A Random Swede, Somewhere in Sweden


Sweden officially has it’s own phone number. That’s right.. the country itself. You just dial the number and, as the ad states, you will be connected with a random Swede, somewhere in Sweden. One who signed up to participate, of course. But random nonetheless. The ad suggests you then talk about anything from meatballs to feminism, maybe even some travel tips!

Dare to try?





“Travel the world through someone else’s eyes…” says the Periscope website.

Sign me up! This app connects you with other users and lets you experience different cities and events through their eyes. I popped on this morning to try it out and someone was on a ride at Magic Kingdom! It’s basically like watching a shaky iPhone home video of whatever the person you’re following is doing, but it’s real time which adds a bit of novelty.

National Geographic covered this app as well, noting their favorite ‘Scopers to follow were a safari leader in South Africa (@GerryVanDerWalt), a tour guide in Paris (@ClaireWad) and an American expat in Hong Kong (@PenguinSix).

The wanderlust lives on.

Source: Tumblr

Culinary Quito

National Geographic is coming in hot with a list of seven things to know about the cuisine of Ecuador’s capital city, Quito. My dad was born in Ecuador and I have a lot of family there still today, so I was thrilled to read this but it made me hungry.

Here’s their breakdown:

  1. Drink fresh juices or batidos, more like a shake
  2. Visit an open market for roasted pork or fritada, fried pork – In my house, fritada is like edible gold. There are NEVER leftovers and I’ve learned that the hard way. You snooze, you really lose. Once, my grandmother made fritada and I wasn’t home to eat it right away. I came home to my mom whispering “I hid some in the fridge for you…” She really loves me.
  3. Try the humitas, Quito’s most common tamale
  4. Surprise your palette with bright and tangy Ecuadorian ceviche
  5. Treat yourself to dulce de higos (figs) at Centro Historico
  6. Do as the Quitenians do and eat soup for lunch
  7. Expand your horizons with cuy! That means guinea pig… As a 12 year old on a family member’s farm in Columbe, Ecuador, I played with what I understood to be the farm’s cuddly pets. Understandably, I couldn’t get myself to eat it later. 

There are options for the simple eaters, and absolutely options for the adventurous ones. Tastes like home to me!

Source: NatGeo

World Values

What matters most to people around the world? The Washington Post asked 80,000 people what was most important to them, and the results are really interesting!

I’m back in Chicago after two life-changing months in Italy and I absolutely noticed differences between American and Italian values. According to this infographic, the two countries both value life-satisfaction the most, but I’d be curious as to how this was defined in each country. Personally, I’d be satisfied with life if I could eat pasta and bread at every meal and never gain a single pound.

Take a look! And get a more detailed look at each continent here.

World Values

Source: The Washington Post

The Last Week!

This time next week, I will be in Chicago.

Correction: This time next week I will be at Bang Bang Pie in Chicago, let’s be honest. I want to land, take a shower, and have some pie in my vicinity within 48 hours. 

I can’t believe my time is almost up in Italy. It’s been an incredible experience, and I’ve met so many interesting people. I’ve had the chance to live with a beautiful family, travel with great friends, learn Italian, teach English, and eat my weight in pasta. I have zero complaints.

I’m going to make the most of my remaining days here, and who knows – maybe I’ll be back before I know it!

Here are a few photos from this weekend and last week:

Listening to great traditional music at a local restaurant. 


Say hello to the crazy monkeys I live with 🙂

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Gorgeous day for a party in the garden, complete with Princess greeter.

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Source:  my own

Tutti Together.

This weekend I laughed so much it hurt. My friends in Italian class are from all over the world and speak multiple languages, so there’s often abrupt crossovers between English and Italian and it can make for hilarious conversations. On Friday, something was translated from Russian to English so it could be properly translated into Portuguese. Half the time our sentences start in one language and end in another. Siamo crazy and I love it.

On Friday, a few of us hung out after class, ate too much gelato (which is the perfect amount) and went to the national museum in Reggio Calabria to see the Riace Warriors. It was a beautiful day, but by the time I (literally) chased my bus down at 7pm I was exhausted.

Saturday, I left the house at 6am for a class trip to Palermo. There were eight of us on the trip and it was my first time in Sicily! We took a ferry across the Strait of Messina and it took a few hours to get from the port of Messina to Palermo but the drive was pretty and we could see the Aeolian Islands. To be honest, most of the trip was “a bumpy ride” but it’s now a part of the experience that I will never forget. Couldn’t, even if I tried.

Palermo was amazing. It’s huge and full of people and tiny streets that we tried desperately to fit our bus through. We learned a little about the history of the city, ate cannoli and cassata, both very traditional sweets from Palermo, and had a fun day together.

Sunday I had a big, lovely lunch with both sides of the family! We ate antipasto, pesto lasagna, four-cheese pasta filled with meat, pork with apples, mushrooms, artichokes, bread, wine, pastiera … it was a never-ending paradise of food. In fact, I’m still full today – 3 days later.

Full, and verrrrrrrry happy.


5 Palermo (30)

5 Palermo (72)

5 Palermo (53) 5 Palermo (74)


Andiamo Round 2.


The excursions continued last Sunday when Giovanni and Vittoria took me to Scilla and Chianalea. I woke up sick as a dog Sunday morning after 12 hours of shivering on Saturday (my fault – thin sweater), but decided fresh air would be the best medicine. After some tea and too much colomba di pasqua (Easter bread) for breakfast, we took a drive to Scilla.

It was windy but warmer than Saturday and really sunny, so it was nice to walk around Chianalea, the oldest district of Scilla. It’s referred to as the Little Venice of the Tyrrhenian Sea so I basically knew right away I would like it. The little houses there were built right on top of the rocks, and are separated by teeny tiny little alleyways that go straight into the sea. The back doors lead to their boats!



I was told this place is hoppin’ in the summer and has amazing swordfish sandwiches. Sign me up.