An American’s Perspective on the Royal Wedding

Like millions of other people, I spent last Friday morning eating my breakfast in front of the television while watching the spectacle of William and Kate’s royal wedding. As I watched the beautiful ceremony, a part of me wished I could be in the city of London to feel the energy and to witness one of our generation’s most momentous occasions. Studying abroad this semester in London, my roommate Kate was among the millions who crowded the streets of London to see Will and Kate become husband and wife. Anxious to hear all the details about the royal festivities, I asked Kate to serve as a guest blogger. Thanks, Kate! 

I have to admit, I wasn’t that into the royal wedding.  When my friends heard I was going to be studying in London this semester, their first reaction was always to exclaim, “You’re going to be there for the wedding!!” And I always agreed that it would be pretty cool to see a little bit of British history, but it wasn’t something I gave a lot of thought; I was much busier preparing for all the other, more pressing matters of adjusting to life in a foreign country, and I just did not have time to give Will and Kate much thought at all. When I got to London, however, it was clear that people here didn’t share my indifference. Every souvenir shop, postcard stand, and magazine I have seen has featured the couple prominently on all sorts of memorabilia, from teacups to posters to dolls.  Continue reading


Longing for a Conversation

I am in language withdrawal.

Right now I am suffering from an inability to speak in a foreign tongue. Having lived with Flavia and gallivanted throughout Italy for the past four months, my mind gradually began to think in two languages. Although I was far from bilingual, hearing Italian words became music to my ears and conversing in the tongue felt like singing a beautifully, eloquent song. Today, however, I am back in a country where ain’t, yo, home boy, BBM, and lol, among others, are everyday words and phrases.

In high school I studied Italian for three years, but I was unfortunately unable to continue with the language as a senior. Lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you look at it), Georgetown required that I study a language during my undergraduate career. Looking to review and renew my interest in the language of my dad’s ancestors, I enrolled in intensive Italian courses during my freshman year at the university. As a student in the College, I was only required to take Italian through the intermediate level, so I completed my language studies at the end of last spring, or so I thought… 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

Concise and Poignant Metaphors

“Il miglior souvenir di viaggio è un biglietto tranviario che una mattina, rivestendo un vecchio abito, troviamo in fondo al taschino del gilet, dove l’avevamo messo mesi prima, in una lontana città e poi avevamo dimenticato la sua esistenza. All’improvvisa scoperta, balza il cuore, quel pezzetto di carta è una metafora concisa e straziante.”

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Unofficial Da Vinci Code Tour

It is somewhat shameful to admit this, but I have never read The Da Vinci Code. In fact, I have not read any of Dan Brown’s books. Maybe this is even worse, but rather than taking the time to read the novel, I have watched the 2006 film starring Tom Hanks. While fans of the book criticize the movie for its excessive length and Hanks’ awkward haircut, Dan Brown’s controversial drama captivated me on big screen. With the mystery revolving around the Mona Lisa and the controversy of a potential cover-up by the Catholic Church, the plot appeals to fans of theology and Renaissance art alike.

Despite that I knew I was coming to Europe for the semester, I never found the time to read Dan Brown’s bestseller. Even so, having watched the film, I anticipated the chance to visit the landmarks and see the works of art that inspired the author. My first opportunity to follow in the steps of the fictitious Professor Langdon came in early February when the Villa sponsored a weekend trip to Rome. Perhaps the most prominent Da Vinci Code visit of the weekend was spent exploring Vatican City. Although no scenes in the film are set in the independent state, the center of the Catholic Church acts as a prominent character in the plot line.  Continue reading

Scones, Harry Potter, and Chips

My first day in London provided me with a genuine glimpse of the city. Guided by my roommate, I viewed Renaissance art, glanced at Buckingham Palace, and took the must-have pictures alongside London’s telephone booths. When it came to Day Two, there was still much to see. Under clear and sunny skies and armed with a much needed caffeine boost, the two of us set off for a credit card’s heaven: Harrods Department Store.

If one wants to imagine Harrods one only needs to think of New York City’s Macy’s in Herald Square. The London department store is a seven-story paradise with everything imaginable for sale. On the entrance floor, rooms of perfume, handbags, and other accessories make every shopper wish they had a platinum card in their wallet. Those looking for bargains should go elsewhere; Harrods is renown for its collection of high-end labels. It is as if everyone designer boutique on NY’s Fifth Avenue came together to be sold in one shopping center.  Continue reading

England: A Country of Snobs?

George Bernard Shaw once said, “The whole strength of England lies in the fact that the enormous majority of the English people are snobs.”  Apparently, the French are not the only European citizens who have a stereotyped reputation for being less than welcoming.

Since the beginning of the semester one of my main goals was to dispel common stereotypes about foreigners perpetuated by Americans. Thus far I have dispelled many about the Italians and my brief stay in Paris taught me that the snooty stereotypes about French people were far from accurate. Looking to see if Shaw’s perception of the English was correct, I spent last weekend in the United Kingdom’s capital, London. Continue reading