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28 August 2016

A Day of Wandering: Day 7 #HogsAbroad in Rome

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It’s officially been a week since I left home, though it feels like much longer unfortunately. While I really like it here, part of me misses familiarity and not feeling like I constantly have to be out and about in the city for this to count for anything. Yet whenever I go out into the city to do something I couldn’t feel more like a tourist if I tried. It doesn’t hit me as much when I’m busy and doing things that I’m homesick, but then it’s times like right now when I’m alone in my apartment when I miss home more than anything. Even though if I was at home I’m sure I would just be sitting on the couch watching tv or something, it still sounds better to me than sitting around my apartment here alone in a strange city I don’t know.

Anyway, instead of just talking about my homesickness and making myself sadder than I need to be, I’ll share about my day. This morning I woke up after actually sleeping pretty well last night. I think it had to do with my new pillows I bought myself, using the old pillows to muffle the traffic noise through my window and keeping my fan on to be a little bit of white noise in my room.

I met up with one of the boys in my program and we went to sort of explore the city. The original plan was to try and find two markets he had looked up, but it turned out to be more of wandering a little aimlessly until we happened upon the markets. We also hit the Pantheon because he wanted to see that and then later headed along the Tiber toward the Vatican where we stopped and got some gelato and sat in the shade for a little while. After our well needed sit after walking around for such a while we headed toward an outdoor cafe where he grabbed something to eat and I just accompanied him.

We then headed back to our apartments and I Facetimed with my family for a little while which was very nice other than the very poor connection from my wifi. I then had to make myself dinner for the first time in my apartment so naturally I made myself a grilled cheese because that’s who I am. Even in Italy. I managed to find Kraft singles at the grocery store yesterday and thank goodness I did because it made my life so much easier.

Since dinner I’ve showered, and just kind of hung around by myself in my apartment because my roommates were out, so it’s been a little quiet around here, but it’s okay. I’ll probably try to head to bed soon if I can since I start class in the morning, but I don’t know that I’ll be able to fall asleep any time soon. I don’t really have many pictures from today since it was a day of wandering, but I’ll post a few of the neighborhood area I was in near the markets! I’ll report to y’all about my first class tomorrow, until then, bye!
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Read more from Jenna at https://jeninrome.wordpress.com/
Check out http://studyabroad.uark.edu/romecampus for more information on the U of A Rome Center: Summer Campus.

Finding Some Space this Weekend #HogsAbroad in Chile

Over the weekend, I was lucky enough to travel to La Serena, a beach town in northern Chile. It had wonderful seafood, a great beach, and is within two hours of Vally Elqui, a national park/ valley in-between two mountain ranges. The valley is a picturesque paradise, containing dirt paths where I was able to bike from pueblo to pueblo and enjoy the river, the local food, and even a local pisco distillery. Vally Elqui also is a special place because it has close to zero light pollution, so you are able to see the beauty in the sky almost every night. I had never been to a space observatory, but after taking a tour and learning so much about space, I am questioning why I never got into space and how amazing it is. 
 
So Chile is a special place for space observation. Here are some facts to show just how important it has become. Over 70% of space observations are done in Chile. It is estimated in the future that number will be 90%. Chile holds the Atacama Desert which is the driest place on earth. At some point in time, it had not received rain in over 40 years. 

It may not have the technology, but it has the sky. Europe and the United States have the technology, but they have lost the sky. Light pollution has made so many places unable to see stars in the sky. The sky is now black in so many parts of the world. It is pretty disturbing that so many parts of the world are now unable to see space because of light pollution. 

Crazy future thoughts: space may be the future for resources. The world will run out of resources eventually, and that will probably be sooner than people think. In order to accommodate the continued population increase, we may have to look outside of our planet. Things in space are made out of the same particles as things on earth. Because of this, there are some asteroids containing gold, steel, and platinum. Astronomers found an asteroid made out of almost complete platinum valued at 5 trillion dollars in 2015. I know that this may be crazy talk because we as a planet are nowhere close to being technologically ready for things like asteroid mining, but it may be the future.

