back in a couple days and I'm sure I will have lots of stories to tell. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

It is that day

Happy thanksgiving!
I have so many things that I have to be thankful for. I think that we all do. {I’ll give you a freebie: If you are able to read this, you have internet and that is something to be thankful for}

Here are a few of mine and they are even more special to me since I won't be there for our tradition of going around the table with my family saying them:
~Family: each one of them Daddy, Momma, Rory, Emma, and Chloe
~My extended family who is celebrating together all over the US
~Friends new and old
~good food and not going hungry
~a warm apartment and bed, no matter how uncomfortable it is
~the ability to travel
~clothes and blankets
~bright colors and sight to see them
~ears to hear the beautiful melodies of the world
~snuggling and blankets
~people and children all over the world that give me a different perspective on life
~pumpkin {I miss it so much, eat some for me}
~the silly things in life
~a good laugh and a good cry
~I am thankful that I don’t have to be perfect, but that I am perfectly made
…there are so many more it would take forever to name them all

~most of all for a loving God and wonderful Savior…there are so many things to thank him for

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Creepin' through the walls

When I first moved into my apartment here in Torino we could hear the neighbors through the walls, sometimes . Or rather I should say we would hear their TV. There was news on in the evening and then they would turn it off about 9 pm. I don’t know if it’s the colder weather or new family dynamics. I don’t know if someone has different work hours or there’s just more exciting shows. I don’t know, but the TV is on a lot. It’s not on for a few hours a day, it’s on all day!
When I wake up in the morning there will be silence and then I will realize I hear a talk show coming through the wall, and then a soap opera and then another talk show. When I come back from school in the afternoons or evenings the TV is still on, and I can’t really make out the show. Sometimes the news comes on or a movie. And during the course of the evening it can be heard coming through the walls. And the suddenly I will listen and hear silence again. All through the wall directly by my bed.
This wall also lets the sounds of water from the apartment above come creeping through the walls. I can tell you when someone is taking a shower or just washing their hands. I don’t know if they have something broken or getting fixed or they are just clumsy, but I can hear some thumping going on at about 7am.
Then there’s the apartment above that has decided to move all their dining room furniture multiple times this week…And it makes me wonder what I sound like to my neighbors. Can they tell every move that I make? I try to be quiet, but is it actually working?

My ears have become so accustomed to the sounds that I don’t even notice the instant it’s gone. I think that that is a lot how life is right now for me. Here I know things are different than the US, I recognize that there are differences. I often don’t remember what they are. I just know that there are differences.
There will be differences tonight as we at the school have our Thanksgiving dinner. I have no idea what we will eat, only that there will be turkey. Who knows what shape or form it will be in. Who knows what they think us Americans eat. There will be differences.
Are there things that you’ve become accustomed to? Things we take for granted? Things to be thankful for? {Yes, I just snuck in the thankfulness phrase, more on that tomorrow}

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Round 2

There were so many things going through my head today that I thought about writing. I’ve decided on the request of my dear momma that I will try my best to explain some of the displays in the cinema museum. You are going to have to work with me here. So turn on your imagination. {Imaginations are one of my favorite things that God created.} And don’t get upset if you see this in person some day and my words and your imagination led you astray!

