I was doing my usual Friday night interweb scavenging while watching Wheel of Fortune after spending the afternoon at the health clinic and I stumbled upon the Ashton Drake doll collection. You know? The true-to-life baby dolls and fairies and stuff that have hand-attached eyelashes?
Man, their hands are so wrinkly! and the personalizable hospital bracelet looks so real (except for the blank spots)!
Then BAM! This one BREATHES. WHAT THE HELL!?!?!?!?


So many nightmares. Not sleeping for weeks! Which is probably good, considering I have 30 pages of essay due on Tuesday.



Luckily, life ain't nothin' that hugs and cuddles, ranting about shitty profs, and a batch of antidepressant brownies can't fix.

Oh, and looking at these adorable little creations (which I created):



I've been writing a few stories about a certain set of characters that have made themselves comfortably at home in my imagination. Too comfortable, if you ask me.

As I was re-reading one of these such stories I came across the word "plunked"which I generally only use to describe the act of unceremoniously placing a small child on a counter, table etc. I read it out loud and laughed because it sounds funny to my ears and then realized I was laughing because I thought there was no way this was a real word.

But Microsoft Office 2007 was not red-squiggling "plunked". It liked it. It even offered me other handy synonyms should I find myself unceremoniously placing fictitious children on precarious surfaces so often that I need another word for it.

But my Oxford paperback begs to differ on the "plunk" situation.

My Canadian Oxford Paperback says it is a word, but they mention nothing of children.

Okay literary world, what is it? Is it a word or not?

--Siobhan, why are you concerning yourself with the legitimacy of this word?-- you may be wondering.

I'm waiting for my Wonderbread to thaw so that I can make a satisfactory grilled-cheese and time needed to be killed. I might as well quander about words.

NOBODY thinks quander is a real word. Nobody. Except me. And I love it. Like pondering a quandary= to quander.

I mean, it's good, right?

I'm going to make it happen.



This year, for the first time, Cameron and I didn't go home to our respective parents' houses for Thanksgiving. Instead we opted out of the 4 hour busrides there and back and decided to cook a turkey and mashed potatoes and broccoli and stuffing ourselves.

Ideally, dinner would have been delicious and I would have a hilarious story to tell you about something that went awry while dinner prep happened.

Dinner was delicious.

Nothing went awry.

Sooo... success and disappointment. But more success.

Happy Thanksgiving Canada.



You've earned one more week to retain redemption.



Thanks Jessica. Wonderfully put.


So my mum's awesome and sent me a muffin-tin, cupcake liners and The 125 Best Cupcake Recipes.

This is madness!

1: Now I have to CHOOSE between making cupcakes and doing class readings
2: I will ALWAYS choose cupcakes
3: I should NEVER eat 12 cupcakes a day



Ten seconds ago, this question popped into my brain: What's Satan's latest incarnation?

Actually, no. That's not what happened at all. I made that up to sort-of have an opener for the blog. That plan epically failed.


And yes, I did think it all in CAPS LOCK.

Not only do I have homework that I should be attempting, but I also have stories that are begging to be written. The characters keep popping up in my dreams at inopportune times to plead their cases, thus interrupting incredible events that they will never find themselves featured in if they don't shut the hell up and let my brain finish imagining them.
Let me show you what I'm talking about:

Time: This morning, circa 7:53 am
Setting: Dream Vista #32: Dark room full of books on shelves, desk with green lamp from my piano teacher's teaching room sits just left of centre of the room.

The room is inhabited by myself (in first person) and a slightly older gentleman with fierce sideburns... *note- I just had to google "Facial Hairstyles" to recall what "Sideburns" were called. My mind kept voting-in "chin-bars" as the correct answer. What the heck. How does that make ANY kind of sense?* ... and gold rimmed glasses. The man is fervently informing me of his findings in the library and I am growing concerned as his findings do not bode well for the future of Dream Vista #26 (Mind numbingly ordinary restaurant). Evidently, Good-Looking Dream Villain With Slightly Short Neck has something dastardly planned and, naturally, I have to stop him.

