Monday, August 17, 2009

End of summer...Beginning of school....

Today began the first day of rather than studying Pharmacology like a good student that I vowed to be, I thought I'd recap my accomplishment from the summer instead:

80 hours walked to and from work
2 volcanoes hiked
60 consecutive days pasta eaten(no joke)
xxx (use your imagination) bottles of wine drunken
15 flavors of gelato tried
1 failed watermelon eaten....UGH....
2942837 boxes moved (or so it felt poor back do protest)
4 EPIC days spent moving 2x
400 moments of nostalgia
200+ head bops while napping on a moving transportation
30 hours of work done for the entire summer (ok...hopefully it was more than that)
99 times I sighed at the weakness of the dollar against the euro
58 figs consumed
55 times "That's Amore" song got stuck in my head
17 uncontrollable fits of laughter
5 million drops of sweat sweated during Bikram Yoga
80 stitches used to sew yellow poka dotted curtains (I feel so domestic, hehe)
COUNTLESS number of times I dreaded turning 25....
COUNTLESS number of old jokes received
15 days since I entered the world of mid 20s....

I only hope to make out of 2nd year alive...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

How I ended up sick for the first time on Sunday...

One Sunday morning, I became sick.
It's not the typical sneezing and hacking up my lung type of sickness one would think of. No, I was SEA sick. In fact, I was sea sick the entire Sunday and the weekend follwing (but that's another story). My first sea sickness experience was not pleasant....
It all began when many of our friends and coworkers kept raving about San Vito lo Capo, which is a town that jets out of the Northwestern coast of Sicily. It is supposed to have one of the most beautiful beaches in Sicily. However, it is only accessible by car. Imagine my excitement when we found out that we can take a bus to a town nearby and take a 9 hour boat tour all around the peninsula with a 3 hour stop over at San Vito to explore. I had never been on a boat tour or a cruise before, but I was giddy with excitement, envisioning myself standing at the head of the boat, with soft breezy wind tossing my hair and cool mists of water splashing on my sun kissed skin as we cruised down the gorgeous coast. And in theory, that is more or less what happened....except instead of standing, I was curled into a ball, fetal position, shivering under my damp towel with clammy, cold skin, and my straggly hair in my face counting down the 540 minutes that I had to endure on the boat....
Don't get me wrong, the scenery from the boat was spectacular, just like in the movies. And San Vito lo Cap was bellisimo. I just couldn't stomach (pun intended ^_^) the rocky waves and stop my gastric acid from sloshing around in my stomach. We stopped in the middle at a picteresque spot for an hour, so people can jump off the boat to go for a swim. The swim was wonderfully refreshing. But upon returning to the boat, my sea sickness came back faster than I was able to wipe myself dry. It also didn't help that while we stopped, the boat rocked 3 times as much. After FINALLY planting my feet on the glorious glorious land, part II of my trouble began.
Apparently, the bus driver told us the wrong time for the last bus back to Palermo, so we MISSED the last bus of the day back home. Desperate, Jess courageously started approaching tour buses and miraculously, we were able to hitch a ride back to Palermo from a tour bus filled with vacationers in their 60s! (time #2 for hitch hiking off of tour buses for me ^_^) As we made our way down the bus, every eye was on us, as if we were some exotic creatures that just magically 'poofed' onto the bus. Everyone was so kind and many tried to engage in coversations with us. The tour guide even introduced us as the Japanese sisters over the microphone. I truly experienced Sicilian hospitality that day and we safely arrived back home.
As I slept in my NONmoving bed that night, I vowed that I would never travel by sea again...only to take back those words a few days later...
To be continued....

I was so happy to be out of the boat! hehehe

love the sparkling water

San Vito lo Capo

Tribute to Sicilian food

Yes, you knew it was coming. I mean, how could my food obession not be seeping out of my blog? It's like how marshmallow HAS to ooze out of grahm crackers when you roast it, it was inevitable (mmm...smores). Before I get more sidetracked with thoughts of other food, here it goes. These are some of my favorites during my 2 month stay in the lovely land of Sicilia (pronounced siCHiLia).

