Thursday, June 16, 2011


This week is a little bit unreal.

It was my friend Amanda's birthday the other night, so we all went out for an aperitivo to celebrate at the same place we went to with Global Experiences, The Jazz Cafe. It was a lot of fun, and it was nice for us all to have a night out together. We all made a toast to Amanda, and as any group of four girls does we determined who our Sex and the City characters would be (I'm Carrie, Amanda is Charlotte, Alana is Miranda, and Carly is Samantha). While we were there, this guy and girl a table away began talking to us because they were excited to meet English speakers (a common trend when your language is the minority somewhere). The guy, Steven, is from Orlando like Carly, and Fleur is from Holland. It turns out that he happens to be an Armani model, and invited us all to come out tonight for an event (well, party, but "event" sounds classier) with all of the male Armani models. Um, yes please. So what if they're all going to be homosexual? And who cares if I'm absolutely exhausted and would probably rather stay in and spend the night with John Steinback or Vladimir Nabokov? When else am I going to get to say I partied with Armani models in Milan? Let's be real. I am going to seize every opportunity I get out here.

Also, our Global Experiences representative here in Milan totally came through. Well, for some of us at least. She was able to score three tickets to Fashion Week shows on Saturday, and gave them out on a first come, first serve basis. So, I am officially going to Fashion Week in Milan with Amanda and Luiza! I feel bad that the others couldn't get tickets, but who knows? Invitations happen so last minute in the fashion world, there's still honestly a good chance for everyone. Lilianna may be getting tickets where she works too, and if they're for a different night then that would be so phenomenal. I ordered business cards, and I am praying they get here on time. Well, I'm not actually praying. Don't be silly. But, I really hope they do.

So, with the Armani party tonight, Fashion Week on Saturday, and the Dolce and Gabbana party on Sunday, all I can think is... why isn't there something fabulous lined up for tomorrow? That just doesn't seem right. 

Of course, it's all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Or, rather, until someone starts work. Yes, while fabulous opportunities are presenting themselves all at once, apparently (I'm told) the fabulous-ness won't last forever (we'll see about that). Yes, Monday is my first day of work at my internship, and I am both incredibly excited and incredibly nervous. What if I get lost on my way there? What if I'm dressed inappropriately? What if they don't have anything for me to do, or too much for me to do? What if I have too much trouble with the language barrier? What if there's a huge fire and it's up to me to choose which collection to save, and I save the Dolce and Gabbana section and I get fired (ha, fired, because of a fire... get it?) because they wanted me to save the Armani garments? What if a model breaks her hip last minute saving the Armani collection from the fire because I failed to save the right one, and they need me to step in as a model, and I trip and fall on the runway and ruin the garment and everyone loses their jobs and vows to not stop until they can find me to burn me at the stake? Okay, maybe that's a little far (but probably not). I just want to do really well at this internship. I'm going to just play the "I'm adorable, please love me" card I typically pull out for these occasions and hope it works.

It's interesting to be at such a different personal state than the rest of the interns here. I see everyone going through the struggles with homesickness, the feelings of wanting to throw in the towel and just go home because it would be easier... essentially everything I felt in the beginning of my trip in London. I'm not incredibly homesick. I miss my family more than I could ever say, but I've come to terms with it all. I know I'll be home really soon. These two months don't feel like a long time to me because I've already done over 5 months. To them, it's a big deal, because they aren't even a third of the way there. I'm more than two-thirds of the way done. I just want to tell them, "Stop getting yourself down about it. You're just complaining about it because it makes it easier on the homesickness if you can point out everything you hate about the place. It's not a bad place at all, you're just seeing it that way because you're getting hit with culture shock hard right now, but it will go away," but I know they won't really believe me... I didn't believe it when people told me that. We have such a fabulous opportunity out here though, and I don't want to see them waste any of their time like I did. I look back and hate myself for how much of my time in London I spent moping about it.

I do really miss my family the past few days though. I think it's mainly just because it's even harder to keep in touch now, because at least in London I had consistent internet access (although terribly slow) and I was able to stay up later to talk to them. I have school and work early every morning now, and can't stay up until 3 A.M. like I was. I know I'm in the last leg of the race now though, and the light at the end of the long European tunnel is starting to become visible, so I really am doing fine. It took me far too long to get to this point, but I'm here and I'm feeling good about my place out here. I'm dreading the reverse cultural shock when I get home, though.

Monday, June 13, 2011


It's very difficult to be a good blogger when my internet is so sporadic, and so slow when I am actually able to get it. However, fear not: I will assuredly catch you up on everything in the past week. Which shouldn't take too terribly long.

