Sketchy, Sketch! On Possessing Beauty.


I really wish I would have sat and sketched more while in London and especially Rome. We just wizzed through places and streets so fast it felt imposible to find moments to sit and sketch. I did sketch one fountain in our neighborhood. The Santa Maria in Trastevere. It’s a simple fountain and it was very similar to the foundtain a Marylhurt Universiy. Perhaps this is why it became special to me. I even took a selfie with her! 

It’s funny to go back and read Button’s The Ar of Travel because he talks about Ruskin’s thoughts of trying to posess beauty and how we always want to. One way is by trying to capture it in a picture which I have done with myself in it too of course. He also says “…the most effect way of pursuring the conscious understanding was by attempting to describe beautiful places through art, by writing about or drawwing them…” (Button 216) There are many pictures I took with the full intention to draw them or make block prints from them later because I want to have another connection with them. It’s so interesting how we want o have and keep the beauty we see. 

This fountain was a beacon for us. We met here a lot, waited for others here, sat around and wached all the nght life here and use Sana Maria as a base to find other’s apartments. It wa a lovely little fountain with stairs that became more and more poplular as the sun went down. One of the best moments at the fountain when my instructor Meg and I were waiting for part of our group around 8pm. To our right was a street perfomrer getting the crowd excited for him to juggle flaming batons to lame techno dance music. Directly to our Left was the church Santa Maria and they were in the middle of a mass with the doors open. It was such an interesting juztaposition of life, culture, day in age. It was so Roman to see these two things happen simultaneously. Rome is really filled with moments like that. It was neat and funny. I will miss Santa Maria in Trastevere, she is a beaut’.

-Travelin’ Tori


Four Seasons in Rome

I was excited to read this book from the very beginning. I thought it was so neat to read a book that was written not only about the author’s experience living in Rome but in the very neighborhood we were staying in. As I began to read it I fell more and more in love with the book and all the things it described that I would soon see!

Anthony Dooer spoke a lot about the Janiculum Hill in his book. This hill is right above the neighborhood Trastevere where he and his family ( and I) stayed in Rome. It is also where the American Academy of Rome is which was the academy Anthony had his grant through.

On our last day in Rome a group of us finally walked up the Janiculum Hill. First we came upon the Fantonone, a glorious fountain about half way up the Janiculum hill and when you turn around from the fountain and cross the road there is an incredible view of the entire city. There is is, Roma, just resting in front of you, alive and amazing. I remember reading this part in Doerr’s book when he and his wife first walk up to the Fantonone. His wife just said “‘This is 50 yards from our front door'” (Doerr 16) I remember feeling most excited reading that one sentence because soon that would be me.  Soon I would be experiencing what they had and be astonished that  was there. “The fountian roar at our backs. The city swirls below us” (Doerr 16) And I was there. I was in awe.

We then walked over to the American Academy in Rome and I got really excited to see this place that was such a staple in Doerrs life. I’m a very visual reader and the academy was exactly how I pictured it while I was reading. It gets better though! Doerr always alked about the door man a the academy named Lorenzo. Well guess who we met?? Lorenzo! He was there and he was also exactly how I pictured him! One time Doerr describes Lorenzos face he says, ” Behind his glasses his eyeballs are intensley magnified, twice the size they should be” (Doerr 55) and they so were! He remembered Doerr fondly and spoke about the academy. So special.

Last Doerr talks about walking past the Garibaldi statue which his description actually didn’t give it justice. It was huge and glorious and right behind it was again an amazing view of the city. Here I had a moment where I was just present with Rome. I was really sad to be leaving but I really felt I would be back. The winds whistled comforts to me as I said one last goodbye. Luckily a friend captured the moment for me to always have.

Anthony Doerrs book was such an amazing glimps into the world I got to go and see. I loved it and hope to reread it now that I’ve been to Rome and lived it just as he did.

-Travelin’ Tori

Now we are off to Rome!


We were up and ready in the Lobby of our apartments at 5 am on September 10th. It was an early morning to say the least. We took the tube one last time and we got off at the Victoria Station! That’s me! There were a few hiccups on our travels to Roma but we made it! I had a rough first day in Rome and more on that soon!

-Travelin Tori

The secrets of Westminster Abbey- Rose the school nurse.


The Marylhurst group and Nurse Rose in a little courtyard tucked away in the Abbey.

There were so many museums, monuments, churches, building that we saw in London. They were all incredible but one I was most looking forward to was Westminster Abbey. We were supposed to go to Evensong on September 5th but we arrived from our Ferry boat tour down the River Tames too late. Our disappointment didn’t last long because what we got was even better!

This is Rose, Rose was sent to us from the traveling and special happenings angels. Rose is the nurse for the little boys in the Westminster Choir at the Westminster school. She has worked in Westminster for over 20 years. When she saw us looking through the gate into the courtyard of the school she asked us where we were from. After a minute she asked, to our surprise, ” Would you all like to come in for a short tour?” What?!?! Yes please!! The only stipulation was we couldn’t take pictures due to the children. So she opens the gate, walks us around and tells us countless stories and facts about this school. You could tell that she has an overwhelming passion for her students and her job. It was so precious.

