Overhearing the World’s Words

I have a guilty pleasure. While for some it might be late night trips to the freezer for dates with their favorite guys Ben and Jerry or eating enough raw cookie dough equivalent to half a dozen cookies, my guilty pleasure has nothing to do with food. Instead, I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction and pleasure out of listening in on other people’s conversations and raising my eyebrows at the ridiculous things I overhear. Continue reading


NJSLC: Empowering Millenials to Set the World on Fire

Yesterday I gushed about the city of Chicago and how much I loved my time in the Midwest. Yet amidst writing about the paintings at the Art Institute and my exploration of Millennium Park, I failed to mention any details about the reason I was in the city in the first place.

As a student leader at Georgetown, I was invited earlier this spring to be a university delegate at the National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference. Started in 1997 at Regis University in Denver, Colorado, the conference invites students from the nation’s 28 Jesuit institutions in an effort to promote student leadership at each school. Originally the conference focused on improving leadership in student government, but it has since grown to welcome leaders from across university communities. Continue reading

Abhorring the Debauchery

Courtesy of Kessler/MTV/PictureGroup

I am having a very hard time right now keeping my anger inside about the Jersey Shore cast. So now I have to get it off my chest.

I previously wrote about how I successfully managed to avoid watching any episode of Jersey Shore on television, and even after it transplanted itself onto the Italian airways, I still avoided the debauchery. Unfortunately, however, the same cannot be said for the poor people of Italy. Not only has the MTV program started to broadcast into Italian homes, the cast of the show has also literally landed on the boot-shaped peninsula.     Continue reading

Me and Mr. Hemingway

I realized that Ernest Hemingway and I have a lot in common.

Not only did Hemingway make his living as writer, something I strive one day to do, but he also traveled the world and shared his global experiences with readers throughout the course of his brilliant career. As he once said, “Writing and travel broaden your ass if not your mind and I like to write standing up.”  Continue reading

The Piano, Piano Lifestyle

My Italian professor in Florence had a favorite saying: any time I or another student rushed through reading Italian sentences or sprinted out of the classroom at the conclusion of the day’s lesson, she would always say, “piano, piano.” Translated to mean “slowly, slowly,” the words served to remind us to slow down our pace to take the time to relax and appreciate the simple moments.

Of course, being all American students at a villa in Fiesole, the philosophy of piano piano was not easily adaptable. Used to running around with a caffeinated fix in one hand and a ringing cell phone in the other, we Americans are constantly on the move. In the United States, coffee shops and fast food chains can be found on every corner, and many stores proudly light up their 24-hour service displays. Americans live for the green light, the moment when they can step on the gas pedal and speed to the next stop and cross off another item on the to-do list. Continue reading

L’Arte di Non Fare Niente

It is hard to believe, but in less than a week, I will be back in America. After more than three months abroad, I keep trying to tell myself that the clock and calendar will suddenly freeze, and I will be able to stay in Florence forever.

Although there is plenty of magic to be found in the Renaissance city, it seems there is nothing that can be done to stop time. Perhaps even worse, my last few days in Italy will not be a time of relaxation or contemplation. Rather, with my semester officially ending next Thursday, my to-do list includes a nine-page art history paper, 2,500 words for a class on European globalization, an Italian composition and two other tests to worry about.

Yet amid the craziness of finals, I am making a strong effort to practice l’arte di non fare niente. Italian for “the art of doing nothing,” this saying epitomizes the Italian ability to spend hours on end doing seemingly nothing. This is in sharp contrast to the fast-paced, have-to-do-it-all lifestyle of the typical American. With Starbucks coffee in hand and Blackberrys in their pockets, Americans seem to race from point A to B without ever taking a break.

To read more, check out the original post for Georgetown’s weekly magazine The Guide.

This Ain’t No Starbucks

Yesterday I witnessed one of the biggest sins a person can commit in Italy.

As I stood at a bar sipping my cappuccino, I watched as a group of students walked inside. Based on their appearance, I did not need to hear their voices to know that they were American. While I was spooning out what remained of the froth from my caffeine fix, I listened intently as a girl wearing a Penn State shirt approached the cassa, the register. Continue reading