Sunday, September 29, 2013

Day One: Rome

I'm feeling nostalgic, so here's an update on our travels from last Christmas!!

So we get to Rome and we're a wee bit tired, but happy with our room and LOVE our hotel. We had left Jordan at like 2 am, arrived in Frankfurt at 5 am and our flight left at 6 before heading to Rome. I didn't snatch any pictures of Germany, but I had a lot of really nice hot chocolate that was complimentary of Lufthansa. By the time we make it to our hotel, it's about 10 am and we crashed. We slept in for quite a bit of the day and then decided that we weren't going to waste a whole day. So we went out. I seriously can't talk enough about how much I loved our hotel. It was PERFECT. It was in a beautiful neighborhood, a five minute walk from a tram/bus stop and was a really good price! We were there the weekend before Christmas mind you, and it was still only around $60 a night. That is NOT bad anywhere. (Relais 6 Via Tolmino if you're interested)

So we get up and get out of the apartment and go to the stop near the Trevi fountain. We didn't feel particularly adventurous and just found the first restaurant that looked promising and grabbed dinner. I snapped a few shots: 

     We ate some fairly basic fare, I'm fairly certain I had Fettuccine and Drew has Spaghetti or Parmigiana or something typical like that. After that we went the five minute block to the Trevi fountain.

Trevi Fountain

Yeah, how gorgeous is the Trevi? Absolutely amazing. 

After that we went and explored around a bit. Our friend Christina had told us about this amazing Gelato place that was near here so we went and found it. 

It was called Blue Ice and is run by an asian couple, but was honestly the best gelato we had while we were there! It was so good and for a really good price!!!

Mine, nutella and some other chocolate version

And Drew was adventurous and got something that was a holiday flavor (I think?) and Raspberry

While we were walking from the Trevi to the Pantheon, we (or more Drew) were accosted by two street performers acting like gladiators. 

I could really tell Drew was tired because normally he's the first one to say get lost to these type of people. However, he let them put their helmets and costumes on him and pretend to fight him as I snapped away. 


So then we finally extricated ourselves and walked to the Pantheon. I've heard so many things about it and it was nice to get there and see the inside.

The pictures don't really do it justice, but it was SO big and light and neat!

Michaelangelo's Grave I think?

 So after seeing the Pantheon, we decided to head to Piazza Navona. I had seen online that there was a Christmas festival that was there and we wanted to see it. It was so neat! There were things like a carnival/festival and also shops FILLED with things for a nativity. Apparently in Europe a nativity isn't just the manger scene with Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the various shepherds and wise men. No, it is a whole VILLAGE scene that you do. Sometimes people will have whole ROOMS devoted to the nativity. It's a bit over the top. But it was cool seeing how people would have decorated it like there was a manger smack in the middle of Italy.

The Fountain of the Four Rivers, it was so cool!

This nativity made me crack up because it's  Roman Empire nativity. There were huge letters of SPQR right above the arch that didn't quite make it into the picture. 

Roasted chestnuts!

Then we had to try these awesome doughnut looking things called ciambelle. They were SUPER yummy. And of course we had to get the ones with nutella on them.

Overall, super fun first day in Rome!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Next Chapter: Washington DC

So for those who don't know, Drew and I graduated BYU!! Huzzah!!! And there was much rejoicing! 

Since we both were going to graduate programs, we decided not to walk at graduation. A. We were done at that point and b. most of our family lives here on the east coast. As a present to ourselves we went to Hawaii. That was awesome but that's for another post if I ever get around to doing it. 

So where are we going to school? Well, we're going to two different schools. And yes, we're both doing graduate programs at the same time. It seems a little crazy, but we feel that it's the right thing to do right now. 

Drew is going to....

Woohoo!! It was a tough decision, let me tell you. You see, Drew got accepted into both American's and George Washington's law schools. From a simple pride point of view, GW is ranked higher as a law school in general and quite a few people who we know or know of have gone there. Drew thought it was a stretch for him to apply so when he got in he was ecstatic. But... when we visited both schools in August of last year I had this super strong feeling that American was a better fit. But, it wasn't my decision. 

However, once Drew realized that he wanted to go into international law, he started comparing the different schools. And despite his original enthusiasm, GW no longer seemed to be a good fit. So he prayed about it and got an overwhelming answer that American was the school for him. And honestly since making that decision and now being here, we know for a fact that it was the right school for him. So many opportunities are coming up that seem tailor-made for him that it's ridiculous. He must be doing something right. 

So my journey to grad school was a bit more...perilous. Actually as of May I didn't know what I was going to be doing. The summer before when we were preparing for Jordan and trying to make sure we had the right materials and dates for grad programs, I had already received a pretty strong and clear answer that I needed to go to Georgetown instead of taking a year or two off to work. So I took that and went with it, but I decided to have a few backups planned. I ended up applying to 5 different programs and got rejected by every. single. one.  EXCEPT Georgetown's Master's in Arab Studies. I was only wait-listed though. 


I HATE not knowing where/what/how/why/when I'm doing something. And unfortunately in DC if you want to get a paid job in your field you need a Master's Degree. And you need experience to get a Master's and so basically you get stuck with an unpaid internship gaining "experience" for a year as you wait the process over again. I was NOT looking forward to that experience. 

So when we went to DC to drop off our stuff in a storage unit, I decided to go in and talk to the program. I was lucky and ended up talking to the person who essentially runs the whole program without actually running it. She seriously is superwoman. She told me my chances of getting in (nothing official of course) and we chatted for over an hour. Suddenly after not hearing from anyone for 2 months, I get a letter the next week saying that I got in. 

I'm going to Georgetown!!!

Yay!! I'm going to be a Hoya!! (A post later on what that means...)

And now I'm in a super diverse and yet still tiny class and loving it. (Out of 28, we have 3 from the UK, 2 from China, 2 from Palestine and one each from : Turkey, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Oman, Italy, Australia, and Columbia) 

My first day of school is tomorrow so wish me luck!

( school is Hogwarts!!! I just see it from all of the shots of it...See? Hogwarts)

Overall we're moving in and getting used to the area. DC is great and so is Arlington where we are. Not a bad move and we're glad to be closer to my family (Cam and Ale) and in-between our parents. 

Let's hope that this year goes well and here's a picture of the pup. 

Kirby is exhausted from moving as you can tell: