Friday, August 31, 2012

Traveling Abroad: Matters of Great Importance

Attention Everyone!

So today when we were strolling through Rome I was taking tons of pictures of buildings, some of them are really cool, some I am in, some are of random people, but I decided I need your help!

I am getting really bored of standing in front of pretty buildings smiling, and I'm not feeling very creative. I need some suggestions of things or ways to take pictures. Things like different poses (ex: hands in the air, making a silly face, etc...), different things you want to see (ex: the Eiffel tower, an Italian dog, etc...), or some other interesting/crazy/ridiculous suggestion.

I don't know what to do with my hands.... 
Post your ideas below in the comment box and every week I will pick the best ones and put them on my blog. Then come check out the picture that you inspired! The credit will be given to the mastermind, of course! So please, help a sister out! Don't worry if you think it is too ridiculous, or I will never do it, or whatever other excuse you can think of, I don't care! Post it! Share the fun :)

I'm hoping that a lot of my viewers will post different ideas and we can keep this photo journal going with participation on both sides! So let's do this! It will be good ;)



On Roman Time


I spent the majority of today in the center of Rome. It is such an interesting city. Everyone is moving so fast, cars are bustling by, hardly stopping for pedestrians. People are walking fast, talking fast, etc... but then everyone is functioning on their own time. The clerk at the Gelato store will check you out when he wants to, and the lady at the supermarket sits while she rings you up.

I also was surprised today when I learned that for a city that is constantly crowded with tourists they take their pausa pranzo (lunch break) very seriously. From about 12:00pm to 2:30pm every church is closed. From 2:30pm to 5:00pm every restaurant is closed. It's crazy! For a girl coming from the 24- hour city of Las Vegas its hard to imagine being closed in the middle of the day!

Here are some of the sites we saw today...

The Trevi Fountain and the 100s of tourists 
making a wish!

The cutest old couple trying to stay dry in the middle of a rain storm. 

The first church we visited.

Don't know what this is called, but it was massive!

The inside of the Basilica d'Maria in Araceoli

I offered up a prayer for all of you today! May our Blessed Mother watch over and protect you.

First Gelato in Roma!

Tiramisu Gelato. Delicious! And is that the papal seal on the cone?
That's all for now... Till we meet again, Ciao!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

London to Rome // Just the beginning

 So, at last I am able to sit down and share with you all what I have been up to for the past few days! I'll try to share with you the really good stuff so that I don't bore you to death. So much happened though! I won't be offended if you get bored and stop reading. In fact, I'll never know!


Arriving in London in the morning we had all day to explore! We didn't know where to start but somehow found our way to Hyde Park. What an amazing place. It was so green and colorful! The flowers, bikers, people picnicking, strolling and just soaking in the perfect weather made it a picture perfect day! Londoners love their parks!
All of the flowers were this beautiful!

Again, beautiful.
I love how this mom and her son are playing right next to the Peter Pan statue. They were so cute to watch. Oh to be a kid again...
Jenny, Becca and I next to the Italian fountains (precursor to the real thing)
Later that day we had dinner at The Swan, a busy and fun place to be right next to the park. I ordered the fish and chips (it was on every menu we saw!). I love fish and chips, but the one new British thing was the mashed peas (pictured below) that came with it... So strange. At first I thought it was guacamole. I was a little disappointed. But, I made myself eat them (aren't you proud, Mom?!) because I wanted to know why they are so popular. I'm still trying to figure this one out.

1st English meal.
(13 hours of sleep later...)


It was another perfect day in London. The weather was cool but still sunny. First, random thought: The people in London dress so classy. I just love to people watch and see how stylish people are. I honestly think there is no such thing as hipster in London because they are all so cool and unique in their style. Ok, thank you for being patient with me. Now back on subject... We had the intention of going to Hyde Park to meet up with the Sandeman's Free London tour. It was fantastic! If you ever go to a city with Sandeman's use them. They are great. Our tour guide, Mark, was hilarious but so knowledgeable. Here are some of the places we saw:

Classic Phone Booth Pic. I just had to.

Awesome door to an Anglican Church.

Buckingham Palace. 

Elizabeth Tower and Big Ben (did you know that Big Ben is not the name of the tower itself, but rather the name of the huge bell inside? Crazy right?)

Westminster Abbey

Mark out fantastic guide with a crazy hair cut, telling us all about Guy Forks and the event that could have changed England's history forever. 
I feel like part of the experience in traveling is meeting new people from all over. On our tour we met two nice Australians and enjoyed lunch together. Mia and Jimmy were both traveling by on their own (a new idea for the three of us) and were exploring all of Europe for 3 months. Apparently this is a really popular thing for young adults in Australia. I thought that was so cool. I loved talking to them and hearing their accent. Quite fun. Food note: I ordered the traditional Steak and Ale pie and mash. It was delicious, though not what I expected. Sorry no picture to show.

