BEST DAY EVER- By Captains: Holley and Krush

September 8, 2014 by

Our Gennies retreat began with a “scenic tour of Lexington” as Coach likes to call it. In reality, we drove 15 minutes in the wrong direction and Rachael demonstrated her van-driving skills with a poorly executed 3-point turn. But give her a break, she just got her license last week.

Eventually we reached our destination. Attempting to describe it is nearly impossible; but it was awesome. Highlights included Ski Ball, a movie theater, Pinball machines, and a collection of guitars signed by every band or singer you’ve ever heard of. While the younger Gennies ran around exploring all the games, us old grandmas, aka the Seniors, posted up in the movie theater demanding snacks. And so the eating ensued.

First Course: Chips and salsa

Second Course: Pronto

Third Course: A cookie-dough, oreo, brownie concoction created by the junior class

Fourth Course: Sour Patch Kids

Fifth Course: Repeat courses 1-4 until you can no longer move

Once we finished eating, we moved on to the Gennies second favorite activity: games (pronounced james). Wardy, Kelsey Jervis (Kelso), Addie, Meaghan, Erin Duffy (Duff Masta), and others spent 20 minutes setting up Clue, but only 20 seconds actually playing. Kelso managed to guess who committed the crime in the second turn of the game. Noted: freshmen are cheaters.

Another gaggle of Gennies did their best Coach impersonations (multiple times) in a game of Charades. Apparently in Germany there is one universal dance to act out every Charades word; KJ did the same wiggle for “Teletubbies”, “candle”, and “Veggie Tales”. Eventually, Charades transitioned into Fishbowl, made possible by Kate Sourfoot’s hundreds of pre-cut paper squares. Who would’ve thought, Kate came prepared?

Meanwhile, the lazier Gennies pretended they knew what was going on in an English Premier League game between Arsenal and we’re not sure because we slept through most of it. For more information, ask Wardy. After realizing no one had seen Kathryn Riley for a good 8 hours, Abe directed us to a bench outside where Riley introduced us to her new pet cat, Miley. To be determined if Riley will ever forgive Coach for not letting Miley inside during the torrential rainstorm.

Next, the Gennies broke into groups to determine the team goals for the upcoming 2014 season. It appeared that great minds think alike when we reconvened with basically identical goals, including the desire to have the highest team GPA not just at W&L, but in the entire world. Winning ODACs may have made the list as well. Discussing our plans to make the ODAC our “stomping ground” pumped us up so much that it was time to refuel. We set out for our sixth course at the Baja Bean in downtown Staunton.

Thoughts from Rachael on the Baja Bean: “All of our food looks the same. It’s just in different shapes” “Why aren’t my fajitas sizzling? That’s the only reason I ordered these” “I hate Uncle Jamie” (in the highest voice we’ve ever heard from Rachael).

The delicious Mexican food was made better by the entertainment happening right outside the window as countless cars struggled to parallel park. The seniors, coaches, and Hollis “the Baron” Tardy harshly critiqued everyone who attempted to squeeze their car into the spot.

The last stop of the day was Staunton’s finest bowling alley. After listening to Rachael brag all day about bowling being her best sport, the Gennies were anxious to put her in her place. Good thing we had Shelbi to show her up because it turns out the rest of us should stick to sports where you aren’t allowed to use your hands. Bowling Awards:

Becca Morris- most gutterballs in a single game, and smiling the whole time

Kathryn Riley- most enthusiastic

Lauren Abraham- comeback kid

Camille LeJeune- most creative technique

Alexa Dreyer aka Dreyer Machine- best name

Shelbi Hendricks- MVP

Katie Rossi- N/A


Thanks to the coaches for organizing this awesome trip. It made for a fun day of team bonding and a great start to our championship-winning season.

Generals Giving Back to the Community Week

September 2, 2014 by

After a couple of very successful weeks of pre-season and our first two contests this past weekend the coaching staff felt that our players needed to broaden their horizons a little….So various community projects are being handled with usual Gennies enthusiasm in an attempt to bring a smile to someone else’s face (human or animal).

It is easy to get wrapped up in our fishbowl at Washington and Lee and we hope these connections will serve us and the community well in the future. We all need to serve and before we start school we have an abundance of time to give for sure.

See the first two adventures below:

Our sophomore class led by our very own “cat lady” and overall animal enthusiast Kathryn Riley went to the SPCA. Rumor has it that they tried in vain to smuggle dogs out afterwards.

