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I'm a 21-year-old journalism student. I spent last semester living in Florence, Italy. These are my adventures.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

We're getting there

I picked up my passport and insurance card yesterday.
I just ordered a PicCell Wireless phone. JMC suggests it if you want to get a phone over there. My Android won't be accompanying me to Italy. My phone bill, which my kind parents still pay for, is high enough as it is. But I do want to be able to call my roommates when I get lost in Florence, which I undoubtedly will. So PicCell it is.
It's $59 up front for the phone and SIM card. I kept it basic with no insurance or Euro SIM Card. PicCell's website suggest the Euro card to avoid roaming charges, but when I talked to people who used the service before, they said you don't really need it when you travel as long as you stick with your travel buddies.
After the initial price of the phone and the SIM card, PicCell is $0.35/day, which calculates to a very manageable $11/month. PicCell to PicCell calls are free, so I don't see it costing more than that.
I just have to be careful. I'm always leery when I give my credit card number. Those damn hidden fees.
Another friend said he had a $200 phone bill one month, but he had been calling his parents back home. Mumsie and pops, I'll be using Skype.
We'll see how this goes.

Regardless, this trip is feeling more and more real.
Here's an awkward photo of me and my travel companion.

Friday, November 18, 2011

What is this free time you speak of?

I'm a busy body. I'm always moving, going. I started working for student media my first semester on campus. The managing editor for the Daily Kent Stater contacted me in the summer of 2009 and recruited me as a news correspondent. My editor didn't waste any time getting me started — I was covering a speech the third day of school. This set the tone and pace for the rest of my college career. I don't know what it's like to be in college without student media. I can't even imagine taking classes without spending every break between them calling sources, running to interviews and editing with my reporters.

"What do you do in your free time, Lydia?"
"No, your free time."

But here I am, looking at my class schedule for next semester in awe.

     10:45 a.m. - noon Elementary Italian II
     12:15 - 1:30 p.m. Intercultural Communication
     4:15 - 5:30 p.m. Honors European Issues

      9:15 - 10:30 a.m. Intercultural Communication
     10:45 a.m. - noon Elementary Italian II
     3:30 - 6 p.m. Practicum in European Media

     10:45 a.m. - noon Elementary Italian II
      2:55 - 4:10 p.m. The Genius of Florence
     4:15 - 5:30 p.m. Honors European Issues

     10:45 a.m. - noon Elementary Italian II

I don't have the words to express how excited I am for free time. I will finally be able to do something as simple as take a walk, wander and explore — something I've been wanting to do for months. OR I could start reading again. I don't remember the last time I read a book. It's horrible. But my dear friend Hannah is lending me her Kindle for the semester.
I am picturing myself sitting on a patio with tea and reading or writing material every afternoon. It sounds like heaven.
I can't wait.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The best-laid plans...

I had so many hopes for this blog, but alas, as usual, student media throws a wrench in everything. This semester has been a whirlwind of chaos.
Every time I walk back into my apartment, I think to myself, "Oh, I should finish decorating tomorrow. I have posters and pictures to put up." That became futile a couple of weeks ago. At this point I might as well start removing what I did manage to put up. I'm always distressed by how fast this semester is going — until I remember what comes after it. And even this isn't fast enough.

I've spent most of my free internet time developing my new website:
Not much of an excuse for neglecting this blog, but my focus in the past couple of months has been on finding an internship for next semester, and the website was a necessary step in that process. Please check it out!

But what's really important here: 59 days until I am in Florence.
With a $60 expedite fee, I got my passport renewed in time to send out for my visa, which came back this week.  Last Friday, several students who studied abroad last semester visited our Florence orientation class. It's feeling more and more real, and I couldn't be more excited. I looked up my seats on US Airways today.
I think I need this more than I can even fathom. I'm in a rut here. As much as I love Kent, I am stir-crazy. I need something new.

My friend Ryan Collins studied in Florence a year ago. I asked him to send me some of his favorite pictures, and he sent me these:

Is it January yet?