After we went on another tour with Mark (yes, he was that good, we even payed for the next tour with him). It was called the Grimm Reaper tour and took place in East London and visited a lot of the not so pretty but quite interesting places in London: Tower of London, public square where beheadings took place, sites of Jack the Ripper killings, Old London wall, and more that I am forgetting. To end the night we headed to High Holborn Street for a beer at Cittie of Yorke pub, a recommendation by a experienced London traveler. So good.

Tour of London. Pretty Creepy stuff happened in their. 
Here's one for the Queen! 

Our main goal was to see a play at the Globe theater today. We decided to get the tickets and spend the rest of the day on the south bank of the Thames river (pronounced "Tems" by some and "Tims" by others...confusing). We saw the "Taming of the Shrew" and it was incredibly hilarious! It was so cool to be right next to the stage, standing so close to all the action. I don't think my feet thought it was that cool, but they complied with my demands.

Eating a Brat at the Borough Market... Yum.
Tate Modern Art Exhibit

The "New" Globe Theater.
Such a fun night! We made "10 things I hate about you" comparisons all night.
London at night

Overall, London was a fabulous experience! The weather, the people, the sites, it was a perfect way to begin this adventure. (And my new favorite word is rubbish. Can refer to ideas, material trash, people, or things that are a bunch of bologna)
I won the award for best use of map and most obvious tourist! 
Arriving in Rome today was not so comfortable, but an adventure in its own way. In short, I arrived in a busy airport where everyone was speaking a different language, I found my way to the train and then to the metro with a purse, backpack and suitcase (I sympathize with the handicap. Every station should have a lift (aka elevator)), I felt completely out of place and alone in a new huge city by myself, I almost got run over by a car, I got lost on the street where the hotel is supposed to be and walked around asking random Italians who knew little English where this place was, and then after finally finding it I realized I really should have tried harder to learn Italian this summer, seeing as almost everyone I have met really doesn't know English. Oh and we accidentally ordered 4 pizzas for 4 people for dinner because the lady didn't know English and we knew so little Italian. Lunch tomorrow! 

Yeah, today was stressful in some ways, but I'm so glad that it all happened. I learned that I can do anything I set my mind to, that I have enough street savy to find my way around a new, large, and intimidating city, and also, I was constantly comforted remembering that I have nothing to fear, because God is at my side. He must have given me an extra dose of courage today :)

In spite of it all, it was a great day for learning and I am so glad to be with some familiar BC faces!

Tomorrow is a new day!

God bless you all! Ciao!


Monday, August 27, 2012

Quick update from London

We made it safe and sound! Thank you for all of your prayers! I've been up for  2 & 1/2 days now with about 6 hours of sleep, so this will be quick. Sleep is quickly approaching. 

Today we went all around London, avoiding sleep at all costs to try to get into a normal sleep pattern. Our little studio vacation apartment in Hammersmith is quaint. The food has been good. I'm getting really good at using the Tube and I love English accents, English people, and English style. (they are so stylish here!)

Here is a little preview of a later, more thorough post of frolicking in London...

Keeping dry near the London Eye.

Serious napping was in order after that flight.
to be continued...
I will update more in a few days! Tomorrow will be another day of adventures! God bless you all!


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Countdown: Final stretch and sleep deprived!


Countown: 6 Hours!

Welp folks, this is it. I have 6 more hours till I'm on a plane to Houston, which will then take me to London. I'm currently trying to stay awake so that I can sleep on the long flight ahead. 14 hours sounds like a miserable amount of time to be fully conscious and confined to a small space so I'm counting on sleeping through most of it.  I may be very sleep deprived my first day in London, but I'll hope for the best. 

I'm so excited for this next journey that God has planned for me. I have no idea what it will hold, all of the plans that He has in store for me, and all of the amazing experiences I will have. I'm sure they will be great though! 

I finally finished packing today (as predicted) and my luggage is under weight limits! The last minute things came up, of course, but I am hoping I have everything!

The hardest part of it all has been saying good bye to my family. I know I'll see them again, but still... I'm going so far away! It's been an amazing summer and I am sad to see it end. 

