la festa

italians celebrate their independence june 2nd. going to rome for the holiday weekend...



tanti auguri!! happy 26th (?) birthday!! hahaha. i would like everyone to meet my best friend whitney. this girl is amazing. we get along like peas and carrots. we are together EVERYDAY and when one of us is on vacation, we are constantly asked how we are surviving without the other one. she is adorable and i miss her like crazy. hope you have the best birthday ever! eat extra for me!

-celebrating my birthday at macaroni grill-

-my spinning/gym partner- (oh hey sickle cell)

-after a long day-


oh the people you meet

yesterday after work i had a few hours to kill before i started my next shift. the weather was so hot and humid that after walking around for a couple hours, i was beat. i bought a fanta, and proceeded to sit in the shade.

about 15 minutes into my rest, i was greeted by a italian couple who asked me all sorts of questions. while the wife was asking me a question, she leaned over to her left side and let out the biggest fart i have ever heard. she nor her husband flinched. i, of course, had this look of disgust and shock on my face because of this slightly abnormal situation. as i tried to hold it together to answer, she continued to let them fly.

i came to the conclusion that with this particular bodily function in public, our cultures are COMPLETELY different.

drunk driving

look what was posted on youtube! i was chosen by byu to give a persuasive speech to 200 people in december 2007.



i work all day today. from 930 AM - 10 PM. boy am i tired.

job well done

this week has been wonderful. i feel like i am finally on top of my game. not only can i understand everything that goes on in the kitchen, but i can predict what the chef is going to do next. its a dream.
-one angle of the kitchen-

work last night was great. as i was helping the large group of american tourists cook the asparagus risotto, luisa, the chef who almost killed me for not eating her dessert, pulled me aside and said, "sono contento lavorare con te. sei bravissima...ben fatto". in inglese this translates to, "i am so happy to work with you, you are wonderful...well done". this was just what i needed to hear. looks like i have done something right!

-Luisa and Stefania (love her to death) -
(luisa studied with japanese chefs in japan and
has owned her own restaurant for 25 years)


a whole new meaning

last night as i was laying in my bed trying to go to sleep, I looked up at the light and saw....

i guess tampons can also be used to collect dust from lamps. who knew.



today i traveled to grosseto to hike throught a regional park. the park overlooked the adriatic sea. it was beautiful. the weather wasn't that great, but it was perfect for hiking because it wasn't too hot.


la tavola

i tried to get a few shots of some of the dishes i cooked today, but usually forgot to snap a shot.

-la tavola, meal included fried zucchini flowers (delicious), a shrimp gumbo, tomatoes and potatoes with roasted fish, and for dessert a version of creme brulee-

- smoke salmon with a herbed lemon butter, along with smoked salmon crostini on a bed of greens with balsamic vinegarette -


james bond

it just so happens that most of the next james bond movie titled "Quantum of Solace" is filmed in italy. while passing through piazza del campo today, i saw the camera crew getting ready to shoot a scene. supposedly, in the next film there is a shot of the palio di siena, the famous horse race that takes place twice a year. according to the crew, they couldn't wait until july to film the scene, so they are recreating the entire race now. yes, recreating the ENTIRE race. that means laying a thick foundation of dirt all around the entire piazza which is pretty big, and staging the whole horse event.

the medieval costumes for each contrada

these people are supposed to be shouting and rooting for their favorite team or contrada. some of the people are wearing scarves like the man in the yellow.

last week i tragically missed james bond jumping off the bell tower in the piazza. what a shame. i have yet to see daniel craig.

i captured a video of the film crew, but its taking more than an hour to upload. stupid italian computers. i don't think they understand what it means to have high speed internet.


the night shift

the night shift was so much better. i can't even begin to tell you how much better it was. i got to translate for 15 wonderful people who came from all over the US. i felt like i was on a live cooking show because the chef didn't speak a lick of english and i had to explain what and why the chef was doing certain things to the dishes. i guess all those hours of watching the food network sure paid off. i made sure that these tourists had an informative and fun time in the kitchen last night.

after the tourists had eaten everything they could from dinner and dessert, one man came up to me and handed me money saying, "now i want you to know that i don't do this to everyone. i only do this to the people who are courteous, polite, and such a pleasure to be around. you, my dear, did a spectacular job and i wish you all the best in the future". that was the nicest thing i had hear all day long. not to mention how many times i was told, "bless your heart, just bless you". i felt on top of the world while i was walking home down the cobblestone streets in the dark of night.


first day of work

where do i start. lets see, probably at 9:30 when I arrived and then 2:00 once i finished cleaning everything up. oh, not to mention that i am going BACK to work at 6 PM to work until 10 PM. one of the longest days of my life. i need to post some pictures of the kitchen and some of the dishes. the food actually turned out good and it was delicious too. the chef even gave me some to take home for tomorrows lunch.

it definitly wasn't as bad as i was expecting. i thought it was going to be a lot worse. at least i didn't have to do the dishes like this poor asian guy did. i don't even think he knew what he was doing. the chef would tell him something unrelated and he would just bow his head and with a smile say, yes.

dessert was interesting. some of you will think i am self righteous. oh well. we had tiramisu after lunch. the tiramisu we made contained coffee and brandy and quite a bit i might add. let me remid you that before i had started this internship, the director told me that if there is something that i cannot eat, do not be shy, do not get embarrassed, just bluntly tell the chef no. okay, not to bad. WRONG. the chef started to serve me tiramisu and i kindly and politely refused. she just about flipped a brick. i honestly thought she was going to stab me with the 12 inch long knife she was holding. she yelled something in italian, i didn't really pay attention because i was looking for the nearest exit. it sounded something like how dare you decline my food, etc. whatever lady. deal with it. i ate all the rest of your food.