Chin-Bar Sideburns is about to arm me with gadgets and guns when I notice the window in the Dark Library (this window is present only when necessary) and there's a character waving at me. It looks like it might be my thusfar sketchily-thought-up view of Eva Butler, the 30-something middle of three sisters who is clinging desperately to her youth who is supposed to be making her entrance into the world in a story about a family vacation that I've been attempting to write since this summer. Dream-Me tries to ignore her.

She's waving harder and she's talking. I can't hear her properly through the window but I know she's being all "Oh Hey Siobhan! Um... hope I'm not interrupting anything but I'm just wondering when you're going to write more of my life?"

I'm gaining consciousness and fighting it hard, Dream Vista #26 needs me and I'd rather not have to wait another day to deal with the situation. I'm trying to focus on Chin-Bar but he's transforming into another character from a story that's percolating in my mind and he's all "So, that episode with my wife... when we're fighting? Does it really have to be my fault? I mean, I know you're siding with her because she's pregnant and I don't know that yet, but can I be right? Once?"

And I'm desperately trying to turn him back into Chin-Bar and as I'm doing so I can feel that my pillows aren't quite straight anymore and the blankets are tangled around my ankles and he's still talking, "... just consider a re-write? Or at least take it somewhere so we can see if she forgives me in time for the birthday party?"

"I'm still out here!" is what the one outside is jumping up and down, "Don't forget to write about me!" She's as persistent as my bladder after I've been drinking tea with my dear Sarah and Rachel and their dog.

"Oh!" interjects the moping husband, "It's probably about 7:59:32. That jazzy island-beat that Cameron has set as his alarm is going to start and you can start writing the wrong that you made me do. And don't forget that I'm adorable, charming, AND hilarious!"

I begrudgingly opened my eyes just as that sassy Blackberry started to announce the arrival of 8am.

I am displeased with the guilty-conscience of my sub-conscious. And so I decided to devote a couple hours of my Friday to writing about these two.

Satan The Internet loves nothing more than a day filled with "Good Intentions" coupled with "Productivity" that it can effortlessly swat out of reach, leaving you with nothing to do but redundantly check e-mail/facebook and follow links from the amusing, on through the absurd, and then to the utterly pointless.

Now I'm going to be sacrilegious and pray like a pagan to the devil down in hell and more importantly:
Larry Page and Sergey Brin . If I sacrifice my ENTIRE Friday to your frivolous Google and related applications can I please get some focus and self-motivation to use tomorrow and Sunday? Please?!

On the plus side, I've blogged twice in eight days.

Suck on that, Zuckerberg.



I have no classes on Fridays! Again! Way to go Arts Arts Arts!!!
Today is Thursday, and I do have classes. Including a first year class. First year classes always bring forth all sorts of student questions that drive my little brain into madness. Please, for the love of god and, more importantly, my astronomical tuition fees, use your common sense before you waste class time with inane questions about formatting.
Yes, I'm being harsh.
Yes, I'm being a third-year smart-ass who usually thinks she "Knows More Than You."

But really.

Let's assume that yes, professors want assignments typed; yes, they prefer assignments written formally; and yes, 1.5 spacing is acceptable.
Or maybe read the "Assignment Formatting" section of the syllabus.