Moment of Clarity:

As excited as I am about this semester, I have also been very excited to visit Benedictine College (BC for short) when I return. A nice, wise woman today reminded me to really enjoy the time that I have in Italy. It will be an amazing (possibly once-in-a-lifetime) experience and it will fly by! I want to live in the present and experience everything this semester with a grateful heart and open eyes. I'll get to BC eventually... My job for the next 3 months is to live and be present in Italy with 30 amazing other students! Pray for me!

You are all in my prayers! Hope you are sleeping soundly as I type this... God bless!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Countdown: 40 Hours!


This is it! I'm coming down to the last few hours/days of my time at home (40 Hours to be exact) before I'm off to Europe for a semester abroad! Current activity: Pack! Pack! Pack! and (the other "P") Procrastinate!

I've been trying to pack for the last few days but only today do I really feel like I am gaining headway. My goal is to be done by tonight so that I can just enjoy my last day home, but seeing as I still have to make a Target run that may not happen... Oh well!

The last few days home have been quite pleasant though. I had a wonderful surprise cupcake celebration at work! Went on a hike yesterday with Mom and sibs.. Took sister pics with Julianna this morning (thanks to her friend Anissa!) Had a nice "Farewell" lunch with Dad and Allison today. Now... Time to get down to business!

Current status of my room: MESSY!

Not terrible for a girl packing for 3 months, but still pretty bad by my standards.

For those of you that are wondering, here is the first part of my adventure:

August 27th, 6:55a.m. Arrive in LONDON, England. 

August 30th, Depart LONDON. Arrive in ROME!

September 10th, Depart ROME. Arrive in FLORENCE!

From here on we will be in Florence for most of the time and traveling on the weekends. 
Definitely visiting IRELAND sometime in October for Fall Break and GERMANY at some point (Oktoberfest?). 

More to come. I'll keep you posted with the travels and adventures. Thanks for your prayers! You are in mine!


St. Christopher, St. Nicholas and St. Anthony of Padua, Patrons of Travelers, Pray for us!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Vocation Storage: Solution to a Catholic girl's problem

As I was enjoying being spiritually rejuvenated in Minnesota this past week I stumbled upon this interesting door in the basement of the St. Paul Seminary...

My first thought was, "Isn't this funny?"

It is quite funny actually. I'm sure they don't actually store all the seminarians vocations in this closet. Nor do I think that there is such a place where God keeps a file of all of our future vocations, just waiting for us to be ready to fulfill them. But, honestly, it seems like it would make life much easier. Right?

Well, no. It may make life seem easy, but a easy life is not what we are called to as Christians. 

Imagine this scenario: 

Catholic girl. Loves God. Wants to do His will. 

Comes to a time in her life where she is ready to discern her vocation and find out what God's will for her is.

She prays. She works. She serves. 

Everyday praying for openness to the vocation that God is calling her to. 

Then one day God invites her into His "office" (chapel actually) and takes her to the basement where there is a room that says "vocation storage." He opens the door and leads her inside and Ta -DA! There it is! Her name written on the file that will reveal her vocation to her. 

She opens it, and...

She knows her vocation.

the end.

Yeah that sounds Nice. Simple. Neat. But that is not how God works. God is mysterious, unpredictable, and sometimes messy. That is the beauty of Our God. 

Sometimes I feel like I am in a time crunch to figure out my vocation. I feel like I have to say this prayer and do this devotion and spend "x" amount of time in the chapel for God to reveal my vocation to me. 

Yes, all of these things are good, but the time crunch and pressure on myself is not good. God works outside of time and without consulting my own clock. 

Yesterday in prayer I felt God calling me to just follow Him where He is currently leading. To take the opportunities that He puts in my path and not to worry if I'm making the "right" decision. When it comes time to make a life decision, then He will reveal it to me.

Our vocation is not a hidden puzzle that God knows and we have to figure out. God, our Creator, knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows what way of life we will choose. What vocation will lead us to heaven. What our true heart's desire is. I don't have to worry about "figuring it out" like He is hiding it from me to make me mad. Haha. Even though it feels like it sometimes.

Truly the journey is where I can grow in holiness. Do not discount the amount of growth and the importance that the journey to knowing your vocation holds. We can grow in: patience with God and ourselves; love of God; self-control; humility; courage; etc. all while waiting for God to reveal the path that He knows will get us to heaven.

Also, to all my beautiful/handsome, single friends out there, here is a quote from one of the talks at SNE (see "It's been a while..." post if you are confused) that is a good reminder: "God will never keep you single for a day longer than He wants you to be single."

So, as we discern our vocations, whether it is a universal call to marriage, priesthood or religious life, single life, or a particular call to the career path God is calling you to, or the person you are supposed to be in a relationship with, don't get discouraged. The journey is just as important as the destination.


