Home Again

Moving Travel, School, Self, Social


My last day in Italy was perfect. Sadie and I took a train to Santa Marinella and Civitevecchia and swam in the Tyrrhenian sea and ate watermelon for lunch. It was amazing to swim after such a long time, the water was really salty, the company was so good, and the sun was so warm! It was just a perfect last trip. The train ride home was during sunset, and it felt like it was setting just for me. I’ve never seen colors like that before, bright red and pink touching the entire landscape, lighting up the countryside I will miss so much. I’ve never felt such a pure, deep happiness as I did that day, and all the tears that happened felt good, because each one was for a moment of joy and growth I’ll never forget.


After arriving in Viterbo for the last time I had to finish packing quickly before our going away party. I’m not going to go into too much detail here, but it was FUN and when 3:00 am rolled around I hadn’t slept and my ride to the airport was at 4:30. So a full sleepless night of good times, good company and no regrets. I took off from Roma around 11:00am and arrived in SF after 15 hours in the air at 7:00pm local time. And promptly ate a burrito. Now I am at my families house in Napa to celebrate mothers day, my Grandma is my hero and she inspires me to take advantage of every opportunity life has to offer. Thank you to everyone supporting me in life and in this adventure. As sad as I am to have left Italy, I am so glad to see you all again.




Nearing the end

Art, Moving Travel, School, Self


I only have a few days left! I’m so conflicted! I miss my home and my loved ones, but I’ve found a home and loved ones here too, and there is still so much I want to see. The last time I updated Mem and I were in Viterbo after having visited Copenhagen, and since then we went to Vienna Austria where we saw the Venus of Willendorf, a small sculpture who is 30,000 years old. I have never in my life seen anything like her, she is SO beautiful. Women are so strong!! After Vienna Mem and I were in Viterbo for a few days and did a little fun shopping and eating! Mem loved her new shoes so much she was just lying down with them on! After getting Mem safely onto the train I spent the week in my last set of classes and on two field trips to Pianamola Gardens and another ancient city, the name of which escapes me now. This weekend was my last weekend in Viterbo, and it was the annual Flower Festival in the city! If you know me you know I was so very very very happy about that! I also did a little gift shopping and self shopping and did my final piece for my Drawing class. I drew a Maurie comic and someone offered to buy it!( After the Maurie exhibition I hope to put on next year).  How exciting is that!?  Anyway, I am going to be spending my last few days here with the people I will miss the most, in one of the most beautiful places in the world. I love it here. I’m going to miss it so much.

Let me know if you have a question about a specific picture!




Mem and I in Copenhagen!

Food, Moving Travel, Self, Social

~The Perfect Performance for this week here~

My Mem is in Europe! We met up in the airport in Copenhagen and I was so happy to see her! One of the best hugs I’ve ever had! We spent a weekend together modeled after a show called ‘Travelman 48 Hours in: Copenhagen’ starring two of our favorite comedians, essentially following the activity list that they did in the show. Seeing the Little Mermaid Statue, the Botanical Gardens, The Ruundetarn, and others. I think the most magical thing (beside the green houses of course), was Tivoli! We spent hours and hours in Tivoli just enjoying the flowers, animals, and lights. We also played Galoppin and I won a blue chip! We went to an art show under ground and had Danish’s and open sandwiches and just had a really really nice time together. We flew back from Denmark really late Sunday  night, and got into Viterbo around 01:30. Today we slept all day. Well, we went out once to go to the grocery store, and I made Spaghetti for dinner, but mostly we’ve been sleeping. I think that tomorrow we are going to go to my drawing class and then walk around the city and maybe go shopping, who knows! On Friday we are going to fly to Vienna for four nights, our time there will also be based on the Travelman show, and I can’t wait! I am so grateful that I get to share this with my Mom.I mean she’s my Mom, she’s been with me through my youth and I am glad she can experience a little bit of the adventure I am so grateful to be privy too.

