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.
I just got out of my first Italian class. I always got As in Italian in the past, but this class is a new breed. For one, barely any English is spoken, and to make it worse--there are only two students. I can't sit quietly in the back and not be called in, I HAVE to participate in EVERYTHING. And I forget so much. Thankfully the other student in the class is my roommate and friend from Baylor, Jenny, and not some fluent speaker or anything. Jenny and I are pretty much on the same level, so that's good. I still don't feel very prepared for the class though. At least the teacher seems nice. Just sometimes, when she's staring at me, waiting for a reply, I just freeze and can't think of anything in Italian to say. And when I do, it's wrong. But it's ok, it's just the first class. I have to keep telling myself that.
I also had photography today. That class, I think, should be fun. It's five and a half hours long, but there's a break in the middle and a lot of it will be us out and about taking pictures, so it should be painless. And two of my roommates are in my class with me.
Surprisingly, I know people in every one of my classes. Either a roommate or a fellow Bear. There are a lot of us Bears here. Baylor is more represented than any other school. Out of the ten people in my photography class, four of them were from Baylor.
And then here are some pictures for you anxious readers out there.
These are all of my roommates but me at a party thrown by the school last night.
And then here is all of us plus me and minus Vanessa and Anna eating dinner at our apartment a couple evenings ago. It was our first time to use the kitchen.
Here is the Arno River, which runs through the middle of Florence.
I'll leave you with that.