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Our First year class enjoyed the afternoon with folks from the Mayflower Retirement Home. Mixing and mingling, enjoying conversation and bringing smiles to some folks that got a real bargain when 7 young females walked into their building today somewhere between Bingo and Dinner. Erin Duffy was our team leader and provided the pictures.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3

Junior, Becca Dunn (aka Dunny), Experiences Uganda

August 18, 2014 by

Being a member of the W&L Women’s Soccer team inspired me to do my 8-week Shepherd Internship with Soccer Without Borders in Kampala, Uganda. Interns and employees of SWBU instruct and play soccer, teach English and Life Skills classes and engage the local community. Through this model, the organization attempts to mitigate the lack of opportunity and education in the Nsambya neighborhood of Kampala as well as address various obstacles of the refugee population it serves.

SWBU began in 2006 through the collaboration of an American named Ben Gucciardi and a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo named Raphael “Rapha” Murumbi. Rapha is college-educated and speaks English, French, and Swahili, among other languages and felt he could make a difference in the community by using soccer to connect refugee children and forgotten youth. After the community showed immense interest and support in the preliminary Soccer Without Borders camp, the program officially kicked off and worked to combat the various problems facing Kampala youth; such challenges include the lack of available space and opportunity for youth to actively explore social issues and community challenges, a lack of social capital, and a deficiency in potential opportunities for education, employment and personal growth.

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Working in Kampala, I witnessed so many things- corruption, chaos, suffering, joy, commitment, learning, sadness, the list goes on and on. My favorite part of the experience was connecting with the participants, especially one family in particular. The youth in the program are unbelievable; they look at things so simply and are independent beyond their years. I couldn’t stop smiling when we played at recess and I had a minimum of four kids hanging on me at all times. I cannot describe the feeling of seeing multiple small children running towards you down the road with open arms and loud, boisterous screams of “coach!” or “teacher!” making you feel like the most important person in the world.


Playing my first soccer scrimmage with the u14 boys is an experience I will never forget. Most of them don’t have shoes and played on the field, full of dirt and rocks, barefoot. That was very painful for me to watch but the boys weren’t fazed in the slightest and were just grateful for the chance to play. They didn’t treat me like a muzungu (white person) or a girl or anything different than the rest of the team, which was especially surprising because I never got my soccer touch on the dirt pitch!
SWBU serves a need that no other organization in Kampala is serving and without it, the smart, hard-working and ambitious refugee youth would have no other alternatives. Since our participants are all refugees coming from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan and Somalia, I learned a lot about the lack of rights/ hardships refugees face. They do not attend school because they cannot afford to attend and/or do not understand English (mostly speaking Swahili and French, languages not spoken in Uganda). Since English is the national language of Uganda, children need to speak some English to go to primary and secondary school and eventually to communicate for opportunities in the job market.


These beautiful children with deep eyes and ebony faces have experienced more in their short lives than I will ever go through. I learned on our celebration of International Refugee Day that many participants have personal experiences with violence in the DRC, one of the local staff was a child soldier and has experiences with PTSD, and other various anecdotes such as fathers being killed or still missing. In my life skills lesson on global refugees, the students answered my question of “what challenges do refugees face?” with food, money, jobs, shoes, clothes, education, house and a lack of a mother and/or father. One said that he likes Uganda because “no one [will] come into our house and attack us.” Before this internship, I didn’t realize the chaos and fighting that plagues all of the DRC and I am heartbroken about the many lives it has affected. Yet these upsetting stories are always followed with comments on how parents and children are so appreciative of SWB and how they are eager to learn English and Life Skills (covering a range of topics such as geography, exercise, diet, hygiene, leadership, etc.) and of course how much they love playing soccer.


This internship has taught me about true fulfillment and the rewards of working for a good cause. I am inspired by the dedication of the local staff, as they taught me about tenacious perseverance and unconditional love. Throughout my internship, my English 1 Advanced Class reminded me of our motto “kumbuka wewe ni nani,” which means always remember to be yourself. My time in Uganda taught me that I don’t need much to live on and be happy and that a child is begging for things I take for granted everyday (for example, three kids asked me after reading The Cat in the Hat if they could please take the book home with them). My kids undoubtedly taught me more than I taught them and I won’t forget how easily the roles of our lives could have been reversed.