For the most part, last week was primarily spent at the language courses. I really do love these classes. My teachers are great, I love the girls in the classes (the Global Experiences girls and a group of girls from Korea that are just so hilarious), and I feel like I learn really useful language skills everyday. I was a lot more diligent the first week about independent study, which definitely affected me in class last week. I need to crack down on the books again. I am making sets of flashcards for nouns, verbs, and adjectives, so I can keep up studying even after the courses are done. If I get into a routine with it, like maybe go through them every night before bed, then it will keep all the words fresh in my memory and it will take less and less time each night. That's the goal, at least. We'll see how that one pans out.

On Saturday, we went to Lake Como for the day with Global Experiences. It is beautiful there. I want to live there. You may think that's a joke, or like a "Well I'd like to live there too! And Paris, and Greece, and Germany, and..." kind of deal, but I am serious. It is exactly the kind of town I want to live in. It's small, beautiful, super Italian, and only an hour train ride from Milan. If I got to live in Lake Como, I wouldn't mind an hour daily commute. Maybe George Clooney could give me one of his two mansions in Lake Como. Yeah, two. Really? Is that entirely necessary, George? What, you need another one just in case you get bored of the first Lake Como mansion? You didn't know which one to pick so to avoid buyer's remorse you picked both? Some people have it all (and someday I will too).

But, I digress. In our typical fashion, immediately upon arrival to Lake Como we decided it was time for lunch. I got delicious tortellini with prosciutto in a cream sauce. I have yet to have a bad meal here, and I don't see it happening ever. We then went for our boat tour around the lake, but they told us we had to wait so we went and got gelato instead. When in doubt, eat more food. This was literally the best gelato that has ever happened to me in my life though, and I have had some pretty good gelato here. They make it fresh everyday, and I got a super dark chocolate gelato that literally made me drool. If I died in that very moment, I really think I would have been okay with it (provided I would be allowed to lick the bowl of every last drop before dying).

Finally we got to do our boat tour, and as soon as we left the dock it started to downpour. It was a little dreary to sail across the lake in the pouring rain, but I still enjoyed it. It actually made me a bit sleepy though and I started to do that embarrassing head-bob thing you do in class when you're falling asleep and your head starts to slowly dip down and you catch yourself and jolt back up over and over. I'm the queen of that. Unfortunately, my head dips lower and lower each time until finally it's about an inch away from the desk and then I spring so suddenly backwards that I make a huge scene and cause a commotion and then it is no longer subtle.

But, again, I digress. After the boat, we did some shopping in the markets... because, let's be real: we're all studying fashion, and we're in open markets in Italy. Shopping will happen, regardless of bank restrictions. Lake Como is known for their silk products, and I got an absolutely gorgeous 100% silk scarf that was made in Lake Como. I also bought a really neat gigantic safety pin with handcrafted beads on it. I'm not entirely sure how I want to use it yet, but I will figure it out. For now, it is on the buckle on my purse, and it looks nice there. I tried on a pair of Italian suede shoes that I'm pretty sure were made for me, but they were 80 euro and with the exchange rate that day, they would have cost about $150. I had to pass it up. See, Dad? I can be responsible sometimes with money.

So, despite the continuous torrential downpours and the looming possibility of a tropical storm and monsoon that may wash the city of Milan away if these horrid rains continue, Lake Como was a complete success and was completely conquered.

You may recall when I went for my interview that the Global Experiences representative from Florence told me about a program called Tandem, where you meet up with people in your city and do a language exchange. Well, I tried it out last night! I met up with a young woman and man, named Ornella and Ciro, and it was a really great experience. Admittedly, we did speak in English more than Italian, but they promised that next time we will focus on Italian. Still, even if I only get to speak it for a short time, it's still just good practice to keep your mind working in the language. I'll admit, my thoughts are starting to be in Italian. I love it.

In other news, through Global Experiences we have been invited to attend a launch party at Dolce and Gabbana on Via della Spiga, their major boutique location in the fashion district. BOYS IN THE BAND will be performing there, and musicians will be presenting the new designer collections. Sounds like a pretty awesome time to me!

And, in closing, a creepy man sat down next to me on the metro today and purred at me. I don't think I need a translator to figure out what that means. 

 Isn't it so pretty there?

 Il Duomo in Lake Como.

 Lilianna, me, Carly, Alana, and Amanda!

 Me in front of the beautiful backdrop.

 ONE of George Clooney's mansions in Lake Como. Sorry for the terrible quality, I didn't understand the tour announcer until I heard an Italian-accented, "George Clooney" come out.