And now it is very late here and I am once again very tired. I hope that in my last few weeks of the program I am able to stay updated and in touch, I am trying to do as much as I can before I return to California. Much love from Mem and I! ❤ ❤ ❤


Weekend Fun

Food, Moving Travel, Social


Nearly up to date! Directly from Fridays field trip to the Tarot Gardens a group of us took the train up to Cinque Terre for the weekend! We hiked and hiked and hiked! My dear friend Rebekah and I made it to a small beach where the stones were huge and rounded from being rolled in the waves. I’ve never seen pebbles so big! You could hear them in the waves like thunder. The weekend was really fun, and exhausting, with lots of train rides. I could ride trains around Italy forever. The day after we got back my friend Andy and I took another set of trains to a concert by my favorite composer Ludovico Einoudi, who is Italian and touring his new album this year. It was a truly beautiful concert, the venue was amazing, I got to wear my blue dress and high heels and feel fancy! I cried a lot too, it was so beautiful. I was also inspired by the concert and the timing to sign up for a music class next semester. I just registered for Fall Semester at HSU for what should be my last year of under grad, I was able to get in touch with a professor who allowed me into the course I needed to graduate on time (agrostrology), and boy am I glad it looks to be working out. And I will be taking beginning strings, hopefully the cello! Here is a link to a performance from the concert I was at: click here.


Much love ❤



Art, Moving Travel, School

~Never gonna leave out Dean~


Still playing catch up! I am determined to just get this done even though it’s late here! These photos are from Caprarola (again), my professors garden, Bomarzo, the WWF reserve and The Tarot Gardens. These were all field trips for my Mediterranean Gardens and Landscape course, which was one of the major reasons I chose to study in Viterbo, and I’d say it was a dang good choice.


Spring Break in Scotland

Moving Travel, Self

~Deano: here~

Hello again! I’m still trying to get all caught up, so this is for my solo trip to Scotland! I really really loved traveling to Scotland, especially alone, it was a very empowering and fun experience. I love that I was able to set my own touristic schedule and see whichever exhibits I wanted to see for however long I wanted. It was nice to spend some time with just me as well, I have struggled for a very very long time to get to a place of self acceptance, and I have recently moved from that to a life of self love, it has made me so strong. Scotland felt like home in a way, Mems Mom was scottish, and I was in a lot of areas my ancestors lived, I’ve never seen anything so intensely itself. I felt very present, and that each thing I saw was very present, and at its most obvious and pure, each mountain was a mountain, each lake was a lake, and I was me.

I felt the purest joy and elation I’ve ever felt when I was in a field of daffodils, I will never forget it. Some people don’t understand my feelings towards flowers, or see they see them as trivial or silly. To me they are expressions, of life, gratitude, love, care, the power of nature, any physical conveyance of emotion. To be surrounded by thousands of tiny bits of joy was a blessing.

I am so glad I got to discover this part of my heritage, I am proud to be Swiss Italian and Scottish and Californian and Oklahoman and of everywhere and everyone that has played a part in my history.



❤ ❤ ❤

My Lucky Eyes!

Moving Travel, School, Self

~A Glorious Thing~

Hi everyone! It’s been a while since I uploaded anything, even though I’ve been doing a LOT! It’s probably because I’ve been doing so much, the program is kicking in to high travel gear and I’ve been on the move a lot more the past few weeks, and will continue to be traveling a lot until pretty much the end of the program in May. I fly home on Mothers Day, my lucky Mem gets to pick me up from the airport at like 4:00 am :). I am not going to be writing too much today, I have to pack tonight for my Southern Italy Field Study which leaves at 6:30am tomorrow and I have to do a lot of paper work etc.. The pictures are also plentiful. Since my parents got on me for not taking enough, I have since been taking too many. I have been to some very beautiful places though and I am eager to share the beauty and feeling of the place with friends and loved ones.

