Category Archives: Activities

Tu Ti Pulisci Bene

You Clean Up Nicely

Table Setting & Program

In November is the annual Marine Ball – and in Rome it’s a fancy event … kinda like adult prom.

During the Ceremony

It starts off with some pomp & circumstance from the Marines – and this year there was an inspiring video about the marines as well.

This picture makes me smile ... :)

Ryan and I got all dolled up …

Showing off our Zumba moves

And then the ladies did Zumba routines in our heels …

(I may or may not have had to borrow a pair of slippers in order to limp my way home…)

It was a fun night!


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E i Vinciatori Sono …

And the Winners Are …

All dressed up ...

It’s old news by now, but the Cardinals had an amazing end to their regular season this year, and the post season was pretty good too. Ryan and I don’t have any really good way to watch the games from here – no sports bars, no ESPN, no fellow fans to cheer with. But we manage to find a way.

For our wedding some friends gave us our very own Cardinals jersies. Ryan picked #23 ’cause that’s always been his number

I picked #5 ’cause it was Albert Pujols number, but also Connie Wisniewski‘s #. Connie was the first player of the year in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League … and she was Polish.

collecting stares in our cards gear on the town ...

Not having anywhere to go to watch the games … we set up to watch them at home. Ryan bought the post-season pass, and we set up the laptop connected to the TV to watch the post season games. The only hard part was that they usually started at 2am. That can be a little rough on trying to go to work the next day. I did my best to stay awake – but Ryan was the real trooper.

Getting geared up for Game 7 ... Game time: 2am.

I think Ryan really missed being able to go out to a sports bar or gather some friends together to watch the game. And while I was there to celebrate with him – it would have been more fun to celebrate with a crowd. That’s one thing we’re certainly looking forward to being back in the states for.

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Volley sulla Sabbia

Volleyball on the Sand

Kerri Walsh ... as a colorful statue

The Stadio Flaminio – which I believe is the former home of olympic competition – is really near our house. So we hopped on the motorino to see the finals of the FIVB sand volleyball competition. We rode the motorino, it only cost us 5 euro, and we were in!

Kerri serving, Misty May at the net

Kerri Walsh and Misty May were definitely the highlight for us – though we did watch the mens competition as well. It was sooo cool to see them in person.

Receiving, against Brazil

Conferring during a break

The power and the teamwork of these two women was really amazing to watch in person.

Awards Ceremony

The american ladies ended up in second – and fram face book updates, I’m pretty sure Misty had trouble getting her trophy on the airplane as a carryon with Lufthansa. It was pretty awesome to get to watch the competition in person.


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Mangiamo Francese a Roma

Eating French in Rome

Rome’s not exactly known for its multi-cultural eating options … so what to do when you’ve left France and you’re craving a crepe? Make them at home, of course!

Ryan manning the crepe pan

We started the evening with a couple of glasses of Kir Royale – ’cause that’s the only way to start an evening of french food.

Chopping onions ... with goggles. I'm not ashamed, they work!

I was sous chef – chopping onions, cutting tomatoes and shredding cheese.

Et Voila!

Spinach, lettuce, bacon, eggs, and gruyere and goat cheese – Could that look more amazing? I venture that it could not.

Strawberries & whipped cream for dessert

We had all the french classics for dessert too – butter, sugar and cinnamon, nutella and banana, and strwaberries with whipped cream and nuttela.

Canned whipped cream ... don't know why, but I find the bottle seriously amusing.


Filed under Activities, Culture, Food

Quale Preferisci?

Which do you prefer?

The Mystery Wines

A friend of ours set up a blind wine tasting at his place. 5 wines, ranging from 2 euro at the grocery store to over 50Euro/bottle. We were given a scorecard, and as we mingled, we tried to figure out which wine was which.


