My brother got me a CD for Christmas. It's St. Vincent. I like her and you should too.
I've decided I don't like plans. They're dumb. A hazy guide, an idea, is ok, but not plans. Plans are just arrogant.
And episodes of The Office never get old.
And here is a donkey and some friends on Christmas Eve.
Chicken and stuffing are a-cooking. We had a big yummy Christmas brunch and now are awaiting our big yummy Christmas dinner. I'm wearing a new Christmas watch and listening to my brother's new Christmas record player. Earlier I watched an episode of my new Christmas DVD set of the first series of The Office (the British version). It's a beautiful day but I've barely set a foot outside and now the sun is thinking about setting. Where do the days go? I only have a few left of 2007. I guess I should start thinking of a New Years Resolution.
Here's me and my Christmas mommy. With my haircut that makes me look like a business woman, apparently.
I deleted my link to Florence University of the Arts from my bookmarks. It's apart of my past night. I did it.
I'm home now and it feels good. It feels like I've only been gone a day. The unpacking I still have to do tells a different story though, but I have time for that. And I'm going to a yoga class at 11! I've so missed yoga, and just working-out in general. And my car Timmy, is having troubles, so a new car for me is in the works. And I played guitar last night for the first time since August. I haven't forgotten how. And I'm anxious to get back to Baylor, but that doesn't mean I don't love being here.
So that's my life at the moment.
I feel like I'm in some sort of limbo, this last day. I'm just waiting to leave.
Isabel left early yesterday morning
Jenny left yesterday at around 11.
Ady and Anna left early this morning.
Hannah left at noon.
Tomorrow morning, at the buttcrack of dawn, Vanessa, Whitney, and I will leave.
And Melissa is sticking around with her family until Monday.
I finished finals today, and I think I did pretty well. Home is so close I can taste it. But I'm still here for two more whole days. That's weird. It's weird to be here without a purpose. I guess I do have some purposes--packing and cleaning. And I have some rolls of film left from my photography class. I want to walk around these next couple of days and take cool Florence pictures.
Melissa's sis is here visiting. It's fun walking around here and seeing things through her eyes-- fresh eyes. Makes me appreciate it before I leave it.
So I'll see you soon.
There is this infectious song that plays on the radio a lot here by a UK guy who goes by MIKA. It's such a fun song; you can't NOT be in a happy mood when you're listening to it. I remember paying for my groceries earlier this semester and it came on. I started dancing a little in line and the Italian cashier started dancing and singing along. It was a beautiful moment I dont know if he's popular in the US, but I just bought his CD and am in love with it. Here's the video of the aforementioned song.
He's just so fun! I want to be his friend.
What I'm going to miss most about this place isn't the art, it's not the beautiful churchs nor Tuscan landscape, not the wine, gelato, nor pasta, not the shoppping nor the traveling nor the catcalling Italian men, not the language nor the cappucini nor the pastries. It's my roommates. I'll miss this most.
We're just really cool people.
I miss people wherever I go. Here, home, Baylor. And as I get older I'm just going to miss more people There will just be more people and more places and people and places and faces and memories. It's the beautiful burden we bear.
Today I visited Florence's Serial Killer Museum. *shivers* It seemed like a good idea at the time. In the museum, you learn about and see wax reproductions of the world's famous serial killers--Jack the Ripper, Ted Bundy, Charles Mason, John Wayne Gacy Jr, to name a few. It was intriquing and disturbing. I felt dirty afterwards, and suspicious of everyone.
I learned that the United States has had more serial killers than any other country in the world, by a land slide. Out of all recorded serial killers, 58% have been American. The runner up is Italy with %6. The rest are dispersed throughout a plethora of countries. It makes you wonder about us.
And did you know that Tuscany was the first country to outlaw the death penalty? Tuscany is the region of Italy where Florence is located, and was it's own county back in the day. They did so back the the 1700s. The anniversary of the ban of the death penalty was a few weeks ago actually. There were these people walking around dressed in 18th century garb, led by a guy that looked like an executioner, walking to the beat of some boys following, banging on drums. We were all perplexed at the time, but then learned the significance of the day.
So those are some fun facts for you.
But on a happier note, I finished my paper. Yay! I'm done with papers for this semester! Now all I have to do is study for and take finals.