I’m sorry. I’m sorry for not posting for the past few weeks and I’m sorry that as a result this post is extra long. I didn’t actually come to Italy with the intention of dropping off the face of the planet but that’s what happens when you start digging holes into it for 8+ hours a day. On Tuesday the 13th our dig director told us the happy news that we had obtained permission to dig on another section of the hill. For 11 days only. This area of the hill is considered important because in the 1980s, ancient burial material was found there. Oh My God, right?
Imagine a clock that is grassy and dome shaped and has cypress trees on the very top and an olive grove hanging off the bottom of it. If the burial material was found (rather accidentally I might add) at the 11 o’clock position, we had permission to dig at the 5 o’clock spot in hopes of finding graves that wrap around the tumulus.
The staff (comprised of second year returners and above) were pretty much peeing their pants with excitement (this possibility of digging there has been dangled in front of student’s noses since 2001) and I was pretty damn close to joining them in needing to change my pants because it would be the most effin’ amazing thing ever to be able to come home and say “This summer I lost some weight, took a train for the first time and excavated Etruscan tombs. NBFD”
Because we had a limited time frame in which we could be on the property and we wanted to excavate 4 huge trenches to deep, deep levels we changed our work hours from 7am – 3:30 to 7am-5/6pm and we got sent up in a morning shift and an afternoon shift.
Now, when I started work at my second M&M Meat Shops store, my first day ended up being 9 hours long. My feet hurt afterward and I was tired. Italy Siobhan wants to go back in time and smack Past Canada Siobhan and tell her to suck it up, Princess.
Olive trees are not big, and they don’t provide much shade. And they grow on slopes of unbelievable incline. And the dirt around them has to be ploughed, which is an archaeological disaster.
The sun creeps above the timberline at 7:30 and doesn’t stop beating down on you until 4:30 at the earliest, depending on which trench you’re in and where the neighbours’ tree-fence begins to provide shade.
The first few days we ran on adrenaline which was good. We needed it to get through layers of sun-baked, sharp edged, clunky chunks of ploughed clay. We worked hard and we worked fast swinging pickaxes, filling buckets and cutting up our hands with blisters and scratches. I don’t remember if I said this before, but it’s at least 35 degrees and sunny every single day here. It hasn’t rained in four weeks (I’ve already been here for four weeks!!) and it is stinking hot. I have never sweated so much in my life. Ever. I was a human slip-and-slide to the degree that I could not rest my hand on my knee without slipping off and falling awkwardly into a pile of exhausted muscles and bones. But it was fun.

The weekend was our long weekend, a half Friday with Saturday, Sunday and Monday off of work. I hadn’t made plans previously, hoping to stay here and relax and get some writing done, but pretty much everyone else was travelling. A group went to Venice, others went to Rome etc. But I opted out in the name of rest, finances and wanting more time and energy to experience those cities. When the announcement about the new trenches was made on Tuesday the staff voluntarily cancelled or adapted their travel plans in order to keep the trenches open and get more work done in our 11 days. Students had the option to work as well if they so desired. I told myself I’d go up for a morning.

Friday at noon is when we broke for lunch and the kids who were staying ate on the hill and everyone who was travelling came back to the house to eat and bus off to wherever they were going. I ate on the hill.
There were three students (including myself) who ended up staying on the hill working for the entire 11 hour day and I wasn’t even tired until I got back to the house and had to walk up the stairs. It was awesome and I felt fairly accomplished at the end of it.
I had planned to go to Siena for a few hours (it’s only 40 minutes by bus and there’s a big grocery store and some fun little shops) with a couple other students on Saturday but I woke up two minutes before my roommate’s 5:48 am alarm and I wanted to keep working, maybe just for the morning. So I did. And I was up there sweating and moving rocks for 8 hours.
Sunday I was feeling slightly like a zombie, but a zombie programmed to dig and lift rocks out of trenches that I was digging so I went up to work then as well, and a few more students who had stayed for the weekend went to work as well. My trench only had one extra person but it was still a tight squeeze and I ended up with little rocks in my eyes which I had to cry out. Once that dam was opened I couldn’t close the gates and I sobbed on the hill, “I’m just so tired. I’m so damn tired! But I want to keep working!”
Jason (the assistant dig-director and my trench-master) and Alyssa (my roommate) brought me down with them to get lunch and left me at the house to sleep. I was mad about it for a bit because I felt like I’d bailed, but I had a nap, gave the kitchen a massive cleaning and did some laundry and felt better by the time everyone got down off the hill and we headed over to the pool for pizza and drinks provided by the wonderful family that owns the hotel.
It may have been the pool water, it may have been allergies or I may have just worked too damn hard, but I went to bed Sunday night feeling a roughness in my chest cavity that was unnervingly like the chest-infectiony cold feeling I had right before I came here. It was still with me in the morning. My buddy Josh and I had decided on Saturday to take Monday afternoon off to go to Siena and go to the grocery store and just get out of town for a bit. After a brief 6:48 am consultation with Alyssa(work wasn’t starting til 8 on Monday) I decided to stay at the house, rest some more and get some writing done instead of pushing my body way beyond its breaking point.
I did all of that and we left for Siena at 2:00 and we had a great time. There’s this store in Siena known as the Chinese Store to all the Scavi returners because the neon sign above the door is written in Chinese and we don’t know what it’s called. Everything in the store is made in China and the main reason we go there is for the t-shirts which are so poorly translated and made of so much lycra-elastane they are worth every one of the 5 euro you pay to wear it. Really, you should make a profit off of these shirts because they are so entertaining you could charge a fee for looking at them. I bought two and they cannot be described in words. I will let you know that most of them are studded, bedazzled and covered in glitter and celebrities and typos.
Tuesday I had mag-duty which is boring as hell (dry-brushing artefacts for 8 hours leaves something to be desired) and Wednesday was back to work and work we did. We worked and worked and hit bedrock. So much bedrock. “How much bedrock?“ I hear you ask.

