Sunday, September 30, 2007

Thoughts From My Sunday Train Ride

I was sitting on the train this morning on my way to church in Lugano, sipping a chocolate ovaltine drink, and listening to the clankety clank of the train on the tracks. I could hear conversations in Italian all around me and different random cell phone ringers going off every few minutes. I stared out the window enjoying the incredible view of the sun shining down on beautiful Lake Maggiore as the train sped by. I was tired and my feet were cold, but as I sat there...I thought to myself how incredibly lucky I am to have the life that I do.

It’s not very often, I think, that we really stop to reflect on everything we have and everything we’ve experienced and everything we hopefully get to experience.
The past two months have been challenging - emotionally, physically, spiritually.
From planning a work/service trip taking seventeen people down to our schools in
Guatemala and packing my entire life into two suitcases having bought a one way ticket to Europe trying to find the answer to "what's next?"...that I've slowly realized that I have what I really need.

I have family and friends everywhere who support me and encourage me constantly. Great, wonderful friends who out of the blue email me to tell me they love me and how wonderful I am.

I have had countless opportunities to see the meet new experience new sounds, smells, tastes...

I have a strong body...two legs that have taken me up and down stairs, hopping on and off trains and walking miles and miles with a heavy backpack strapped to my back.

I am on a continent that has given me more opportunities than I could ever dream of taking advantage of, and enough material to fill up a hundred journals and to satisfy my obsession with photographing every beautiful thing I see.

A friend said to me the other day, “Looks like you’re living the life you always wanted.”

“Almost,” I replied.

I never want to feel like I’m finished. I always want there to be something next.
I never want to lose my momentum, or my Faith that I’ll always be exactly where I need to be, with the people who need and want me.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

My Brother Randal

I have so much to write about and share...especially with all the fun and adventures we have had the past 4 days here in Barcelona, Spain but my thoughts have been constantly with my little brother Randal. I just wanted to publically share the love, respect and admiration I have for that kid. For the past few months he has been in San Diego at Boot Camp...having joined the Marines this year. I have missed him but am excited to see him after having accomplished one of the biggest goals in his life. I love you Randal Johannes Ellsworth and can't wait to give you a great big hug at your graduation next month! Here is a picture of him that we were able to find online...he isn't our little Randal with his nose in the books anymore!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

On the Road Again...

The backpack is getting heavier and my legs more tired...but the days are filled with lots of adventures which I have yet to post! Today I am in SIENA, tomorrow morning I will be in ROME and tomorrow night in BARCELONA, SPAIN!

Stay tuned for stories about Stolen Wallets, Cute Italian Policemen, and Horseback Riding through the Tuscan Countryside. I LOVE IT!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Venice and Florence

I thought I would have more time to update this but it gets pretty tricky when you are hopping on and off trains, buses and running around with what feels like an 80 pound back pack! Sheesh! After Verona, we got on the wrong train, which we did not realize until 2 hours into the journey, made it to Venice finally via another train and got lost once there trying to find our hostel! Our stay there was rather dissapointing unfortunately but we did get to stand amidst some dirty pigeons in St Marks Square which was pretty disgusting but cool at the same time.

From Venice, we took the right train to Florence which is my favorite city in Italy. Our hostel is on the outskirts and is so beautiful. Today I hope to go revisit a few favorite spots and find that restaurant...Scott? What was the name of it again? Gelato is for sure on the itineary and other new adventures are sure to happen as well. Ciao!

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Today we are still in Verona, Italy...a beautiful little town where you might remember reading about in Shakespeare's Romes and Juliet. In fact, we went to what would have been Juliette's home and saw the balcony she looked out of. There is also a statue of Juliette where supposedly, you go to rub her breast for those who are looking for love. Of course, being three single gals, we had to go rub it a time or two and if for nothing else...the picture of course!

We decided to stay an extra night for the very first performance ever of the Opera Romeo and Juliett in Verona...and in the colesseum! What an opportunity and how lucky that we happened to be here for it! We are all very excited and last night even had the opportunity to hear the singers rehearse as we sat outside at a little cafe to eat dinner. This whole trip still seems so surreal. The little cafe was nice and we decided to celebrate a little...ignoring the exhange rate between Euros and Dollars completely and spent an insane amount of money on dinner and the most delicious desserts! I will have to post pictures because it was amazing!