When you walk into the museum you walk through a red velvet curtain. The first displays had low lighting for a) effect, because darkness makes things more dramatic b) to preserve all the old equipment and prints/artifacts c) light is the basis of film and projecting images. After getting to the end of these displays you watch one of the first moving pictures and then walk through more red curtains to a glass elevator. {All the elevators are glass which is weird and cool because it’s willie-wonka-charlie-&-the-chocolate-factory-isk}
We went up two floors and there are the displays with clips of movie set with that type of scene. The first was focused on Offices and had a big desk set 1950’s style with phone, pens and Kelly green ascents. The walls were covered in black and white framed photos of movie sets and casts. The screen is in the back.
The next cubby had movie theater red bucket seats reflecting of mirrors and the screen is on the ground projecting scenes from movies in movie theaters. Next we come to boxes from movie crews and random props and there are clips about the importance of location of a movie. The last scenes are of famous actresses, the oldies. It has a giant pair of high heels, giant champagne bottle and glasses. There is a giant hairbrush and boas cover the area.
Walking around the corner there is multiple clips from a made up scene that show how editing works and sounds and special effects like flying. After this you have to walk back through the special effects hall to get to the stair so go down a level. These stairs lead to the center of the entire building which is a really large movie theater. Do a 360 with me…
Look up and see a winding staircase around the entire room. It slowly elevates you up into the column of the building. Along the trail are movie posters and stills from scenes of Robert Altman movies. In the middle of the room you see cables hanging from the ceiling, this carries one of those glass elevators up to the top of the mole. {clarification: the building is called the mole pronounced mole-a. the building houses the cinema museum}
Go down the staircase and look straight into what looks like a living room playing scenes from movies that are family/inspirational movies. Look right and see a door that if you walk through and look right you will be standing in an old western bar watching the good ol’ western clips. Keep walking and you will end up in a mirrored room that shows clips from “self reflection speeches”, you know those inspirational pep talks they do in movies where the character says a monologue to themselves in the mirror in 3rd person. Keep going and you will see some sci fi clips and clouds and toilets as seats. You will think it’s really odd and want to get out of there as soon as possible. You realize the way you exit is through a giant refrigerator door with all kinds of odd food sitting in the door compartment. {I am not making this up! Told you that you had to think ridiculous}
You decided to venture in the door to the right of the rather large refrigerator and find the land of cartoons. The world of Mickey Mouse, Looney Tunes and Disney princesses. Walk back out and look across the room at the bar in Torino showing scenes that were filmed in Torino. To the right of that is a huge statue that seems like it is from Egypt and came out of Indiana Jones. These clips are of foreign films. To the right is the horror films {If you are like me you skip this room} and the last room is love and death {I know great combination}. It boasts a large tomato red bed with a red and deep purple canopy and plush pillows. It plays clips from classic love stories with death scenes {it was little creepy because to watch the clips you have to lie on the bed…no thanks}.
You have now been around the entire cinema museum.

Thanks for taking the tour with your imagination! Let me know if you need clarification, I’m going off memory here!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Known for their Food

I went to my last cooking class. It was disappointing to be done, but we had a lot of fun making lots of food!

We made the food in a somewhat random order, so I’m just going to take you through a tour of the meal it’s self and put in the extras where needed:
To start off with we made Mozzarella in Carrozza. Which I told my roommates was like making grilled cheese into French toast. It was a different twist, but naturally delicious! For this recipe you actually {deep} fry the bread and cheese in olive oil. Olive oil is healthier for you, but for this recipe you want to not use extra virgin olive oil, just use the cheap stuff!

Then we had Insalata di Arance or Orange salad. We didn’t actually make it, and it has a punch of a taste. I feel like I’ve had a similar dish before and it is so easy. Oranges, red onion, olive oil, pepper, salt, and if you choose black olives and parsley. It is great for digestion, cleanses the palate and is in season all winter! Our first course was Tagliatelle alla Carbonara or pasta with carbonara sauce. We made the pasta. Yes we made them and it is so easy, well if you a pasta cutter that is. They are classified as egg noodles and then we put carbonara sauce which is white cheese sauce with eggs and bacon. Lots of eggs where used during this meal! Most people make the mistake of cooking the eggs before putting them in the pasta, but you actually mix the eggs with the cheese sauce and then you pour it over the cooked noodles and then mix in the bacon. The hot noodles and bacon cook the eggs. It is completely sanitary, but is still a little odd. This dish is very filling!

Our second course was Tortino Salato di Porri which literally translates to Savory Pie of Leeks. It is very similar to quiche, but the Italian version {obviously}. We added trout, but I think I wouldn’t put it in as ours had a little too much of a fishy flavor. I liked it so much because it has Swiss or Gruyere, ricotta, and Parmesan cheese. And I was excited for the onions and leeks. Yum!

Instead of having a meat we had the trout in the 2nd course and then the contorno or side to a meat dish was Parmigiana di Melanzane or Eggplant Parmesan. This is also a heavier dish because of the eggplant, but delicious. I’m planning on trying it out again for dinner tonight. It’s funny to me that we call it parmesan because it has just as much or more mozzarella in it!

I know this doesn't look super appetizing, see belowthis is before it's baked in the oven, looks much better!

For dessert we made zabaglione sauce which you can change up with different liquors. It is a pudding that was created in the region I live in. It can be served in cups, hot or cold and with a spoon or used as a sauce like we did. We had ours over traditional Christmas dessert bread. The combination was perfect.

