Happy Late Easter everyone!

Last week our campus was completely silent. The majority of students who could go home for the holiday did and there was almost a peaceful yet eerie air to the university. I stayed behind along with a few of my friends and we decided to cook a nice Easter lunch at another of our friends homes. We bought cappretto for the main meal and was cooked with potatoes, peppers, onions, zucchini, herbs and spices, for our antipasto we decided to fry up the zucchini flowers, bought some cheese, olives and roasted the other peppers and zucchini in a pan. We also made a tomato and cucumber salad that went along nicely with everything. It was a lot of food for only four people, and we demolished it. It is nice to eat a nice home cooked meal after relying on dining hall food since we got back from our Christmas holidays.

After we had lunch, we relaxed and went out into Viale for a coffee. We stayed there for a good two hours just talking, and joking around until finally deciding to call it a day. Monday would be the ever famous Pasquetta or Easter Monday. It is usually celebrated by getting together with all of your friends and having a giant cookout or picnic. This is always held rain or shine. This year it rained, but what is a little water to stop us from enjoying ourselves. My friends and I went into the mountains to small town outside of Udine called Nimis. We then got together with friends of my friends for a cookout. They roasted chicken, pork, sausages (you name it we ate it) and they even made paste for us as well. It was muddy and messy, but we all had a really nice time. By 8pm we had to catch the train back to Trieste for the night. Now because of the Easter Holiday and then the Italian Liberation coming soon after that, the University was closed for the week. I guess my professor did not get the memo because she still held class. Oh well it is that time of year again where we need to start preparing for our exams which are fast approaching.

Only a few more weeks of classes until our final exams are upon us and only a few more months until my grand reentry into the US. Time is flying by and before I know it, this experience will be soon be over.

Sending my love to all



Natale 2013 e Capodanno 2014 a Cosenza!

Ok so I get it updating is really hard when you are studying, going to class and trying to keep up with the daily happenings so it is no surprise that the Christmas post is coming to you in March.

So as I stated I went back to Cosenza for the Christmas holidays with my friend Moira. She lives in a village just outside of Cosenza called Bisignano which is the second largest village of Cosenza. I stayed with her and her family for three weeks during our holiday. I wasn’t home from Vienna for a full 24 hours when I repacked my suitcase and headed to Calabria which ended up being 22 hours of public transportation. Trains and Buses are now the easiest thing in the world to navigate. We too two trains and two buses to finally end up once again in Calabria. Traveling with us was another friend of ours Lucia who is also from Bisignano. We arrived to sunshine and 58 degrees instead of the in the upper 30s and cold cold wins of Trieste. I was so excited to be back to the place where I first fell in love with this culture and language.

Being that we were so far from Cosenza, it was hard to organize to see my other friends I had made 4 years ago and try as I might it unfortunately did not work out, BUT I met some amazing new people and had the time of my life.

We spent our mornings studying for our up coming exams, and our afternoons lounging around at Moira’s home, or at Moira’s boyfriends home just across the otherside of the village. His family was so welcoming and so kind to me. They treated me as if I was one of them with only knowing me for such a short period of time. We passed Christmas eve (La Vigilia) at Moira’s home where we had various fish dished, then we attended the mass and saw the live manger scene set up a short ways from the church. That night we exchanged gifts as well before attending the mass. Christmas day we hung out around home and had an abnormally large lunch. Then headed off to relax once again at Moira’s boyfriend’s house with his family. In that period we attended the Onomastico of Moira’s boyfriend’s father and they had family and friends attend. We drank, sang, ate roasted chicken,ate cuddrudrieddri (fried doe Calabrian style) and celebrated. This whole eating with the families and hanging out with everyone continued right up into the new year celebrations.