Cornetto (con Ricotta)
This croissant FILLED (oh yeah, its completely overflowing) with Ricotta cheese and chocolate chips, is a typical breakfast staple of Sicilians. Sold in every bakery in the morning, the cornetto also comes plain, with cream, marmalade, or nutella. Dan, Jess, and I would often stop to grab a cornetto on our 1 hour walk to work every morning.

Literally meaning little oranges in Italian, this cutely shaped fried rice ball is my favorite lunch pick me up. It is a rice ball with fillings like cheese, ham, ground meat, spinach. People often eat it here as a snack, quick lunch, or part of the antipasti. I'm not sure if I like it more for the shape of it, or for the actual taste..

look how cute they are!

Pasta con le Sarde

I was told that this typical Sicilian dish (pasta with sardines, fennel, raisins, and pine nuts) originated from Palermo and mom's home cooked version tastes better than the restaurant's. Nevertheless, I spent the first month of the summer on a quest for this dish. There is a mom-and-pop restaurant near work that we go to for lunch everyday. They have pasta con le sarde on the menu. And yet, the few times I've asked for it, they never seem to have it. After being rejected a few times, I gave up. But one day, Dan got to the restaurant before me. All the staff at the restaurant were excitedly shouting 'where is your friend?! where is your friend?! we have pasta con le sarde today!!!' It was sooo cute and funny that they remembered!

Panelle Panino
Panelle Panino is deep fried chick peas sandwich, served on sesame bread. It is usually sold in street car vendors. They deep fry it on the spot when you order, locking in all that fried oil and salty goodness..mmmm.....

Sfincione (or as Dan likes to call it, Sphincterotomy ^_^)

Another common pick me up food, Sfincione is a thick sicilian pizza, actually more like focaccia, topped with tomatoes, onions, and sometimes anchiovies (not cheese, unlike your everyday pizza). Sfincione roughly translates to 'thick sponge' and the texture is more or less that. It is much less dense than you expect, soft and light when you bite into it. Taste much better than it looks.

Babaluci! (pronounced ba ba loo sh! yes, you must pronounce it with the exclamation)
When our friend Gabe introduced the name of this dish to us, we loved saying it so much that it comes up in conversation at the most random moments. And what does this beloved word Babaluci mean? SNAILS. It is lightly salted and seasoned, bought in mass quantities for consumption. It reminded me a lot of the night market spicy snails sold in China. Babaluci is a bit too bland for my taste, but I love the name! Babaluci!

Panino con la Milza

Spleen sandwich stalls are everywhere in Palermo. I tried at a restaurant without even realizing what it was. It wasn't until a few days later that I realized I had consumed slices of RBC recylcing viscera on bread.... I must say, it wasn't so bad, tasted kind of like gyros. Not something I would crave when I leave Sicily, but not gut *ahem spleen* wrenchingly horrible, hehehe.

Bon appetito!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Viva Viola!

Very early on in our stay in Palermo, we couldn't help but notice the purple sensation that was sweeping over all of Sicily. Believe me when I say, purple is the new IN!! It is particularly popular with the guys, who love to sport the monochromatic theme of all purple from head to toe. My personal favorite are the purple moccasins. Soooo...when in Rome, Dan, Jess, and I decided to join all of Sicily in the purple madness. I think Dan was a particular hit with the ladies ;) So my dear friends, why not pick up a purple shirt the next time you are shopping and bring the purple craze back to the states??