My brain is about to ooze out of my ears. I've been working on this paper for too many hours. It's for my Renaissance Art class and is about the emergence of female nudes in Western art. I'm calling it, "The Renaissance Takes Off Her Clothes." I dig the title.
Since I've been studying Art History, I've become much more comfortable with nudity in general. It's all over the place here. And it's interesting to see the changing face of beauty, from the voluptuous women of Giorgione (to your right), to Kiera Knightley.
Maybe I should go walk around or something. My back is starting to hurt.
One and a half weeks, people.
I went to Italian Mass this morning at the Duomo (pictured to your left). Actually, it was not so much in the morning, more like the afternoon--it can be hard ro rouse up my roommates. It was my first time to go to a church service since I've been in Europe. I've never gone so long without attending church, but at the same time, I've never been in so many beautiful churches. Mass today was a cool experience. I didn't understand much of it, but following along in the program helped. And they had all the verses they were reading in English on page five. Next week we want to go to an English Mass in one of the other beautiful churches around Florence.
I've had fun this weekend being a tourist in Florence. I went to the Pitti Palace today by myself and wondered around the
opulent rooms and beautiful paintings. I went to the Uffizi Friday, and yesterday, I went souvenier shopping with Melissa and Vannessa (pictured to your right in the Piazza della Signoria, which I walk through at least once a day). It's been pretty chill.
And then I have one week left of actual classes, one week of finals, and then I'm finished. Egads.
In other news, we've already ruined are kitchen table from multiple people neglecting to use cutting boards, and our landlady has told us we are going to pay her for a new one, and so, like the free-spirited, Florentine art students we are, we've taken to decorating said table with colorful sharpies.
We plan on selling it on ebay and making making thousands of dollars to donate towards AIDs research or some such disease.
I believe this is the meaning of the phrase, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade."
So this is ridiculous.
So last weekend I went to Rome with my Michelangelo, Caravaggio, & Bernini class. We saw about a million things in one day, running all around the city. It was enjoyable, but long. Then, Melissa, Hunter, and I stayed the night and did some other sight seeing on Saturday. For some reason, I went on strike from my camera for the weekend and took no pictures. I just didn't feel like it. But Melissa did, so it's ok. I have this weird paranoia that if I don't journal or take tons of pictures, I'll forget my life. I'll forget these places and people and experiences. It was nice to take a break from that paranoia for a couple days. I didn't even bring my journal to Rome; that is so unlike me.
Going to Rome last weekend was the first time this semester I visited somewhere I had been before. Four years ago I went to Rome with my dad. I rememberd a lot from that trip, which surprised myself--like streets and shops and stuff. And it made me miss my Dad. I'm sure I got annoying, "That's where my dad and I bought souveniers . . .My dad and I went inside the Coloseum last time . . . That's where my dad and I took a cute picture . . .I saw Michelangelo's Moses with my dad last time . . " I'm sure everyone was like, "Ok Laura, you were here with your dad, we get it."
Speaking of. I would like to apologise before hand for the many references I will inevitably make to Italy in the next year. I'm sure that will get annoying for all of you. "We get it Laura, you lived in Florence for a semester. You don't have to talk about it ALL THE TIME."
Back to Rome. First, here's a picture I've dug up of my Dad and I in Rome quattro anni fa (us on the Spanish steps):
And now here's Melissa, Hunter, and I in Rome last Saturday (us in front of the Coloseum and . . . a Jeep. It was an ancient Roman Jeep, I assure you):
What I really want to do is scream. I don't want my roommates to pity me, or tell me they understand, that they screwed up in the darkroom at such and such time blah blah blah. I just want to complain and huff and puff and scream.
I just wasted the last three hours of my life. For my photography final, I've been taking pictures at Florence's Santa Maria Novella Train Station. It was a beautiful day today, crisp autumn weather with a clear blue sky, so I decided to walk out there and take a roll. So I did. I was feeling pretty good about these 36 pictures, and so went straight to the darkroom to process the film. That's when things went downhill. To make a long story short, I stupidly exposed the whole roll to light while in the darkroom, but then processed it anyway--hoping maybe some pictures could be salvaged. Well, they couldn't. It was all black. Bleh. So then I decided to print a picture from a past roll. I just wanted one good print so that my time in the darkroom wouldn't all be for naught. Well, I didn't get a good print and my time was all for naught. Naught naught naught.