At the beginning of my internship, I felt overwhelmed by what our participants and their families have to handle on a daily basis. A quote I came across while reading depicted my feelings in the first couple of weeks: “sometimes working in a third world country makes me feel like I am emptying the ocean with an eyedropper.” However, one of my good friends from W&L responded back to my concerns and frustrations with another quote: “my life amounts to nothing more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?” So although I was, at times, overwhelmed by the vulnerability and powerlessness of the refugees’ lives in Kampala, I was reminded daily of what SWB means to its participants, how overjoyed they were to see me and how proud they are of their accomplishments. The participants get to bond with their teammates, exercise and not worry or think about anything other than playing soccer. They get to yell at the top of their lungs and just be kids. They get to learn about different cultures, whether it is Uganda, the DRC, the U.S. or Canada, and be loved, hugged, high-fived, picked up, swung around, laugh and smile every day, something that none of them take for granted. I am completely confident that SWB is the highlight of everybody’s day – whether it is the kids, coaches or interns – and this experience will undoubtedly remain a highlight of my college career and always remain close to my heart.

In the Packet We Trust- By Sophomore Camille LeJeune

August 12, 2014 by

My own personal hell takes shape in the form of the Washington and Lee women’s soccer summer training manual. When the coaches hand out that thing, hot off the press, so genuinely proud of their craftsmanship of torture, every fiber of my being cringes in fear. Instead of reading motivational quotes and workout instructions, all I see are pages littered with the words “Abandon all hope” and “Death by exercise.”

Despite my dramatized emotions, let’s be honest, nobody gets excited for The Packet. Sure, I’m excited that the start of season is near, I’m excited to play soccer and fight and score and feel that incomparable adrenaline that comes with winning. However, getting to that point requires following The Packet, and we all know that “fun” and “conditioning” are essentially antonyms in my glossary. Why run until I’m gasping for relief, begging the Grim Reaper to take his prize? (Only the good die young, right?) Why choke back vomit as an automatic reaction to seeing a track? (C’mon, Track Carnival, really? So misleading. I’m pretty sure this workout involves no cotton candy, no carousels, and no Noah Calhoun. How about “Laps of Doom?” (Trademark pending.)) Why get up before noon during the dog days of summer only to sweat so profusely that your headphones won’t stay in your ears? My couch is comfy, Game of Thrones is on, and I’ve got a full jar of Nutella in my pantry. But as tempting as that sounds, the answer is: because it’s worth it.

As students of Washington & Lee University, NARP or not, we are competitive. We had to one-up thousands of kids in this country because we wanted our name on that acceptance list. And as soccer players of W&L, we want our names on that roster. And more than that, we want on the starting line-up, too. We want it all. So in order to chase a ball around a grass pit and put it in a little rectangle, we carry that packet around like a monk with his Bible. We refuse to beat. We refuse to be outworked. And that all begins with putting The Packet’s wisdom into practice. And so we do. It becomes our closest confidante, coming on vacations, enduring sweltering heat, muddy rain, and dripping sweat. It nudges us out of bed and into cleats, staring us down until the day’s work has been completed. We don’t do it because we have to, or because Coach is gonna kill us if we don’t, or even for the toned legs (which I’ll admit, is a plus), but we do it because there is a competitive fire that runs through the veins of W&L’s women’s soccer team. And that fire, ignited by discipline, blazes fiercely in our hearts and will bring us great successes throughout the season. (Or maybe that’s just heartburn from the three hotdogs I ate earlier, idk.)

Despite my incessant jokes and complaints, the feeling of stepping out onto Watt Field, the air crisp with fall and the lingering scent of freshly mowed grass, the warm-up jitters, and the sound of the ball hitting the back of the net makes it all worth it. So go forth into this last week with that mindset, and carry around The Packet with pride. You’ve only got one more week with it, so heed its wisdom and cherish these final moments, because the worst is nearly over. (We can burn them later.)

In The Packet we trust,

Camille LeJeune

Highlights from Soccer Camp at Washington and Lee

July 1, 2014 by

June 20th-23rd, 2014

The 2014 camp is over and it was a very successful four days of soccer. I want to thank our magnificent staff, including our college players for all their hard work and dedication to their chosen sport. It is always neat to see six of your college players working camp having been past campers themselves not too long ago.

Thanks to the kids on camp who made the camp so much fun and of course the parents for entrusting us with your daughter for four days. Hope to see you back next year with a friend or two.

