“I’ll never let go, Jack”

Last night/ early this morning marked the 100 year “anniversary” of the Titanic sinking.  (I use quotations because I think it’s horrible to refer to such a tragic event using the same word used to describe things we usually like to celebrate: wedding anniversaries, dating anniversaries, sorority anniversaries etc.)

Very conveniently, I went on a field trip last week to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Falmouth, MA to tour the facility and meet people working in the field of marine biology.   This included a viewing of part of the Alvin– the submarine that is most famous in biology for housing and providing the ability to dive down deep enough to discover the deep-sea hydro-thermal vents.  More interestingly (if you’re a girl, Leo DiCaprio fanatic or movie buff) the Alvin provided the diver who discovered a sunken half of the “unsinkable” ship, the ability to explore inside.  In addition to the excitement among historians, engineers and biologists, Hollywood found the underwater Titanic adventure to be very useful.  The images of the decaying ship is crucial in provoking emotion from the audience of the flick.

I also got a tour of the Knorr– one of the ships that launched the Alvin over the Titanic (where they bring old lady Rose to see her nude drawing).

Here are some photos I took!

This is the capsule that goes inside the Alvin, housing the underwater explorers. It was taken out of the sub in order to make way for a new and improved capsule that can withstand pressures at greater depths.

A life sized mock up of the inside of the capsule. Imagine fitting 4 full grown men in that thing! So cozy.

A classmate playing with the millions of buttons and switches inside the tiny vessel.

The Knorr. It was far too large, and anchored too close to get a full view of it.

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I need your opinion!

I’ve decided to submit photos to my school’s foreign language department photo contest, the problem is, I can only submit two.  TWO!  The rules: photos must be my own (duh?) and of a foreign country.  Let me know which two are your favorite by leaving the corresponding numbers in the comments section!  Also, I’m not a professional, so if you are a professional- I am always open to critique!  Here goes…

1.  The gardens in Monaco

 

2. Cute couple in Cullera, Spain

 

3. Walking back from the Forum in Rome, Italy

 

4. Tuscan Vineyards from San Gimignano, Italy

 

5. View from the Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

 

On a different note (if anyone had the patience to scroll down this far):  I am planning on starting a regular posting schedule soon.  Mad-for Mondays, How-to Tuesdays and Fashionably late Fridays are in the making!  Hope you had a magical Monday!

A magical St. Patrick’s Day

Two years ago, I was drinking beer in Nice, France after a perfect day of shopping/photo shooting in Monaco.  It was my first real travel experience and it was perfect.

I was on a tour arranged by the university I attended through eftours (which I highly recommend to everyone).  We started in Italy, spending most of our time in Rome and Florence with many day trips to smaller areas in the Tuscan region and stopping in Pisa on our way to the French Riviera.  The whole trip was life changing.  I had just taken a semester of Italian so I could communicate with locals pretty easily.  If I made a silly mistake it didn’t matter: Italian men love American girls, and the women just loved me for trying!  It was nice to be appreciated for something I wasn’t even that good at.  But then again, there’s so much to appreciate in Italy that it must be contagious, flooding into and enveloping all areas of everyone’s lives.

In France, the first day was hard for my friends and me.  We’re used to American portions, which are comparable to Italian portions, but monstrous compared to French portions! (I know, you’re all so surprised, right?).  I just remember thinking to myself after our first day “No wonder French girls are so skinny! This is like starvation!”.

So when St. Patrick’s Day arrived it was our salvation.  The Irish pubs seemed to glitter amongst the little French restaurants, with their celebratory, English-translated advertisements for “St. Paddy’s day ladies night”. One look at the menu and my mouth was watering.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE FRANCE and all it has to offer!  But sometimes a girl just needs a cheeseburger to get her through a day of museums and tourist-geared cultural experiences.  So I sipped my Guinness and listened to terribly hilarious karaoke in Nice feeling more alive than I had felt, ever (and I don’t even like beer!).  This trip made me realize that I was exactly where I always imagined I would be.  And for a crazy, confused, lost, stressed out, scared out of my wits twenty-something girl, that was a great feeling.