Italy, Urbania – Unforgettable

Its been 66 days since I’ve been back from Italy, and I still can’t believe I had the opportunity to experience this unforgettable memory. I spent two weeks in the lovely little town Urbania. When I say little, I mean it. Walking the whole town took no more than 30 minutes, can you believe that? Among the narrow cobblestone roads lived some of the most friendly faces and families. Not to mention, their family owned cafes and restaurants – bellissimo! After my morning classes, I would spend my days either wandering the many streets, sketching at the main square, or just hang out central cafe with my colleagues.

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Photographing the narrow streets of Urbania, Italy 

We went on so many wonderful excursions. It was hard to believe how much we were able to see in such a short amount of time. It was pretty impressive how organized this program was!

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Enjoying gelato in Gubbio, Italy 

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Our gondola ride in Venice, Italy

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Personally my favorite visit , Florence, Italy. 

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So much life in such a little town, Urbino, Italy

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Feeling like a total tourist in Rome, Italy  

Even though it’s been 66 days since returning, I’ve thought about this journey every single day. There are just countless stories and memories that I will never forget. My friends and family are probably sick of how I can’t stop talking about it!

Thank you GEO centennial for such an unforgettable opportunity.

Ti Amo, Italia! Part 1: A foodie’s dream.

Ciao! Mi chiamo Fiona. Ho studiato I media di bambini in Centennial College e ho finite il programma nel mese Agosto.

Through Centennial College’s GEO Program, I had the privilege of going to Italy with a group of 26 other students to learn conversational Italian, enjoy traditional Italian cuisine and immerse myself in Italian culture. It was my first time in Europe and I could not have asked for a better experience.

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Urbania is a quant town in the province of Urbino. It’s about 4.5 hours northeast of Rome. The family that I stayed with had 2 teenage children that understood and spoke some English. There were instances of Google Translate being used to communicate. The magical thing about conversing while there’s a language barrier is that one can still make sense of the conversation based on the time of day, the situation and the tone of someone else’s voice.

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I LOVE FOOD. Usually, I don’t seek out Italian food often since I don’t really enjoy pasta dishes unless they’re smothered in cheese… BUT having mild lactose intolerance limits my dairy intake to no more than 1-2 times a week. I do love gelato though. I would suffer a stomachache for tiramisu and bacio gelato ANYDAY!

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Colazione (Breakfast)
At the crack of dawn, my Italian father would go to the local bar to pick up fresh baked croissants for my roommate and I. To put it into perspective, the bar is to Italians as cafés are to North Americans. It was a bit of adjustment eating patisseries for breakfast every morning, but all is forgiven since the croissant con marmellata di pesca è molto delizioso!

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Pranzo (Lunch)
The first thing I noticed when given the school schedule was the 2 hour lunch breaks. Long lunch breaks are given for people to go home and eat together with their families. Local stores are closed midday for family time as well. One of my favourite food items for lunch was a pastry flat bread called the crostolo, which is traditional to Urbania. It can be sweet or savoury. I enjoyed mine with lots of greens, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.

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Cena (Dinner)
The first couple of dinners in Urbania, I asked my Italian mom if the pasta that she’s serving us was homemade.  She told me no and that she used pasta from a box and proceeded to show me their cupboard filled with Barilla pasta (the Barilla commercials don’t lie – it’s a brand that Italians trust!). My Italian mom did eventually make us fresh pasta… and it was molto delizioso!

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Cena is a biggest meal of the day for Italians. Unlike North American society where you’re conditioned to have your biggest meal in the morning and eat less throughout the day, Italians have their meals the complete opposite. At the homestay, dinners usually started off with a pasta dish and then followed by a course of meats, veggies and lots of bread. The meal ends with fruit and coffee.

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Grazie Mille Centennial College! Grazie Mille Centro Studi Italiani! Ricorderò sempre il mio tempo in Italia!


Fiona Lui
Children’s Media – Post-Graduate Certificate Program

Trip to Remember!!!!!

Trip of a lifetime to say the least! This past June I had the opportunity to travel to Prince Edward Island to participate in a GCELE and represent Centennial College, my second home.

The first day we spent at the Habitat for Humanity warehouse cutting lumber that was to be made into picnic benches for an upcoming fundraiser. It was rainy and cold but that never stopped us! We pushed through lifting, cutting, transporting, and organizing every single piece of wood. We encouraged each other and most of all we completed our task with no injuries, all 10 fingers in tact!

The second day we finally got to work on the house. It was amusing to see all of the ladies minus Pierre, wearing hard hats with tool belts. Most of us had never even picked up a hammer before. We divided ourselves into a few small groups and we worked effectively. At the end of the day it was an unbelievable feeling to see how much worked we had completed. We all had a sense of accomplishment knowing that our hard work would give a family a home that they would otherwise not be able to afford.

Later that night we had the pleasure of meeting Erica and her daughter, who are the future owners of the house we built. The moment we were introduced it gave me clarity. I knew then that no matter how many bumps and bruises I got, I would never quit.

Overall it was an experience I will never forget. Not only was I able to apply what I learned during my first year at Centennial College, I also was able to learn so much. Hats off to Pierre and Anjana, at all times they kept their composure and helped to keep the group focused and on task. Thank you Centennial College for the opportunity to travel to Prince Edward Island and help to make a difference in a deserving families life.Bonding over some grub!!!