Here are my favorite parts of camp for 2014:


Thanks to all the soccer players who returned from last year receiving their very sharp looking free camp ball. Special mention to the SOCA girls from Charlottesville for returning and also the Christiansburg Griffins for returning and adding some friends to the mix. Sad news is that Bailee Brown from Salem, VA completed her 5th and final year at camp and is now “too old” for soccer camp.


Keeping it in the family at this years camp were Katrine and Julia Berg; Sarah and Allie Bower; Gwynne and Morgan Symons Buxton; Megan and Valerie O’Toole and Mackenzie and Grace Neff. A family that plays soccer together stays together.


To be able to watch the game with 100 soccer loving people in one venue was very cool. We all went through the ups and downs of that game. The US comeback to go 2-1 up and then the feeling of disappointment in the last 30 seconds of the game. At least we did not watch England.


The kids were awesome all week. They did not cause anyone a minute’s trouble and approached everything with enthusiasm and great energy. We got stormed out the first night but everyone just rolled with it and worked even harder to make up for lost time. The training sessions were great and the games in the evening were both competitive and fun to watch.


Coach Rachael, Sandy, Kerry, Russell and Ross are not just very knowledgeable coaches but great people also. They did a great job educating the soccer players and serving as great ambassadors for the game. My players; Kate, Hollis, Addie, Wardy, Ashley and Jasmine are great role models for young aspiring female soccer players and worked hard for four days and were clearly exhausted at the end of camp. Hopefully some of the campers will come to one of our games this fall. I cannot fail to mention Josh, our trainer who looked after everyone’s aches and pains during camp (not just the kids).


It was good to see some top prospective players for 2015 and 2016 attend camp and the game on the last morning was very encouraging for the future of the General’s soccer team. It was fast, technical and very competitive.


Some years you just have that special kid on camp that exemplifies what young soccer players should be all about. 100% every training session, a mischievous grin, the thrill of competing, never giving up and being genuinely a nice person. Ellie Byram was our winner this year and receives a free week at camp in 2015.


Enjoy the pictures on our Facebook page by liking us @Washington and Lee Women’s Soccer  and please join us in 2015 and bring a friend or two and spread the word.


Best of luck to all in your season.


Coach Neil and Coach Rachael



World Cup 2014 Predictions

June 12, 2014 by

I LOVE THE WORLD CUP! I have been waiting patiently for the 2014 World Cup to finally start in Brazil and I thought I would share my thoughts on who will advance and also share some picks for the championship on July 13th. There are 8 groups of 4 teams and the top 2 from each group advance in a single elimination tournament once in the round of 16.


Brazil, Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon

Brazil and Croatia are my two picks to advance from this group. Brazil has all the superstars including Neymar, Oscar, Hulk and many others. Croatia has an outstanding playmaker in Modric and the goalscoring prowess of Mandzukic.


Spain, Holland, Chile and Australia

Spain and Holland are my two picks. This is I believe to be the most cut and dried group with two powerhouses in Spain and Holland making up the group. The 2010 World Cup Winners against the runners up. Chile will probably give a good account of themselves and the climate will suit them. Australia should just bring the Foster’s and start early.


Columbia, Greece, Ivory Coast and Japan

Ivory Coast and Japan are my two picks. This group may not sound exciting but it could be very interesting. Ivory Coast has some great senior players probably finishing their international careers; Drogba, Yaya Toure are both match winners on their day and will be a hard match up for anyone. Columbia will get some home support and Greece will just try to defend and bore us all to death and give the announcers nightmares at the same time.


Uruguay, Costa Rica, England and Italy

England and Uruguay are my two picks. I know what you are thinking. I picked England out of national pride or stupidity. I think for once we have a great mix of experience and some excellent young players with flat out speed. Put Rooney on the bench and we have a chance. Uruguay will be miserable at the back and have one of the best forward lines in the world with Suarez and Cavani so they always have a chance. Please Italy just go home early and save us from afternoon napping while we watch you kick everyone to death and roll all over the playing surface. Costa Rica should enjoy the Brazilian festivities.



Switzerland, Ecuador, France and Honduras

France and Ecuador are my two picks: After being very disappointing in World Cup 2010, departing without even scoring a goal and arguing the whole tournament with each other they have rebuilt and will be a formidable force this time around. The second team to qualify will be a tough one but Ecuador plays France in their last game so I think the draw will suit them best. Switzerland is just too nice but love their chocolate and Honduras will just miss out.