So much bedrock that Wednesday was our last day digging and we spent Thursday backfilling the trenches. Backfilling is the physically gruelling and emotionally taxing process of taking all the dirt you removed from the hole, and putting it back in to make it look like nothing ever happened. Some people find it depressing. Some people find it cathartic. I found it thrilling. You want to get a lot moved as fast as you can and so there’s a lot less gossip in the trenches and a lot more panting and work which is a nice change of pace. I filled buckets for a few hours before being delegated to the end of the bucket brigade dumping buckets into the trench. We finished all four trenches by 1:00 and Tony (our boss) told us to take the rest of the afternoon off.

He also bussed us all to Florence yesterday for a personal tour of the Archaeological Museum which was hot and crowded but a nice treat and I got some shopping done (I found new shorts that fit and don’t fall down if I forget my makeshift cheese-string suspenders!) and today I’m beginning my REAL relaxing weekend which I feel I have earned.
Only 2 more weeks at the Scavi and I miss home a lot but I’ll miss here as well. Lots of friendships have been forged and an unhealthy adoration for labouring in the hot sun and getting coated in sweaty mud has blossomed. We’ll see what the next two weeks bring as we’re back on the regular hill and back to regular field school and a regular pace.
I might post again tomorrow (to make up for my absence) or I might just be too busy by the pool J xoxo
And Happy Birthday Max!!!



Despite the fact that we eat spaghetti-on-bread sandwiches like we've never seen carbs, and cheese-on-salami sandwiches like they're healthy, and gelato pretty much a staple after work, we have decided that this isn't an archaeology dig at all: it is fat camp.
Hiking up to site (new site) on a gravel road that is at least a 45 degree incline at 6:30 in the morning to be greeted with the sun and a pickaxe and the words "We have to get this 5mx5m trench down another 25 cm today" basically means that we'll be losing at least 10 pounds each today as we sweat fat from every pore on our bodies.



