Thank you David Bonderman!

Because of Mr. Bonderman's generosity, I have been given the opportunity to travel the world and learn about culture. As a Bonderman Travel Fellow I plan on traveling through Western and Eastern Europe, East Africa, Northern India and Southeast Asia. I am excited to experience new and amazing things that will better enable me to empower and inspire the next generation of young students.

ALSO!!! If you are interested in following the nasty development of my beard and can follow it at

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Italy Experience

It's hard to believe, but I've been tromping through Italy for three weeks now! Before leaving the states, I NEVER planned on spending more than a week in a single country...But looking back on these last three weeks, I wish I could have more time's been beautiful

Here is the update:

Venice (Sept. 16-Sept. 18)
-Became lifelong friends with a Hungarian student studying abroad in Italy for a semester. Zsolt and I agreed that if either of us visit each other's home countries in the future, we'll have a place to stay :)
-Successfully explored almost every Venetian street in a matter of 2.5 hours and wandered aimlessly for the next 1.5 days.
-Overcame all previous urges to visit Venice and will not return unless someone pays me to :)

Florence (Sept. 18-Sept. 21)
-I was looking quite haggard (as expected with a 2+ month-old beard) on the train from Venice to Florence, BUT, fortunately, I was wearing my Jermaine O'neal Blazers jersey...a contagiously outgoing oregonian girl saw past the seattle grunge and introduced herself. Turns out she is from Ptown, a Baylor student, and studying in Florence this semester with 7 other american girls...God is good! The result: 4 unbelievable days exploring Florence as a true insider. I learned Florentine secrets that I'll take to the grave. I never thought my jersey would bring such good fortune.
-O ya and Michaelangelo's David was cool too

Cinque Terre (Sept. 21 -Sept. 23)
-Clear blue skies, the beautiful mediterranean, 40+ ft cliffs, and Birra Morretti...could it have been better? I guess if Eney, Kruse and Brock were there with us.

Roma: Round 1 (Sept. 23- Sept. 26)
-Spent three awesome days exploring with Zach Hunter and Matt Woods (a fellow traveler we met in Northern Ireland)
-Colloseum, Pallatine Hill, Forum, St. Peters Basilica, ...and countless other ancient marvels
-Finally said goodbye to the last of the UW travel companions. Zach left from the train station in Rome at 10:52 pm on September was really hard (I kinda wanted to go with him)
-SHAVED off the beard :/

Italy with my DAD: Roma, Umbria, Tuscany, Chianti, Piedmont (Sept. 28 - Oct. 11)
-Major adjustment going from a 36 euro/day budget (including room, food, travel, etc.) to having dinner that costs more than 36 euros...but I made the adjustment just fine :)
-Spent 4 glorious days in Roma and fell in love with Gian Lorenzo Bernini, an Italian artist known as the Michaelangelo of the Baroque era. If you ask me, Michaelangelo is the Bernini of the Renaissance era...his work at the Borghese Galleria was insane!!
- Amazing food and wine tours through various areas north of Roma. Our travels included Orvieto, Fabbri, Montefalco, Montepulciano, Pienza, Montalcino, Greve in Chianti, Firenze, Monterosso al Mare, Santo Stefano Belbo and Alba.
-A few more towns are on the docket, but nothing is certain :)
-Dad leaves for Portland and I leave for Joburg on Monday, the 11th

Travelling with pops has been awesome! Much different than I originally expected, but unbelievable. I feel like we've both learned a lot about each other during these two intense weeks. A couple of conversations have opened up some relational avenues that didn't exist before. We're making bonds that will really last forever.

But, its a little awkward because every Italian that we meet is surprised to hear that we are father and son. They say (to my dad), "You look too young to be his father." We wonder what kind of relationship they think we have. Are we brothers? Or something more? We've chosen to decide that they think we're brothers. Thats okay with us, because we kind of are...I grew up kicking his ass at almost everything...and I've always said that I got the good looking genes

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