Let's not talk about it anymore.
I love doing drastic things, like chopping of my hair. People stop you in the halls to comment, some whom you've never even talked to. You get lots of comments on your blog. You don't recognize yourself in pictures. It's great. And having short hair is a lot of fun. I like coming out of the shower and just shaking my head around. When my hair was long it wouldn't do anything but fall in my face when I did that, but now it flies all over my head. I love it.
Thanksgiving turned out wonderfully. We all cooked. We couldn't all fit in our kitchen, because there are nine of us, so we dragged a table into our biggest hallway. Some people, like Jenny, spent the WHOLE DAY in the kitchen. And I'm not one to exaggerate. I was in and out of it all day, helping out when I could and I made green bean casserole. And did I mention that I didn't tell anyone I was chopping off my hair on Thanksgiving? So on one of occasions of me popping into the kitchen, my hair was about eight inches shorter. People screamed. It was fabulous.
Jenny and Whitney, our two main cooks.
Me being helpful-ish.
All of my roommates in the aforementioned hall.
After we ate dinner, we watched a Thanksgiving episode of Friends and then ate pumkin pie. Yum yum. We had a lot of leftovers, but unfortunately, Melissa and I were in Rome Friday and Saturday and so now all of it is gone. Sad day.
And now it's Sunday and I have nothing to do and I will relax.
My first away from home. We're having a big Thanksgiving dinner at our apartment tonight. I'm in charge of the green bean casserole (hey Julia). And bigger news. I chopped off my hair!
Che strano! How strange! It's feels so different, but good different. Light and healthy and bouncey. I'm very excited about it. Im also excited about putting it in cute little pigtails.
So this weekend I was in a snowglobe, pretty much. I went to Vienna, Austria with my school. It snowed, and was beautiful. That's me with my new snowman friend. We also went to an outdoor Christmas Market that got me super stoked about Christmas. It was magical. I ate roasted almonds, such as the picture illustrates.
And this time next month I'll be home.
And I've also come to be more into hats, if you can't tell.
There has been a wonderful new development in our apartamento. We now have heat! Benisimo! Hallelujah! It has come at just the right time, too , because today is rather rainy and cold, but I'm snug and warm in my heated apartment. Yessss.
Yesterday morning, I went to our coffee shop for the first time by myself. I usually go with a whole troop of my roommates, but I had to finish a book for lit class, so I decided to do so there, da solo. Aside from all the italiano surrounding me, it felt like home--sitting in a coffee shop by myself and reading; I haven't done that in awhile. I was sitting in a booth, and a random Italian dude sat across from me at one point. The only thing he said was to ask if he could sit there (in italian), and then he just sat quietly while finishing his coffee and pastry. It was a bit awkward actually; I was glad to have a book to hide behind. I snuck a glance at him at one point though, and he was actually pretty cute. Too bad no other words were exchanged between us. A little while after he left and right before I was to leave, a woman set her stuff down in the seat across from me as well. So perhaps that's a normal thing to do here--invade someone else's bubble.
And here's me and Whitney in rainy, cold Prague.
So I was just reading my old blog posts. I thought to myself, "What was Laura thinking this time last year?" and so looked. I looked at October and saw the post where I pondered how many people actually read my blog and if I had any unknown stalkers. i had everyone who read the post leave a comment, just to say "Macaroni." They didn't need to reveal their identity, or say anything else, just "Macaroni." I want to do that again. I want to know how many people are reading this. So if you are, even if you don't know me and just stumbled across my blog, do it. Macaroni. Do it!
You better. I'll know if you don't. I'll just know!
Oh life. How wonderful art thou. So many things to discover around every corner.
This weekend Whitney, Melissa, and I did Prague. That city is ours now. I had a lot of fun using the word "Czech" in punny ways. And I walked a lot. More than I've walked since I've been in Europe, and that's a lot. And I froze. A lot. And it snowed! And I met cool people. And I took 303 pictures. Here's a sample--the cutest picture of the three of us. Because you'd rather see us, than Prague, right? If you want to see Prague, just Wikipedia it. If you want to see us, you're at the right place.