One of the many shopping streets.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


So, let's talk Milan.

When I say "Let's talk Milan," I mean let's talk fashion, let's talk fabulous, let's talk opportunity and language and molto, molto bello and gelato and the best damn cappuccinos I have ever tasted.

I had my interview today with Wivian's Factory, a showroom here in Milan. It is absolutely beautiful (and absolutely gigantic), and they are known for their marketing team and strategies. They're so exclusive that they aren't even open to the general public. Global Experiences representatives Anna and Whitney came with me on the interview, and I didn't even really have to do anything other than sit there and try to look pretty... which is actually quite the challenge when it's so rainy out, making my hair grow three sizes that day (Grinch reference, anyone?). The boss, who was supposed to interview me, was in a meeting with Dolce and Gabbana and did not have time to see me personally... which is completely fine with me. I am more than okay with accepting my lower status compared to Dolce and Gabbana. The lady who did interview me was really just interested in getting my story from Anna. The entire interview was just a formality, as I apparently already had the job. The funny part was that she said she would "parla molto, molto piano," or speak really slowly... and then completely jetted off like a crazed racehorse. My goodness, if that was her speaking slowly, she would probably short-circuit if she spoke fast. She also asked me if I would be okay with them using me as a model sometimes. I don't exactly have a model's height or body, but yeah, sure, if you want to run a short and stumpy collection, then obviously I would never refuse an opportunity to be dressed up in designer clothes I can't personally afford.

I'm getting a little ahead of myself though. Let's go back to last night. We had our Global Experiences aperitivo at the Jazz Cafe in the Piazza Sempione by the castle. I got this drink called a spritz, which is apparently the drink to get in Northern Italy at an aperitivo... and I can see why. It was amazing. It was some combination of wine, hard liquor, and orange soda. To be honest, I don't entirely care what it was. All I know is that I don't know how I have lived my entire life up until now without one. What was even better than the drink was the food though (which was endless, by the way). You can just go up and get plate after plate of all the little appetizers, and you better believe I did. Thank goodness Carly appreciates food just as much as I do, so I didn't feel entirely like the only pig in the group. The aperitivo was a lot of fun though, because all of us girls, besides Lilianna who had a doctors appointment, got to spend time together outside of language school for once. We got gelato afterward, because clearly we hadn't eaten enough. But, really, when is gelato ever a bad decision?

The language classes are going great too (especially the cappuccino breaks). I'm definitely improving a lot, and have been able to have full conversations with my teachers in Italian. Of course, I'm sure my Italian is very broken, but as long as I'm able to be understood I'll be fine. It's so interesting to be on the other side of the table though. Back in London, living in my flat with Chisato, Maiko, Slovakian Adam, and Laura (obviously British Adam doesn't count in this), I got used to communicating with people who spoke English a little broken. I learned to speak slower, explain things more, and answer language questions they had. I never had to be the one struggling with a language barrier before though, and I have so much more respect for them now because I know how hard it can be. It's so strange to think that when I walk down the street, I'm the one people don't understand. I am going to try this thing called a tandem, where you basically find people (obviously girls my age) in Milan with similar interests that speak Italian for you to meet with and do a 50/50 language exchange. It helps them with their English, and helps me with my Italian. Benissimo!

In other news in my life, I made my first post to CollegeFashionista this past Friday! It was just my style guru bio, so nothing too exciting yet, but that will go on the web come this Friday. That means I have to start my actual posting this week. I already have an index card drafted with what I had to say when I approach people, because the biggest struggle with this internship is that I need to be able to explain the website and why I want to take someone's picture to them in Italian. I'm excited to get started though!

Also, I have been invited to attend Jason Triosi's, from Project Runway Season 8, first fashion show in New York this fall. I was a little unsure about the invitation at first, but I did a little research and it seems to be legitimate. That should be exciting for my return! Maybe Tim Gunn will be there and I'll get to meet him again. Yes, I said again. If you've ever talked to me, you would surely have heard my bragging story about how I met Tim Gunn at the opening of Kate Spade's line at Bloomingdale's and he told me I was adorable and hugged me. Best moment of my life? I think so. I'm also going to apply to Teen Vogue's Fashion University for the fall, which would be so incredible if I could get in.  I need to get my business cards printed up, STAT.

So, I'm feeling a bit fabulous right now. Ciao, Milano: sei bella.

 Alana, Amanda, Carly, me, and Luiza at the aperitivo!

Whether crossing through the mud with Carly in our heels was a good idea or not is debatable. Whether or not we look good while we do it is not debatable.
Me, Alana, Amanda (or Domanda, as we now call her), and Luiza in front of the most glamorous tram I have ever seen.