Argentina, Bosnia, Iran and Nigeria

Argentina and Bosnia are my two picks: Tough that they play each other first game but I still think they will both qualify. Argentina always has a great defense and with Aguero and Messi as their forward line they will be awesome. Strength and depth will be their thing and Messi’s disappointing showing in 2010 by his standards will drive them on. Bosnia has a proven scorer in Dzeko and is a good solid team all around. Nigeria will be exciting and Iran is the other team.


Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA

Germany and USA are my two picks. I have no sentiment here and I am not politically correct either. Germany is a no-brainer and if the US gets a good start the USA/Germany match-up is the last game and may not matter. That’s my logic here. USA will be organized and has nothing to lose in my opinion. I think Portugal’s day has passed and Ghana will be dangerous but I think disappointing.


Belgium, Algeria, Russia and South Korea.

Belgium and Russia are my two picks: Belgium has a great team of players that play in the best leagues in the world and the likes of Hazard, Lukaku and captain Kompany have a great chance in this World Cup. The hype may be a distraction but hopefully they can handle it. Russia is always a tough foe and being coached by the great Capello they will be extremely difficult to defeat. South Korea will play pretty soccer and Algeria does not have enough firepower.



Here are my picks and we also polled our team for who they think will win.

Coach Neil: ARGENTINA. Team to watch Bosnia

Coach Rachael: GERMANY


Besides nothing about soccer whatsoever here are their picks:

GERMANY: Wardy, Harvs, Camille, Tricia, Hollis, Hoagie and Clem

BRAZIL: KJ, Holley, Riley, KP, Abby, Krush, Lucy

ARGENTINA: Addie, Kate and Abe


We also asked our incoming first year’s for next fall

Germany: Alexa, Kelsey and Caroline

Portugal: Chandler

Brazil: Becca, Julianne, Olivia

USA: Erin


Adventures in Spain- By Rising Senior, Holley Beasley

May 28, 2014 by

This spring term I ventured off to Cádiz, Spain where I was given the opportunity to fully immerse myself in the Spanish culture for a month by living with a host family and attending classes at the University of Cádiz, as well as enjoy the most beautiful beaches in southern Spain. My typical day began with an hour-long breakfast of bread and olive oil with my host dad, because, as he insisted, every day must start with a “peaceful breakfast”. I went to class in the mornings and spent most afternoons on the beach playing sand soccer. The Spanish style of play is very different from ours, with a lot less pushing and shoving and a lot more fancy footwork and bicycle kicks, so I tried to take note so I could be able to whip out some Wardy-moves come August. We ate the biggest meal of the day at 3 every afternoon. The meals were huge and delicious, so going hungry was never a concern for me, and after lunch the whole town would completely shut down for siesta, or nap time. We’re missing out over here by only giving naptime to babies. I was also able to travel around southern Spain on the weekends to Madrid, Seville, Bolonia, and Jerez. While I enjoyed spending time in other places, Cádiz was definitely my favorite and I was thankful to have it as my home base for the month.

The best part of my trip was, by far, my host family. On the first day of my program, my host parents, both of whom I towered over, welcomed me with open arms into their home and into their family and I could not have asked for a better family to spend my month with. While I learned a lot in school and in tours of museums and historical buildings, I learned the most from simply sitting with my parents at meal times and in the evenings. We would exchange funny stories and talk about our favorite foods, sports teams, and holidays. I told them all about my family at home, my school, and my friends, and I don’t think a day went by where I didn’t give them a good laugh with my mispronunciation or misuse of words that often caused me to say strange or inappropriate things without meaning to.

This past spring term was the adventure of a lifetime for me, and saying goodbye was not an easy task. I had a blast and learned a ton, but here are some of the things that I took away with me that I don’t think I will ever forget:


1. Bread is your friend. It works better than a spoon to eat soup with, it is easier to use than a knife to push food onto your fork, and everything tastes better on a slice of it. It’s good at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and anytime in between.


2. Walking is the best way to get anywhere. It’s also the only way to get anywhere. Leave your heels at home!


3. Personal space is overrated. Give every one two kisses to say both hello and goodbye with lots of hugs in between, and why watch a movie on separate pieces of furniture when the whole family can squeeze onto the same small sofa?