I swear I gained like 10 pounds in those three weeks just from all of the food. I know this because a. my new years dress I bought when we had just gotten back to Cosenza fit me when I tried it on at that point b. two weeks later after our feast of fried shrimp, calamari and pasta, it was a little bit snug when I went to put it on that night for New Years eve. Lets just say when a southern italian mother asks if you want more and you say no thank you, they think you aren’t actually full just embarassed to ask for more so they fill your plate anyways. You ask for one more of something they give you two. And lets be honest who says no to good old fashion southern italian cooking. The answer is no one, because it is seriously just that amazing.

For New Years eve, we had dinner at Moira’s home with her family then got dressed and ready to head out to her boyfriend’s house to celebrate with his. At around 11:30 we were at his home saying hello to everyone and waiting for midnight. Also they will always continue to feed you even if they know you just had a giant feast elsewhere. At midnight we cheered and various homes in the village started setting off fireworks! We hugged and kissed each other, toasted with champagne and ate handfull after handfull of lentils to port good luck in the New Year. At about 1am I, Moira and her boyfriend left to head to a club with their other friends to dance our way into 2014. We had an amazing time. Pretty much all of Cosenza was there and I even briefly saw old classmates of mine. We danced the night away (literally) well into the early hours of the morning. We ended up staying at Moira’s boyfriends house and woke up around 3pm that afternoon to a heavy lunch and then light dinner before heading home to Moira’s around 9pm. Around midnight my parents called me wishing me a happy 22nd birthday. January 2 2014 (italian time) I finally turned 22 years old. Moira had planned a small Tombolata/ birthday celebration at her home that evening which turned out to be pretty fun. I lost every round of Tombola but still had a good time. Moira made my cake of Tiramisu and I got caked in the face after I blew out my candles. It was so kind of her to do that for me and nice to celebrate with new friends.

Three days later we were on that long agonizing 22 hour, two bus, two train journey back to Trieste where our exam period began. From January 8th to February 13 I would be holed up in my room, taking small breaks for eating and semi sleeping, studying for those two months. Nothing really happened of interest. Birthdays of friends came and went and I passed all four of my exams with two 30s (A), one 28 (A-) and a 25 (B-). Overall pretty satisfied with my work considering this was the first time with the whole oral exam process that is oh so different from our own.

Well now that exams are over and classes have started up again I can finally relax a little and catch up on all the sleep I lost during January and February.

happy belated christmas and new year and will be updating very soon

Delanie Cook

Thanksgiving, Roma and other things

Ok so I know I have not been super great about updating, but I am going to be taking the time in the next few days to bring you all some insight on what I have been up to in the past month.

So the month of November was pretty uneventful. At the beginning of the month, they set up the Bancarelle which are the Christmas stands that remain open right through the holidays. For two weeks, french artisans and cooks brought the flavors of France. Then once they moved on, the Christmas stands reopened to typical Triestino goods ranging from homemade soaps, to local food and wine. Every morning on my walk to class, I passed by these Christmas stands and it really puts you into the holiday spirit.

The week before Thanksgiving, my coordinator at the University sent me an email about the American corner in Trieste that I didn’t even know existed up until that point. On the Friday a week before Thanksgiving, 11/22/2013 I went to the American corner to help cook and participate in a large Thanksgiving dinner put on for its volunteers and members. It was no Thanksgiving back home, but it was a nice substitute. The following week I would be off to Rome to visit an old friend, Luca, from my high school in Cosenza. It just so happens that I left for Rome bright and early around 7am on 11/28, Thanksgiving day in the US. I would arrive in Rome in the late afternoon and stay until Sunday morning.