Il Duomo at night!

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Deepest apologies for not updating in a week, especially such an exciting week! Last Sunday, I packed up my room in London's fabulous Alexander Fleming Residence Halls and moved on to Milan, Italy. It was a bitter goodbye to London, but the blow was softened by the knowledge that I was embarking on another adventure that would be entirely different, but entirely excellent.

Upon arrival in Milan, I was ripped off immediately. I get off the bus from the airport, and a guy asks me if I was looking for a taxi. Sketchy as he was and going against all my mental training for these situations by watching the movie "Taken," I said yes, because I did, in fact, need a taxi. He puts my bags on a cart, wheels them a total of 20 meters to the line to pick up a taxi, and holds his hand out for 5 Euro. Wait, you're not my taxi driver? You were just taking me to the taxi line? Excuse me, but I could have carried my bags there myself. I've been carting them all over London and through the airport, I can handle another 20 meters. But, I was in no position to argue, especially not in a foreign language, so I reluctantly handed him 5 Euro and sighed resentment to myself.

When I finally arrived at my accommodation, I was shocked. Tina, my landlady, came down to meet me at the door. I knew that Tina was in her early 70s, but she had a daughter that speaks English. Well, when this lady met me at the door, I thought she was her daughter Monica. Tina is so fabulous. She does NOT look like she is 74. She's incredibly in shape, dresses beyond fabulously, and is much more of a party animal than I am. I go to bed at 11:30, she goes out at 11:30. She goes for walks in 4-inch suede wedge heels with her taupe crocodile skin handbag. If I am half as fabulous as her in my 70's, I'll be thrilled.

The apartment itself is gorgeous. It's a nice size, well decorated, and my room here is much bigger than my room even at home. I have a corner balcony off my room, which makes up for the clown picture that hangs above my head when I sleep. Seriously? It just had to be clowns? Don't you know I'm terrified of clowns? That should have been one of the questions on the housing questionnaire. The only downside to the accommodation is that I don't have internet access consistently here. Tina doesn't have a computer, so she obviously doesn't need internet. I have been stealing some from a neighbor, but it doesn't always work, so I don't want to rely on it for anything important. This is why I haven't posted a blog this week: in the rare moments I do get internet, I have a lot of other stuff to take care of on the computer, like for my CollegeFashionista internship.

Otherwise, my language school is fantastic. We have class 9-10:30, cappuccino break, 11:00-12:30, lunch break, and then 1:30-3:00. I live about 45 minutes away from the school walking, but my friend Alana lives a street away from me and we walk together. Besides, I've been living in London for 5 months... walking is not foreign to me. I actually really enjoy the walk. The classes are conducted all in Italian, and I am definitely one of the furthest along in the class with the language. It helps, of course, that I've taken Italian before and have my Rosetta Stone, but I've actually been studying almost every night after school.

I have my interview for my internship on Tuesday, which is at Wivian's Factory. The showroom looks absolutely beautiful, and they're known for their marketing team, which I will be working with I assume. The showroom isn't even open to the public, so it's very exclusive, and they have a lot of Italian designer brands as well as some others. Some are well-known internationally, like Dolce and Gabbana and Tommy Hilfiger, but others are more specific to Italy. Either way, I'm really excited, and hope that they give me a lot of tasks so I can really get the most of it.

Overall, I absolutely love Milan. I know that Cori, Amanda, and Mike didn't like it when they visited here, and I can understand why. It's not a touristy city, but I knew it wouldn't be. Basically, the only things you can really see here as a tourist are the Duomo, the castle by Parco Sempione, and the fashion district. I saw all three in one day (though I haven't gone inside Il Duomo yet because I was not appropriately dressed for it that day). However, I am living here, attending school and going to work, and as a place to live it is lovely. I would love to live here someday. It reminds me of Paris a lot, but in Italian obviously... and Paris in my later trips when it was more enjoyable, not the first trip.

Also, I don't want to speak too soon, but my friend Lilianna is getting two tickets to fashion week here in Milan and told me she would bring me. She is going to ask for another ticket so that Alana and I can both go, because the three of us have become friends here. How cool would that be? As soon as I land my internship, I'm getting business cards printed immediately, so I can hand them out to everyone and anyone at fashion week.

So, basically, Milan is already well underway to being conquered.

 In front of Il Duomo.


 The Castle.

 Mia camera di letto.

 On Via Della Spiga, one of the major designer shopping streets. Just window shopping, clearly.

Ooooh, gelato.