Song lyrics from a friend's new EP that keeps repeating in my head: "Be holy, keep growing, you're young and it's showing."

(song by Max Haben & Company on their Change Me Now EP. Check it out!:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Countdown: Blogging in Europe

288 hours (aka 12 days) till I'm in London! Ah!

I'm realizing how much I'm going to miss BC and Atchi-town as all my friends are heading back to school. I never thought I would say that, but it's true. I'll miss: Wal-Mart runs, late night shenanagens (sp?), the administration, 2nd Street, running up the Division Hill, 4 different daily masses, Sunday Brunch, Prayer Meetings, and the people most of all! The list could go on forever...

I'm getting kinda nervous. Weird. This is how I've described the feeling to a few friends. STORY TIME!:

               When I was 13 my parents took me to California Adventure for my birthday. I wasn't a big roller coaster fan then but they insisted that I go on the HUGE new roller coaster California Screaming. It had an upside down twist to it and I was petrified. I imagined I would just fall out and die while going upside down. Overly dramatic? Yes. But seriously, that's what I thought. The line was super long and for the whole time I was dreading going on this ride. Imagining my death, almost in tears, feeling like I could puke, some would say it was child torture. Finally, we got on the ride and it was over in less than 2 minutes. I survived! Obviously. And I wasn't as petrified of roller coasters after that. Now I'm so glad that they made me go on it and face my fear of roller coasters.

           So what does that have to do with going abroad? Everything! I feel like I'm waiting in a huge line to the airplane that will take me to London. I feel like I'm going to cry sometimes, puke others, and imagine my death still others. It's quite a horrible feeling. But really, I know that it will be amazing once I get there, and I'm going to have a blast! It will be over before I know it! And I'm going to be so glad that I went! Right now I just want to stop waiting and do it!

Pray for me and my stomach =] We could use some peace right now.

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

It's been a while...


I'm BACK! Laundry is done. Suitcase unpacked. Caught up on sleep. Lovin' on the kiddos. Now I can sit down, blog and process! I have missed it. 

So much has happened in the time since my last post till now.  It's been a whirlwind of an adventure and I want to tell you everything that happened! But for the sake of your sanity and my good use of time I will refrain. 

But here is just a little taste:

Since August 2nd I have been in the beautiful St. Paul, MN! It began with the amazing Laura! We went to the Minneapolis farmers market, ate fresh Colorado peaches, had great conversation and wrapped up the day changing a flat tire! 

The next day the School of the New Evangelization started! This was the main purpose of my trip, and seeing so many wonderful people made it all the better. Check out the link to find out more about SNE.

A few things I learned & relearned at SNE:

1. God will not be outdone in goodness
2. To give yourself totally over to God's love is the most complete freedom possible.
3. Trust in God, He will never let you fall.
4. Walking & talking for 4 miles with Theresa = Good idea. Walking for 4 miles in flip flops = Bad idea.
5. I still have no idea where God is calling me in life. All He is asking of me is a little "yes" everyday.
6. Sisterhood is the most beautiful gift possible for a woman. No lie.
7. To bring Christ to others is first to love them for who they are.
8. Humility is beautiful.  
9. Be real.
10. Holiness is the perfection of Christian Charity
11. "To evangelize is to teach the art of living." -Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
12. Jesus is the "joie de vivre"! (Joy of living)
13. I love SPO!
14. I'm gonna miss Benedictine College and all the amazing people there when I'm in Florence. Like a lot =[
15. (Here's the kicker) The only reason that I'm not a saint is because I do not wholly want to be. Ouch.

Jesus, help me to look into my heart and see what is holding me back from surrendering everything to you.


There were close to 200 students at SNE from at least 12 different universities and 22 different states(?) and Scotland! It was such an amazing week. Here are some pics from the week... They tell the story best :)
The beautiful University of St. Thomas where SNE took place
Hiking down to the river on free time. God's glory revealed.

Service Day! 

St. Paul's Outreach sent teams of students all over the Twin Cities area to serve the community. A beautiful way to put into action what we have been learning. 

Service day! We got to work' it out at the Habitat for Humanity Restore Center!

Look Mom! It's as big as me! 
The Whole Group: 6 strong men and 4 beautiful (and strong) women =]
We got to smash stuff! Yup. With baseball bats.

Small Groups

Everyone was placed in a small group. I got the great honor of leading these 5 beautiful women in small group. The funny thing is they didn't need a leader at all. They taught me so much and inspired my faith by their conversation and lives. I have grown to care for each of these women so much!
Small Group Photo Shoot: God's beautiful daughters!
My Amazing Small Group Women! I was  am so blessed!