The Hostile experiences have been interesting...nothing to scary yet but already plenty of stories to tell. Last night there were 10 of us in a room all on bunk beds and there was one older woman, bless her heart, who was snoring so loud! As we all laid there trying to go to sleep and dealing with the noise in our own way, I was startled by a very loud CLAP! A few minutes later there was another CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! I heard Rachel asking me what I thought it was and I really didn't know whether to be scared or just to laugh! Apparantly, the clapper was a lady from France who just couldn't sleep with the snoring so she clapped randomly throughout the night in hopes to wake the snorer up just enough so that she would turn over. Tressa joined in and even patted the lady who was snoring trying to help the French lady and I even lent her my Ipod because at that point...I was much more annoyed and having a harder time falling asleep with the clapping and not the snoring! Yes, we've had a few long nights. Where is the AMBIEN?!!

It has been a great start for much more to see and look forward to. With all of the GELATO you can eat, Italian Opera Singers in the background at dinner time, two strange..yet charming Romanians, i think?? taking us out to lunch (that will have to be a story for another blog! ;) ) I could get very use to life here in Italy. We'll see!

Here are just a few pictures in so so BEAUTIFUL!!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


The real adventure has begun. I already have so many stories to tell..but I have 10 minutes left here at the internet cafe and just wanted to jot down a few thoughts. Our backpacks are full...our muscles already tired...but still as happy as can be LIVIN LA DOLCE VITA! I met up with Tressa and Rachel here in Verona where we will be for a few days. This country gets more beautiful to me the further into it we get and the longer we are here. Look forward to plenty of good know there will be.



Thursday, September 6, 2007

Sleepover Fun FUn in Bassano

Maso invited us over to his family's home for a "sleepover" and mainly due to the fact that we would be getting up a lot earlier than usual to try and beat the traffic, driving to a small town in Italy called LUINO, to experience their Market day. The shopper in me of course was very excited and couldn't wait to see and experience something new!

This little town up in the Mountains has such a unique feeling and does not seem real at all! When we walk around at night, it seriously feels like we are on a Movie Set. These 2 pictures above are just a few quick snapshots of the town that night when we arrived.

Maso is in the Swiss Millitary and as the night progressed and the tiredness started to sink in, our silliness came out and we got him to show us his hat and he let us try it on! Oh good times...=)

After a good night's sleep and waking up to the sound of the church bells ringing 7 AM...we made our way to LUINO, ITALY for Market Day Fun FUN! Here is a picture of MASO in front of his home. We love him!!!


I believe this was the earliest we had woken up since we have been here in Switzerland! So, the quick 20 minute drive to Luino only made us that much more sleepy making this next picture of us, having just arrived in Luino, look not all there! Regardless..i still think it's a cute one of us gals and you've gotta love the matching Hoodie-- Ness!!!

Maso quickly took care of us by treating us to a very tasty Italian breakfast and we were set! I couldn't have been happier walking up and down the outdoor market aisles. The colors were beautiful and I had fun trying the many different kinds of salami and cheeses. The weather was beautiful and I couldn't have asked for a more perfect day!

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Gang

I just wanted to take up a post introducing the people that are in my life right now and who have been absolutely wonderful to us since the day we stepped foot on this beautiful continent! That way you'll know who I'm always talking about.


This is the infamous Amos. It is with him and his twin brother Joy that we have been staying with. He is the socialite of the bunch and is always running around planning something, designing something or making someone laugh. He owns his own graphic design company and is a model. He has been a wonderful host, a brilliant translator, and so much fun! He fits right in with us girls, especially when we are having sad. He'll go grab the chocolate and the peanut butter and we'll eat it together as we talk about all of our troubles. I absolutely adore him!


Joy's name fits him so perfectly because he always brings Joy to everyone every time he is around. He is the clown of the group...making everyone smile and laugh so hard! He is also very protective...especially over us girls!! He kisses us goodnight and tucks us in. He cooks us dinner and he'll immediately ask you what's wrong the minute you stop smiling. He is a Carpenter and works crazy hours in tough conditions and we always miss him when he is gone!

Senzer aka Maso we totally have a secret crush on this one. What a sweetheart he is!! Maso is Amos and Joy's cousin who lives about 25 minutes away across the Swiss Italian border in Italy. He is another total gentleman, always making sure we are okay and drives us around everywhere in his little GREEN MONSTER as he calls it.


He is Joy's best Friend. Together, they both are always coming up with something interesting for us to eat. One night it is Cordon Bleu with Mashed Potatoes and the next it is Pasta ala something something with salad and Pane! (Bread in Italian)!


This is Amos' best friend. She and I hit it off from the start! She shares my love for the color PINK!! I never thought I'd meet someone who loved PINK as much as I do...and to think I had to travel all the way to Switzerland to find her! She is a city girl...loves to shop...and has been super fun!