It was the most surreal and indescribable experience I have yet to have so far. The joy and contentment I had to finally see one of the best friends I made in Italy after four years was amazing and unbelievable. I felt like I was in a dream the whole time I was there. I kept pinching myself to make sure it was real. We kept in close contact when I left Cosenza after my exchange program ended four years ago. And yes seeing someone on Skype every so often counts as seeing them, but it doesn’t compare to actually being in the same space and time as them. We caught up during my days in Rome and he showed me pretty much everything. Being that he lives in the outskirts of the city, we had to take the subway to get into the center of the city. Our first stop, you guessed it, the Colosseum. You see it in pictures from various view points and think ya ok it’s large and an architectural masterpiece, but when you see it in person right in front of you when exiting the metro it is a whole other story. I am pretty positive that my jaw hit the floor. I was in awe and completely without words to the beauty that was in front of me. We went into the city around 3pm so the sun was beginning to set, and that kind of lighting with a city like Rome is absolute perfection. He took me all around the city. I saw the Spanish Steps, the government building where Mussolini spoke to the people during the years of Fascism in Italy, Trevi fountain and Campo dei Fiori. My favorite part about Rome was not only the surprise of seeing the Colosseum so close right after exiting the Metro, but it was seeing the Pantheon and then going inside. What an experience. Once again another building that you can admire in photos, but to see it in person is another experience. Once again I was at a loss for words and the scene literally took my breath away. Rome was beautiful and leaving was so so hard. Not only leaving a beautiful city but leaving one of my best friends in the world was also difficult. I hate goodbyes and wish that we had more time. But lucky for me I would go back to Cosenza for Christmas with a friend of mine from Trieste. Lucky for me I would be able to see not only Luca, but then everyone else who I haven’t seen in four years.

When I returned to Trieste I had one more week of classes before mine finished for the semester. The following week I, my friends Arjeta and Genti would organize a weekend in Vienna, Austria. Vienna needs a full other post for everything that we saw and experienced.

Until next time


The Hills are Alive With the Sound of Music

So on 12.13.2013 my friends Arjeta and Genti and I went to Vienna Austria for a lovely weekend visit. We left Trieste on Friday evening, and arrived in Vienna on Saturday morning at 8am. It was a very long overnight train ride. I slept probably 3 hours total during the whole trip. We were all exhausted but there was no time to sleep, we had exploring to do. We saw the entire city in a span of two and half days. Every building, every cathedral was absolutely amazing. The architecture was a marvelous and I was without words. We saw the main street where there were all of the shops, then the grand Cathedral at Piazza Santo Stefano. We saw the national library and the plaza where Hitler made his first speeches during the fascist reign in Austria. We saw the parliament buildings, the University of Vienna and countless gardens.

Day 2 we went to another Garden and saw another palace. The view was absolutely breath taking. We also went to the local amusement park near the Madame Tussaud’s of Vienna. We even went on one of the roller coasters. We walked along the Danube river and admired the contrast between the old city and the newer modern one, just on the other side of the river.

Day 3 we went to the Belvedere Palace. It was beautiful and wonderous and literally took my breath away. It was grandiose and absolutely marvelous. I could only imagine it during the spring and summer when the flowers and plants have all bloomed. From there we went to have lunch and then on a long journey to try and find the Chocolate Museum. We ended up at the opposite side of the city and needed to take a different train to reach the museum. By the time we arrived, it was closed, we were cold, tired and hungry. We had a good laugh about it though at the end and left Vienna that Monday evening. After two and half exhausting days of non stop walking, eating and admiring the beautiful city of Vienna, we finally were on our way home on another night train. We arrived in Trieste once again Tuesday morning. Upon getting back to my dorm, my friend Moira (who I would be spending Christmas with) texted me asking if I wanted to change my bus ticket to leave for Cosenza from Friday 12/20 to that wednesday 12/18. I said of course!! The sooner I returned to Calabria the better!! So from one mode of transportation to another I repacked my bags and we headed back to Cosenza for the christmas holidays. Though I am bummed I won’t be spending Christmas with my family this year, I am extremely grateful that I was invited to spend it with Moira and her family. We have been home now for a few days and her family has made me feel welcome and so comfortable as if I was with my own.

I will have an update coming soon about Christmas in Calabria but for now I will leave you with this.

I wish you all a very very very Merry Christmas and a healthy and Happy New Year.

