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 . . .