I’m not done with the space stuff. Here comes some more:

So I also didn’t realize that the northern and southern hemispheres can see some different stars/constellations. Sailors in the northern hemisphere use Polaris to guide their direction. Well in the southern hemisphere, you can’t see Polaris. People use the Southern Cross made out of four stars that point towards true south. It isn´t as easy as Polaris though. From where the cross points down, use the length of the cross four and a half times. Where that position occurs is true south.
Also, as my group was finding constellations in the sky, I realized that almost all of the constellations don’t look like the picture that they are supposed to describe. Lots of imagination went into most of the constellations. That being said, they are all still so beautiful.
This past weekend was a learning experience as well as a growth experience. It was my first time traveling alone and I really only had one true conversation in English. That sense of discovery and accomplishment carried me over the feelings of being in a different place and not knowing anyone. I’m looking forward to more travels as well as personal growth and meeting new people.
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To find more internship and study abroad opportunities within Walton College, visit http://walton.uark.edu/global/index.php

27 August 2016

The Vatican at Night: Day 6 #HogsAbroad in Rome

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This morning started off after an incredibly rough night consisting of little to no sleep because my street apparently has cars driving up and down it at all hours of the day. It took me until 4:30 or a little after to actually fall asleep last night and it was probably one of the most miserable nights I’ve experienced. I wanted nothing but to be home the whole time. I’m hoping tonight and the nights to follow will be better, but one can only hope.

Anyway, Patrick and I met up for breakfast because I hadn’t gone grocery shopping yet so I had no food to eat in the morning and today was his last day here. Once we got breakfast we ran a few errands to try and make my life a little easier and got me some new pillows to replace the horrible ones I was given with my apartment, a little mirror for my desk and a sketchbook (because my mom had the idea that during my free time I could sketch a little and I plan on spending some time to myself sketching things around Rome. We’ll see how rusty my drawing skills are, but if any turn out halfway decent maybe I can share a few on here).

Next came grocery shopping, which I’m not going to lie, I didn’t enjoy in America, but I enjoy far less in Italy. It’s incredibly difficult to shop for yourself when you hardly cook for yourself as it is so you don’t know what to get in the first place and then once you actually figure out what you want, you can’t find the ingredient because you’re in an Italian grocery store that has nothing translated and a lot of things look the same as others. So after stressing out about how to shop at an Italian grocery store, Patrick and I came back to my apartment, dropped all my groceries off and I slowly began to crash. I hadn’t eaten much in a while, I was exhausted due to lack of sleep and it was all catching up with me.

We decided our plan would be to find something for lunch, get cannoli (because why not? Cannoli is great and we haven’t had any yet) and then go back to the hotel one more time where it’s a little quieter and take a short nap. We ended up getting a little bit of pizza, each had a fantastic cannoli and then went back to the hotel and took a well needed nap. From there we decided we would have one more nice dinner together and see the Vatican and Colosseum one more time for Patrick before he leaves. So we did exactly that.

The Vatican is absolutely beautiful all lit up at night and so we sat and admired it for a bit and then hit the Colosseum as well. In the picture I’ll include of me at the Vatican you may notice I’m sporting a “Roma, Italia” sweatshirt, which probably couldn’t make me look like more of a tourist if I tried, but I bought it today for very cheap and I’m glad I did because it gets a little chilly at night and today I was too distracted by being exhausted to grab a sweater before going out. But that’s okay. I just look far from what a native of the city would look like. I don’t really know how I’m feeling now considering today was my last day with Patrick here and I don’t really know anyone else, but tomorrow I’ll be getting together with some of the other people in my program and finding things to do. It’ll definitely be new and interesting for me, but we’ll see how it goes. Updates will follow tomorrow!

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Read more from Jenna at https://jeninrome.wordpress.com/
Check out http://studyabroad.uark.edu/romecampus for more information on the U of A Rome Center: Summer Campus.