"I had leave the house of self-importance
To doodle my first tattoo
To realize a tattoo is no more permanent
Than I am, and who
Ever said that life is suffering
I think they had their finger on the pulse of joy
And the power of transcendence
Made its grace a practice we can employ "
So this dove and me, we're going to be together for the rest of our lives. When I grow old (hopefully it will come to that) and wrinkly and my hair is gray and my skin sagging, I'll still have my little dove. She can remind me of who I was, or hopefully who I still will be. And of Italy. And of Chio, the Brazilian Italian who needled her onto me. And perhaps I'll get tired of explaining to people what "pace" means. "No, I didn't misspell peace . . . No, it's not a homage to Pace Picante sauce, though I do love Pace Picante sauce . . .No, I'm not particularly found of pacing . . ." It's peace. I lived in Florence when I was 21.
And here is a picture of me and my roomies on Halloween, sans Melissa who is taking the picture, and Isabel, who owns the pink hair I'm wearing.
None of us really dressed up as anything in particular. We just dressed fun. My pink hair created quite a reaction wherever I went.
So this morning, me and two of my roommates left our apartment to get our usual cappuccino and usual pastry at our usual cafe, but did not see the usual site when walking down our stairs. We saw three firemen, sweeping water down the hall, water pouring out of Maria's apartment. Maria is our underneath-neighbor. She's little and old and lives by herself and doesn't speak any English and yells at us in Italian all the time. Anywho, apparently her apartment flooded this morning We don't know the story, but it was an abnormal site--the firemen sweeping the water out of our apartment building, while Maria is yelling at them. And her coat rack in the hall. I feel bad for the lady. And then Matteo, the guy who works at our usual cafe, forgot our cappuccini. We just sat there for a little while, waiting--"He's not making the cappuccinos. Should we say something? He's helping that old man. It's been awhile . . Maybe he knows the old man? Maybe the old man is sick? Should we say something?"--until finally Matteo looks at us and says, "Tre cappuccini! Ho domenticato! [Three cappuccinos! I forgot!]"
It was just a weird morning.
The rest of the day was fine. It's nice to actually get stuff done for a change, unlike this weekend . . . when I watched a lot of movies and Family Guy . I also took the big touristy double decker bus this weekend. You get a little red headset and are driven around the whole city and the headset tells you about Florence in the language of your choice. I had just been aimlessly walking around by myself (it was a beautiful day), saw the bus, and just got on. It was a nice diversion. And a nice change from walking everywhere.
I don't know what I'm going to do with myself when I'm home and have my car again. That'll be strange. And sweet.
Blurg. Blah. Blu.
I didn't have class Thursady, I never have class Fridays, today is Saturday, and I haven't been doing much else except not having class. We've watched a lot of Family Guy. And today Whitney and I went to Pisa. It's only an hour and a half away by train. We ate pizza, took the obligatory pictures with the tower, layed around in the grass, and came back. It was a nice day. And now I'm curled up on the couch watching "Hot Fuzz." I think my brain is about to ooze out of my ears. Tomorrow is Sunday. Perhaps I'll actually do something. Perhaps not.
I got some new ink in my skin. Cat's out of the bag. I wasn't going to tell people until I got home, but I just couldn't stand it. It's sweet. You'll see it when you see it.
Tonight, our roommate from Taiwan, Ady, made us sushi and fried rice. Exquisite.
I just have to laugh. I just have to laugh so as not to yell.
At first the problem was people not washing their dishes. Piles of dishes would just chill in the sink for days. People made angry signs to each other to vent their anger. Everyone was complaining but no one was washing. Now, there are less dishes in the sink. But no, the problem's not over. You see, we don't have a dishwasher like you spoiled Americans, we have a sink and a drying rack. And now, as we empty dishes from the drying rack, we find dirty dishes. So someone is not washing their dishes and just putting them in the drying rack. Still dirty.
So I just had to laugh as I was rewashing someone else's dishes. It's just so ridiculous you can't not laugh. Laughter or anger. I'll chose laughter. Ok, maybe a little of both.
So something new I've learned--floss is very durable. Over Fall Break Whitney's backpack strap broke, and she fixed it by sewing it back on with floss. My new purse just got a little tear, and so I sewed it together with floss. Floss is the new duct tape.
I painted my nails black for Halloween. They match my computer.