4. Enjoy where you are and what you’re doing. Put the cell phone away, take a look around, breathe in the air, listen, and observe the scenery, the flowers, and the people. Don’t rush through a meal at a restaurant. Eating out isn’t about the food at all. It’s about the company. Don’t gulp down your coffee. Take small sips and enjoy the moments before you need to be anywhere else.


5. The only way to learn and grow is to face a challenge head on and enjoy every second of it.






Sophomore, Meaghan Latella, Week 4 in Italy

May 27, 2014 by

Chapter 4:

Farewell to Siena


I’d like to dedicate the last blog post of my study abroad experience to where I lived for the last four weeks: Siena, Italy. For me, living in Siena was easier to adapt to than I expected. Like Washington & Lee, it is a tight-knit community of friendly citizens. Siena is a beautiful little city, surrounded by high, stone walls and made up of winding, hilly, cobble-stone streets. In the center of the city is the Piazza del Campo, which is a large open area in the shape of a fan. People come to the Piazza to rest, to chat, to sit and eat lunch- you name it. The largest building in Siena sits in the Piazza del campo. Usually just referred to as “the Tower,” this building is a large clock tower that can be seen from any point in the city. My classmates and I spent many nights with our professor in the Piazza eating pizza for dinner. Those were some of my favorite nights!

The Piazza del Campo

The Piazza del Campo



View of the Tower from the top of the Duomo

View of the Tower from the top of the Duomo

What kind of Gennie would I be if I didn’t try to make it to an A.C. Siena soccer game? Fortunately, we had time to go see a night game last week. The crowd comprised mostly locals from Siena, and boy were they passionate about their team. Siena flags were waving in the stands and the fans were constantly bellowing songs and cheers. If only my Italian were better, I could’ve joined in.


In general, Siena is a fairly quiet city and is much less crowded with tourists than some of Italy’s larger cities. Once a year, however, Siena is said to “come alive” (according to our cooking teacher, Leila) for an event that has been a huge tradition in Siena for several hundred years. The citizens of Siena spend all year preparing for what is known as “The Palio” (this year it is in June). In simplest terms, the Palio is a horse race that takes place in the Piazza del Campo; but according to Leila, the race is so much more than just an annual form of entertainment.

Siena is divided into 17 “contradas,” which are sort of like teams within the city. Contradas are essentially neighborhoods or districts within the city, and the contrada that you “belong” to depends on where you live in Siena or where your family lived while you were growing up. Each contrada has a symbol and its own colors. Our translator for the duration of the trip, Sigrid, told us that she belonged to the “Tower” contrada, and that its color is burgundy.

Sigrid explained that your contrada is essentially like your extended family. Each has its own church, holds its own festivals, carries out its own baptisms weddings, etc. She told us that everyone in Siena has great pride for his or her contrada, which is why everyone looks forward to the Palio so much. During the Palio, 10 of the 17 contradas are selected at random to compete in the race. Each of the selected contradas is assigned a random horse from a pool of 120 horses, and then each contrada supplies its own jockey. Winning the Palio is a source of great pride and sense of accomplishment, and Sigrid told us that the winning contrada has huge celebrations after the Palio that can last for days.

I loved learning about the culture of this city. Siena has so much rich history that I really do not think I would have been able to learn about in such depth had I not been privileged to live there for a month. It has a special place in my heart, and I know that I will be going back some day.

Studying abroad this spring term has taught me so much about myself and about what living a full life really means. In addition to the invaluable life lessons, I’m so thankful to have learned about the cooking culture and the importance of food in Italian lifestyle. What’s even cooler is that I can now tell you about the science behind what’s really happening when you cook eggs, or make jam, or bake a cake, or sauté vegetables…as a non-science major, I have to admit that the chemistry behind cooking is actually pretty cool! Only at W&L would I be given the opportunity to take such a unique class, and for that reason I am ever indebted to our wonderful school.


Happy summer everyone, and see you in August!