It’s a simple concept – but it was *really* *really* fun. Certainly any party that starts with sampling 5 wines is bound to be festive. But the air of competition made it even more fun. When the big reveal happened, there were some who found that they preferred the 2 Euro bottle (lucky them!), and we were in disagreement about the mid-range wines. The biggest twist was that the two most expensive bottles actually had gone bad. I was pretty proud of myself for figuring that out – I’ve only sent wine back once in Rome, and it was a pretty intimidating experience.


Filed under Activities, Culture, Friends

Una Cosa di Meno Sull’Elenco

One Less thing on the List

So, I’ve always wanted to sing Karaoke. I looove to sing. But the last time I sang in front of a group was singing ‘Keep on Singin’ by Helen Reddy for a talent show in fifth grade. By the time it came to middle school I had been pretty well convinced that I wasn’t a good singer. Of course – that didn’t stop me from singing all the time in my bed room, and later in my car, and later in my dorm room, and later in my office. (I miss having my own office.)

I’ve wanted to do Karaoke forever, but I’m always way too nervous. I finally did it at a random Karaoke bar in Trastevere. I’m pretty sure it was horrible – I didn’t know how to hold the microphone, and it turns out it’s much harder to sing correctly when the main singer isn’t singing too. But I did it – it’s off the list now. And I feel pretty good about that. Special thanks to my girls who gave me moral support. :)


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Un’Esperienza con la Nudità in Turchia

An Experience with Nudity in Turkey

The only picture I have from the baths ...

People argue about the best way to experience another culture. Through the food? Through their history? Through their art?
Apparently Ryan and I have chosen to get to know new culture through their naked rituals. (see the Sauna/Sea experience from Malmo, Sweden)

So, for one last cultural experience, we checked out the Turkish baths at Cemberlitas Hamam in Istanbul. We were there in a group of couples, so the first hurdle to overcome was for the girls to convince the boys that it was a worthwhile experience. Faced with an alternative of more shopping in the markets … I get the impression that none of the options were really winners in Ryan’s opinion. So, two couples headed to the hamam for adventure!

As soon as we walk in the door we choose a spa package, and then the men & women are immediately separated. I was given a pair of black bikini-style underwear, a wrap, and a pair of flip flops and we were led to a locker room. We stripped down and stored all of our belongings in a locker, put on the bikini bottoms and wrapped up in the wrap. The good thing about going to a slightly more touristy hamam is that they always tell you what your’e supposed to be doing. That’s a great relief when you’re naked, and don’t want to do the wrong thing.

The main area in the hamam is as pictured above. In the center is a very large stone (maybe 20 ft in diameter) that is heated from underneath. (And covered with lounging topless women). Around the outside of the stone are little alcoves with running water and silver bowls. I had no idea what the bowls were for … but apparently you catch water in them and pour it over yourself. It’s very luxurious. Except I couldn’t find the guys with the palm frond fans, which was a little disappointing.

After luxuriating with the bowls for a bit … we went and laid on the warm stone with everybody else. Apparently the way it works is that you lay down your wrap, and then you lay yourself on the wrap … and you hang out and wait for your turn to get washed. Did I mention that that’s the whole point of this thing? Apparently not everyone used to have their own bath – so they’d go to a public bath house. Though I’m confused about who actually couldn’t afford a bath, but could pay for someone to wash them. (But I’m too lazy to look it up.) Anyway … so around the outside edge of the big hot stone are turkish women who touch your foot when it’s your turn. Then you arrange yourself at the edge of the stone, face down (and then face up), and they scrub you with a washcloth glove thing (that you get when you walk in) and lots of soap. And you’re covered in suds, and they give you a combo massage/scrub thing. It’s pretty interesting. Then they bring you over to a water spout, rinse off the soap bubbles, and wash your hair.

After that cultural experience … we hung out in the warm pools, and relaxed, and then got massages.

Apparently the guys had been waiting about an hour and a half by the time we came out. They must not be very good at luxuriating. Either that or they were weirded out by all the men with wraps tied around their waists stepping over them on the hot stone. It’s tough to determine.

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