Happy Halloween! Not that it feels like it's Halloween. Here, the only people who celebrate the holiday are American College Students (there's quite a few of us in the city), but there are still many stores selling costumes and most bars and clubs are having special stuff tonight. That should be fun, but I'll miss Trick or Treaters. I guess I haven't seen much of them since I've been at Baylor, since they don't go around college apartment complexes, but I still miss them.
I was going to go to Paris this weekend, because it's a four day weekend. Some of my other roommates were going to go to Barcelona, but now, for one reason or another, all our plans have fallen through, and we're pretty much all chillin' in Florence this weekend. I"m pretty excited about it now. I haven't been in Florence a lot on the weekends. It'll be nice. I want to do a lot of the touristy things I still haven't done, and I want to sleep. Mmm.
While I'm here, I'll show you some more pics from Fall Break.
Here's Whitney and I swinging in Switzerland. So beautiful there!!
That's Vanessa and I in front of the sign of our hostel (the sweetest hostel ever). It was the first morning and was all foggy and snowy--very exciting. You can't see it because of the fog, but behind us there are beautiful mountains.
Here's me and my travel buddies/roommates inside the aforemetioned hostel. Vanessa has a pool triangle on her head.
Next time I'll show you some of Bruges,Belgium perhaps.
I'm never in Florence on Sundays. Usually I'm somewhere else--in Italy or otherwise. Usually in Italy. We got back yesterday evening from our Fall Break adventures. That was definitely one of the best weeks of my life. We did Switzerland, Belgium, and Amsterdam. We started out in the small town of Gimmelwald in Switzerland and the towns we visited got progessively bigger as the week went one untill we ended up in the city of Amsterdam. In Amsterdam we stayed with my roommate's family which was really nice after all of the hostels. And none of us have really been in a home since we were in America. I mean, these people even have a dog. Oliver. And they would lay out breakfast for us every mornning and the mom was always concerned we wouldn't be warm enough when we walked out the door. I haven't had a mom worry about my body temperature in a while. It was nice.
But yes, all that to say that I've never been here on a Sunday. I've never been here on a day when I have no obligations--no class, no train to catch. Just sitting on my bed writing in my blog, totally needing a shower but not wanting to move.
What a great week though.
That's probably another thing about how this is nice. All week I've had to get up and go do the tourist thing--Anne Frank's house, Van Gogh museum, hike through the Alps, canal tour, etc. But now I'm home in Florence and can just sit on my bed and write in my blog.
What a great week though.
Oh, but I am sick. Cold sick. I have no voice. Let's not talk about that. Or class. Yuck.
Because it's been a great week.
But I miss you.
That is very much not me in the picture. That's Vanessa. She's quoted in the post below.
Melissa: I feel like being here is good for your soul.
Vanessa: Yeah, humans are like, natural.
That pretty much sums it up. We arrived in Switzerland this morning. Its unreal. So beautiful. Besides the fact that on the Swiss keyboard, the z and y are switched (that keeps tripping me up), its wonderful. We are staying in a cozy, cramped, little hostel, the Mountain Hostel, in a little town called Grimmelwald that one has to take a gandola to get up to. No McDonalds up here.
Thats all I have to saz, I mean say, for now.
And midterms were ok. Italian and Michelangelo made my brain ooye, I mean ooze, out of my ears, but besides that, ok.
So midterm week is in full swing. The motif of this week is people freakin out and then coming home and saying, "That was easy," or at least, "not bad." For the most part anyway. Mine have been easy so far. And really, I have a lot more free time than I do in a usual week because I have no reading to do and classes are a lot shorter, because there are only tests.
So I'm having a really hard time concentrating right now. Sorry if my sentences aren't making too much sense.
Nice was amazing, btw. And now I have sooo many pictures of Melissa, since she was my only travel partner this weekend. Here's one of her and I snorkeling in the Mediterranean.
That was the day we spent on a little yacht with a bunch of new English friends. It was a very good day. Many adventures.
So I think I want to minor in either Gender Studies or World Affairs. Hm. And what will I do with my life with an Art History major and Gender Studies/World Affairs minor? I don't know. Maybe I'll teach yoga. Or live in a cabin in the woods and write poetry. Your guess is as good as mine.