that was day one. actually, im not even finished with day one. i still have to go back. let's hope it gets better. the good things about today: had delicious food, met some very nice people from the US and didn't get to wash dishes.

will post pictures later.

oh hey primary

i love going to church in siena. the 8 people in the branch are so great. also, the missionaries are really funny because most of them just left the mtc so they know very little italian. everything was going well until i was asked to teach primary next sunday. PRIMARY? yes, primary in another language i might add. i just about cried. how on earth am i going to teach children (granted there are only 5), who don't speak english , about things that i never learned? mamma mia. i looked in the manual and barely understood one word. i think im off to a great start. i don't know if i agree with this picture. this situation reminds me a little of my best friend. yes, i am thinking of a time in relief society...

caffe fiorella

love the name. love the hot chocolate. love everything about it.
via di città, 13


fonte delle monache

along the city walls, offers a splendid view of the surrounding countryside. . .

i traveled to the fonte delle monache which means 'nuns fountain'. this was an isolated spot so that the cloistered nuns could wash their clothes without being seen. without a map, i definitely wouldn't have been able to find this hidden treasure.

this is where they would wash their clothes. im pretty sure no one ever saw them.

Im thinking that i should send this to americas next top model, you know...gym clothes and all

wandering le strade

i decided to get up early saturday morning and head to the city just to get lost down the streets. i had my morning cup of joe (hot chocolate) and brioche, and wandered around. the italians who own this small caffe know exactly what i order. scary. sweet people though. defintely patient with me and trying to use my italian skills.

i stumbled upon these cool, peaceful streets...
this pretty much solely pertains to my fajah....

allora, i happened to stumble upon this street towards the back of siena. im sure your thinking the same thing that i was thinking. it's just a standard door of pretty much nothing. oh, you're wrong. as i looked closer, i saw this...
what? a gold's gym in siena? the hours are 11AM -11PM. i was literally scared to go inside because it looked so run down on the outside. the door was locked so i couldnt get a good picture of the equiptment or anything, but im sure its not like what we are used to.


the streets of siena are lined with these delicious fruit vendors. it makes me want to become a fruitarian.


hello culinary school

i am so much more relieved that i have everything figured out regarding my internship. i had a meeting with the director of the school and he informed me of what was going to be happening.

1) i am going to be working with professional chefs from around the world that specialize in italian cuisine. these chefs will be teaching me all the tricks of the trade.

2) i am also going to be teaching classes with the chefs to other culinary students.

3) once i feel ready and confident with my culinary skills, i can become a chef in a popular restaurant in the heart of siena.

i dont think things can get any better. as far as transportation issues, the director calmly assured me that someone from the school will be bringing me home everyday. that solves that problem. he also told me that i the dishes that i prepare, well....i can eat them. he gave me the recipes for the dishes that i am going to be learning and teaching on monday for lunch and they include:

-crostone al funghi (bruschetta with mushrooms)
-tagliolini al limone (pasta dish)
-panna cotta con fragole
-risotto al carciofi (risotto with artichokes)

oh, and dinner just gets even better. i had a personal tour of the kitchen and it is amazing. too be continued....


oh the italians...

sometimes i just dont get the italians. i start my internship next week in a restaurant inside the very popular siena town. i found out that i will be working monday through friday at 930 in the morning to set up and prepare for pranzo (lunch) and then come back at 6 until 10 for dinner. here's the issue. i live 25 minutes away from the city by bus, and the last bus leaves siena to take me home at 830. i asked the segretaria what i should do and she replied with a smile on her face, "take a tassi". haha. who does she think i am? take a taxi everyday for the next 3 months? i dont think so sweetie. i have to figure out what the heck i am going to before friday because we all know that the italians love their weekends.


its raining, again

its cold and rainy when just yesterday it was hot and beautiful. there was not a cloud in the sky. yesterday of course was sunday and so we looked for the local church building. it was a very small building located on the outskirts of siena, and took forever to find. the branch consisted of 8 women and 1 man. yeah, thats what i said. the elders basically controlled the branch. everyone was so kind there and really were welcoming. right after church was over they ran over to me and already put me to work on geneology. sounds like fun. they were so excited to hear that i would be staying with them for 3 months. sounds like bad news bears.

-cioccolata calda (literally a thick, melted chocolate bar in a cup) -
-just saw someone drinking this standing at the bar. nothing looks more warming on a cold, dreary day-


i have an obsession. it has got to stop. the good thing is that i dont feel myself getting fat and i think thats because i walk everywhere literally. just had this after a pleasant lunch.



yesterday we climbed quite a few steps to get to the top of a bell tower that overlooked the city. amazing.


i wanted to head to pisa for a day this weekend, but forgot that i had to change trains in order to do that. so, because im retarded, i went to firenze instead and saw the duomo, ponte vecchio, palazzo vecchio, and had the best gelato i have ever eaten. literally. it was a fun day in a busy city. i wanted to go to see davide, but the line was absurd. i have to make reservations next time.
-ponte vecchio-


monteriggioni, toscana

this is a town about 15 minutes from siena, about 5 miles. i wish i took good pictures of the castle because it was beautiful, but these are some pictures that i took on our long walk. we walked the entire thing. it was really difficult because we were almost killed, hmm, about 10 times. amazing walk though.

-looovveee this villa-

-this is a cathedral in siena-

questa settimana

sorry for the lack of posts. the internet here is horrible. i have to spend my precious time acting like a tourist in an internet cafe.

-la mia camera, not the most comfortable bed in the world, but the most amazing view-

-oh hey tuscan countryside, this is what i look at while im walking home from school-

-this is the backyard, yeah i know-