It’s been exactly one week since I last filled you all in on my adventures in Tuscany, and it feels like that timeframe is vastly incorrect. It feels like I’ve been here for months and I’m lovin’ every minute of it. I love exploring, I love meeting people, I love humongous camp-style meals consisting of absolutely fantastic food, I love the hill, I love playing in dirt, I love knowing the difference between terracotta and rock, I love the sun, I love the regional traditions. I love my uncomfortable bed, I love my gently crisping skin (yes I’m wearing sunscreen always), I love 8 hours on site crouching until my legs give out, I love my allergies, I love my blisters and I love not understanding anything that the ancient locals tell me.
I hate that none of you are here to experience this with me, and everything truly is an experience. You cannot be in this place and simply go through the days passively. I’m jumping at opportunities and soaking up the aftermath with a smile on my face and the sun in my eyes.
And now a few notes about my week:

· I remember names like nobody’s business

· Siena is one of the most beautiful cities in the world

· Nutella is the staple of the Scavi House diet

· I’m still not a huge fan of eggplant, but that does not stop me from eating it

· I have two of the world’s most fantastic people here with me to watch sunsets from the wall surrounding the medieval town of Murlo

· The Palio is in-tense and insane and one of the most incredible things I have ever witnessed

· Pool Parties are a lot of fun

· The Etruscans certainly are mysterious

· To get to the dig-site you must hike up a massive hill; it takes me roughly 26 minutes

· Italian mosquitoes prefer more delicate blood than mine

· I am pretty damn talented in the trowel department thus-far

· My Canadian counterpart, Anna, is hilarious

· No matter how hot I am or how uncomfortable my bed is, I sleep like a baby after a work day

· Weekends are for laundry

· Lemon and Strawberry are my favourite flavours of Gelato. In one cone.

· Aloe is my friend

· Private Dancer is an excellent song for a ride in an Italian death-cab

· We only worked 1.5 days on the hill this week

· Homogenized milk is just as gross in Italy

· Cold showers are my new favourite thing

· Where there is a group of more than two, cliques will always form

· It’s better to embrace the dirtiness than focus on the rivers of mud that sweat from my body

· The Beach Boys, Elvis and Johnny Cash are popular in Vescovado. I belong.

· When everyone smells as bad as I do, I still want to shower

· My computer does not appreciate traveling

· The key to life here is to keep things breezy

Miss you all tons and I promise that more detailed stories are coming. E-mail me about home!!!!



June 22 – 23
Journeys and Jetlag
After Dad left me at Pearson International security (I may have shed two tears but that is all) I bought a bagel and waited to board the plane with some really nice German people, some really pushy German people and a group of Obnoxious Canadian couples who were travelling together in such reclined comfort my knees rather despised the flight. I sat next to a runner named Kevin and we talked for a bit about school and TV shows then I watched some TV and tried to sleep. That did not exactly work out for me as my head kept falling forward and I’d jerk myself awake. After maybe an hour of restless head-jerking non-sleep I gave up and watched How to Train Your Dragon. It was okay. I liked it but it’s not worth Dad and Sophie’s time.
By the time we landed in Munich I was surprisingly calm. I handled customs like a pro and found my next flight with ease and class not usually expressed by me. Munich has a nice airport. I liked it and it’s probably worth Dad and Sophie’s time.
The plane I boarded in Munich was a teeny little 40 seater (at most) and was filled with languages I did not understand. I looked out my window (window seats are the greatest ever) and saw a few tiny German villages before sleep claimed me. I woke up briefly and thought “I wish I were awake to see the Alps!” and it just so happened I was! The Alps were right there below me! Then I fell back asleep until Florence.
The Florence Airport is dirty and small and confusing. There are very few signs, very little space and very many people. I met a guy from a rival dig who was attempting to get to the train station (where I too was destined) and I found the shuttle bus for us and we rode it while he told me about the different languages he speaks when he gets to different stages of drunkenness (French, Spanish, Italian, then Latin, if you care to know). I was slightly amused. Impressed I was not. Especially because his sober Italian was considerably worse than mine and I only know four phrases: Mi scusi, Grazie, Per piacere, and Dov’e (Excuse me, Thank you, Please and Where). I figure if you only know four phrases in another language three of them may as well be manners.