P.E.I = Beautiful
P.E.I = Beautiful
After a hard days work;)
After a hard days work;)

PARA MAMÁ

PARA MAMÁ

I have share an insight about an important date, August 15th, 2015.  A time where Costa Rica honours all Mamá.  There was a significant event that guided me to write this post.  Feliz día de la Madre!

By: Sherry Ing, GEO International Internship Costa Rica Summer 2015 participant.

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My host mom’s embroidery stitch work. She had planted beautiful roses and fragrant flowers in her home. She loves flowers.

On August 15th, 2015, Costa Rica celebrates Mother’s Day.  I like to take this time to blog about this important date.  To all the Mothers out there, and members of society who had to take on the Mother role for whatever reason they have.  Feliz día de la Madre!   When I was in Costa Rica just one week from today, the children at the two elementary schools that I worked at made Mother’s Day card.  I had the duty of helping the children with the upcoming English Festival and Spelling Bee.  For their impromptu speech, the children had to write and talk about their family or favorite things.  This also included their own drawings when they described a family member or their favorite thing.  What I noticed is each child’s drawing.  But one particular one stood out to me.  It was one of the young boy’s family.  He drew two male holding hands together.  I later found out that he had lost his mother and it was only him and his dad.  On this week, for most its a great time to share the joy and celebrate our moms together, but for others its sadness and a reminder and longing for Mom that they shared a short time period together.  When I said goodbye to the children that I worked with, I made sure that they felt loved and cared for.  I hugged each and everyone.  With this said, it is important to hug.  As a Massage Therapy student, hugging is just as important in healing then any other form of treatment.  It is an alternative form of therapeutic touch.  If everyone in the world received a hug each day, their health will be up a level.  It is very therapeutic and the Science behind it is that we releases hormones, such as Endorphines.  Which in turns gives us happiness.  During my time in Costa Rica, my host mother role was very important.  She made sure each of her son was feed, kissed each one on their forehead before they went out for their soccer game, and made sure everything is in order in the household.  Para mamá.   Feliz día de la Madre!

INTERNSHIP LIFE IN LLANO BONITO

CR experience

INTERNSHIP LIFE IN LLANO BONITO

By Sherry Ing, currently in Costa Rica

What exactly am I doing this summer? Right now, Toronto is filled with crowds of cheers for Athletes competing in the Pan Am Games. I had the personal choice of either staying in Toronto and joining in with fellow aspiring health professionals to support the Athletes or intern at a health based internship in Costa Rica. Both are important to me and relates to health & people, but living cross culturally and developing international friendship was a new personal goal for me. As a Centennial student, I am taking part in a GEO international internship in Llano Bonito, Costa Rica at the moment this summer. Llano Bonito, which is translated into English as flat and beautiful, which is contrary to what the description of the location here actually is. There is a humour to it and if you get it, the hills aren’t exactly flat in Llano Bonito. Be prepare to pack a good pair of hiking shoes because it’s a gastrocnemius (calf) workout here. For the internship, it consist of working with the Proal women in natural health assessment and plant based medicine. While the majority of my work week is spent with children of Llano Bonito at two elementary school with an English teacher. Just recently, me and my fellow health-related program Centennial student revitalized the green house at Proal. We cleaned it up a bit and then planted different vegetables and herbs. We had red and green leaf lettuce, chives, curly and flat leaf parsley, and seeded zucchini and radishes. These are only for the coordinators’ personal use for now. Hopefully it can be turned into an educational green house for school children to visit and to learn about where their food come from. My time here is almost coming to a close chapter, living cross culturally in this brief time period in Llano Bonito is filling me with new stories and experiences to share with my friends and family. I am creating international friendship, and enduring challenges that inspire new ideas and way of thinking about life.  What one personal and professional goal would you like to gain from an international internship experience?

SIDE OF AQUACATE

Aquacate

SIDE OF AQUACATE

By Sherry Ing, currently in Costa Rica

My home-stay brother asked me if I wanted to harvest aquacate, while he was happily trimming part of the stem off an aquacate. Aguacate is avocado in English. He just harvested the bins full of avocado at the back of the truck in the morning with the other male family members. His clothing were soiled and his hands muscle were very developed probably from many years of manual labour. While my other brother was taking a rest at an outdoor chair beside us. It was a moment that I will never forget. There were pictures being taken, but I opted not to be in a photo. The would-had-been photo would had consisted of me and my fellow Centennial student at either side of the truck with smiles on our faces between the bins of avocados. The reason I did not model in the photo was because I felt that I did not put in the work and my brothers had laboured in harvesting those avocados.  They should had been the models.  Many times at my home-stay they would leave the house early and return with similar characteristics in the afternoon. Soiled clothing, sweat pouring from their faces, and catching their breath. They would always be very proud, happy, of their work and shared the joy. These were a certain avocado cultivar made and harvested from Costa Rica. It is a fruit that is pear-shaped and is native to Central America. Every meal I have with my family had a side of avocado. They were nicely green, buttery, and tasted good. Each one that I had was savoured and I was thankful for. I appreciate how much love and care that my brothers takes in harvesting them and how important it is to them and their family.  If you love avocado, how much do you buy them for?  Where do they come from if they are not grown in your country?  What cultivar/variety is it?  Usually you will be buying the variety ‘Hass’.   What do you make with the avocado?