Sunday, February 26, 2012

Team 'Namberdanic'

Hello all!
Hope you've enjoyed reading our blog so far! It's a lazy Sunday for us here in Catania! Jordan and I slept in, he made eggs for breakfast, and 30 minutes later was already starving haha. We had a little bit of food at our apartment but decided to go get some more pasta from our neighborhood ARD (supermarket). To our surprise it's closed on Sunday! Oh no! As we were walking back home we saw a little cafe that was open and decided to stop in. We got an arancino, a calzone, a cappucino, and Jordan got a macchiato! The coffee was delicious but the food left something to be desired. When we got back home I made 'pizzabobs' on the stovetop - a grilled cheese with mozarella and salami inside, and some spicy pasta! Molto buono! After lunch Jordan and I watched 'The Town' on my computer and then headed to the bookstore! What a nice day!

This week was our first chance to meet Jordan and Nate's new teammate, Eric Marty! Our wolf pack has grown by one and we're officially 'Team Namberdanic' (NAte, AMBERly, jorDAN, & erIC) Our first night with Eric we all went to dinner - horse meat, horse hamburgers, cipollata, sausage, and vino! It was so very good and we closed the place down!

On Thursday night we all went out in downtown Catania. We stumbled upon a neat little bar where the walls were covered with post-it-notes! All of the post it notes had messages or pictures on them - mostly in Italian, but some in English. Jordan, Eric, and I decided to make our own and put them on the wall - Of course we made shout outs to the Catania Elephants, our wonderful home country, and the greatest state in all the land!

Last night we went to a club in downtown Catania for an Elephants team party! The owner and manager spoke, the imports (both American and Italian) were introduced, and we got to see some neat video highlights of the elephants and the Italian Football League! So much fun! Everybody on the team wore a black tie with the elephants symbol on it and we danced and partied the night away! Too bad drinks were so dang expensive! Jordan paid 16 Euro for 2 drinks! CRAZY!

And in honor of the rodeo starting in Houston I wore my cowboy boots. I'm a Texas girl at heart!

That's all for now. Sorry this post is so lengthy! Happy Sunday to all of you!
Ciao from Catania! XOXO

Friday, February 24, 2012

Pizza Files: Party Time!

Annnnnd I'm back! Sorry for the hiatus folks, we have been experiencing the coldest and wettest winter in Catania in the last 100 years so it's been hard to get out and get some good internet. Other than the weather, things have been great. We downloaded some movies/tv series from another Elephant teammate, and have been watching alot of 'Dexter' and 'Family Guy' while hiding out from the weather. Also, when I return back to the states I will be opening my own cooking school based solely around the prinicples of only being able to use a stove top while still managing to cook up tasty meals... cause that's all we have right now and Team Jormberly is keeling it* in the food prep department! Alright, and now without further delay... It's time to go clubbing!

We decided to go to this house music* club last Saturday to hear a female, German DJ bump some good techno tracks and fist pump like real Italians. It was about 15 minutes outside of Catania so Amberly, Nate, Mathieu (teammate), Jag (head coach), and myself piled into Nate's whip, said our prayers (if you read the Mt. Etna blog, you know why I say this), and all headed out to the club. Here is the dancefloor/stage area before the show.

Another Elephant teammate, Christopher, works there as a bartender so we were able to bypass the lines all night which ended up being great cause it got really crowded once the show started. The DJ was awesome and had everyone on the floor going gnutes*

Now for those of you out there who have never experienced a house music show, there is a lot of fun and excitement about hearing this different genre of music in a live setting that just cant be replicated anywhere else, but it brings out some weirdos...
Now in gold Kanye's defense, it is Carnivale time of year which is basically Mardi Gras over here so he wasn't the only one dressed up, just the weirdest. Just ask this 14 year old boy in a tuxedo...
 Oh wait, that was our female German DJ. This photo doesn't even do her weirdness justice, but she could spin some sick tracks so its tutto bene*.
This is a picture from right in front of the stage. if you have some time, try and pick out how many different people in costumes that you can distinguish. For example, I have picked out 'Jack Sparrow' and a pimp, but I'm still looking for Waldo

And then there are these two Americans making idiots of themselves... But we all had an awesome time and everyone got home safe at the end of the night. We hope you enjoyed our review of nightlife in Catania, and be sure to check below for my new addition to the blog: Jordan's Translations!*