Elegate 2012: Trust One Greater

We were so blessed to be a part of Elegate 2012. Matt Maher and band put on a beautiful night of worship for us! Fr. Craig Vasek gave an amazing exhortation and hundreds of young people were present.

It was a very peaceful and affirming night for me. I felt God's love so clearly, but without the emotion. Reality. He is so Good to us =]


Right above my bed was the best reminder ever.

Thanks for reading! I hope I didn't overwhelm you. It was such an amazing week. The biggest thing I came away with was that everyday is a lesson in trusting in God. Sometimes I think, "God, I've trusted you in many areas of my life. That must mean I trust you enough." And then He reminds me another area of my life I have not trusted Him in or I have taken back trust. Everyday I must ask God for the courage to renew my trust in Him and opportunities to do so. It is the most freeing thing in the world (when I do it right)!

God bless you! Michela

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

It's time for... S-N-E!

(post from earlier when I had no wifi) Currently I'm aboard an airplane on my way to Minnesota! I feel like my stomach is descending faster than the plane. Yuck.

Surprisingly I feel great even though I only got 3 hours of sleep (One full sleep cycle! Thanks to Dr. B-W's gen psych class I can justify minimal sleep!)

Why am I going to Minnesota? No it's not just to hang out and visit all 10,000 lakes, nor is it because I love humidity and want to get bit by 10,000 mosquitoes. Nope! I'm going to beautiful St. Paul, MN for a sort of retreat/training.

For a week I get to hang out with awesome people, learn how to pray better, love better, and evangelize better at The School of the New Evangelization with St. Paul's Outreach! Basically, I get to learn how to be a better person! Oh yeah.

I'm looking forward to this week to refresh me and get me excited about this year. I'll be working as an RA in Florence, Italy and I really want to build an intentional faith community with my peers while I'm there. Then when I come back to Benedictine after a semester abroad I will be better prepared to serve SPO in the capacity that God has planned for me.

I am excited to see what God has in store for me during this week. Kinda nervous, but really excited. During my prayer while in flight I was reminded again of that big word DETACHMENT. I think that will play some role in this week. Only God knows.

I'm especially grateful to all of my partners who have helped make this training and retreat possible. God is so good and I am so grateful that He put such amazing, generous and supportive people in my life! You all will be in my prayers!

Updates and pictures from SNE to come! Pray for all those attending that we may come with open hearts and open minds.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Today is: National Girlfriends Day!

Hey Gurlfran! (best if read in your best ghetto impersonation)

While catching up with my blog news, I learned an interesting fact! Today, August 1st, is National Girlfriends Day! I loved this email that Shannon Brown @ life in general shared! It's quite accurate. And being a Psychology major myself I quite enjoyed it....

          THEY teach it at Stanford 
 A thought to share...and so true… 
 "I just finished taking an evening class at Stanford. The last lecture was on the mind-body connection-the relationship between stress and disease. The speaker (head of psychiatry at Stanford) said, among other things, that one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman whereas for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends. At first everyone laughed, but he was serious.

Women connect with each other differently and provide support systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life experiences. Physically this quality “girlfriend time" helps us to create more serotonin - a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can create a general feeling of well being. Women share feelings whereas men often form relationships around activities. They rarely sit down with a buddy and talk about how they feel about certain things or how their personal lives are going. Jobs? Yes. Sports? Yes. Cars? Yes. Fishing, hunting, golf? Yes. But their feelings? - rarely. Women do it all of the time. We share from our souls with our sisters/mothers, and evidently that is very good for our health. He said that spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health as jogging or working out at a gym.

There's a tendency to think that when we are "exercising" we are doing something good for our bodies, but when we are hanging out with friends, we are wasting our time and should be more productively engaged--not true. In fact, he said that failure to create and maintain quality personal relationships with other humans is as dangerous to our physical health as smoking! So every time you hang out to schmooze with a gal pal, just pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for doing something good for your health! We are indeed very, very lucky. Sooooo let's toast to our friendship with our girlfriends. Evidently it's very good for our health."
The funny thing is that there is a day set aside to appreciate our girl friends. But in reality they are so much a part of our everyday journey. At work, at school and at church, they always bring joy to my life! Whenever I think about how one of them has impacted my life I feel overwhelmed with joy, peace, and contentment. Because through my girl friends I truly experience God's love.

So God, please let me never take advantage of the gift that girl friends are!

So if you are one of my girl friends reading this, thanks! I appreciate you so much, and all the ways that you have impacted my life, both big and small.

Love you! and all the nicknames you have given me too!