The Start of Something New...

Today marked the first day of Healthy Monday at Syracuse University in Florence!

For the past couple of weeks I have been working hard to bring the Healthy Monday program to Florence. This program is a national initiative that aims to promote healthy habits by offering a variety of events every Monday encouraging others to start their week off on a healthy note. Syracuse University is an avid supporter of this program in the states and I often participate in their events at school. After only a few days in Florence, I felt an absence of health programs at my school so I took the initiative to write a proposal, send it in to the SUF administration, and make moves to bring Healthy Mondays to Florence.

I was overjoyed when my proposal was accepted with excitement from the faculty! Ever since then I have been working with the assistant director, volunteer coordinator and head of the student life office to get the logistics of the program together and be ready for our official launch today, February 6. I must say I am very appreciative of the enthusiasm and support of the faculty as they have been working just as hard as I have to make this program a reality. We hope the Healthy Monday program will not be a temporary endeavor while I am here to manage it, but rather stay at SUF for the long term. It all is very exciting!

Although Healthy Mondays at Syracuse encompass a vast variety of programs, since our campus in Florence is small I chose to bring three main facets of the program to Florence. Every Monday the program will furnish free fruit for students, a nutritional newsletter, and a free exercise class. Today, after sending out the nutritional newsletter to the student body via e-mail, I sat in the limonaia (our cafĂ©) during lunch hour, encouraged people to take a healthy snack and answered questions regarding the new program. Everyone seemed to enjoy it! (But then again who’s going to pass up anything free)

Later in the afternoon, I headed down to Universo Sport to purchase a yoga mat in preparation for the free exercise class that evening – a Pilates class taught by me! Finding a willing volunteer exercise instructor with short notice deemed difficult so I stepped up and prepared a class. I am not a certified Pilates instructor (although I aspire to be one soon!), but I have taken many Pilates classes in the past. I put together a class based on small muscle toning movements performed continuously in one minute increments – a unique form of Pilates. Although I was extremely nervous, not knowing how the students would respond I think overall it went very well. I loved being the teacher! We had a turn out of 12 people, including one faculty member, and everyone seemed grateful for the new program. We are hoping to have a variety of different exercise classes in the future, changing each week so I encouraged them that if they didn’t like this class, not to be discouraged from coming back.

All in all, Healthy Monday day one was a success!

If you have any questions about my new program please leave me a comment, as I am happy to offer additional information. If your are interested in learning more about the Healthy Monday program at Syracuse University please visit their website

Pats Fan for the Night

Again expecting to be in Rome, I had no plans, turning today into a lazy Sunday. I did homework and looked into travel options most of the day, but made sure to fit in a short nap in the afternoon. I needed all the rest I could get in order to stay up late for…Super Bowl Sunday! Although the game’s on at a reasonable time in the states, kick-off was at 12:30am here. Every American in town (as far as I could tell) was planning on going to an American bar where the game was broadcasted on two large projectors. Although I’m neither a huge fan of the Giants or the Patriots, nor a huge follower of football in general, I knew it would be a good time so I made plans with friends to go.

Before my roommate (a huge Pats fan) headed out to watch the game, we enjoyed another delicious meal a la Cristina. We had brown rice risotto with shrimp and mussels for our first course, which I think was one of my favorite dishes yet. Cristina was just explaining to me the other day that she and Marco had gone to see a “diet doctor” that told them to switch to whole grains – I could have told them that! Seeing as my host parents are trying to be conscious of their health works out well for me, being a health aficionado myself. The rest of the meal included artichokes, zucchini, and eggplant followed by a custard dessert very similar to flan. Whole grains and veggies cancel out dessert right?

As my host parents were heading to bed, their girls were heading out. I must say I was tempted to follow my host parents’ lead but was happy to get some energy when arriving at the bar – which turned out to be a great time. Everyone was yelling at the screen and cheering on their team. There are some hardcore fans! It was the perfect sports bar environment for a football game. I decided to be a Pats fan for the night. I called it quits after falling asleep at the table, and found out the winner in the morning. As much as I try to be a normal college student, I’d much rather get a good night’s sleep.


After some disappointing news last night, my morning went very differently than planed as my school field trip to Rome was CANCELLED! The cancellation was due to severe weather conditions in Rome as it was snowing – an event Rome is neither used to nor prepared for. Apparently all cars, buses, and taxis were not running, museums were closing and the entire city was at a stand still. Although Rome didn’t sound too much fun in “blizzarding” conditions, I was still very disappointed not to be going as I was excited for my first overnight travel of the semester. Seeing as my future weekends are fairly full, to my dismay, Rome may not happen this semester.

So instead of waking up at 6am Saturday morning to head to the train station, I slept in and took my time eating breakfast. After being lazy for a couple hours, Ali and I made moves to go for a run together. We bundled up and headed out, exploring a new way to get to the Duomo from our house. On our way home, we stopped by grocery store on the to pick up some lunch items. A hot cup of tea was needed to accompany our lunch in order to warm us up after being out in the frigid temperatures.

Later in the evening I headed back out into the cold to meet friends for my very first apertivo! Many of the local bars sport “apertivo” in the early evening which includes a plethora of appetizers and a drink. The bar we went to was recommended by a friend’s host mom who said we must go to apertivo at least once during our stay in Florence. Apparently it is a popular Italian event. It was so much fun! I told the bar tender I wanted something sweet and not too strong and he made me a delicious berry cocktail. With my drink I enjoyed roasted vegetables, bruschetta, and lots of mini sandwiches – the smoked salmon and cream cheese was my favorite.

I had a great night sampling all the different foods, sipping my delicious drink, and hanging out with friends. I will definitely be frequenting apertivo in the future!