Keeling it- doing something really good.
House Music-  electronic music that relies more on beats and sounds, than on words and melody
Gnutes (noo-tz)- when something is awesome, it can be described as 'that is nuts'. When something is gnutes, it is even more awesome.
Tutto bene- Italian for 'it's all good'

Around the city

Howdy! I hear it's 'Go Texan' day in our neck of the woods so I thought I'd start this post out right! We have been slacking on our blogging and we know it! Today, we're here to remedy that situation. I'm posting some pics of our wonderful city! We thought you might enjoy seeing what we see every day when we walk out of our apartment and when we drive around the city! Just the general sights & feel of our lovely Catania! (I apologize for the poor picture quality)

The view from outside of our apartment 

 Our apartment door! (right next to that sweet blue graffiti)

Jordan standing in front of the square on via etna - the 'carnivale' was going on (everybody dresses up and it's like a mardi gras party! Too bad it was rained out!)

 The Mediterranean Sea

The view of Mt. Etna and the city of Catania from the road

 The street signs in Catania - could they be more confusing?!

Another view of the city from the road

Mt. Etna! Isn't it beautiful?!

That's all from me for now! Sending love from Sicily!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Howdy folks! Sorry for the delay in posting but . . . we finally have internet!!!!! Well . . . sort of. Here's the story:

This afternoon we walked to go get aranchinis (fried balls of rice, cheese, meat, and sauce) with Nate, Eric (the new qb), Jag (the coach), and Christian (an Italian player) for lunch! They are so so so delicious! When you walk into the restaurant, you see what you like in the glass cabinet, you pay for it at the cash register, you hand your ticket to the man behind the counter, and then he hands you your food. You don't sit down to eat, you kind of just mill around and feel super in the way the whole time. When we were done eating, Christian drove us back to our apartment and started setting up our vodaphone internet. Normally this is great, but since we live in the dungeon, we get no service - and that's what the internet needs to work! So, as I write this blog, I'm sitting on the stoop of our apartment, in our courtyard, in the rain because this is the only place the internet works. Haha, sadly, I don't care because I'm just excited to have internet at/near our house! Whoo hoo! We'd love to skype with anybody that wants to - we skyped my grandparents and my parents the other day at Nate's house and it's pretty fun! So,find us @ amberlyjune or jordan lake!

Also, some other developments, we've officially found our mailbox, labeled it, and had the postman fill it with mail! Whoo hoo! Thanks sands, nana & gramps, and Mrs. Andrea for sending us mail! Makes us feel good to open it up and read some english :)

Alright, that's all for now as the rain is starting to pick up (it's rained for the past 2 days straight). Miss you all and love ya bunches! Pics & another post coming soon!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mt. Etna

Yesterday, we didn't really have anything going on so Nate (the other American player), Jordan, & I decided to take a trip up Mt. Etna and see what we could see! First things first, Nate just learned how to drive standard so, the fact that he wanted to drive us up the mountain was slightly scary.

The only way we knew how to get to Etna was by following the brown signs that say Etna. So, that's what we did! They wound us up the mountain through small towns, tightly packed streets, and lots and lots of countryside! We got lost a couple of times, but we always seemed to find our way again. We stopped a couple times on the way up for fantastic photo opportunities like this one below, but for the most part, we kept trekking to the top!

Once we started getting closer to the top, it started getting really, really cold! The signs for Etna also started having little red x's on them . . . wonder what that could mean?! A little while later . . . we found out - it means the road is closed because there's snow and lots of it! Because there was a tire track path in the snow, Nate thought it would be okay to continue on! Since it wasn't our car, Jordan and i didn't object. As we got higher up the mountain, however, it became clear that we weren't going to make it any further. The tire tracks disappeared and we were in full on snow now! Nate thought he could make it up higher, but us Southerners told him it wasn't a good idea. We decided to head back down the mountain . . . until Nate got our car stuck in the snow. Because the sun was starting to set and it was beginning to get really cold, we knew we had to get out of the snow and off the mountain. This little girl got in the driver's seat & floored it while the guys pushed the car from behind. Finally, after turning the wheel every which way, we made it back on to the tire tracks! Jordan walked behind the car and I walked in front while Nate backed the car down the mountain a ways until we got to a less snowy spot! It's always an adventure with our little gang of 3. Hopefully there are more to come that don't involve so much snow!