Sophomore, Meaghan Latella, Week 3 in Italy

May 14, 2014 by

Chapter 3:

Cinque Terre Earns 5 Stars in My Book

This past weekend was spent traversing around the most beautiful place I’ve ever been: Cinque Terre. This part of Italy consists of five towns situated along the coastline. A railroad runs through the mountains, connecting each of the five towns together. In addition, you can hike between each of the towns or take water taxis. The buildings in each town are all painted different colors, making the Cinque Terre look like a rainbow when seen from afar. Much of Cinque Terre is designated as a national park; because of this, it is against the law in many parts of the region to repaint or renovate your house. The laws are in place to preserve the unique, antiquated beauty that each town boasts. Below is a picture I took of one of the towns, Manarola, as the sun was setting:


We spent a lot of time on the beach, swimming in the Mediterranean and skipping rocks. We also devoted an entire day to hiking through the mountains from Monterosso (the town we stayed in) to Vernazza (the next town over). We embarked on the hike thinking that it would take 1 hour 40 minutes, as that is what the sign at the start of the trail indicated. Somewhere along the way, however, we clearly took a wrong turn because after nearly 2 hours, we still weren’t in Vernazza.

Thankfully, we ran into a family of hikers (they were legit: equipped with snacks, hiking poles, proper footwear- the whole nine yards), who had a map on them. They were from France, but spoke English as well. It was nice to take a breather and to get to know people from a country that I know very little about. Seeing as they clearly knew where they were going, they kindly gave us their map to keep. After pointing us in the right direction, we said our goodbyes and they wished us luck. I love friendly people!

We finally made it to our destination after 3 hours of hiking. I’m actually happy we took an unexpected detour, because our accidental route provided us with priceless views of the coastline and the ocean:


Since Cinque Terre’s economy heavily relies on the ocean, we got the chance to try some great seafood dishes. We went to dinner in a different one of the five towns each night. Below is linguini with anchovies and tomatoes in a wine sauce:

Image (^ I hate to be disloyal to Frank’s penne a la vodka, but this was some of the best pasta I’ve ever eaten.)

It’s hard to believe that a month has almost gone by and that I will be back in the U.S. in a week. Stay tuned for one last post from the lovely land of Italy!


Until next time,


Sophomore, Meaghan Latella, Week 2 in Italy

May 6, 2014 by

Chapter 2:

Singing (Karaoke) in the Rain

            Week two of the Italy adventure took me and my housemates to Florence and then to Pisa. We arrived late Friday night in Florence and made the trek to our hostel. As we neared, we could see the welcoming glow of the infamous Golden Arches in the distance. McDonald’s, the only food establishment near our hostel that was still open at midnight, simply beckoned for us to come eat some grubby fast food. Although I felt like I was living up to every stereotype that people have against Americans, I couldn’t resist. (Note: in Italy, chicken nuggets and fries costs 7 euros….total rip off).

This “meal” did not compare in the slightest to all of the wonderful food we’ve been eating on this trip. Each week, our class attends two formal cooking lessons at “la Scuola di Cucina di Leila e Giulia.” Leila, the head chef, prepares glorious four course meals over the span of five hours. We volunteer throughout the lesson to help her make sauces, pastas, desserts, meat dishes- you name it. Below are some of the scrumptious meals we’ve prepared so far:


After a much needed good night’s sleep, we woke up to an incessant downpour. Seeing as we were only going to be in Florence for one day, we knew we had to brave the storm and explore the city regardless.

            Luckily, the sun came out after lunchtime and the rest of the day was beautiful. We ducked into many shops and roamed around several markets, taking in all of the sights. That night, we met up with some other W&L students from a different study abroad trip and we all headed to a karaoke restaurant for dinner. Let me just say, we represented Lexington very well. The Generals took turns belting out some pop favorites for a very receptive crowd. Some of the highlights included “Hey Ya,” “Single Ladies,” and “Don’t Stop Believing.” In short: we killed it. (Video available upon request).

            On Sunday, we stopped in the lovely city of Pisa on our way back to Siena. As everyone knows, the main attraction in Pisa is the Leaning Tower. Like all good tourists, we took several pictures of us “holding up the tower.” See below:


….classic. If you took a step back and just surveyed the entire Piazza, you could witness at least 50 different people at once taking these cheesy, over-done yet obligatory pictures. Pisa was a lot less crowded and much quieter than both Florence and Rome, so it was a very pleasant break from the hustle and bustle of the past two weekends.

            The following Monday, the fun continued with a class field trip to a family- run olive oil mill in Montenero d’Orcia. The name of the mill was “Frantoio Franci,” and it was founded by two Italian brothers in 1958. It produces only extra virgin olive oil, which is the most natural and highest quality olive oil that you can eat. The little village in which the mill was located was absolutely breathtaking. Here is a view from the rooftop:


Week two: a huge success. Next weekend it’s off to the Cinque Terre for some hiking and kayaking. Can’t wait for that!! Until next time, ciao!




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