I got lost on my way to the hostel because instead of a map I had written directions from the train station. Never, ever, ever attempt to get from Point A to Point B in Florence with only written directions. Especially if they are not very good. And because Florence’s street signs are hidden on the buildings and the streets change names every couple blocks. So “As you exit Santa Maria Novella through the main entrance, turn left, cross the bus lane and the set of traffic lights towards the McDonald’s, take the first street on your left, Largo Fratelli Alinari, continue up Via Nazionale, go straight up to Piazza Indipendenza onto Via di Santa Caterina d'Alessandriameans: “Turn right out of the train station and turn left onto the first street you come to – Via Nazionale. Walk straight until you get to the hostel. It’s on your left and marked with giant sign that says “HOSTEL”. Two signs even.” Just so we’re clear on that. Because I was definitely not clear on it and wandered around with my bags and a confused expression for half an hour before I found it.

I did find it though, check in went smoothly and I headed to my lavender and fuchsia 6-girl dorm. And the dorm was lovely. The whole hostel was fantastic. Stay there again? I probably will. The view was lovely, the beds were as comfy as a hostel bed can be, it was clean, the staff were knowledgeable and kind and I felt safe. So despite the confusing directions (and maybe they were only confusing to me because I was going on 23 hours awake and a nap and a 6 hour time difference) I say that this hostel is quite nice indeed.

At this point in time it was 2:00 pm in Florence. Only 8:00 am regular Siobhan time. And I was tired. But I wanted to stay up until bedtime and sleep like a baby.
That didn’t happen.
I napped for an hour or so then woke up and got to know two of my roomies Sam (from Australia) and Christy (from Virginia) a bit and we decided to eat dinner at the hostel and watch the Aussie Soccer Game at the terrace bar. There are HEAPS of Aussie backpackers all over Europe and a huge number of them happened to be at my hostel. It was hilarious and overwhelming and incredible to be where I was, when I was and with all these other people crazier than me. We stayed up chatting and watching the game until about 11 then headed to bed.

June 24
Florence by Foot and Fancy Pants

Christy was heading to Pisa (I think?) in the morning and the other two girls in the room had plans so Sam and I teamed up to wander around the city to see what we could find. Sam wanted to see the Duomo and Michelangelo’s “David” but the lines were long, the entrance cost money we’d rather save and it was such a beautiful day that we decided to leave that and just walk all over this gorgeous city and see where we ended up.
The buildings are all old, huge and roofed with red clay tiles. I absolutely adore the look of red-clay roof tiles. And wrought-iron curvy fences that bulge out in front of windows. And big wooden doors that have no handles. And cobblestone streets. Alone, each might seem like a pretty insignificant
detail, but as I noticed each one it began to really hit me that I was in Italy.

We saw numerous piazzas and markets and walked around the cathedral and made our way to the Arno River and the Ponte Vecchio and then up to the Pitti Palace (where the Medici hung out) and the attached Boboli Gardens (which were beautiful but I couldn’t help feeling if Grandma had been there at the right time with the right resources they would have been even more infinitely fantastic).

We hiked up to the Michelangelo Viewpoint of Florence which was closed for firework preparation then decided to go back to the hostel to put our feet up for a short while before going off to the event we had bought tickets for in the morning; the Calcio Storico.

Every year on June 24, St. John’s Day, there is a festival of great magnitude in Florence which consists of a medieval rugby game followed by a parade and fireworks.

The game starts with much pomp and pageantry (mostly for the tourists) with drums, organized flag-dancing/throwing and marching around the giant rectangular dirt playing area which is in front of Santa Croce. The game is played by two times, the Whites and the Blues. Their fans clap, shout and somehow produce columns of white and blue smoke respectively to cheer on the players.
From watching the game I have concluded that these are the rules:

1) Each team of at least 14 men has an end of the playing field marked by their flag in a tent. The goal is to throw the ball onto the opposing team’s wall to get a point for your team. The team with the most points at the end of an hour(ish) wins.
2) When a point is scored, a cannon is fired and the teams switch ends.
3) The ball is moved by throwing and running with it as fast and erratically as possible to avoid being tackled by the opposing team. Everyone is on offense and everyone is on defense at all times.

