Saturday, July 3, 2010

One of the greatest losses in my life

It is with a broken heart and immense sadness that I look to the east, where my beloved grandmother, or "majka",  is going to be laid to rest next to my grandfather tomorrow on a beautiful hill, surrounded by the forest. 
After a very difficult illness, she has passed away. I can even describe the pain I feel. This is a woman I loved so deeply, I am never going to be the same without her in this world.
She loved when I sang this song to her when I was little, and here it is, for one last time:
Draga moja majko,
ja te volim jako
nježna, dobra, mila
ti si meni bila
Iako sam mala,
kazem tebi hvala
svojim srcem cijelim
sve najbolje ti želim...
Love you, majka. You will always and forever live in my heart. Rest in peace...

Italy 2010 - Day 3

I get by with a little help from my friends.

Jean and I hit the town for some gelatto and ended up in tiny art shop. Jean purchased some wonderful sketches, and as a "thank you", the store owner gave me and her prints of a sketch of Asolo. Score!
 In the evening, we all hung out together and had some delicious wine.
And here are some of my friends. This is Jared, my classmate from Des Moines. We are celebrating our last class in the MBA program. Yay us!
And here is Jared's lovely wife, Kate. She is a high school Biology teacher. I bow down to teachers.
And then there are Brian from Delaware and James from New Orleans. I traveled with these guys from the Venice airport to the campus. They are also our next-door neighbors.
We are so cool, we deserve two pictures. And then of course there is Kim from Kansas City. She is a fresh burst of energy, and super-helpful. We are planning on taking the Venice gondola ride together.
And here is one with Sarah from New Mexico. She is one of the most caring people I've ever met. I have no idea what we were trying to do here.
And then there is my buddy Steve from Des Moines. He also works at the same company where I work. By some weird coincidence, he ended up sitting next to me on the plane ride from Philadelphia to Venice, although we bought our tickets months apart.
And then there is the world-traveler Mike. He currently resides in Ames. We did Enneagram test in our class, and he and I both ended up being achievers with very similar personalities. He is my twin.
And then of course there is my roommate Sarah from Delaware. She is a hottie (and Italian by origin, so of course). I look like a Zoloft blob next to her.
And finally, there is Brad - he is the rough crowd. This is his second or third session here. He is known to make trouble.
I miss my family and friends, but these guys are making it all easier. What a fun, intelligent crowd. I hope I stay in touch with them. But if I don't, I will still have these fond memories.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Italy 2010 - Day 2

Today was first day of class. I have to say, this course on leadership is wonderful. This day just flew by. The view still takes my breath away. And upon everyone's request - here are pictures with me in it.  Yes - I am really here. :)
After class, we took a pizza-making class in a local pizzeria.
Our instructor was excellent. He gave us some great tips on making pizza that I never would have considered. I might experiment with this at home.
After a short class, we got to make our own pizza.
And there it is... the best pizza ever. I filled it with fresh veggies and local smoked cheese.
After dinner, we took a short walk.
And then I went back to my dorm room to do homework. Yes, we actually spend the most time here studying. But I got enough taste of Italy to want to come back again - this time on a real vacation, with my husband, family and friends. Miss you all and wish you were here!

Five-hour dinner

One thing Europeans do well are multiple-course dinners that last forever. We started at 7:30pm, and ended at 11pm.
We had a magnificent view. We also had wine from the grapes you see on the picture.
The food was fresh. Tomatoes here taste like nothing else. Oh, and there is tiramisu. I don't even like this dessert, but this... this was unbelievably good. Also, tiramisu originates in the Veneto region, so they know how to do it right. Coffee is another thing that is crazy-good.
I just have to say I am lucky the hills in Asolo are super-steep. Otherwise, I don't know how I would burn all these calories.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Italy 2010 - Day 1

The view from my plane - the magnificent Alps.
The plane ride was long and rough. Luckily, I ended up meeting all my fellow classmates, which made finding the location that much easier.
Once we landed in Venice, we took the bus, then train, then taxi to the campus.
But it was all worth it once we got there. Asolo is picturesque in an indescribable way. Here are just a few initial shots from inside the campus (and surrounding area).
And of course, what would a trip to Italy be without the gastronomical pleasures?

Pizziola bruschetta and red wine gelatto. Yum!
More to come. Now I must rest before our orientation and dinner this evening.