Parents: I miss you guys so much every day and will be thinking of you all this holiday season. Thank you so much for always supporting me in all of my endeavors, big and small. I cannot wait to see you guys in March, it is going to be so much fun!!!!!!! Hugs and kisses from me to the both of you. The greatest gift I could ever receive was the opportunity to study abroad again and I could not have done it without you both!

Brothers: I miss you both like you wouldn’t believe and I hope you enjoy your breaks. Nicky have fun in Puerto Rico and though we are celebrating our birthdays this year on opposite sides of the world I will be thinking of you. Cam man!! Help out daddy with cooking this year ūüėČ and make sure when you guys take a part the tree in January that it doesn’t fall on anyone like it did last year hah! Both of you give babiest munch a whole bunch of hugs and kisses from me! And if you get together with the Yorktown Cooks you better take them down in Just Dance and Charades for me!!

FAMILY & FRIENDS: I love you all and miss you all so much. I am wishing you all a very happy and healthy holiday season.



Some October Fun

IMG_0873So the days have been flying by! We eat, study, sleep… in that order. Because our friend group is quite large, ¬†getting ourselves organized is like telling a class of first graders to quiet down. Basically it’s impossible. The weekend after I went to Milan, there was a special event in Trieste called the Barcolana. It is an internationally-known sailboat race that takes place in the Gulf of Trieste every second sunday in October. This race is preceded by three nights of celebrations including an ongoing fair on the harbor from Thursday to Sunday afternoon; each night, there are different activities, which consist primarily of different performers in the main Piazza.IMG_0842
Saturday evening, we went out to get a taste of the fair, grab a beer at a pub in Trieste that crafts its own beer and  listen to some live music in the main Piazza. Sunday morning, we were up bright and early to start our ascent of the mountain. IMG_0888We walked on a path called Strada Napoleonica, a long-ish walk, in order to get a great view of the race and the gulf. From the vantage point, you could see the whole entire city and then some!IMG_0861

That same afternoon, our group disintegrated; ¬†three of my friends and I went to go see il Castello Miramare and the Gardens of Castello Miramare. It was such a beautiful day, I found myself falling in love with Trieste all over again! The castle was beautiful, the gardens were breath taking and we even saw a few jellyfish hangin’ out in the ocean below.

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Fast forward from that weekend and to HALLOWEEN!!!! Ha… in between the Barcolana and this past weekend, our schedules resumed as normal and we ate, studied and slept once again. However, on October 31, we celebrated Halloween Italian style!1450752_10201592910318894_1016034076_n

And I know what you are all thinking: it must be the same as in the US. Well, yes, the kids dress up and go trick or treating and the teens and university students get dressed up and go to various parties in the discos, but the American idea of finding a costume is much different than what they do here. Instead of dressing up as one specific person or thing, they paint their faces extravagantly to mirror faces of skeletons or something much scarier than what we consider to be a costume in the US.1450856_10151881207481696_4616880_n There is no rhyme or reason to these costumes, only that you make your face look as scary as possible. Then you go to different parties or around town with your friends, admiring the spectacle.1383994_10201592913718979_1637795526_n

Well that’s really all on my end!
Stay well and until next time


Some reflection and advice from Italy

October 4th 2013

I am still in a state of shock and awe that my life has become something so incredible! Week three came and went in a flash, and I still have ten more months ahead of me. ¬†Life here is turning out to be a lovely box of chocolates! Every new adventure brings perspective. ¬†I mean seriously though I just casually took a four hour train ride–which turned into six because of some technical difficulties–to one of the most well known cities in the world: MILAN! The following few paragraphs are thoughts and reflections I had while on my journey to the Western side of Italy.