Rose then said, ” Ooo I want to show you something inside the Abbey! Let’s see if we can get in, follow me” So we all eagerly follow her into the Abbey and she showed us many things. She took us to the secret gardens that many of the monks and priests sit and enjoy, she showed us a couple of courtyards that were just beautiful and she kept telling us to take pictures and soak it all in.

For me and our whole group this extra special way to experience such an iconic place as Westminster Abbey left me buzzing with gratefulness and beaming with joy. We all talked about how amazing it was for the remainder of the trip. None of us will forget that and we even sent Rose a postcard from Rome thanking her for her time and hospitality. It just seemed to be unreal that we got such a unique peak into Westminster and we got a new friend Nurse Rose 🙂

-Travelin’ Tori

Much Ado About Nothing at the Globe Theatre


Here is a group of us waiting outside the Globe!

This was one of the adventures on the itinerary I was most excited about! Like I said in another post I grew up in a theatrical family. My grandfather and sister have both been in a number of Shakespeare plays, I’ve seen and read many of them and for some reason I have the ability to easily understand the unique Shakespearean language, it must be in my blood 😉

I was truly giddy for this play. It’s actually one I have never seen so that made it even more special. I have heard about the Globe Theatre my whole life so getting to see Shakespeare at the Globe in London? Dream come true! I even put on lipstick for the occasion!

The play itself was so very well done. It is amazing how so many of Shakespeare plays are stories that are still relevant today. Much ado is a classic he said, she said story, with silly trickery, spying and misunderstanding throughout. The play was interesting as they decided to have more modern costumes and the characters played the music for scene changes and the scenes which required music. They also started and ended the show by singing and playing. It was so special. I cried hardcore at the end. It was so amazing and now over! :(! Regardless I laughed so many times and enjoyed it so much! It was everything I had every hoped and dreamed.

One more aspect that I dearly love about Shakespeare is even through the laughs, the comedy, the silliness, and the love in the story there is always a scene or two of dramatic, beautifully tragic moments. The scene when Hero is about to be married and is accused of not being as pure as people think was so powerful and moving. The actress was incredible in her breakdown into emotions on the thought of her and her father’s reputation being tarnished. I’m sure there was not a dry eye in the Globe. It was moving and spectacular. Sir William wants you to remember that even in the happy there is still sadness. A friend of mine often says, ” Love is always accompanied by misery.” And Shakespeare agrees.

Thank you Globe Theatre for a lovely, unforgettable night.

-Travelin’ Tori

A literary insight for a not so Literary gal…

Going into this trip a lot of the authors that have Literature majors absolutely buzzing were new to me. I had heard of them, Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, Charles Dickens and of course William Shakespeare, just t name a few. Now I grew up in a theatre family so Shakespeare has always been a part of my life. So much so that at family dinners there are often Shakespeare offs. Yeah… that happens… be jealous.

Anyways, I had a different perspective on all the literary goodness in England. I was more of an outside viewer rather than a fangirl. I so loved seeing the people who were so in love with these authors be in the place where they wrote. More so, though, I was really amazed by the idea that England is home to these iconic people and places and yet to them England was just home. England was just where they were in the time. Unlike Rome, England wasn’t a place for artists to flock necessarily (or at least not these authors) I was intrigued that because of Jane Austen and her book Persuasion in particular, Bath England is now a place on the bucket lists of die hard fans. Because of Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare our class went on a walking tour ( Which was cool and fun) all over London to see the many places they stayed, lived, wrote and immortalized. To them it was just home, to us it’s a treasure, a dream come true to stand on the same round and breathe the same crisp air.

So for me the literary insight I got from England is that it is rich with literary history. What art is to Rome Literature is to England. Literature is alive, powerful and part of the heart beat of England. These places hold history like they never thought they would. As an artist and art therapy major it is easy for me to geek out over art. I appreciated being in England and allowing myself to have a new appreciation and knowledge for the literary history that flows deep in the veins of England.

-Travelin’ Tori

The British Library- London England.

Growing up I was never really a book worm. My older sister Sammee had that role in the family. I fancied bookstores just about as much as I did root canals. But now? Now I can’t stop reading. I love reading, I want everyone to leave me alone and let me read. I am often jealous of the English and Lit majors who get to read all the time! This shift happened for me when I started college. I was no longer the girl with the lazy eye who always struggled with reading. One day I told myself, ” Hey Tori, you know you can just read and believe in yourself right?” and boom that’s all it took.

For this reason I was really excited for the British Library (and not just because it was next door to King’s Cross ;)) I was so excited so see all the old books, the invaluable collection. My grandparents are antique collectors and my greatgrandma lived to be 107 years old so I have always been surrounded my the vintage and the old.

