Wednesday, April 22, 2009

so my theater teacher is a maniac.
today he made someone cry because they couldn't pronounce a word for the umpteenth time and he just started yelling at her. when she went to the bathroom to cry in peace he was like is she sick or something? we said no, just frustrated, and he said OH so it's a psychological problem, i can't deal with fragile people like that. we said italian was just difficult for her and she was really trying, and he said that she definitely wasn't or she would succeed, and it was merely a problem of concentration. very nice. he also yelled at us for not marking our parts for an exercise we had never previously done or discussed, and made fun of this one guy's american accent rudely and at great length. this was only today. we're still reading the same four poems (POEMS, not plays) that we have been for weeks and weeks, which is becoming a bit fastidious.

right now i'm chilling in the program office trying to stay awake, because i need to be here at 1700 for a mandatory program meeting and if i go home i intend to sleep for quite a while. currently wondering if i can get away with napping on this couch.

reason #346 why the italian bus system is ridiculous: this morning as i got to the bus stop i saw the #27 i wanted pulling away. i was bummed to miss it but was willing to wait nine minutes for the next one. suddenly another #27 pulled up to the stop, so i joyously boarded it, thinking, what luck! the system is working out in my favor! then we got to the main stop in the center of the city, where the bus stopped for 15 minutes and i ended up walking the rest of the way to school to avoid being late.

i'm finally getting that allergic reaction on my skin to the wheat i've been eating that i came home with last summer, so i'm taking another cleansing absolutely-no-gluten break.

i am a bit grouchy today, i apologize! however, it IS unbelievably gorgeous outside, and the windows are open and letting in a nice breeze. i am also very proud of my italian proficiency this week! i went to a dinner party yesterday and was able to have many lovely conversations with italian people.

more of the family vacation saga soon!
just went to the homemade gelato place around the corner from my school office called "sogni di walter" (walter's dreams) for the first time, and got stracciatella, coconut, and the equivalent of cake batter. i think i may have died and gone to heaven.

got offered a job at mathtree again this summer, so i'm all set!

Monday, April 20, 2009

short continuation of the italian saga, not feeling so good today. i just had a whole bottle of diet coke and a cappuccino and still feel all foggy. currently in the middle of a fibro flare which doesn't mesh well with walking all over town.

the second day of my parents' italian journey was spent in bologna. trish and i went for a run in the morning and i wore my awesome new running skirt. after that we met up with mom and got some excellent panini for lunch. after lunch, we climbed the daunting asinelli tower, which provides a spectacular view of the whole city of bologna. the stairs were quite a workout, so we went to my favorite gelateria afterwards. the gelateria is devilishly close to my apartment (horrible temptation!) so i gave them a quick tour of my cute little orange apartment with its amazing terrace. mom and i went to the internet point after that, and then we all went out for dinner at a restaurant with an all bolognese menu to experience some local cuisine.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

so much has happened since i've last posted, so i'm going to start with annie coming to visit and update piece by piece! that way you won't have a giant block of text to read and i don't have to type out everything at once. :P

anyway, annie dropped by for two days before my parents came! i cooked for her which was fun, and i took her to my favorite gelato place of course. we got lots of time to catch up on each other's lives and gossip and whatnot. the night before she left i took her to my favorite discoteca.

the morning annie had to leave was the morning my parents' flight arrived! unfortunately their luggage had decided to take a brief vacation in france, but that just made the taxi trip and getting settled in at the hotel easier. mom and i took a walk around and went into the archiginnasio, which is the "official" seat of l'universita di bologna. inside the archiginnasio, we saw a really excellent library, all the family crests of the first students (from the 11th century and on!), and the anatomy theater where they dissected cadavers, among other things. after the archiginnasio, i left mom and trish so they could take a nap and i took annie to the train station so she could move on to her next stop (after having our own nap and lunch). when i met up with mom and trish again, we went into the basilica of saint petronius, which was gorgeous with the sun shining in but very loud because part of it was currently under construction. we wandered down the street where all my classes were, ran into an american guy who i disagreed with in every way, and stopped in a quiet cafe for coffees and pastries. i had this amazing mint hot chocolate that was actually just hot pudding covered in m&ms. after wandering around for a little while longer and visiting a nice park, we had a leisurely, delicious dinner and then all went to bed.

more later!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Note from Bonnie -
Pat and I are visiting Morgan and have taken over her blog for the duration! We arrived without problems yesterday, unfortunately it took our luggage a little longer to arrive - it didn't leave Paris when we did.
But we're all here now, and loving it!
Food is good, gelato is WONDERFUL and we're walking off every calorie - I swear!

Monday, April 6, 2009

hey everybody, i probably should have made this post hours ago, but i just wanted to say that the earthquake in l'aquila didn't affect bologna. my friends from that area and i are all okay! apparently the tremors beforehand actually started near bologna, so i'm considering myself very lucky. it's a real tragedy what happened to l'aquila. a lot of people lost their homes and around a hundred people are reported dead. please send prayers in their direction!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

back from florence! i am EXHAUSTED, because i still haven't learned that one still sleeps when travelling. it was lots of fun, although unfortunately lots of the churches with Important Art we were trying to get into were closed.

we had an epic dinner that was 11euro for wine, water, first course, second course, and a side dish, so i think i'll take the parents there if i can find it again. i had ravioli with pesto, chicken with yellow peppers, and the most amazing roasted potatoes i have EVER had.

speaking of that restaurant (trattoria contadino, in case you're ever in town), it took a while to find because the streets in florence have "red" numbers and "black" numbers, which means there are doubles of every address! fortunately a very sweet hotel manager explained this to me when i asked why we were standing in front of a hotel and not the restaurant we were looking for.

for some reason all the trains back to bologna this morning were full in second class, but i found a first class ticket on a really run-down train that was cheaper than second class on the trains i usually take, so that was new and exciting i suppose. i was in a little six seat cabin with five italian people in business suits that shot me dirty looks the whole time and refused to move their legs when i was trying to get out. first class is serious business!

it occurs to me that i don't need to set my alarm clock again until thursday morning. oh. my. goodness.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

i'm still alive, despite the lack of blog posts!

i just finished my anthropology exam, and got what amounts to be a B. good enough! now i'm completely done with my universita' di bologna classes, and only have two courses through my program remaining. however, after today i have TWO WEEKS of spring break, and those two classes will be finishing shortly after that.

last night i went to a discoteca for 80's night, which was lots of fun. tonight i'm going salsa dancing, which should be even more excellent. tomorrow i'm meeting some friends in florence, so as you can see i'm taking full advantage of being done with exams! saturday and sunday i'll take some time to catch up on sleep and start cooking my own meals again.

i'm currently in the process of finding housing and chosing classes for next fall back at MHC, which is weird because i feel like all of that is so far away right now.

in one week my parents will be here. :D

Saturday, March 28, 2009

yesterday i ate something so simple yet so amazing that i had to share!

they were just slices of fried bread (called "crostini" here) with gratuitous amounts of taleggio cheese ( melted over it, covered in honey and toasted walnut halves.

i'm not sure if i can find taleggio cheese in the states, but i definitely plan on making this again.

my anthro exam is on wednesday and my last class is on thursday, and then i have TWO WEEKS of spring break! my parents are coming which is going to be amazing, and i'm not going to have ANY SCHOOL.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

ha now i have a midterm on thursday as well, and a paper due the thursday after that. why so much work all the sudden? well at least a week from tomorrow i will be (theoretically, if everything goes well) completely done with three classes.
there were lots of students signed up for the exam today, so i actually don't have to take it til tomorrow after 1500. more time to study, and i didn't have to miss my language class again today!

Monday, March 23, 2009

translation of the last post, because now i have a quick second.

i go away in earphones
i don't speak anymore to anyone
i dance, i pass by, and i say hello
now that i have the sountrack
i have become mute

it was in a poem we read for my theater class today, and it reminded me of myself! i have brand new earphones, and i really can't part from them. i prefer walking around town in earphones because it discourages salesmen, sketchy guys, and homeless people from trying to start conversations with me while i'm walking around, but i don't do it anymore since my old ones got stolen by walking around town in them.

history exam tomorrow...although my number is in the 50s so i might end up having to take it wednesday, which would be perfectly alright with me!
me ne vado in cuffia
non parlo piu' a nessuno
ballo, passo, e saluto
adesso che ho il sonoro
son diventato muto

Sunday, March 22, 2009

these next two weeks are going to be crazy and exhausting.

monday - paper due, theater class, study all day for history exam
tuesday - history exam, language class if my exam finishes early enough (it won't)
wednesday - theater class, pilates
thursday - language class, massive language class work catch up, volunteering as a photographer for big event
friday - helping someone with a photo project
saturday - buy the rest of my anthropology books and study study study
sunday/monday/tuesday - continue to study like crazy for anthropology, occasional classes in there
wednesday - anthro exam, theater class if i make it (which i won't), pilates
thursday - grammar class
friday - florence with friends to celebrate (what i hope will be) an end to two classes!

i'm currently finishing up the paper i mentioned that's due tomorrow, and it's agonizing. gah.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

i've been pretty horrible about keeping up my blog lately, but school's been getting really busy so a lot of my time is spent working or sleeping. :P

however! on thursday afternoon, i took a taxi to the airport, flew to stansted london airport, took a bus into the actual city of london, and took another taxi to my friend annie's dorm to see her, kathleen, and kate! i'm so glad this trip happened, because i had the greatest time ever with them. between thursday afternoon and now (6pm on saturday) i've gotten five hours of sleep total from collective naps.

i didn't do much sightseeing in london; most of my time was spent catching up with my lovely ladies. kathleen and i did walk around town some, but it started getting dark and really cold so we didn't actually get to the city center where we were headed. we went into a bunch of music shops all on the same street and looked at instruments for a while, which was fun. there was a street that was all used book shops as well, and we spent some time there too. i got new headphones to replace the ones that got stolen, and i got even better ones for about the same price i would have bought the old ones for online. the shop owner gave me something around a 20P discount; i'm not entirely sure why but i'm not complaining. we all went out on thursday night with some of annie's friends, and friday night we went to a club. the club was awesome and ENORMOUS and insane and i've never been to anything like it. it was also significantly less sketchy than the little discotecas here in bologna haha. i was able to get a box of jaffa cakes while i was in london, which i haven't had since i was 17 years old (the last time i was in london) and i've been pining for them. i also took the opportunity to get some new books to read in english.

unfortunately after going to the club, i had to catch a taxi around 4am so i could get to a station and take a train to the airport to catch a 7:25 flight back to bologna. my taxi driver was so awesome, we talked the whole ride and he narrated the histories of all the sights we were passing for me. navigating the airport with massive sleep deprivation was a challenge, but i made it to bologna with no problems and took a taxi from the airport right to my doorstep so i could collapse into bed.

my love of london has been renewed, and seeing some of my best friends albeit for a sadly short time has lifted my spirits enormously. i also feel awesome about coordinating all the transportation the trip required (without getting lost once i might add).

the rest of my weekend is going to be all work unfortunately, but it's only fair after having a lovely time in london. i also found out that my internet does expire after 30 days pass, not 30 days worth of time on the internet. i was given 30x24 hours, but i can't use them anymore after today so i'll have to buy another 30 days. oh well, i guess i knew the price was too good to be true!

Monday, March 16, 2009

someone's singing opera in the hallway. like honest to god straight up opera. loudly. yay italy. :D
woo working hard! i've got a paper due next monday and an exam to prepare for next tuesday; very exciting. i'm also busy preparing for my mini-vacation to LONDON to visit three of my best friends from home. i can't wait.

i went to venice this weekend with a friend from high school who is doing a tour of italy for his spring break, and it was a lot of fun. the weather was great and i went into a couple places i had never been before, like inside the doge's palace and up in the bell tower.

i had/have pneumonia, but i've already taken four days of antibiotics and i'm feeling much much better than i was.

according to gilberto and an italian proverb, it's unhealthy to be in the sun during months that have the letter R, such as february/febbraio, march/marzo, and april/aprile. he told me this when i was reading outside on the balcony today and insisted that i return to my chilly room since i was already sick. i asked him if the january sun is okay (gennaio doesn't have an R) and he said it was. :P hmm.

i think i'm going to make wheat free foccaccia tomorrow. :D

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

i am exceeding ill!
so much that i'm quoting much ado about nothing, apparently.
my sore throat got worse and my voice is really unpleasant to hear, and i've got these horrible wet coughs. very appealing, i know. my program directors made a doctor's appointment for me because they wanted to make sure i actually had one haha.

the only reason i'm at the internet point and not sleeping like i spent the rest of the afternoon doing is because i have to find an article from an online italian newspaper to present in class tomorrow. i decided to skip out on the program party and aperitivi with friends so i don't spread my plague.

in theater class today i asked the teacher if i could just observe instead of reading lines today, and he told me to read anyway. it was so embarassing, i sounded horrible and it hurt, and i had an increasingly bad headache. just like any charming italian professor would do, he yelled at me repeatedly whenever i didn't speak loud enough or pronounced something incorrectly. i just went with it even though my throat was getting worse with every word, because unfortunately my grade depends on pleasing this crazy guy. alas! i don't have theater til next monday though, and i'm sure i'll be better by then.

today i learned about this thing called a sabbiatura, deriving from the word "sabbia" meaning sand. basically it's something italian people with arthritis do to help their joints. they go to the beach and get their bodies buried in the sand with the hot sun shining on it, and the heat of the sand theoretically pulls the moisture out of your joints and makes you feel better. it sounds kind of crazy to me, but interesting nonetheless!

it's finally nice enough that i can run every day now once i feel better. this is an excellent thing, because i could use the additional exercise. i'm probably going to do pilates with jessica and maureen (only 36 euro a month!), which will probably be painful and awesome.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

hello everyone! sorry for the temporary radio silence. everybody on my program is getting allergies or a cold or something so i'm tired and losing my voice and such. i didn't do too much this weekend, i decided to just take it easy and enjoy the sun.

last wednesday i went to a discoteca with some new friends after the program's party. thursday i went to the wine tasting class which was excellent. i learned so much about wine, including how to pour it elegantly, how you should hold your glass, how to identify tastes, smells, and quality, and all the various terms to describe what you're experiencing. they also gave us excellent meats and cheeses to eat with the wine, including pecorino cheese and mortadella, some of the emilia-romagna region's claims to fame. yesterday i hung out with jessica and we made dinner together, which consisted of pasta, red tomato sauce, pancetta, onions, garlic, peppers, cherry tomatoes, and zucchine. she and her adorable roommate lucilla have dubbed it "sexy pasta".

tomorrow there's another party through the program with some italian students from unibo, and afterwards i'm going out for aperitivi with some friends. thursday i might go salsa dancing again. i plan on spending the whole weekend working, because i have a paper due on the 23rd and an EXAM the 24th and i'm going to london between now and then so i've got to get cracking!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

i think i might go to parma this weekend (for real this time). i meant to go last weekend as we all know, but they are also the closest city playing the watchmen movie this weekend.

the dentist went well today, i got my filling after three shots of novocaine. i discovered that filling out medical history reports is just as tedious in italian as it is in english. the office was pretty far away and involved an hour of busrides and about 40 minutes of walking in the rain, but the staff was really nice. i think it was cheaper to get it done in italy than it would have been in america.

thinking in italian a lot. dreaming in italian all the time. failing spectacularly at english on a regular basis. might switch back to novels in english for a while.

life is exciting and i have things to talk about, but i'm exhausted and sore and i think i'm going to go hit the hay.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

the program party was lots of fun, and i made some new friends with some people who have really really excellent taste in music. they invited me to go to a discoteca tonight that's having an "american night", and it sounds like a lot of fun and i REALLY want to go (i also said i'd go) but my joints are not cooperating. :( i also don't think i'll be going salsa dancing tomorrow night because the people who would go with me are both going out of town. alas! perhaps i'll "relax", whatever that is.

in other news, i went to the duomo the other day, which is not to be confused with saint petronius' basilica, and it was so beautiful and peaceful i ended up staying for almost an hour. even though it's tucked in between clothing stores and restaurants on bologna's main drag, there was such a sense of serenity once i stepped past the doorway.

interesting tidbit: in a lot of the churches i've seen in bologna and milan, there have been electronic votive candles instead of real ones, to prevent fire hazards. you put your coin offering into the box and then one of them lights up. some of them flicker.

i can't decide what i'm going to do this weekend. i want to go to the basilica of saint luca, which has 4km of porticoes leading up to the church and a magnificent view of the city, but if it's raining then perhaps not. we'll see! i will be seeing the watchmen movie FOR SURE, but i'll have lots of time outside of that.
what a day!

yesterday a cavity filling fell out, leaving a big hole where there really shouldn't be one in my tooth. i am not the biggest fan of this. however, i located a dentist and called this afternoon complete with my dentistry vocabulary list, and talked to a very sweet receptionist who got me an appointment for tomorrow morning. i have to take a train and walk a bit to get to the office, but it seems like a really nice place and there are some american dentists there who can speak with me in english if necessary.

this morning i had my theater class, and we did articulation exercises! i have never had a problem with articulation in english (except when i'm nervous and my voice jumps two octaves and i can't form eloquent let alone coherent sentences...ha) but it is a rather challenging thing for me in italian. however, it is a welcome challenge! we were given two poems that we read over and over, varying speed, emotion, and enunciation. it ended up being a lot of fun and we all made significant improvements by the end of class.

i also had my last history class today! :D at the end of class i went up to my professor to ask where and when the exam was and how i'm supposed sign up for it. as i mentioned previously, when i'm nervous my voice is a bit high pitched and light, and this is pretty much a given when speaking with professors (in any country). i also blush a lot and it's dumb. so there i was in front of a bunch of italian students trying to get some info from my most terrifying professor. he said everything i needed to know loud enough so everyone could hear, but so quickly that i had to ask him to repeat it so i could write everything down. he asked me where i was from and i said washington d.c., and he was like oh REALLY and gave me this horribly disdainful look. bleh. then he gestured toward the group of students waiting to talk to him and he was like can someone please help this clueless american girl figure out what she's supposed to do? fortunately some guy patiently and politely explained everything i needed to know. siiiiiigh. -.-

i now have my returning flight booked, and i will be flying home on may 10th through amsterdam and detroit!

now i'm off to a party at the program office, which should be fun.

one quick note about food before i go. yesterday i had tortelloni smothered with a gorgonzola sauce and walnuts, and it was such an excellent combination of flavors that i was really sad when it ended.

Monday, March 2, 2009

fun fact: college text books are a horrible horrible ripoff no matter where you go. D: luckily i did find a store that said they'll buy used books, but i don't know how much i'll be able to get back.

my history teacher gave us the low down on our final exam today. basically we just need to give him a 10-15 minute oral presentation on a topic we discussed in class that particularly interested us. the first exam date isn't until march 24 (which feels like a long way away) and i already know which topic i want to talk about, so i feel excellent about this exam. i'll start preparing now, and by the 24th i should be such an expert on my topic that hopefully he'll give me an A, regardless of my american-ness. he also said he won't be asking any questions, so i feel really good about this!

today i went to the fruit stands to restock my apple and banana supply, and the guy who sold me my fruit was so refreshingly friendly and cheerful! he didn't do anything particularly remarkable, but it made my day regardless.

still raining, kind of a humdrum day. it's going to be a crazy busy week, but i have lots of fun things planned so it should be good.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

sooo train stations in italy list trains by their final destination and departure time. yesterday there were two trains leaving for milan at 9:24am, and i meant to take one of them to parma with laurel, but i picked incorrectly. after the train started moving, there was a PA announcement that said that the train was going to milan and should arrive at 10:20, NO INTERMEDIATE STOPS. i looked at laurel with absolute dread because picking the wrong train was 100% my doing, since she got there at the last minute and didn't have a chance to look at the boards. i've been wanting to go to milan, and fortunately laurel had been too, so we decided we'd spend the day there instead of parma!

i'm so glad i picked the wrong train, because there was a huuuge carnevale festival going on in milan when we got there. i definitely would not have enjoyed milan as much going any other day. we saw the outside of teatro alla scala. we walked through the markets and saw all the high fashion stores. we went to the duomo which had the most amazing stained glass i've ever seen. we went to a big castle but didn't go on the tour so i'm not really sure which castle it was. i think it started with an S (i'll look it up later). we stopped for lunch and i had INCREDIBLE gnocchi with saffron. we went to the church and museum where da vinci's last supper is, and the church was small and beautiful but all the tours to see the last supper were booked for the next week. we stopped for drinks and pastries at a little cafe with an awesome owner who chatted with us for a while. we watched a little bit of the parade going on, but it was too hard to see over the milanese horde so we peeked into another church nearby. we walked around for a little longer just peeking in shops, and then finally took the (correct) train home.

i loved seeing everyone in costume all over again, and i definitely saw batman and spiderman holding hands running down the street. i was SO covered in confetti by the time i got on the train that i left a little puddle of confetti behind when i got off the train. i thought carnevale was over, but apparently it's going on until this tuesday.

today is the first of march, and it's raining. :( we had a good run with the sun, it was only fair i suppose.

i finally figured out who that famous person i saw go into the hotel was. he's a player from the italian soccer team FORZA INTER. i've actually been following inter's games (soccer games are always playing here wherever you go), and they're a pretty sweet team. neat!

busy week:
-philosophy of music starts on tuesday
-history ends on wednesday
-program party wednesday night
-wine tasting lesson thing thursday night
-possible return to salsa night at the discoteca
-study for history in all the other free hours
-buy anthro and music books to start reading

i just realized one of the books i have to read for philosophy of music is written by the professor. gee i love it when they do that. -.-

Friday, February 27, 2009

today in anthro my teacher asked a question, which doesn't happen often since it's a big lecture class, and i actually raised my hand and got the answer! before italians! it wasn't a particularly difficult question, but i was ridiculously proud of myself for really speaking out loud at all in a class here.

yesterday i walked by a shop window with a display of a RIDICULOUS amount of porcini mushrooms, and i was like whoa, that is an enormous amount of funghi. then i realized that the WHOLE SHOP was devoted to mushrooms. a mushroom shop. totally normal. the sign over it said "profumeria: the sweet perfume of porcini mushrooms" in italian. i'm going back to take a picture at some point.

my salsa lesson yesterday was disappointing and meh, but i won't bother going into the details of why because it's not that interesting. however! afterwards i went to a discoteca that was having a salsa night, and it made up for absolutely everything the lesson was lacking. i have never been to a dance where all the guys were experts and were showing the ladies what to do. i have also never been so well salsa'd in my life! i learned a new style called "bachata", which is sort of like latin america's response to the blues. the whole evening was also free, because i didn't buy any drinks. unfortunately the club was reeeeally far away from my apartment, so i had to walk for quite a bit after dancing all night.

tomorrow i'm going to modena and parma for the afternoon with laurel, which should be cool. i'm looking forward to an exquisite lunch, because parma is famous for parmesan cheese, parma ham, and balsamic vinegar. oh yes. i've been planning a visit for quite some time now. :)

next week my contemporary history of europe class ends and my philosophy of music class begins! that means there's a history exam in my near future, but i'm not sure exactly when. hm.

i washed my hair today and my new haircut is still working out. my perm has grown out enough that the bangs only curl a little bit naturally, and didn't prove to be much of a problem to make presentable.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

got the grade for my grammar/culture pre-session course, and i got a 29! translating from the voodoo that is the italian grading system, that's about a 97%. woo!

today i have anthro class and a salsa lesson! i'm pretty excited. i realized i don't have any dancing shoes with me, but i'm sure i can figure something out. see mom? i didn't bring enough shoes!

the other day i saw this movie called "Italians", and it was by an italian director and in italian and didn't involve any english speaking countries, so i'm not sure why the title was in english. all in all i didn't like it that much. it was split into two parts that had absolutely NOTHING to do with each other. both halves had cop-out endings that were unrelated to the plot. there was a drag race between two ferrari 430s though in the first part. i enjoyed that immensely.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

hello world. today i made a huge leap in the world of hairstyles and got bangs for the first time since age six. my inspiration photos that i brought to the hair salon (called FABIO, how appropriate) were of anna friel (chuck from pushing daisies), zooey deschanel (from yes man) and mary jane from the old spiderman comics.

i figured either they would be horrible and then guys would finally leave me alone, or they would be great and i'd be happy about that. the amount of relief i feel because of how much i like them makes me realize that i really thought they would be AWFUL.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

the mcdonalds next door includes a "mcroyal" and "chicken mythic" on their menu. are these new in the USA or are they just weird? chicken mythic sounds awesome, i may need to try one.
yesterday i had my first italian theater class, and it was fairly interesting. the teacher is easy to understand, which is nice. we played a little improv game at the end of class, which was terrifying, because it was improv in italian.

this morning i couldn't bring myself to eat the rest of my oranges, so i made fresh orange juice instead! they were tarocco oranges, so it was closer to blood orange juice, but still delicious.

thursday laurel and i are going to a free trial salsa class, and if i like it i'm going to sign up for lessons. they have three levels, so i may be able to learn some awesome new things.

this morning i also signed up for a wine "lesson" on march 5. basically you go to an enoteca (wine bar) and they let you try different kinds of wine and tell you all about them. not entirely sure what to expect, but it should be interesting!

there is a LOT of racism in italy. :T a lot a lot. my history teacher spent a pretty significant time badmouthing the united states today, i was not really into that at all. yesterday when hilary and i were walking down the street speaking in english, this guy (adult) was like HEYYYYYYY AMERICANS YEAH HOW'S YOUR *bleep* PRESIDENT DOING. how charming. to be fair they hate lots of other countries, not just america. arg.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

today will always be considered my greatest downfall, because i didn't bring my camera with me.

i walked out of my apartment planning on a harmless walk around town, when i heard a song from star wars echoing through the streets. i started walking toward it when it switched to a high school musical song. thoroughly intrigued, i kept walking, and then stumbled upon the CARNEVALE FESTIVAL FOR CHILDREN.

it was the CUTEST thing i have ever seen. so cute that i can't stop using CAPSLOCK.

little kids in costumes everywhere, floats (including one with an aladdin theme), confetti (so much confetti), COTTON CANDY, lots of music, live bands here and there, a royal procession, oh my god. amazing. thank god i decided to take a walk today.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

yesterday i saw someone famous! i don't know who it was, but he had a big bus, a van, and a police escort into his hotel, not to mention bunches of fans taking pictures and freaking out. i was just trying to walk home and somehow got pushed right up to the front, so i saw whoever it was in the flesh! :P

after that i went to a cafe/restaurant for dinner which is supposed to be THE happening place, but the food sucked and the service was worse.
C---, would not eat there again unless absolutely necessary.

thursday night i went to the "irish pub" here with laurel, which was awesome. the music alternated between good and hilariously lame. they had standard american fare, like chicken nuggets (dubbed "crok chicken" and thankfully breaded with corn flakes and cornmeal instead of breadcrumbs), hamburgers, and french fries.

today i took some time to relax since i had nothing to do and had the apartment to myself, so i spent a long time on the balcony garden eating fruit and reading. pretty idyllic. the balcony is always much warmer than it is anywhere else, even in the park, since our balcony is above all the other roofs and directly in the sun. walking around town is still freezing, since the porticoes keep everything constantly in the shade.

speaking of eating fruit, 80 or 90 percent of everything i eat is now fruit!* my junk food and carb consumption has been really out of hand, so i'm trying a wheat-free and delicious alternative with enough sugar to satisfy my sweet tooth. mostly apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, rice, peanut butter, and granola/nut bar things. i'm also drinking more milk and orange juice instead of soda. don't get me wrong i still drink a lot of soda, but i'm broadening my beverage horizons. i still don't really ever drink water. maybe one day.

tonight i will probably be going to a discoteca for a carnevale themed dance, so that should be fun. not sure what i'll be doing tomorrow, probably something similar to what i did today!

*there was no math used in the creation of these statistics.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

oh wow. turns out buying 30 days of internet doesn't mean unlimited internet over the next 30 days, it means 30 days worth of time ON the internet. i think i may be set for internet until i leave, even if i spend a ridiculous amount of time online.
today i ran for 32 minutes without stopping or walking! i am the champion. i think i may have gone about 5k, so although my muscles are already pretty unimpressed with me, i'm happy! it was cold today, but i finally resigned myself to, how you say, "sucking it up". i also saw a man doing awesome juggling stunts in the park, and another guy doing tricks with a chinese yo-yo. the park is definitely my favorite place in bologna so far, i can't wait for the trees to get some leaves.

today somebody asked my if my hair color was natural, but they were trying to ask in english so what they actually said, heavily accented, was "excuse me signorina? explain your hair." it caught me by surprise, i won't lie. maybe it's some sort of ginger test.

speaking of gingerism, my freckles are coming in full force. it's not even march, come on!

i still have four eggs in the fridge (i bought a half-dozen so i could make my cookies) but i can't eat eggs on their own, try as i might. does anyone have any ideas for something wheat-free i could bake with them? my other cooking staples in the kitchen are rice, sugar, brown sugar, pizza dough mix, and chestnut flour.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

okay. i think i have figured out this internet situation.

there's an internet cafe with an enormous bank of beautiful, new-ish computers, all of which use linux and firefox and other wonderful things. i can bring my laptop here and connect, and i can pay a monthly fee. it's a little high, but still cheaper overall than getting an internet key and paying for a plan, so i'm actually saving money this way. the only downside is carting my laptop around, but it's a price i'm far more than willing to pay at this point. hooray. :)

my contemporary history of europe class ends MARCH 4TH. this is ridiculousness. it's also almost three weeks earlier than the department says module one ends, but i'm not complaining. i only have six more classes i need to attend, an enormous amount of reading i should do, a terrifying oral exam to complete, and then another class down! in two weeks i'll already have eight credits to send back to MHC.

IN THEORY. according to the unibo department of arts & humanities schedule:
my first half of anthropology ends by march 21st. it will probably end beforehand, but it HAS to end by that day.
my theater class ends around april 22nd, and the exam will be on the last day of class, so that's easy.
i'm switching my second half of anthropology to a philosophy of music course that starts march 3rd, so it should also end in late april.

provided that exams don't run until the end of time (which shouldn't be a problem because i plan on taking everything right away), i should be done before may even begins.

sorry this post is really uninteresting. today is a day for BUSINESS!

Monday, February 16, 2009

hey everybody, still alive!
i don't have much time, but i'll do a quick summary of my weekend.

went to venice on saturday for the first day of carnevale, which was amaaaazing. there were tons of people, half of which were in really elaborate costumes and masks. little kids were in all sorts of costumes, including princesses and tiggers and lots of dalmatians, and the kids are all given confetti to throw everywhere. the cafes and pastry shops had the most amazing selection of foods i've ever seen. there were clowns and people on stilts in piazza san marco and lots of awesome street performers. i had dinner at a ridiculously small restaurant with three tables and the tiny kitchen right there behind a low wall, but the food was unbelievable. i had lasagne with pesto, which is a combination i never dreamed of but highly approve of. i went to an open-air bar that was playing really awesome techno, and although my ears rang for about an hour afterwards it was really fun. i wandered around the shops looking at murano glass and got a little lost, so i ended up sprinting across most of venice to catch my train. i literally caught it by seconds, which was lucky because the next one wouldn't have got me home until 3 in the morning. running through venice in the dark during carnevale is exhilarating. i didn't really appreciate it at the time, but that was awesome.

internet's about to expire, so that's all for now!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

i've received complaints from a certain sister that i use the word "lovely" too much, so from now on i'll be using the word "splendid" instead or a more ridiculous word if appropriate.

i got a book from my program's office that covers the history of the contemporary world from 1848 to now to review the events of WWII in europe, and although it's all in italian and really dense, it's really helpful. i plan on reading a little bit every day until everything makes sense.

this morning laurel and i went to the università di bologna (unibo, from now on) sports center office to get our student cards, so now i can finally get involved in some extra-curriculars! unfortunately there are a lot of really awesome things i want to do and i'm having difficulty choosing. there's an ultimate frisbee team/course/thing that i'm definitely interested in, but i may wait until march to do that. i'll stick to indoor things for the rest of february. i'm thinking about salsa, hip hop, scuba diving, tae kwon do, ballet, or a general gym membership. hmm.

tonight i'm going to try and sit down with gilberto to talk about some things i was too nervous to bring up before, like getting a WATERPROOF shower curtain and switching the heating plan to cold during the day and warm at night.

getting internet in my apartment is turning out to be a horrible ordeal. WHY doesn't anyone want my money? i know it's on an american credit card, but it's still good. :( there is apparently a wireless network that shows up in the main piazzas and certain university buildings that i should be able to access with my unibo name and password from my laptop, and in theory with that i could stay on for free for three hours a day every day of the week. if that turns out to be true (you never really know here) then i can just stick with that and life goes on! for free!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

today i went for a looong passeggiata around town, and finally found PAM, the enormous grocery store that was until now been eluding me. i found so many gluten free things; i am saved! i even got some gluten free pizza dough mix. i bought some polenta as well, so i'm going to try and make something with that tonight.

yesterday i went to florence! the train ride was lovely in itself. the train went through huge, beautiful hills (which seems to be the case no matter where you go in italy) and i saw a rainbow. when i got to florence i didn't hit every obvious tourist spot, because i plan to go back. the market was DEFINITELY my favorite part, i have never met so many friendly people in my life! it was an enormous self-esteem boost too haha. i spent a lot of time in a leather jacket store talking with the owners (and trying on jackets), and when mom and trish come to visit i'm taking them there for sure. i went to the duomo, which was huge and intricate and fantastic, but i didn't walk to the top. i went to what was allegedly dante's house, but it was so full of informational placards that i didn't find many traces of the way he may have actually lived. i saw the church he went to which was small and lovely. i saw the pontevecchio which was all patchworky and colorful, and i'm pretty sure if i were a bridge i'd look like the pontevecchio. i met some cool people and had lunch with them, and will probably go back to hang out with them in two weeks. i went into the uffizi but i was too exhausted and hungry to spend much time giving the art its proper attention, unfortunately. oh well, i'll be back.

Friday, February 6, 2009

i had my italian grammar and culture exams today and i OWNED them. the culture exam was way harder than it should have been, they asked the most obscure questions, but fortunately i actually studied.

it's supposed to rain all day tomorrow in merano, so i'm not sure if i'll go or not. it's raining all weekend pretty much everywhere in italy this weekend, so maybe i'll just stay in and go somewhere next weekend. i might go to milan next weekend because it's only an hour away and the MHC alumnae network is having some sort of event there, and i think i'll be hitting venice the weekend after that to see some carnevale stuff. :D

apparently there's a super cheap weekend ski trip with the ERASMUS students the first weekend in march, and i'm thinking of going on it. two days of skiing, lodging, food, and gear for €79!

today i received some letters from some lovely friends. :D

Thursday, February 5, 2009

no more gluten for at least two weeks, no matter how weird my meals will have to get. the last couple days i've been like man i'm not eating enough because i am so dizzy and shaky all the time, but how is that possible when i'm eating at least 2000 calories a day? then i realized, it's the wheat. -.- i'm so clever. i have been losing a little bit of weight so my hypothesis made sense, but even that can be attributed to eating wheat.

this is especially sad because i've recently discovered how delicious foccaccia is. :(

today it was so sunny out that i sat on my balcony in a t-shirt reading for an hour, and then it started sleeting while i was in anthro class. the weather here still blows my mind.

ombretta said my italian theater class could only count as a 200, so i might need to switch courses. i think i'm going to stick with anthro for both modules, my teacher is too adorable to pass up for any amount of time. her name is zelda, and she puts up most of what she says on slides, which is extremely helpful for non-native speakers such as myself!

today in anthro we talked about native americans, which are consistently called indians here. we read a quote from a european anthropologist who said that native americans are the most radically primitive and savage, and my teacher insisted that native americans are now extinct. wtf? i'm definitely writing my mid-term paper on native americans and their wonderful culture, and the fact that they STILL EXIST. students don't learn about native americans in grade school like we do, so it's interesting to hear about them from this...unfamiliar...approach.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

i hate the MHC registrar. i know i've mentioned it before, but i'll say it again. it's not the people i don't like, they're always very helpful, it's just the RULES they have to uphold that suck. here's the situation:

fact: my program here is requiring me to complete 20 MHC credits abroad.
problem: MHC will only allow 16 to transer, simply because i'm abroad.

fact: if only 16 of my credits from this spring transfer, i have 6 more credits to take in the fall.
problem: MHC says i have to take 14 simply to fulfill the residency requirement.

it seems like all of my awesome getting ahead and overloading and such wasn't done in the best fashion. the registrar just emailed me back and said there's no way they'll give me all 20 credits. dumb. there are just some rules i can't get around, it seems.

the second half of cultural anthropology doesn't count for anything, so i might just drop it. my program says that if we only take 4 classes instead of 5 we still get credit for 5 classes, one of which would be an F. if i chose the 4 non-F classes to be the 16 credits that transfer, that wouldn't be a problem! i'm going to discuss it with my program director.


i love being a "regular". i go to the same internet point all the time, and now i'm friends with the guy who owns it. we just had a long talk about politics and obama, and he bought me a drink. apparently he's buddies with muhammad yunus (nobel prize winner), who worked at grameen where my dad worked. muhammad yunus has also been to this internet point! small world!
A little while alone in your room
will prove more valuable than anything else
that could ever be given you.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

today i had my very first class at L'Università di Bologna! :D

it was a class on the contemporary history of europe, specifically focusing on the events of WWII and their after-effects. i thought i had a pretty good idea of what happened during WWII, but in fact i am WOEFULLY ignorant. all the stuff i've learned has been from an american point of view, obviously, and now i'm studying from the perspective of a country that was living under mussolini at the time. since this is an upper level course, the teacher assumes everyone has a rough knowledge of all the battles and such that occured in italy so he just mumbles over them and moves on, so i might need to do a little research outside of class.

tomorrow i start my european cultural anthropology course, and my italian theater course doesn't start until feb. 23 (or something around there). tomorrow field trip, thursday studying, friday exam for my orientation course! saturday...profit? hopefully travelling!

having difficulty at the moment looking up train schedules to merano, but i found out that tickets to ferrara are only €3.

gilberto casually informed me that the apples i've been eating are from the alps. i think that is crazy awesome.

Monday, February 2, 2009


i just came back from a meeting with my program director, and i have (tentatively) chosen my courses for the semester! i will be taking:
-a course on italian theater that involves reading, analysis, AND acting that should count for an italian major requirement
-a course on contemporary european history that focuses on the effects of WWII, which will HOPEFULLY count as the european studies seminar i still need
-a course on european cultural anthropology that is actually two courses back to back, that will count as a european studies requirement

technically the history course started today, but i missed it. i'm going tomorrow, and i'm pretty nervous to walk into a classroom full of native italians and a scary professor.

my orientation class on grammar and culture ends wednesday and we have exams on friday, so that's one course down already! the history course ends in late march, and the other two end in early may i think. maybe late april. bologna university's schedule is pretty nebulous and i may never understand it.

when i return to MHC in the fall, i will only need to take one 300 level italian class and one other academic course. next fall may be the best semester ever. i'll probably take a couple extra easy courses that interest me to boost my GPA.

okay i'll stop blabbering about reqs now.

it snowed yesterday! that sounds pretty routine to all y'all at home, but it never, ever snows here. ever. gilberto was freaking out. i took a walk through town so i could watch it, and it was gorgeous and relaxing. the roads were absolutely empty and peaceful. i feel extremely lucky to have seen snow fall in italy!

i think i might take a little day trip this saturday to celebrate the end of my first set of italian exams. i plan on going to the city of merano so i can get a good look at the alps in winter. if that's too far or too expensive i might go to ferrara or parma instead.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

okay so weirdest things first. while i was walking around piazza maggiore, i saw two guys wheeling a fridge down the sidewalk. that was weird by itself. then one guy stopped to take a picture of the other guy wheeling said fridge, then they saw me and insisted i be in the picture as well. that's...totally a normal thing to happen...

today i did touristy things.
first i climbed the taller of the two slanted towers (tower asinelli) in the center of the city. there's a superstition that if you climb it while you're still in school you won't graduate, but i boldly climbed those hundreds of steps anyway. it was worth it too; the view was INCREDIBLE. i could see the whole city and the mountains beyond it! today was a little bit foggy which made the view more mystical as well. i took pictures, so sooner or later you guys will see what i'm talking about. the tower asinelli is 97 meters high, and the other one, the garisenda tower, is 48 meters high i think. the garisenda tower is theoretically more slanted than the tower of pisa!

i went into saint petronius' basilica, and i actually wasn't that impressed. i think it was too hyped up for me, because all the texts i've read were like, they stopped construction so it wouldn't be more amazing than saint peter's at the vatican! it was enormous but pretty plain inside. i use the word "plain" relatively though, because it's not entirely a word than can be used to describe any basilica ever. it was nowhere near the excellence that is saint peter's, so i guess mission accomplished?
i lit candles for everybody in the family.

the last touristy place i went to this afternoon was the archaeologic museum, which was neat. also free.

i've gone up and down about a million steps today, and now i'm crazy exhausted. i don't know what i'm going to do tonight yet, but hopefully it involves copious amounts of sitting.

Friday, January 30, 2009

p.s. put a spoonful of nutella in hot coffee/espresso.

seriously, it's a really good idea. do it.


today i took a long walk to the margherita gardens to try and run a little there, and it was AMAZING. it was beautiful, for starters, despite all the trees being leafless and such. there were runners EVERYwhere and i saw two kids playing disc on rollerblades, which i really want to try now. i brought a disc with me, but alas, no rollerblades. there were lots of people with beautiful dogs walking around. it was a really nice day today. i think the rain may finally be taking a break.

all the runners in the gardens had the most fashionable running pants and jackets, just like maureen told me they would. i wandered into an "athlete's world" store this evening to see if i could find anything nice and affordable, and had been completely deceived by the name of the store because they didn't sell anything that appeared even remotely athletic even for italian standards (it was pretty common for guys to wear polo shirts to the gym in padova). ah well, i know there's a nike store around here somewhere which may actually have sportswear.

if tomorrow's nice i'm going to try and go visit some of the bologna tourist hotspots, if they're open that is. a surprising number of things are closed til march, which unfortunately includes almost all the gelaterias. at least that's saving me from myself a little, i have a most powerful gelato addiction.

tonight i'm going out so i should go back to my appartment to get ready and such! i will leave you with two of my favorite italian phrases that i recently learned:

-when somebody is really good at something, italians say that person is "un drago" (a dragon) the way we would say somebody is a beast. for example, an italian would say "oh man he is a DRAGON at guitar hero".
-if someone is really furious and storming around, an italian would say that he's "wearing a devil as a hat".

i intend to use both of those as often as possible.

so i'm in the sala borsa library's public computer lab, and the little old lady next to me is definitely looking at porn in french. the modeling site i use is blocked for displaying pictures containing nudity on people's pages, so i have no idea how she's doing it in the first place. :P

Thursday, January 29, 2009

still alive!

the internet has twice shut down and deleted very long posts, so suffice it to say that i have survived whatever sickness i had and had a lovely day today!