The first group of pictures is from Hadrian’s Villa, one of if not the most important gardens in the world. And the second group is from Villa d’Este, which is nearby Hadrian’s Villa and is very influenced by it. The third group is from my weekend trip to Malta, which was a very singular experience, I have never been anywhere like it before and I miss it deeply already. I hope everyone enjoys the pictures! And that everyone is able to listen to the songs I add each week, I really do put a lot of effort into picking the right song for the post. I am planning to update again maybe Friday when I am home from the field study, before I leave for Scotland on Saturday. Much love to all, I will be staying smart and safe as I travel and will continue to make the most of this life! ❤

Hadrian’s Villa

And Villa d’Este


Sliema and Valleta in Malta

I either have no words to describe the feeling of these trips or I have too many, I hope it’s obvious how happy I am right now, and how grateful I am for this time. ❤ Love to all!

A Day at the Beach!

Art, Food, Moving Travel

~Theme of the week: more like two weeks…~

Hello lovely people! I’ve got to start this off by saying that I accidentally deleted almost all of my pictures on the blog so far, and that it is going to to take me some time to restore them, but I fully intend to! Also it has been about 10 days since my last post so a lot has happened! The biggest adventure was my trip down to Palermo in Sicily which was truly one of the most unbelievable experiences of my entire life. Because I saw so much I am just going to upload each picture with commentary, instead of trying to summarize everything generally in one longer post. Hopefully I don’t delete this too and leave contextless descriptions that only cause confusion! I’ve got my fingers crossed…


OKay so this one is not in Palermo, it’s in Viterbo at Sant’Andrea, which my drawing class met at last Tuesday. My roommate and I always have trouble finding the right place to go and end up 10-15 minutes late.


Also at Sant’Andrea, I just really loved how the light came across the door.


Also still in Viterbo, we visited this building in my Art History class, we caught it at a good moment in terms of lighting… this facade is really unique and interesting because it’s very low relief sculpture and painting combined in a way that really just casts the smallest shadows and is only obvious when the light is in the right place.

Palermo! So a quick few words about our journey there, we took the 6:25 am train into rome and then another train from the city center to the airport. This was all very stressful and exciting for me, and accomplishing it with just my travel partner Mary was really a boost to my self confidence. One the plane I had a window seat and watched the Med as we flew. The landing was incredible too, the winds were very very strong that day and we ended up circling the airport for a goof 15 minutes waiting for them to die down enough to actually land! After the 15 minutes we approached and I had never experienced anything like that kind of landing before in my life…. it was actually kind of fun, because I had faith in the aircraft and the pilot, I knew things would be okay. For anyone who has flown before, I am curious to know if you’ve ever flown Italian style. Flying Italian is a whooole other event in itself! It’s a very close knit, dynamic culture, and the whole flight there was music and talking and when the plane lands there is cheering and clapping and commentary, it’s very social. I imagine it’s obvious that I’m not Italian due to my general shyness and lack of participation more than anything else. But after this very interesting flight and landing we were finally in Palermo! We took a bus to the main city, which was another new thing to figure out, and found our way to our air bnb, already recognizing that palermo was very different from anywhere we had been before, and that it had been much too long since we had seen the ocean!!


I was one of the first to board…


I love modern technology. I could track where I was by the minute of the map, makes me feel better about traveling alone.


Church in Palermo


This fountain was incredible, there were mermaids, dragons, camels, dogs, dolphins, horses, it was great!


The fountain was in a piazza in between two churches.


Said camel….


The churches in palermo have a lot of influences that aren’t Roman Catholic because the island was under control by many different empires in times past.


The orange domes here were really spectacular at sunset!


See through leaf!


Lots of boats and fish this weekend.


We spent most of our time in Palermos many gardens! They were really incredible, it was refreshing to be somewhere so green again, and also somewhere so close to the ocean! The smells really brought me home, the warmth of the evening and the smell of sweet roses were calming physically mentally and spiritually.



I’ve never smelled anything as sweet as these roses!


On our second day there we went to Mondello beach!



I can’t wait until it’s warm enough to swim!!


I was really fond of this building because it was painted, and all the real architecture and sculpture from antiquity was painted in very bright colors! Things like this make it much easier to re-imagine that time so long ago…


The pigeons were really colorful here too!






If you look closely you’ll find a cat!


Greenhouse in the Park


I don’t know which genius put brioche under gelato but I LOVE it.


Sicily is famous for ‘arancine’ aka friend rice balls! Mine had smoked salmon in it, and was ‘volcano style’ which essentially means really hard to eat and spills everywhere!


It was really uplifting to spend time in the sunshine! I got a little bit of a sunburn and recharged my happiness batteries. It was REALLY sunny though!


Pair this with an imagined smell of orange blossoms and the feel of sun on your skin.


We literally stumbled upon this by accident! This church was really interesting to me because it is considered “young” by Italian standards, yet is OLDER than my Nation….


I am currently working on a small painting of it as well!


Pure lapis, what a way to go.


This was an interesting artistic choice/technique.


I love the sass of these two…



Taken so I could draw it later, but I got frustrated at all the little finicky bits 😦



Lastly, some lovely foliage in the courtyard of a church we didn’t get to go to 😦

Well there is a lot more about Palermo that I would love to share, but unfortunately it is rather late here and I have a field trip tomorrow to a TWO THOUSAND year old garden!

I hope that everyone is doing well, I really do wish I could add more to this, but these next two months are going to be really busy and really full of new places and travels! This weekend for example I am going to Malta! I’ll get to see the sun again! Please let me know if there’s anything you are curious about, I hope you’ve enjoyed everything! Much love and best wishes! ❤

A Stop and Go Week

Art, Food, School, Self, Social

~ Ah Deano: always ~

This last week has felt very odd, time went very fast and very slow simultaneously. On Tuesday my Drawing/Painting class went to the Museum of Etruscan Art in Viterbo and got to see the most amazing pieces. A majority of the etruscan artifacts were very much things of purpose, lots of containers and shields and small scale architecture, everyday sorts of objects, but I think that makes them just that much more interesting. It was very impacting for me to see an oil lamp someone might have used on a regular basis thousands of years ago. It made me marvel at creativity and problem solving, and gave me a little remembered rush of every solution I have ever found. I ended up walking around fairly giddy! The inventors of these tools must have been so thrilled and content when they solved the problems they did. The museum had an area dedicated to the roof tiles of the houses, and I couldn’t help but compare todays technology with everything of antiquity. I bet every inventor, scientist, parent, artist, dog walker, anyone with an exciting mind, any human,  I bet they all get that little rush when they figure something out. It’s such a good rush. As a driving force it seems characteristically human, to learn.

I threw a little dinner party on Monday, that was fun, I like people most of the time. I’m pretty stoked on the fact that no one even noticed the meal was vegetarian until it was almost over, like it’s really not a big deal that I don’t eat meat. But it was really fun, we listened to 80s pop and had gelato for dessert, and I found a buddy to go to see my favorite composer play in northern Italy next month! I’m very excited about that! Ludovico Einoudi, he’s very talented, beautiful piano pieces!

We also revisited the Viterbo Civic Museum with my Art History class and I got to see some really incredible works by local renaissance artists. The concept of a ‘local renaissance artist’ is so Italian , I’m cracking myself up with that one! One of the artists is potentially the artist of a partially destroyed fresco in a local church, but it is unknown who actually painted it. Viterbo lost a lot of art in WW2 bombings, and the loss of that culture makes me hope for the future and the present, that the violences and atrocities occurring globally everyday will end, so people and places can continue to flourish and get that little rush.

On Friday we went on another little field trip, this time to the University Botanical Gardens. There’s been a lack of sunshine recently and it’s hard for me to stay upbeat when that happens, but I tell you ten minutes in that garden and I felt like singing. Every time I go to a garden, a green house, a nursery, heck every time I see a plant, it reaffirms my focus. I am so excited to go back to school for botany and continue my career towards a more sustainable and self sufficient future.

My Mem said she was gonna come visit me in April 🙂 !!! I love my mom. I love all of my family so much, I am so appreciative of each and every one of you. I am so privileged to be living this life, and so grateful for the work my Dad has done his entire life, so selflessly, for our family and our community. I hope I can do as much good with my life as you have. Thank you to my family, I love and miss you all very much!