On September 7th we arrived at the amazing British Library and it felt so alive. Everyone was buzzing around, many people were reading old manuscripts. There were books from floor to ceiling and it was glorious. Our group took a guided tour of the treasure room. I was blown away with some of the original manuscripts they had in there. Immediately upon walking into the hall of treasures we stopped at the original music scores. Woah, my eyes began to water as I was overcome by the power and beauty of seeing these. Original Chopin, Bach, Mozart, Debussy, all musicians I have learned about, performed, and enjoyed through my years of being a choir kid. My boyfriend really love Chopin too so it was an amazing thing to see (and sneak a picture of)

That was just the beginning and we roamed through this room filled with original Jane Austen, Shakespeare, bibles, and even block prints (AMAZING!)! I was blown away, I was teary eyed the majority of the time and I was so grateful to be in that room all together.

There was so much more to that day but I will leave this post as it is, We’ll be here all day otherwise!

-Travelin’ Tori

Oh last secret thing, there are pictures of these treasures I may post here. Our guide said, and I quote, ” Pictures aren’t allowed but I can’t see behind me. I didn’t say that. Let’s go!”

Loved it!

We are here!! Ello from London!

We got to London this morning around 11 am. Its a chilly, cloudy day here and I love it! I cried of coure when I said goodbye to Kirk, then again on the firt plane, again on the second and then once more when I saw London break hrought the clouds below us. The first cry was a sad one but the others were excitment plus pure awe that this is my real like righ now! The plane ride was pretty smooth but it was loooooong. Boy! Once we got to the airport here in London we were also in line at customs for a good hour and a half, zigging and zagging throught the ropes waiting to cross to the other side where Meg, our instructor, was waiting for us! We finally made it through then on to the tube!! The Tube here is pretty neato! This was my first experience with an underground system like that. My favorite part was probably watching the bodies through out the car sway to and frow together so beautifully. Also I got to sit by Meg for a good portion of our ride and I don’t know that I’ve mentioned it here before but she is simply wonderful. As a teacher and a human. So today and yeterday were long, traveling days but they are still amazing. We are going out to dinner tonight as one big group and then resting to hit the ground running tomorrow! Buckingham Palace is for sure on the docket! I’m excited!! Our apartment is the epitome of a tiny house too complete with bunkbeds and a bathroom that is the whole shower. If we flip the wrong switch to wash our hands we’ll be soaked! Silly London! That’s all for now I suppose. I truly am in awe of the fact that I am currently writing this from an apartment in London England. What a life.

-Travelin Tori
Oh really quickly, my GoFundMe is still active and get deposited right into my account so if you feel like continuing to give I can still recieve through my trip! I am unexplicably grateful for all I’ve gotten already. Truly I am surrounded by amazing people and this trip wouldn’t have happened without them. Heres the link.

Thanks all!

Why couldn’t I write beautiful things like Geoffrey of Monmouth?

Well you know what? I can! I’ve always been interested in the way we don’t allow ourselves to explore all sorts of artistic expressions. We often say phrases like, ” I’m no poet.” or the classic, ” I can’t even draw a stick figure” but I feel like all people posses the ability to create beautiful things. I do also think that it just comes easier to some, and that’s where one can feel inadequate. In the very first couple of lines of The History of the Kings of Britain written by Geoffery of Monmouth he beautifully describes England.

He says,

” Britain is the best of isles, situated in the western ocean between France and Ireland. Stretching eight hundred miles north to south and two hundred miles east to west, it supplies ceaseless abundance for every human necessity. It is rich in every type of medal and likewise has wide fields and hills, which are well-suited crops, each in its proper seasons. The island also has forests filled with all types of wild beast and pastures filled with domestic animals and with the colors of flowers that offer their nectar to the flying bees. It also possesses the greenest fields stretching pleasantly beneath lofty mountains, in which sparkling waters flow by in sweetly murmuring streams, promising sweet slumbers on their banks.Moreover, Britain is watered with lakes and rivers full of fish, and on its southern edge by a channel over which one can sail to France.” (Geoffery 42)

The way he describes Britain with such elegance is inspiring.  I wonder why we don’t talk about the places we love like this more often. So I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and I’m going to write a little bit about a place I love, Marylhurst University.

Here goes.

Marylhurst University: My love.

Campus is calm and quite, one can feel the presence of peace, serenity, life.

This place has history. You can see it in the trees.

The buildings tell you the stories they hold in their bricks as the wind hums the songs of the past.

You walk as if you are floating, gliding through the air of comfort.

The classrooms are buzzing with knowledge and conversation.

Each class you take is a channel of understanding that flows seamlessly into the river of your soul.

Here you are alive, here you learn to thrive.

As you look up at the sky you realize just how free you are to fly.

Marylhurst University hugs you hello and gently releases you goodbye.

Marylhurst is life, knowledge, and beauty.

-Travelin’ Tori