July 06, 2006

la bella vita

Note: This entry was originally posted to an old blog of mine called Go Out and See the World. It can be seen in its original here, including all comments, which were not imported. The entries are separate from Sunny Day Happy Face, but were imported for posterity! Enjoy!

Life (vita) under the Tuscan sun has been beautiful (bella) the past few days, well, figuratively, anyway. A typical day consists of me getting up at 7:45 to shower and eat breakfast (yogurt with muesli and juice). I am at the school by 8:50 and class begins at 9:00. Class is usually very boring – learning grammar, taking notes. We have a break from 10:50-11:10. Then class resumes and during this time, we speak more and do worksheets, which are a bit more amusing, but sometimes more tedious, than the first part of class. Class ends at 1:00 and I immediately come here, to La Chat. La Chat is the best internet cafe I’ve ever seen. The walls are painted a pretty green color and the ceiling is blue with stars on it. The computers are all new, the chairs cushiony and leather, and there is air conditioning. The only problem with the cafe is the internet itself, which is usually very slow. However, La Chat is right next to school and so it’s also on my street, they give you a card which you reload for internet minutes (so you don’t have to pay every time you come in, just 5 euros every 3 hours of time) and it’s the cheapest around. From now on, I will write my entries in Word, then paste it into the blog because of how slowly the internet updates the typing. Anyway, after La Chat, it’s usually between 1:30 and 2:00, so I go home and cook lunch. I always make pasta, but whether it is penne or spaghetti or “ears” (I forget the Italian word for it) or gnocchi changes every day depending on my mood! After eating, I lounge around, Rosie and I usually talk about what we want to do later on, I read, snack, and eventually it’s dinner time, so more pasta. After dinner we do a variety of things. The past two nights, Rosie and I have gone to free classical concerts in the Piazza de San Lorenzo. On Tuesday night, there was a 40 piece youth orchestra from Stamford, CT. They weren’t all that good, but the concert was enjoyable anyway. Last night was a 90 piece orchestra from Amsterdam. They played a Stravinsky piece, Firebird, that I absolutely love now. The rest of it was very modern (1972 it said) and not very enjoyable, more suitable for a movie score than to play for an audience. The last piece was an entire ballet and I thought it would never end. By the time we get home, it was 11:00-11:45 each day, so time for bed.

I’ve been eating a lot of gelato! So far, I’ve had mint, chocolate chip (it’s more like chocolate chunk, which is even better), plum, cream, milk, trifle, melon, yogurt flavors. My favorites so far have been the mint, milk and melon flavors. Gelato is amazing and gelaterias keep popping up in America, but they are not authentic. Nothing beats it here.

I went to my first art class on Tuesday. Class is held in a small room with only about 6 easels. As soon as I entered, I saw a naked man sitting. I tried my best not to act suprised and I was relieved that his “parts” were not in my view as I drew him. He was extremely difficult to draw, however, and my drawing was poor. I go again on Friday, but this time I hope it is a woman because I have always wanted to draw a nude female, to be honest. I wish we had a class like this at Sarah Lawrence.

Yesterday I finished The Birth of Venus, so I needed another book to read. I looked up English book stores and today I went to one that was very close and in a great area. I got another book by the same author and one other, but they were so expensive! Anyway, the book store was on a street with some cool clothes stores and many glass stores. I found a store that I loved, but you know how sometimes you go into a place and love everything, but have no purpose for it and buy nothing? Then I walked around Piazza de Santa Croce, which had a few carts and touristy shops.

Also, I had a huge scare today! My iPod locked up and I couldn’t turn it on. I thought I had lost all of my pictures. Luckily, I came on the computer here and went to the Apple website, which helped me restart it and everything is now fine. I’ve only taken a bit over 100 pictures, but I expect to take loads this weekend. Unfortunately for those who might want to see them, there are no pictures of me, since all my sightseeing has been by myself!

As for the rest of the week – tomorrow Rosie and I are going to a market after class and I have art at 3:00. Then, I am dragging Rosie to a Watermelon Festival nearby because I just can’t pass that up. On Saturday, I am sleeping in and then going to the market at San Lorenzo. At night, Rosie and I are going to see another classical concert, except this time there is a choir also. Sunday, I am going across the river to another part of Florence to the Palazzo Pitti, which is very pretty, I’ve heard. Rosie moves out into her own flat on Saturday night (I will miss her sorely as she’s been my only, but best friend here) and on Sunday I get at least one, but hopefully 2 or 3 new roommates. Alessia is leaving early on Sunday with her mom.

I have been at war with the mosquitos of Florence. Currently I have over 43 bites and this is no exaduration, it’s exact. I have 10 on my right forearm alone. They are everywhere. I’m on my second afterbite stick, this one works a lot better than the other, but they keep itching and I keep getting more. Yesterday I bought a plug-in vapor thing, which didn’t appear to work. Today I got a candle, which I will try tonight and finally Rosie convinced me to get repellant. It’s not hell or anything, but it’s extremely unsightly (I look like I have the mumps or chicken pox or something!) and sort of itchy, so in order to not have 86 bites next Thursday, I need to take action!

Turns out I’m leaving next Friday at 7:15am because there were no flights left on either Saturday or Sunday. Bummer!

For those at home, Paris Hilton seems to have really struck a hit with “Stars are Blind,” huh? They play it every day on the radio in La Chat and the video is always on as well. Has she become any better respected over the past few weeks as her single becomes popular? I love to hate her, but I really just love her and that’s a guilty pleasure.

My Italian is coming along well. I walk into a restaurant or bar and ask, like a pro, “Avete bauno?” (Do you have a bathroom?) When I order my gelato, “Una cuppa, due euro! Menta e crema… grazie!” That’s really all I’ve had to say to anyone in public, though, besides a few other things like ordering other foods and talking about mosquitos (zanzara). However, in class, my pronunciation isn’t so swell, as most things I say as though they were Russian. I actually miss the language and I wrote Mr. Weisbrod about it. Wow. Meng, I don’t know about coming back with “beautiful Italian,” but I’m working on it. So… that’s about it. Ciao!

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