Saturday, August 27, 2011

Come On Irene

Come on Irene; please spare New York City.

I'm witnessing the first time in history when the most densely populated city in the country is being shut down.  All airports are closing, subways are being shutdown tomorrow, and there is the first mandatory evacuation in the entire history of New York City. After what was called a once-in-a-lifetime earthquake for this area that we experienced earlier this week, we are all wondering what will happen for New York City after this weekend.

We've been keeping our eyes on this storm all week, knowing it could get ugly.  Many universities have chosen to evacuate their students, but FIT remains confident we will be okay to stay here.  As the only students on campus currently are freshman, transfers and visiting students who are unfamiliar with the area and its normalcy, we already feel slightly more concerned with the situation.  We just received notification via e-mail as what we should prepare to do this weekend, but there have been no faculty or administrators of any kind assuring us personally that we will be kept safe.  Events continued as normal today.  Some of our friends who have a place to go with family in safer areas have left already, but for a majority of us, we are at the mercy of the storm.

We remain hopeful that Irene will die down slowly and spare the coastline.  Today a friend and I went down to the seaport area and out to Governor's  Island, both areas which should be completely evacuated by tomorrow afternoon.  Grocery stores were full of people and empty shelves.  Water bottles were going for 6 for $18 at Trader Joe's.  This is my first hurricane so I don't really know what to expect.  But most people I have talked to do agree on one thing:  they lived here all their life and heard the media hype over and over...but this time, something is different.

I'm sitting on my bed looking out over Chelsea neighborhood from 8 stories up.  Listening to the sounds of the city and comforted by the glow of lights from buildings across the street, I wonder how different things could get if Irene does hit with a fury of a storm of the century. Fingers crossed and prayers going out to all along the east coast through the weekend.

Photos from today below.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hello; Excuse Me

Day One in the Big Apple was uneventful for the most part, yet I still got goosebumps crossing the George Washington Bridge into Manhattan. Luckily, I've been to New York twice before, including an unplanned visit to the Fashion Institute (before I ever knew I would end up attending here), so navigating was a breeze.  As this is my third year heading to college, the process is quite familiar to me now: pack for hours, drive for hours, unpack for hours, SLEEP.  This time though, the driving part was considerably longer (try about 650 miles versus about 120 miles).  Fortunately, no surprises through moving in, and I'm thanking God that it did not rain today because I had to leave all of my things on the sidewalk outside of my dorm while I checked-in.

The best part of the day by far was heading to McDonalds for a bit of a quick, cheap din din and running into the most entertaining, eccentric elderly ladies in Manhattan.  I was standing in line waiting to order my cheeseburger, and I hear a demanding sounding older lady's voice shout, "HELLO! EXCUSE ME"!  I turn around to see two ladies pushing their walkers yet dressed to the nines strolling in behind me.  The loud one murmurs a "thank you" as she continues in front of me.  They go on to say hi to another friend in the McDonald's and go about their business, knowing that they own this place. Only in this city would I find these characters.  I spose that is how you have to act if you want to be noticed here...a little "hello;excuse me" is necessary in the city that never sleeps.  Hello New York. :]

Rome in 24 Hours

Unfortunately, my visit to Rome was particularly shorter than I would have liked, but I did manage to see the major sites on my list.  We started our first day at the Vatican and then ended up separating from the group at St. Peter's Basilica.  Must see's included the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica itself, and Michelangelo's Pieta. When then headed towards the Pantheon, passing through a market along the river and stopping for lunch at a sidewalk cafe.  For dinner our group had planned this ridiculously long 5 course meal.  A few girls and I stayed for the first three courses and then decided to high-tail it to the Spanish Steps on recommendation from a friend.  Knowing we had limited time in Rome, we decided it was better spent exploring the city rather than sitting in the basement of a restaurant waiting for the next course.  There is a time and place for a relaxing Italian dinner, but my first visit to Rome was not it!

The next day we headed to the Coliseum only to find workers on strike, so our reservation would have to wait until after noon when the workers were expected to return. Instead we made a trip to the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps area to see the designer shops and take in some Roman culture. Luckily when we headed back to the Coliseum we were able to enter and look around.  Shortly thereafter it was time to head home.

Monday, August 8, 2011


I'm still catching up on everything I need to share from Italy, and Switzerland, and Paris..., but I thought I would go double time and also let you know what is going on right now -- which consists of enjoying some time in my hometown with family and soaking up all of the humidity that the Midwest has to offer. However, school starts in just under two weeks. At least, orientation at my beautiful new school in the Big Apple! I'm heading to the Fashion Institute of Technology to study Fashion Design in a one-year accelerated program.  My class schedule includes Flat Patterning Design I, Introduction to Computer Design, Apparel Design - Structured Silhouettes, Life Drawing, Apparel Design - Soft Silhouettes, Fashion Art & Design, and last but not least, Sewing Techniques.  This girl couldn't be happier. :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Italy's Hidden Gem

The most beautiful place I've ever been is this lovely island named Ischia.  It's just west off the coast of Naples, and just north of the better known island of Capri.  This was the location chosen for our first weekend getaway in Italy, and boy did we make a good decision! The island was not full of tourists as most places in Italy are, but rather we found beautiful tropical flowers, picturesque beaches, and the best local wine and cheese.  Not to mention, the pizza in the entire Naples area is to die for.

Naples is known for being a rather dangerous city, however when our group was there, I didn't necessarily feel threatened or unsafe at any point.  I think as long as you are aware of your surroundings, your bags, and your actions, then you will be fine.

One of the "must-see's" at Ischia is without a doubt the Castello Arogonese, a castle built in 474 B.C. which you can tour for only 10 euros.  The views and history of the castle are unrivaled, as well are the peaceful walks one will find wandering through the old churches, olive gardens, and look-out points.

If you do plan on visiting, here's a helpful tip.  You can get to the island from the Naples port one of two easy ways.  First, you can take a hydrofoil for roughly 18 euro which will get you there in a matter of maybe one hour or so.  The other is to take a ferry.  While significantly slower, is also significantly cheaper at 5 to 10 euros.