I know that I do not put the recipes up, but I would be glad to type up any that you might want to try! I’ve been trying to take steps of the process during class. Maybe I will make a recipe book with pictures…we’ll see if that actually happens!

egg count for this meal{going by the recipes}=12

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cinema, Film, Movies

I have a no flash policy in museums whenever possible. I mean, I find it annoying when the flash catches my eye or catches me off guard. And I figured in a museum about film and cinema that a flash and even a camera would be banned, but I was wrong. And I didn’t know that until halfway through the museum, but I got some fun pics. It's really obvious which were taken with flash and which were not, but hopefully you enjoy them all.
The National Cinema Museum is in Torino and it’s kind of a big deal. I feel like I’m a bad person that it’s taken me this long to get there. It was weird and awesome at the same time if that’s possible. There is a section about film and moving pictures and the history. I thought I knew the basics of cinematography but it goes back farther than I thought. Then there is an area where it shows you how some special effects are done and you can try some of them. I have had the pleasure of doing green or blue screen in jr. high and high school so I just watched the Italians marveled at the idea and had fun. So many laughing people!
I got to look at tons of old movie posters. Some of them I was familiar with and others not so much. The neat thing for me was that some were in Italian and others in English and a few in other languages.
After that I got a little lost in trying to figure out how to go down. The building’s exhibits are configured oddly. But I made it! And there were different screens with clips from different genres. I of course did not take a picture of any of the displays, but think outrageous and you will be on the right track! I found some black and whites of some of my favorite stars and some more movie posters. They have 2 huge screens playing more clips and I watched one that had dancing from different Italian movies.
I am so glad I went, but you have to enjoy movies and everything that goes into them to appreciate it! I know that this was very vague, so if you have questions or want more details ask away!

In the history of cinemtography they showed how to make shadow puppets!

Gone with the Wind, a classic
This seemed fitting...

Love me a little Judy Garland Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but she did it backwards and in high heels. -Unknown

I've been a Cinderella fan from an early age

Saturday, November 19, 2011


This last week I have taken more pictures of cars than anything else. Yes cars. And yes, there will be more than cars in this post. As I’ve mentioned only a few times here on the blog {being completely sarcastic in that statement}, Torino is a city of cars. I had a school trip to part of the FIAT factory this last week. To be honest I was a little disappointed because we didn’t go into the production line like I thought we were. I did get to see some good racing cars though! We went to the Aberth racing part of the plant. Each car is especially crafted by mechanics and engineers. By that I mean that the engines and all the extras are put in individually and with undivided attention unlike the consumer cars we buy. Pretty cool!

A really famous racing car

Since I am a business major, focusing in International Business I figured that it would be good for me to try and see if I could go on an {international} business visit this week. Some other classes were required to go, but I went for…fun. {Yep, I think I have to go with the term nerd to describe that.} We went to two places and this is the first time that our school has been invited to visit. The first one was to Fontanfredda winery which is almost a royal winery. We got to go in the cellars and see the barrels. One of the things that would make me want to work here is that it is a little village and the employees live there. The man in charge of exporting their wines was our tour guide and he and his family live there. He said that it is like living with family. Their signature wine is a white dessert wine called “Asti Spumante”. It is a little more expensive than the competitors but it is world renowned for its high quality.

Which equation would you like on your wine bottle?

They are so huge! And they hold lots of wine. these hold the perfect amount for 2, 4, or 6 people

Down there in the cellar we had to walk through a creepy cave!

The second place we went was Campari. {yep, there is something with the alcohol here in Italy}. Before heading to the factory we stopped in a little town and grabbed lunch. So quaint! But the factory, smelled like a cocktail party. Well, it makes sense since Campari is home to a variety of “spirits” {as our tour guide called them} and liquors that go in all those fancy cocktail drinks. The actual liquor “Campari” recipe is a closely guarded secret. Fun little fact: at this production plant there are exactly 100 employees, {not very many people} making it another one of those tight knit communities.

I enjoyed my little adventure to these companies, and feel a little more educated in the production and consumption or alcohol and liquors.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Make New Friends

So again I don’t really have a picture to go with this post because it seemed a little awkward to ask for one! You will see why…

On Monday I wasn’t supposed to be at school. I had no classes, and it was a personal study day for my test Wednesday night. {hence why there has been no updates} I was about to walk out after spending longer than I planned in the student lounge. I saw 2 Italian girls that were standing at the door to the office staring as if trying to find something among the masses of paper notices that cover the door. We said the usual “excuse me” and gave a half smile in greeting. I then made my way to the lunch room to meet a friend. A few minutes later the two girls walked in and asked accented English asked “do you know Italian?”
I have been in a conversation like this before, my first day of class in a world where I did not speak Italian. I knew how to say hello, good bye, and excuse me at that point. Now I was prepared when I answered “a little” for the next question. “Would you like to practice English and Italian with us?” “Yes, when would you like to meet?” And thus yesterday I had my first meeting and “tandem” conversation.
I was nervous and told them. I also had a ton of fun. We laughed. We tried new words. And they made me speak in Italian, which was good but really hard. I laughed when one of them said “ok, it’s time for you to speak in Italian for 30 minutes. If you do good and don’t make very many mistakes we will say good bye in English.” And all I could think was Well, I guess we are saying bye in Italian…
I think that the real victory for me is that I have wanted to meet Italians. But the Italian students are very closed off to us Americans and it takes time to build relationships. And a few days ago I was feeling as if there was not enough time for meet to meet Italian students. Today when I went into the lunch room at our class break one of the girls was there. She called out my name and smiled. We did the traditional greeting of a hug and 2 kisses. “Did you like yesterday? Do you want to do meet again?” And then she turned and said “I want you to meet my friends…”

I walked away feeling blown away by blessings and so very thankful for new friends.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I choose...

To be thankful

I choose to be thankful that my sheet will be practically dry because the sun came out today.

I choose to be thankful that even though there is a high potential for my clothes to be stained blue from laundry detergent, I have a washer with a spin cycle

I choose to be thankful that even though I feel like I live off veggies and carbs, I will not go hungry

I choose to be thankful that I have heat, even though I threw off the covers 5 times last night and considered opening the door to let November night air in to my furnace of an apartment

I choose to be thankful for the ability write and to read even though I feel like I’m behind on writing to the people I love and I would much rather read then study for interior design

I choose to be thankful for a kitchen with a stove, oven and refrigerator that work. And yes I would love to have more than a frying pan, 2 pots and a baking dish, but I am thankful I have the means to cook so for that I am thankful

I choose to be thankful for the opportunity to learn about this miracle of an institution called the EU, even when there are so many unknowns

I choose to be thankful that I have more than enough and loved more than I can ever fathom

Hopefully this list of thanks made you smile, maybe even laugh, and made you think about the ways that you have been so richly blessed

Monday, November 14, 2011


You all on have had a the pleasure of viewing my {sweet}indulgences here on the blog. I am of course talking about the food. But today I mean the museums too.
Torino is a city of cars. Yes they are everywhere and parked in the most random places and at the most interesting angles, but that’s not what I mean. See Torino is {well it used to be more than now} an industrial city, but that is because of the auto industry. There is a lot of car stuff around here, from famous designers, to factories, to museums.
I am one of those girls that grew up around cars. Sometime I like cars, other days not so much {check engine light you make me nervous}. Growing up I went to car shows trailing my daddy while holding his hand. He would point and spout off the facts of the car in front of us. Most of that stuff still goes over my head. All of it, built up an appreciation in me for old cars and eventually a little bit of a love from ‘em too.
Yesterday I filled this indulgence by heading to a new museum here in Torino. When I mentioned that this museum was new a friend said “oh, that’s cool.” Then I said, “No, as in it’s only been open for 2 months” to which she replied “Ohhhh!” Yes, it is that new.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again, Europeans know how to do museum layouts. It was done to not only delight the car enthusiast, but those that are interested in design and those that are new to the whole car world. The displays had movement to attract attention and there was a mix of history, pretty cars and hands on activities.
I love the oldies more than the new flashy cars, but they didn’t have my favorite and dream car. You all are going to think I’m crazy, but my dream car is a truck. A truck between the years of ‘34 and ‘50 to be specific. I love the old pickups that were used for market.

Another indulgence I’ve tried a few more times is a local specialty. Yes it’s in the food category. Bicerin. I can indulge since it won’t be getting any in US, right? This drink is truly the way a mocha is supposed to be. Layered espresso, hot chocolate, and crema. Yum!

{Don’t worry Mom, the marathon in Torino this weekend made me want to exercise a little bit more}