happy & healthy abroad: food, friends, & family

I can't believe that I am  already half way through my language program here in Ferrara. Three weeks in and I can finally say that I am beginning to feel more comfortable being myself in my surrounding environment and in my routine. One thing I have noticed when putting oneself in a a completely new and unfamiliar environment or situation, (especially in a different culture that speaks a different language) your personal identity becomes less clear and less defined and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Yes, it's definitely scary, but it is these times that if you choose to hold on to your core values, you can grow into a better and stronger person- mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.

Being here in Italy almost reminds me a little of my first year of college when I had no idea what I was doing and all of my previous identities from high school had been swept away. At one point in time, I realized that I was no longer defined by the people and things I had identified with for the past 5 or 6 years. I remember being entirely freaked out by that thought, but looking back now, I can see that it was an incredibly important time for molding me into the person I am today. It also was an incredible indicator of what my core values truly are. With this in mind, I know that I will be able to say the same thing about this trip.

This past week or so has been so incredibly busy. I've done so much in the past 8 or 9 days that its hard to keep track of what I did and when! Of course I will share with you only the highlights...

Found my favorite restaurant in Ferrara, Cibò

Also, I have a new obsession with salmon and fresh squeezed orange juice (spremuta d'arancia)

Took a day trip to Venice

I meet up with Brad (my brother) there. In the afternoon we took a boat to Murano, famous for its glass blow artwork. The city was gorgeous and unfortunately I didn't have a lot of time to explore it. Luckily I will be returning to Venice after my program for a day or two.


Woke up at 5:45 am the next day to go to Verona with Brad

Verona surprised us both with its incredible beauty! There is so much more to see than the Juliet's Balcony. We enjoyed fantastic views of the city and not to mention stumbled upon an awesome local, organic, plus vegan, vegetarian, gluten free friendly bistro right next to the Duomo of Verona for lunch. It had my name written all over it. At the end of the day, I had walked over 13 miles. Words cannot describe how tired I was.

Hung out with Brad for the rest of the weekend plus Monday and a little bit on Tuesday in Ferrara

Sunday we biked around the ancient wall of Ferrara, got lunch at Cibò with my friends Mel and Marisa, watched a super awesome parade for the Palio Renaissance costumes included, and got gelato at my favorite gelateria  in Ferrara, La Romana. We also watched the Palio races which include a boy;s and girl's foot race, a donkey race, and a horse race. Unfortunately we did not get to see the horse race because it took over two hours to start and we didn't have the time/patience to stay (aka I had an exam the next morning).

Monday we met up for lunch in the park and enjoyed some delicious strawberries they have here in Italy. After class we found an quaint osteria called "Osteria di 1997" where we talked over a glass of white wine. We were served a few small appetizers with our drinks which included, focaccia bread, olives and cheese, and a mini caprese salad with arugula- all for nine euro! We were both very pleased. Tuesday Brad's flight departed from Bologna in the late afternoon so we out for lunch and gelato as a sort of send off for his return to Los Angeles.  I am so thankful that we were able to spend the time we had together, and in Italy of all places! I feel so blessed to have such a loving and supportive family.

Finally found the motivation to go for a run along the wall 

 I don't know why I have done this earlier, probably because I haven't comfortable enough or familiar with my environment until now. Thanks to my dad, I have all these great family favorite classic/oldies songs that I can run to- it feels like a little bit like home. 

Arms & Cardio Running Routine

Run for 15 minutes away from my house and then run back, stopping along the way to do some strength exercises on a nearby bench. Here are just a few ideas if you just happen to be running past a bench- try them out!

  1. Push ups
  2. Spiderman push ups (knee tuck to same elbow)
  3. Tricep dips
  4. Single leg tricep dips
  5. One legged lunge ( face away from the bench and put one foot on the edge, squat straight back making sure your knee doesn't go over your toe)
  6. Push up with knee tuck to opposite elbow