The color got a bit distored here, but trust me, it's PURPLE

Purple Hump day!
Check out the Purple Moccasins

Gelato of the day: Yogurt (it kind of taste like the Chinese yogurt, very refreshing)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Romantic evening with Jess

Jess and I went on a date to Cefalu the other day. Featured as the backdrop of the famous movie Cinema Paradiso, Cefalu offers a tasted of the small town life. We quickly realized just how small the town was when in our 15 minute walk from the train station, we managed to overshoot the entire center of town! So instead, we climbed the town's gorge La Rocca, aka THE ROCK. (reminds me of the movie). After huffing and puffing for 40 minutes to the top, we arrived to see the ruins of its castle and the panoramic view of the town.
The orange houses constrasted against the blue ocean is a view unique to Cefalu. But other than THE ROCK (I just love saying that, hehehe) and its main cathedral, there was NOTHING else to do...and going with the whole theme of this summer: IDLENESS, Jess and I struggled to waste the rest of the day in the town. We sunbathed for an hour or two until I couldn't withstand the sun anymore. We then walked through the entire town three times!! Finally, at 5pm, we couldn't putz away the time any more so we went to dinner at a beautiful restaurant which offered seating that jetted into the ocean. And of course, there was not a single soul in the restaurant. So Jess and I had our romantic dinner with the entire restaurant to ourselves. At point, I swear even the waitor had forgotten that we were in the restaurant. But nontheless, dinner was lovely, and the sunset after dinner was a great conclusion to the day.

Look at all those empty seats! Awww, Jess, you shouldn't have reserved the entire restaurant just for us ;)

One of Sicily's local specialty, Pasta con Ricci (Pasta with Sea Urchin) I think it was Uni, reminded me of Japanese food.

Gelato of the day: Bacio

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Located on the eastern coast of Sicily, Taormina is a huge tourist spot, so much so that we weren't sure if it was worth visiting a place that was over run by tourist. But after inquiring some of our coworkers, we thought it was worth a peak. Man, I am so glad we went, because Taormina was fantabulous!! The 1 hour bus ride from Catania took us up and up through the hills and what we saw were magnificent views of Taormina. Of course, there were tons of baller hotels perched on top of the cliffs. I think it might be worht a revisit when I can afford to stay at one of these uber expensive hotels. You can see Mt. Etna in the back. Doesn't it look so much prettier from afar? Crazy to think that I was actually up there the previous day.
But the highlight sight was their Teatro Greco (Greek Theater), sitting on top of the hill overlooking the water. The theater is actually open for show performances, which I would imagine would be amazing to watch.

While wandering through the streets of Taormina, I came across a Marzipan shop, which is very prevalent in sicily. A confectionary made out of sugar and almond flower, it is colorfully shaped into different fruits. I chose one in the shape of a fig (my newly discovered favorite fruit this summer). I may look very happy posing with the marzipan in the picture, but boy....did I hate the thing! It was so sugary and grainy, I took one bite, and banished that noisome object to the far corner of my fridge where it sat until Dan and Jess finally ate it yesterday. teeth are still in shock from it... Don't be fooled by the pretty colors and shape!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Last weekend, we went to climb Mt. Etna on the coastline of Sicily, one of the oldest active volcanoes in the world. Its last eruption was actually in September of 2007. As you can imagine, we had high expectations for this hike. Picture tantalizing smoke, rocks spewing from the summit, hot smoldering lava gushing out of the crater as it chases us down the mountain. Picture that? We did........only to see NONE of that. I mean, yes, our expectation was maaaybe a bit ridiculous, but still!! To be fair, the top was very beautiful and it was cool to see the crater, it just wasn't exactly what we were expecting. We had to take a $40 cable car ride to half way point, and hiked another 2 hours or so to the top. Here are some pics of our adventure.

Our hiking trail

the crater....where's the MAGMAAA???
I made it, woohoo!
Don't Jess and I look reeeally similar? Unfortunately, my cap wouldn't stay on because my head was too big!!! even with adjustable straps, my head wouldn't fit....
Us on top :) Check out the glaciers (I think) in the background.
Dan doing some solo trekking.

More to come about the following day, ciao!
Gelato of the day: Bacio