4) To limit the number of players on the opposing team that the ball can be passed to the players engage in spontaneous one-on-one wrestling matches all over the field, resulting in a player from each team being so involved in holding the other down that neither are actually available to be part of the ball’s movement.

5) The players have to wear fancy Renaissance pants.

Sam and I were seated in the Blue cheering section. The Blues won. I think our presence was a deciding factor in their performance.

Exhausted from our day we went back to the hostel and crashed.

June 25

Markets, Men and Museums

Sam took off for Cinque Terre and her next two months of backpacking that morning (good luck! You were a lovely walking companion!) and I felt a bit icky and exhausted so I slept in until 11:30, then washed some clothes in the sink and hung them to dry on bungee cords I had strung between the beds. Then I went to the market.

Coming from a tiny Ontario town, the crowded market was somewhat terrifying. Vendors are shouting at you from all directions, there’s way too much to see and you’re paranoid about pickpockets. But I had fun. One jewellery vendor named Ricardo claimed me as his New Best Friend and tied a gift bracelet around my wrist to prove it. I told him I’d try to bring my friends back with me if I returned to Florence and he was ever so grateful. Another vendor showed me his leather jackets and the store where he works and he and owner kept offering me ‘special prices’ on a gorgeous brown leather jacket. I told them I had 6 weeks in Italy still before I fly home in August but if I have any money left I’ll come back and buy the jacket. They liked that, not as much as if I’d bought the jacket right then, but they liked it.

To all my friends who complain that a lot of guys at school are creepy, come to Italy. Real creepy men abound. “I love blonde girls” was one phrase I heard frequently with an inflection I did not appreciate, along with “Aaay! Bella!!!”. Being a lone girl makes you a bit wary but I laughed a bit, because if I didn’t laugh I would probably have gone back to my hostel and hid from the world, and kept walking. I wound up at Santa Maria del Fiore where I bought a delicious sandwich and then enjoyed a gelato while I continued to walk.

I admired the architecture, the weather, the vespas, the INSANE traffic and wound up lost. Turning back down a road I thought would take me back to where I had come from did not get me to where I thought I should be at all. I walked a little further and saw the sign on the building in front of me. I had gotten myself lost and ended up in front of Florence’s Archaeology Museum. Admission was €4.00 so I bought a ticket and went in. A whole chunk of their collection isn’t on display right now but the two stories of artefacts I did get to peruse were incredible. There were finds from Thebes, Greece, Etruria, and Southern Italy and I spent a good hour and a half in the relatively cool (temp) building before going outside into the 29 degree Celsius weather and going back to the hostel. I read and rested and repacked my bags for the morning and had some pasta at the hostel and got to sleep as soon as I could.
The hostel organized a Pubcrawl that night and 3 of my 5 roommates attended. They got back at about 4 in the morning which was fine but a bit disorienting for my poor little brain, as demonstrated in the morning.

June 26
The Real Adventure Begins

Check out from the hostel is 10:00 AM. I awoke at about 8:00 and promptly fell back asleep thinking: ‘I don’t have to be in Siena til 6pm to catch the last bus to Vescovado so I can sleep in.’ I woke up again at 9:26 thinking: ‘Idiot.’ I had a rapid shower, packed up everything I had not packed the night before, stripped my bed and made it to the check out desk at 9:46.
I knew the bus to Siena was faster than the train, and I knew the bus station was next to the train station, but it was on an unmarked street and tucked away so it took me a while to find it. I’m pretty sure there’s something about luggage that makes you panic and not think clearly when you cannot immediately find what you’re looking for. And it’s freakin’ heavy.