Oo, speaking of, I went to a yoga class with some of my roomies today. It was so fun, even though it was all in Italian. The only words I could understand were left, right, leg, and breath. But it felt so good.
I am in Nice, France right now, at a hostel called Villa Saint Exupery (as in The Little Prince). It's pretty much the most amazing hostel I've seen or heard of. It's in an old monstery and is run by young Australians (I've met more Australians these past two days than I have in my whole life. They must really like France or something. And they are all so laid back and friendly). The hostel's big meeting and eating and interneting area is in the place that used to be the chapel, so there are beautiful stained glass windows, but now it's not very chapel like. In fact, at night it becomes and bar and restaurant and general common area. The people who work here are also sooo helpful and informative, it's pretty ridiculous. Also, the French people I've come across in Nice have also been ridiculously nice (haha. They're nice in Nice.) which surprised me because I've always heard the French people are less than friendly. That'll teach me to stereotype.
Yesterday Melissa and I went to the beach and explored Nice, today we're going on a sail boat all day with a group from the hostel, chillin on the boat, snorkeling in the Mediterrean, and swimming around. You know, the usual. Tomorrow we want to go to some local art museums and what not, and then we'll take an overnight train back to Florence tomorrow night, get back in Florence at 7am, and take my photography midterm at 9am. Alright.
Yeah, midterms are next week. Already. I'm not too worried about them though (obviously--I'm in Nice) And then Fall Break! Woot.
Walking along the streets of Florence, a girl gets use to the catcalls. "Ciao bella!" "Beautiful." "Come sta?" "Si si." "Bellisima!" etc etc. Or noises, like kissy noises, and just blatant staring. Today I got a new one though. Today, I got "Shakira!" Haha. Shakira. I was wearing a long, flowy, latina-esque skirt, and my hair was down . . . but really? . .
Haha. Shakira. Yeah right.
In other news, it's pretty entertaining in our kitchen right now. Aside from the left over birthday decorations, there seems to be a sign battle going on. Most of the signs have to do with the messy state of our kitchen, and people not washing their dishes, such as "I have a dream . . . of roommates who do their dishes after they use them, of a sink that sparkles, of a kitchen that smiles back at me because its clean." Next to that sign, is another that reads, "our kitchen gave me AIDs!" When I saw that one yesterday, and then looked around at the mess, I added to the sign, "maybe instead of making signs about it, we should . . . clean it." And then I swept and washed some dishes. In retaliation to my snide message, another sign was put up later, this one had stars on it. "After I make this sign I'm probably not going to clean the kitchen." To which I added, "duh." She didn't like that very much.
But it's all in good fun.
So this past weekend I went on an trip with my school to the Amalfi Coast, the Isle of Capri, and Pompeii. It was a huge group--like 80 students. We created quite a scene wherever we went. Especially on Saturday night when we were stuck in a boat during a terrible lightning storm and then all ran to our hotel in the pouring rain, some of us without shoes on (they just get in the way). It was a good weekend though. The above picture is me in Pompeii, taken by my roommate Jenny because I forgot my camera at home. It was kind of nice to not have to click a picture of everything I saw, and to be just be able to see it. To just be there. As John Mayer says, I "didn't have a camera by my side this time. Hoping I could see the world through both my eyes. Maybe I will tell you all about it when I'm in the mood to loose my way in words." So I journaled diligently throughout the whole weekend so I would remember everything.
And now school. And Florence. And Melissa's birthday's tomorrow! In honor of that, here's a picture of us being cold and wet during the soccor game a few weeks ago.
So we've past our one month mark. Now people are starting to diet and excercise, after all that pasta, pizza, wine, and gelato. Like me, I've taken to running every now and then (as in twice so far). You really feel like you live somewhere when you run there, leaving all the tourists in your dust. Some of my other roommates have put themselves on diets. Others have just decided not to buy anymore Nutella. I don't know if I'm that strong. Just now, looking up Nutella on Wikipedia, it's all I can do to not go to the kitchen right now and finish my almost empty chair. And the jars of Nutella I buy here can double as a glass after you've eaten all of the chocolately insides. Hey recycling! So really, my eating Nutella is beneficial to the environment.
But I'll restrain myself for the moment.
You want to know what's weird? I've been in class for a month, midterms are in two weeks, and the only grade I have right now to speak of is an Italian quiz I took last week. That's been my first and only grade so far. That feels weird.