Ciao Ciao for now!

Fajitas & Tortillas & Discotecas . . . Oh My!

Ciao friends & family!

Sorry for the delay in posting but we still don't have internet in our apartment!
I wanted to post and tell you about the fun night that Jordan and I had on Saturday! After blogging/face timing at the bookstore on Saturday, Jordan and I started our trek back home (it takes about 15-20 minutes to get to the bookstore from our house). On our way back, we saw a restaurant that we had walked by a couple days earlier . . . Yogi & Boo Boo! The sign said that they had 'American food' so we thought we'd try it! We went inside and they told us that it would be an hour before they could seat us. No problem! We walked back home (in the rain I might add!), dropped off our computer stuff, had a quick glass of wine and some combos as an appetizer, and headed back to the restaurant!

When we finally made it back to the restaurant, we were seated right away. It was an awesome place inside! And even though it was 11 pm, the place was packed! We each ordered a beer and they came with pretty glasses to drink out of! Next, it was on to the menu! We thought that an appetizer sounded nice, and when we turned to the second page of appetizers, we were immediately drawn to 'queso'! We thought, why not, so we ordered it! (By the way, we're now ordering with our second waiter because the first waitress didn't understand us at all - they called the english speaking waiter in especially for us) When the 'queso' finally came . . . we were extremely disappointed. Melted mozzarella & mushrooms. WHAT!? haha. They gave us tiny triangle tortillas to eat the 'queso' with, but since it was no longer being heated, it started to congeal, making it very difficult to grab and eat.
Fast forward to ordering our main courses. . . . even though the 'queso' was not what we were expecting, we decided to branch out with our decisions again. Jordan ordered chicken & chorizo fajitas and I orderd 'Old El Paso' because it said (Tex-Mex) in parenthesis next to it! When our meals came out - all we could do was laugh. We each got rice & beans, guacamole, and salsa with our meals. The rice was tiny and super hard, the beans were cold, and the guacamole was a weird green paste. My 'chorizo burrito' turned out to be pot roast! Who would've thought! I had tortillas on my plate to put the pot roast in, but when I opened the first tortilla, it was filled with mashed potatoes . . . odd . . . yet delicious! Jordan's tortillas were tiny triangles again, making eating an actual fajita very difficult! Although our decisions didn't turn out to be what we expected, the food was delicious and we had a lot of fun!

After dinner, we went to a 'discoteca' with some of the guys from the football team. It was basically a big building that was packed with people. In the back room there was a Queen cover band playing which was pretty hilarious. Everyone knew the words and was singing along . . . everyone was also smoking so there was a haze that covered the entire room.

Ciao for now!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

No dryer?!

Alright, Amberly's back on the blog!
Just wanted to share a couple things with all of you back home about our lifestyle here in Sicily. We are once again in the bookstore using their internet, but they're having a concert tonight so it's kind of fun!

Yesterday was my first time to do laundry since we got to Catania. I guess I've been putting it off because I wasn't really sure how to work the washing machine since the directions are all in Italian!
I went to the grocery store while Jordan was at football practice and picked a detergent that I thought would be best . . . again, it was all in Italian so I basically just guessed! When I got back home, I put about 6 shirts, 2 pairs of shorts, and some socks in the washing machine (that's ALL that fits!), put the detergent in the spot I thought it should go, and turned the knob and waited . . . and waited . . . and waited. It took about 2+ hours for the laundry to get done! Crazy! Sooo, my second time around, I turned the knob halfway and started it in the middle of the cycle. The clothes still smelled/looked clean so I think it was a success! As for the drying part of all of this . . . there are NO DRYERS IN CATANIA! Everyone hangs their laundry out to dry! (P.S. My grandparents in San Antonio still do this :) ) I found our 'drying rack' in the back room and put as many wet clothes on it as I could! Normally I would put it outside, but since it's rained almost every day since we've been here, I thought that would be a poor choice! Sure enough, it started raining about 2 hours later!