I found the busses, bought my ticket and waited. I almost missed the bus to Siena because the ticketmaster told me to wait at Area 4 and the bus was in Area 5, but my keen observation skills allowed me to catch the bus “Rapido” to Siena.
Once at Piazza Gramsci in Siena which is where all the busses are, I had to make my way to the train station to catch the bus to Vescovado. I bought my ticket and waited. And waited and waited and waited.
When it finally arrived the driver was running late so he was grumpy and driving fast and I thought I might die. Siena is a medieval city build to maximum precariousness on a hill. The streets are narrow and winding and the bus was just flying around the corners. I would have loved to take some pictures of the city because it’s absolutely gorgeous, but it’s tough to capture a decent image when you are ripping through the city on a bus.
The bus ride takes maybe half an hour and drops you off in Vescovado with your bags. In case you did not know, Tuscany is hilly. Very hilly. There were some returning staff on my bus who led me to the house/hotel where we stay which is up the steep hill to the left, right and left again. Oh, and it was hot again yesterday. I was sweating like a pig. But so was everyone else.
I still cannot believe how jaw dropping the view is from the house and I’ll try to get some decent pictures but I know they won’t come anywhere close to being here. Pictures can’t capture the small (SMALL!) size of the commune and the quaint, ancient feeling you get from just being here. Yesterday we went to the teeny grocery store and had sandwiches freshly made by the cute little Italian ladies who run the store. I am so lucky to be here and so incredibly appreciative.

It’s Sunday now and everything’s closed and everyone is hungover from the festivities of being back in Vescovado and watching the USA/Ghana game last night in the hotel bar so it’s pretty quiet. I’ll try and post stuff at least weekly, so keep checking the blog Sundays and hopefully I’ll have more stories for you to enjoy. I miss you all terribly but am so excited to be here and cannot wait to start digging on Tuesday morning (on site at 7!) It looks like this is going to be a fascinating summer!
PS: No sunburn yet!!



Okay, so before taking the bus home from Ottawa to prep for my Italian adventure (seriously though, I will tell you more about this sometime), I bought a fashion magazine with which to amuse myself. It told me to check out this blog.

While denying my exhaustion by continuing to read the hilarious posts I stumbled upon the Eurovision entry.

Read the whole thing. It just keeps getting funnier.

When she started with the Cirque du Soleil I got asthma-laugh.

I haven't had a good not-cold-related asthma laugh since ugliesttattoos.com



Okay bookface,
What is with deciding to have a "Like Portal" to go to and profess to the world every inane thing that you might have ever once agreed with or experienced.

Because it's so necessary.

Thanks for that.

I mean, that's what blogs are for.




I mean, right?

Hi. It's only been about 5 months since I last made an appearance in the blogging world. No big deal. But now I actually have something fascinating to talk about! So we all win!

Last winter I took an introductory archaeology course at my school (mostly history and in-class method stuff). Over the semester a combination of :
a) not being in English anymore
b) having the best professor ever
c) discovering I was interested in subject matter and
d) watching all the Indiana Jones movies again
led me to the conclusion that I wanted to go on an archaeological dig.

Now if you've read some of my older posts you may recall that when I was younger I decided I wanted to be a monkey named Calypso. In case you are now wondering about my state of mind/physical being, I will let you know that I did not follow through on the whole Calypso dream. When I was maybe 9 I decided that I wanted to take Jazz dance lessons. When the time came to perform to some jungle-inspired song in a midnight-purple lycra onesie that dream died.
My aversion to singing in front of people (and a lack of dedication to guitar scales) burst my "I'll be a musician" bubble.
But worry not! This archaeology dream has not yet been dashed! And it will not (if it ever will) be dashed until my dig this summer has been completed, with every ounce of experience absorbed by my eager little mind. Though I cannot deny my hopes that spandex bodysuits stay out of this adventure. Please.

My school is kind enough to offer students credit for completing archaeological fieldwork, but they don't have any digs set up themselves, so we have to find another school with whom we can go. After a rather quick application process and my sending countless pestering e-mails to the assistant dig director the University of Massachusetts Amherst decided they'd accept me to the 2010 season digging up the hills of Tuscany. Thanks UMass Amherst. Much appreciated!

Are you jealous yet?

More details to come in the next couple days. I promise.