I went to Assisi (as in St. Francis of) and Orvieto (another cute town in Umbria, located on a cliff) this weekend. Precious places. One of my favorite parts was the Basilica di San Francesco--this beautiful church built in honor of St. Francis. It is also where his tomb is located. There were so many people there, but they were all so silent and reverent. It makes one better understand why people decided to build these big, beautiful cathedrals. They inspire so much awe. You can't not think about God in them.
P.S. I love sending postcards, but what I like almost even better is recieving mail. It's like a breathe of fresh air--a letter from home. Just so you know . . .
I got a new nose ring today, and a new sweater. So it's been a pretty productive day so far. The sweater I'm wearing now; it's forest green with tan patches on the elbows a la Mr. Rogers. I'm in love with it. Its especialy feels good today because it's all rainy and dreary. Apparetly it rains a lot here from October to March. Great.
I went to a soccer game last night, that's the big news. Florence versus Rome. Even though it was cold and rainy, it was a lot of fun. Italians really love their soccer. And apparently last week someone died in a riot at a game. We were hoping to see a riot, but no such luck. It's was a good game. Rome was leading 2 to 1 throughout most of it, but then we scored a goal in the last 10 minutes and tied the game. And apparently it's ok to end a soccer game in a tie, because that's what happened. And once the game ended everyone ran for the gates. A whole wave of people. I don't know what everyone's rush was, I guess they didn't want to get stuck in traffic or wanted to be able to catch a cab before everyone else took them. We were in the later category, but then just ended up finding our way home by foot. We were really proud of ourselves.
Oh yeah, and I got an umbrella today. I figured it would come in handy.
Ooo, I just heard thunder. I'm really glad I bought the umbrella, because I have to go to class in a couple minutes.
And yeah, and my bug bite. I went to the doctor a couple days ago and he said it's just an infected bug bite. He popped it and gave me cream to put on it. It's getting better. I'd post a picture, but for some reason blogger isn't letting me right now. Just use your imagination.
There's nothing like free wi-fi and a glass of wine. Melissa and I are sitting at our kitchen table and I just said that to her and then, "That's going to be the opening line of my next blog post." Check. (I know it makes it less cool that I just told you the story behind the first sentence, but that's ok, because I'm really not that cool.) We don't usually have wifi in our apartment, but tonight, while all nine of us were waiting in line to use the stove to make all of our separate dinners, Piero from some internet company came by gave us free trial internet for 24 hours. So here I am, sitting at my kitchen table drinking wine and writing in my blog. All my other roommates are glued to their computers as well.
So I went to Sicily this weekend. Che bella! It was beautiful. We saw lots of cute towns, Greek ruins, and chilled on some picturesque beaches. I especially enjoyed the chilling on the beaches part. And every once and awhile, I'd be laying there on the sand, soaking up the sun, and I'd pinch myself while thinking, "Laura, you are on a beach in Sicily." And in case you didn't already know, the Mafia started in Sicily. The professore who lead us around, Francesco, (for this was a school sponsored affair) told us the history of the mafia, but refused to speak of it in public. He felt safer waiting to talk about it on the bus, which I thought to be interesting. Also, on this trip, I got a wonderfully large bug bite. I got it while sleeping on the train Thursday night, and it's still there, big and red as ever. I'm afraid it might be a spider bite. Hopefully I won't have to amputate my leg, that would be a hassle. And I hear the Italian hospitals are crazy.
I guess I'll give you some pictures.
That's me and Hannah eating Cannoli, which are native to Sicily. They are really sweet. Hannah couldn't finish her's, but I definitely finished mine.
And this is Vanessa and I chilling on the aforementioned Sicilian beach.
And then this is Vanessa, Hannah, Isabel, and I in an aforementioned Greek ruin. It's the Greek amphitheatre in Siracuse. Very cool.
And now it's back to class and catching up with school work. For lit class this week (tomorrow) I have to read a 415 page book called Austerlitz. I have 20 pages left. I'm pretty impressed with myself.
I'm sitting outside of my school right now with a few of my roommates. It's midnight here in Firenze and we're sitting on the side of the street on our laptops. We get some funny looks. Don't worry, we won't get mugged, there's lots of people around. There's a bar a few feet away, which makes us look even more funny. You just have to be here.