As I sit on the train, I am two hours away from the fashion capitol of the world! These solo journeys offer time for thought and reflection and so I am doing just that. ¬†I am recalling my first days coming to Italy and getting¬†acclimated¬†within my first weeks. ¬†I was all kinds of nervous and excited at the same time…Talk about sensory overload: sprinting through airports to catch all three of my flights, grabbing two buses to get to school…lets just say it was an exhausting 48 hours. ¬†I was so anxious to get this solo journey over that I didn’t give myself ample time to reflect on life and the journey I has ahead of me. ¬†Now that I am sitting on the train to Milan, I am no longer afraid to travel alone. My fears have all but disappeared. ¬†Instead, I am calm and reflective on life, as I take in the coastal scenery leaving Trieste to the rolling countrysides of the interior of Italy. ¬†Literally four hours from one tip of the country to the other. ¬†Impossible. ¬†Amazing.

Though I miss the company of travel companions, I do enjoy this time to myself.  You can always find a sense peace and inner calm on those solo journeys.  

I think for the first time I have actually fallen in love with life itself.  I have fallen in love with breathing in new and exciting experiences.  I find myself struck with wonder and awe at each new place I visit and see.  I feel like a new born child opening their eyes to the world for the very first time.  Everything is so new and interesting.  

And on a more personal note: To mom and dad.  I finally read your letters to me that you wrote before I left.  I am going to go to all of those places before I leave.  You better BELIEVE it.  Heck maybe you guys can meet me in Dublin for a beer!

And a little advice to all of you contemplating going abroad:

Though the process may seem daunting at times and overwhelming at certain points, and you may think, ‘how could I leave home for such an extended period of time?’….I beg you to reconsider. ¬†When you leave it is not a goodbye, but a ‘see you later’. ¬†Know that you will change and things at home will change, but no matter the changes, those still important to you will be there when you return. ¬†They will miss you and maybe be a little sad, but above all else, they are excited that you made the decision to go abroad. ¬†So I say this, if you do decide to go abroad, know you made the best decision ever in your life. ¬†Aside from deciding what you are going to have for breakfast this morning.

I’ll leave you with some things to think about:





And with that, I leave you because I have a whole country and a whole continent to explore before July 2014!!

Make good decisions and even better mistakes.  Always trust your gut, make life how you want it to be and rock every single second of it.



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La Prima Lezione!


Well the time has come for classes to begin here in Trieste. Sadly my short summer vacation has come to an end and the time to hammer down with my studies has arrived. Although I live right next to the main campus, all of my classes happen in the middle of the city. So I have two ways to get to them: I can walk an hour or I can take a 20 minute bus ride and then walk fifteen minutes. On days that it is far too cold to walk to and from the center of the city everyday, I will take the bus; but when it is so mild and beautiful –as it has been for the past few days–I walk. It is great exercise and also a great way to learn my way around the streets. So far so good! I have not gotten myself too lost yet… The hard part is coming back because once you go down hill, you must always come back up! It only stinks when it is around lunch time and it is so hot with no shade to hide in. Luckily I only have one course that starts this week, and the rest ¬†come the following week.

I can already say that there is going to be a lot of reading involved, along with memorization of the content to prepare me for the oral exam that I have to take to obtain credit for the course. My material thankfully in this first course will last me into the first couple of weeks in November, and then I will have a few weeks off to study for my final exam. The only writing I will be doing, it seems, is note taking! And my new best friend just became the library!! All of my books can be found there thankfully, though I might try to purchase some of them as well depending on the prices (of course).

After such a whirlwind of a week, I almost forgot the real reason I was here, which is to study and work hard just like I would back home. I am so excited for this new challenge and to learn in a completely different way than before. Each class will be two hours, three times a week with the expectation from our professors that we not stop studying and learning once we go home. This is going to be a busy semester! Thankfully with the gradual start comes no Friday classes. And with this I head to Milan next weekend to visit a friend from high school!!

Every day I find with each new adventure and obstacle there is a new found sense of independence and confidence that comes out from some where deep within. Never before have I felt more independent than I have in these last few days. I am forever happy that I made the decision to go abroad alone my senior year of college. If you can conquer a foreign city and a foreign language you can conquer anything life throws at you!

until next time photo 1