Happy Birthday shout out-06-08-2012

Happy Birthday dad! Didn’t want you to think I forgot about you I just haven’t had a chance to get on the internet today. I don’t remember how old you are(lucky you) or I would post it;) I do know that today you give the term “my old man” new meaning. But I kid you. Hopefully you had/have an amazing day and enjoy your gift that kate and I got for you:)

Today Magda and I went wandering around Stuttgart in the rain. We did some shopping and took some pictures but Stuttgart is not all that pretty so there was not too many places to take pictures. I will put them up when I have more time/more internet access. Tomorrow I head to Turkey to meet up with some friends there and am super excited to see Istanbul and Bursa and eat Turkish food. Plus I will get to see an old friends from the states and a couple of kids I met at PoliMi. It’s funny that I am already missing the friends I made at PoliMi even though we haven’t been apart that long. Anyways, I will hopefully update you tomorrow when I reach Turkey and settle into my hostel.

xoxo,

Alyssa

Stuttgart-04-08-2012

Hallo!

I have made it safely to Stuttgart but unfortunately had a minor breakdown in communication with Magda so I waited outside in the courtyard for hours before finally breaking into her building and ringing the bell. I have truly adapted to the European environment/travel because it didn’t really phase me at at all. Normally I would have been freaking out that I was in the middle of nowhere in a country where I don’t speak or read the language with no way to communicate with anyone, but it’s all good. I made it here and went to a farmer’s market with Magda this morning and later, for the first time in a loing time, I will be attending church. In English! I just wanted to let you know I got here safely and am still alive and I will update you all about my journey when I have time.

xoxo,

Alyssa

New Haircut-28-07-2012

Hola!

So yesterday I decided to fix my hair since it was disastrous. I went to a salon that supposedly spoke English and luckily the guy who did my hair spoke enough English to do exactly what I wanted:) I love it!

All I have really been doing lately is working on my thesis and trying to study for the last three exams I have to take in September. But next week I strt my summer trip and go to Germany to see my friend Magda. Then I am going to Turkey and finally to London(after the Olympics are over of course:) Well I have to get back to working on my thesis.

xoxo,

Alyssa

 

Lo siento-20-07-2012

Hola!

Sorry I have not been writing, but I have been super busy and tired since I have gotten to Spain. I am working like crazy to try and get experimental results or my thesis and am in lab from around 9am to 8pm every day and when I get home I eat and then sleep lol. 

But last weekend I did have some fun exploring Madrid:) Saturday I went to a flea market with my friend Brian and got some gifts and had fun wandering around the little shops. Then on Sunday I went to a Global Night Out event, which is is this organization that organizes fun events for people interested in language exchange. I learned some Spanish and met some cool people and I may hang out with them again this weekend if I have time.

Even though I am super busy I am loving Spain. And it have been relatively cool here the past couple of weeks. It just started getting hot, but I am in A/C most of the day anyways so it’s not a big deal. Thisis a city I could live in for awhile;) But I still can’t wait to come home and see all my friends and family.

This summer I have an amazing trip planned! I am going to visit my friend Magda in Germany, then meeting up with a bunch of friends in Turkey and finally spending some time in London:) The Phantom of the Opera is my favorite musical and it is playing in London so I am definitely going! I will update you more when I have time and the trip gets closer, but stay tuned in August for my summer European tour!

xoxo,

Alyssa

Hitting the ground running in Madrid-06-07-2012

Hola Amigos,

I have been in Madrid for five days now and have already gotten set up here, started my research, and yesterday, even attended an exercise class in the park. It was pretty intense, but it was in this beautiful park, the instructors spoke English and the first time is free. I will try to continue it but  have so much on my plate already that  don’t know if I’ll have time.

What I pretended to feel like after bootcamp

What I actually felt like after bootcamp

Haha, bootcamp, after basically 9 months of no exercise, kicked my butt yesterday. But I hav really been enjoying my time here. I live in an awesome neighborhood near the center of town, so tomorrow I plan on going exploring:) I also put up a couple more pictures that I took of my room/neighborhood.

I don’t reall have a desk so I improvised one out of my closet lol and everyday I pass by this hotel whih has a gigantic sign that says “Do you want to sleep with me?” and I just thought it was funny so you can check those out in the Photo Gallery.

xoxo,

Alyssa

Band will never be the same without you-03-06-2012

Today is a very sad day for me because I found out that my band director at Drexel passed away yesterday, Myron Moss was a really good person, a brilliant band director and was always very encouraging and understanding. My favorite memory of Dr Moss is when he was conducting this one piece of music and got really emotional and his hair got flipped up and stayed that way for half the concert before a clarinet player finbally got his attention to tell him it was sticking up. He was a pretty funny guy(even sometimes when he wasn’t trying to be). He was always super passionate about music and inspired us all to be better players. And the most important thing is that he genuinely cared about all his students and always had an encouraging word when we were down.

Here is a (very bad) recording of one of our concerts that Dr.Moss conducted where you can see the passion and love he had for his job, his music, and his students.

Dr.Moss, you will be sincerely missed by this tuba player and I am sure by many other students, faculty, friends and family.  I will continue playing in the concert and pep bands when I return to the USA but it will never be the same without you.  RIP.

xoxo,

Alyssa

Made it to Madrid-02-06-2012

Hola!