This time tomorrow I will be on a train to Sicily. Yeehaa! Mediterranean, here I come. Mafia, here I come. Sun, here I come. Seafood, here I come. Greek temples, here I come. The Beach, here I come. Watchout.
Have I mentioned it's midnight?
And here's a few live action shots from Siena last weekend, courtesy of my roommate, Melissa. It's when we first got to Siena and FINALLY found our hostel. I'm saying something like, "Um . . we're here to stay in the hostel . .?" Everyone thought that was really funny. What else was I supposed to say?
This next one is right after we got buzzed in. There was nothing but stairs. It's us thinking, "Does this hostel exist?"
Don't worry,it does and we found it.
I just got out of my Intro to Classic Photography class. We use black and white film and develop it and all that jazz. Today was the first day to learn to do prints. It was so much fun! The class was from 9-2:30, but I could have kept on going. I love this photography thing. You have this plain piece of paper, put it in some chemicals, and then out of nowhere a picture starts appearing on it! Its magical. And one of the prints I showed Neri, our professor, he said was "bellisima" (very pretty). The girl before was just "va bene" (good). Heh.
I went to Siena this weekend. Id show you some pictures, but Im not on my own computer (did you notice the absence of apostrophes?). It was a cute little Tuscan town built on a hill. We got a lot of exercise with all the walking up and down hills.
Also, my parents are in Florence now. I had dinner with them last night. It was good to see them and catch up and be with people who have known me all my life. You start to miss being with people who really know you, after awhile.
This morning I had a little field trip with my Renaissance Art in Florence class to the Medici Palace and Church of San Lorenzo. It was inredible, especially the church. So beautiful. I'm getting to see all this beauty that before I'd only read about in books and seen on slides during class. And in my reading for my Michelangelo class, I found out that he lived just a few blocks from where I live now. He's buried in the Santa Croce, a church near our apartment. Dontello is buried in the San Lorenzo, along with some Medici peeps. Egads people! This is real!
I'm going to Siena tomorrow. It's this beautiful little Tuscan town about an hour away. I've heard that it's beautiful. It's famous for a bareback horse race held in its big piazza, Il Campo, every summer. Fun fact: the next James Bond movie's opening scene was filmed during said race this past summer, with Mr. Bond watching the race. So I'll go see the movie when it comes out and get to say I've been there. That's pretty cool, I think.
Hm, I feel I should give you another picture.
Here's a guy kayaking down the Arno (the river that runs through Florence.)
I wish I was him. That would be so fun.
So for my European Lit class we just read this little book entitled The Tale of the Unkown Island. I loved it. Im going to read it to my children one day. Its a beautiful story. You should pick up a copy. Its really little.
By the way, the computer keyboards here are a little different. I still cant find the apostrophes. So you can know when Im not on my laptop by my lack of apostrophes.
I'm alive and back from Venice. It was beautiful! As long as you don't look too close at the dirty water, it's quite picturesque. Very romantic. The weather was gorgeous too. It's molto touristy though, which is to be expected.
A film festival was going on at Lido, one of the islands, and on Friday we saw an Estonian movie. I kept thinking, "How cool am I? I am in Venice, at an international film festival, watching an Estonian movie." It was good too, if super despressing. The movie was "a study in human isolation," according the synopsis. Not really a feel good movie, but like I said, good, and engrossing.
We also walked around, saw the sights, ate sea food (and I LIKED it). Good times abounded, and I took molto pictures. They're all up on facebook now. Sorry if you don't have facebook, you'll just have to wait.
And I'm tired of staring at this computer screen now. Later.
So I'm almost through with my first week of Florentine classes. All I have left is Michelangelo, Caravaggio, & Bernini this afternoon. I think I'm going to like most of my classes. My teachers all seem pretty cool, and after last night's Italian class, I even think that will be bearable. Jenny and I will persevere together.
This weekend I'm going to Venice; I don't remember if I've mentioned that. There's like, six or seven of us going. It's fun to have that many people, but then nothing gets done. No one wants to book the hostel or look up train tickets, and everyone expects someone else to do it. We'll see out this goes.
I don't feel like saying anything else so here's another picture:
It's me and two of my roommates having cappuccino our first morning here.