Another thing that Jordan and I find interesting about our apartment is the whole showering process. Our shower is TINY! The shower curtain touches you the entire time you take a shower, and you only have about 5-7 solid minutes of hot water at a time. This has turned us into speedy shower takers! You only have so much time before the water turns ice cold to shampoo and condition your hair! As far as when we get out of the shower- it's pretty chilly in our apartment (the coldest winter Italy has seen in 150 years!), so we run to the room next to the shower and stand in front of the heater! Haha. Once we're warm, we put on LOTS of layers and socks and then I start the process of drying my hair! Since I can't use my blowdryer, the team has been nice enough to provide me with a hairdryer built for a baby! It's SO TINY! Yesterday it took 30 minutes to dry my hair, and the power went off while I was doing it. Ha. The apartment was pitch black so I had to find the flashlight I brought and unlock our door . . . unlock our second door . . . and flip the power back on! What an experience! We lose power frequently in our apartment because apparently the power grid 'can only handle so much' as our Italian friend, Christian, told us!

Every day is an adventure for us here in Catania but we are loving every minute of it! Here's a quick pic of me and Jordan last night at a bar that the football team frequents!

That's all for now!
Ciao Ciao!

P.S. In the last blog, Jordan described something as 'super sick' . . . for those of you who don't understand that (shout out to my parents & my grandparents!!!) super sick = awesome :)

Pizza Files

Alright it's finally my turn to blog! Although Amberly has done well so far, I find it only fitting that I get to start my blogging career by reviewing our first Sicilian birthday pizza party.  Our teammate Christian, who might as well be the mayor of Catania because he knows everyone, invited us to his sister's birthday party at his family's vacataion house at the foot of Mt. Etna. We were picked up and driven there by Christian's best friend, Carrado, who happened to be the chef. So after a "quick" trip to the store, we were on our way to the party, which was an adventure in itself. Catania rush hour traffic is a giant joke to me and we both felt like we were going to die multiple times. So after a few close calls, we made it to the party, about 45 minutes away from our place. Little did we know, we were the first people there, and Amberly and I were in charger of cutting up the massive amounts of mozzarella cheese. The house was super sick, but it is being rennovated so there was no heat and it was colder inside than it has been all year in Houston. We spent about 45 minutes of slave labor cutting the cheese (literally), in below freezing temperature untill our hands went numb. Luckily by then, the other Elephant players had arrived and we were able to finally relax and let the chef do his thing...

So for the next 4 or 5 hours, we were treated like family and got to expereience an authentic Sicilian party while drinking Vino, eating homemade pizza, and trying to learn as much Italian as possible.

The old person in that picture is the grandpa of the family, that made sure our glasses were never empty... even if we didn't want to drink anymore, he just kept pouring us vino and talking to us like we knew Italian. He was awesome. And to top it all off, we got to see some "liquid hot magma" erupt from Mt. Etna. The pictures we took don't do it justice, hence they are not shown. The whole night was an amazing experience and so much fun.

End Pizza Files

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

St. Agata

Ciao friends!

Jordan and I are at the bookstore again after a quick yoga session this morning with some of his teammates. When Jordan and I walked to the yoga studio this morning, everybody was staring (and some were laughing) at us . . . apparently wearing shorts in the winter time is frowned upon by the people of Catania haha.
Ok, the point of this post is to tell you about the festival/celebration that Jordan and I went to other night. Luckily for us, this weekend was one of the biggest weekends for the people of Catania - they celebrated St. Agata! Legend has it that Mt. Etna (the volcano right by our town) erupted 6 times and destroyed the town of Catania each time. The 7th time it erupted, St. Agata laid her veil down and stopped the lava from destroying the town . . . hence why the people here love her so much!
The festival was crazy crowded - kind of like the rodeo for us Houston folks, but outside on the streets. They had lots of different food stands set up, people selling balloons and toys, and lots and lots of candles! The worshippers of St. Agata wear 'pajamas' which means a white robe/dress with a little black hat. These worshippers are either in the street, holding onto a large rope, pulling the float (which contains her remains) of St. Agata, or carrying GIANT lit candles! These candles can weigh up to 70 kilos . . . holy cow! They put padding on their candles and then they light them and carry them around the town for about 6 or 7 hours to pay tribute to Agata. We got some great pics & had a really great time! Enjoy!

Ciao from Sicily!