I am officially in Madrid for the summer and super excited:) My new apartment is awesome! It feels much more homey and I love it already. I will put up some pics in the Photo Gallery once I get my camera charged. There are six bedrooms here and I believe I have only 4 roommates but I have only met two of them so I’m not sure who everyone is. The ones that I have met seem really nice though. There is a girl from Madrid and a guy from Florence that I have met so far and both were very nice.

I left very early today and took a cab to the airport then kind of wandered around and got a brioche and pear juice for breakfast around 8am and haven’t eaten anything since so I am pretty hungry. Maybe I’ll go out in a bit for some dinner. The nice thing about Madrid is that there is so much more variety than in Milan for food. I can eat more than pizza,pasta and salad!  

Anyways the flight went smoothly(I slept most of the way), and then I took a cab to the apartment’s office where I collected my keys. The girl working there was super nice and helped me bring my bags from the office to my apartment because otherwise I don’;t know if I could have made it. It wasn’t a far walk, but my bags were super heavy and it’s pretty hot here. Anyways, I started to unpack and about half way through I decided to take a 15 minute nap that lasted for an hour lol. Then I finished unpacking spent awhile trying to figure out the password to get onto the internet and now I am updating this blog. 

Anyways, I have arrived safely in Madrid and mom, I am still alive:)

xoxo,

Alyssa

Don’t worry, Be Happy-30-6-2012

So I was told my last blog post was depressing, which I agree it was, but I refuse to retract any statement I made because it’s the truth and it’s how I feel and no one is paying me to keep this blog so I won’t be censored(BTW Drexel, we are still in a fight). The whole point of this blog is to tell you about my experiences and the world as I see it, and frankly, this month has been extremely stressful and something I would never want to do again(and I’m pretty sure I was on my way to developing an ulcer with all the stress and coffee I was drinking to stay awake). But it does not in any way overshadow all the positive things that I have experienced here.

I am sorry if I made anyone reconsider joining the program because this is one of the greatest experiences I have ever had(stress and all) and I would highly recommend it to anyone. The friends I have made, the traveling I have done, the knowledge I’ve gained about different cultures and about materials engineering(I had to throw that in there because I really did learn a lot in classes here), and the respect that I’ve gained for people who can speak more than one language fluently is irreplaceable and I think everyone should do it, especially Americans because we really don’t get out much.

Just don’t do what I did and take 30 credits both terms. You will not be able to do it. It is nearly impossible because of the time frame that you have. And if you want to do well at PoliMi, expect to take exams a couple of times and to study your butt off (and I mean literally because my butt really began to hurt after being permanently pasted in my desk chair for 3 weeks lol).

But all the same I figured I would let you know that my stress level has gone down significantly after this week, mostly because I am so tired that  just don’t care anymore. Also, last night I went to aperitivo with a bunch of friends as a going away thing and had a bunch of fun. After a sex on the beach(it’s a drink, I swear!), some awesome(free) appetizers and good company I was feeling pretty good. Plus I got to have sushi for lunch (in AIR CONDIITONING!) with my friend Liliana, which was really nice not only to see my friend but also because it was super hot yesterday(over 90 degrees). Also, I am super excited to go to Spain on Monday:) I have just about finished packing and my room looks really empty and kind of sad. I am not really nostalgic about leaving Milan, mostly because I will be back here to take more exams and present my thesis in a couple of months haha. Anyways, I think it may be nap time(or gelato time) at Alyssa’s place so I will update when I get to Spain and get settled in.

xoxo,

Alyssa

Stressed-26-06-2012

Dear Drexel,

If you are going to continue the EAGLES program, you need to either 1) make grades not as important or 2) plan the program so we have enough time to space the exams out the way they are meant to be taken. I leave for Spain next Monday and before that I have three more exams this week. I had two exams last week and two the week before. I think it is nearly impossible to cram all this information into my head at once and I am not fully doing the classes justice because I have to switch my mindset constantly. And in Italy knowing the general concepts is not enough, you have to know details, dates, fact, figures, graphs, if they even mentioned it in a class a reading or any course material, you need to know it because it will show up on a test.

Granted, I basically changed my major coming over here so many of the students don’t have the same problem as me where they had to take  30 credits a term. Try to plan your Drexel credits so that you only have to take a couple of classes here. Any more than two or three a term grets to be too much with the time frame we have to take exams and get the coursework done. But that doesn’t change the fact  that I am extremely stressed and am not pulling the grades I want because I have to focus on four different subjects(in detail) at once. And I refuse to cheat because that is silly.

I guess I am mad because this was supposed to be a fun/ relaxing year abroad but it has turned out to be as stressful as any other year spent trying to get a degree from Drexel. Drexel, we are officially in a fight from this point forward. As much as  love you I just need a break from all your crap.

Sincerely,

Alyssa

Jesus take the wheel! 14-06-2012

I just received my first A+ in Italy, which I thought was impossible and I was so excited I nearly fainted! But then I got home and realized I have a paper and presentation due tomorrow and came down off the high real quick. Then I looked at my calendar and realized I have 1(or possibly two) exams next week, then four the week after that and still have to schedule two more(which I’ll have to come back in July for, unless I can do them the first week of September) and I had a “Jesus take the wheel” moment because I don’t think I am going to be able to sleep the rest of my time in Europe:( But I will just take it one day at a time, starting now because I have 26 hours to whip out this paper and presentation.

xoxo,

Alyssa