Monday, January 26, 2009

picking classes is hard arggg.

the italian university classroom is the opposite of the mount holyoke college classroom. you aren't supposed to have opinions of your own until grad school, the professor is GOD (if you use the informal tense with him you might as well die right there and then), and there is no discussion whatsoever. mhc has spoiled me.

this weekend was actually quite fun! went out for dinner and a glass of wine with laurel on friday, and we bonded and had a good time. saturday i met maureen for lunch and she brought a friend from the program, and it was SO much fun. i "clicked" so well with the two of them, and we ended up spending almost the entire day together. they have both been here since september, so they also gave me the skinny on other people in the program, professors, and what classes to take/avoid.

i bought a whole bunch of books today. i got the little prince and harry potter and the deathly hallows in italian, brisingr in english, and the most amazing italian regional cookbook, among other less interesting things. i can't wait to make all the delicious dishes from the cookbook for you guys when i get home this summer.

i also bought 1.6% milk today. i was trying to decide whether i wanted 1% or 2%, and they had that beautiful compromise right there in front of me.

have i mentioned that i completely and utterly adore my italian grammar teacher? her name is christine dodd, about as american as it gets, but she's 100% bolognese. the other day she stopped class because it smelled like something was on fire, and she was like "morgana morgana come into the hallway with me! i need you to tell me if it smells like incense or if you think the building is on fire". it turned out to be a hobo fire in the courtyard...

italian food lesson: "pasta alla bolognese" doesn't exist. it turns out that NO ONE says "alla bolognese", it is always "al ragù". keep this in mind if you are ever in italy to avoid certain death. furthermore, ragù is only put on tagliatelle, tortelloni, lasagne, or other wide, flat pastas. i hope i can save you where i was not able to save myself!

we had a long lecture (i'm talking two or three hours of lecture) about drug and alcohol use, and both of the doctors speaking were "Dottore Fabio". i found that immensely entertaining. i also met someone named Manlio, and he didn't understand why i thought that was the best name ever.

it's still freezing, it still rains 99% of the time. it is frequently deliciously sunny at 1000 when i'm walking to class, and then rainy from 1300 on after i get out of class. lovely.

okay, i really have nothing very interesting to say so i should probably stop typing. :P i have about a million emails to get to and i have a presentation due tomorrow woo!

Friday, January 23, 2009

i now have a library card at the greatest library on earth, and i can get free internet for an hour a day, three days a week. it actually sucks as far as getting all my internet stuff checked, but saves me a little bit of money. if i bring my laptop with me i can have three hours a day seven days a week, but that would involve at least a mile of walking with said laptop. i'll probably do that on weekends.

oh, turns out you get an hour if you start ON THE HOUR because it kicks you off on the hour. today i get 37 min free. -.-

the floor at this library is clear glass, so that you can see the AUTHENTIC ROMAN RUINS that are still underneath. it's probably the coolest library in the history of libraries. i think there are tours of the ruins on fridays, and i'm going to try and take one some time. the music library has an extensive CD collection covering classical music, jazz, modern italian music, and modern foreign music, and i intend to spend some serious time there. :D

i told gilberto and romano (the guys i live with) that i have sicilian ancestry, and the other day gilberto gave me an orange called a "tarocco siciliano" that is found only in sicily that had been picked (in sicily) only days before! it was such a sweet gesture. the orange was amazing too. it wasn't quite a blood orange, but it had bloody patches.

getting kicked off momentarily, so i'll end here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

in a rush, but i wanted to post a little something!

still just using internet points at the moment because the wifi still doesn't work in the school building. very annoying. not sure yet if it's worth it to set up a connection in my apartment since there's an internet point next door, and in theory once all the paperwork goes through to enroll at the university there will be free wi-fi everywhere for me!

found out today that due to a very strict reevaluation of the schengen visa policies, it's technically illegal for me to go to the united states and return to italy without my official permesso di soggiorno card. furthermore, thanks to the slowness of the italian bureacracy, i will probably never have the official card. i have the receipt, which will work within the country for all other intents and purposes. neat.

watched the inauguration on a big screen in a bar and it was inspiring. i won't lie i cried a bit. my program had a mini party which was fun, and afterwards i went to an inauguration party at laurel's apartment which was most excellent. i made some awesome italian friends, and now life seems a little less dismal here, which is nice. some of the friends are even girls! i have FEMALE italian friends who not only do not detest me, but are actually quite friendly and excellent cooks to boot!

interesting facts of the day:
-in italy they call sweet potatoes "american potatoes".
-apparently tortellini are supposed to be the shape of venus/aphrodite's bellybutton. that does not make me want to eat tortellini.
-bologna is famous for the three Ts: Torri (towers), Tortellini, and Tette (boobs). bolognese women are supposedly curvier since people "eat better" here.
-in america people say "healthy as a horse", and here they say "healthy as a fish".

see i'm learning things! this week i actually started the four week intensive orientation course, which i mentioned, and it's surprisingly exciting! we're working on vocab and grammar as always of course, but we're also focusing on the proper intonation of phrases that REAL italians would use, as well as connotations and idioms and such.

now i have to go visit one of the university libraries with my program to do who knows what. they didn't provide us with an address so i don't actually know where i'm going, yay.

Monday, January 19, 2009

monday monday

i have successfully moved in to my new apartment! right now i'm on a computer in an "internet point" so i can't upload my pictures yet, but trust me it's gorgeous. also FREEZING. gilberto and romano gave me three blankets for my bed, in addition to the one i already have, and i was like, seriously? four? YES seriously four. it's colder than it was in my basement room at school.

sleep is still very much a problem. saturday night i went to bed at midnight, had a dream where i had two mysterious bloody bruises on both hips, and around 0330 i woke up to the worst hip joint pain imaginable. not sure what that was about. took a bunch of naproxen and a benadryl to help with sleep. i woke up again and my analog clock said 0400, but it felt like i had slept for more than half an hour so i checked my cellphone which said 1600! i guess my body really wanted sleep. last night i went to bed at midnight and woke up at 0230, went back to bed at 0600 and woke up at 900 for class. dumb.

people here have wildly different reactions to me. some people treat me rather negatively for being an american despite my trying hard to always speak italian and to be as polite as possible, and i have frequently heard negative comments about the color of my hair and my paleness (last night a drunk lady said she shouldn't have to get out of my way because i look like a ghost on fire), and some people call me "dearest" and tell me i'm "the best kind of cute". it's...really confusing.

my orientation class started today and i got placed in the highest level, which should be challenging in a good way. i adore my teacher but the class is three hours long and there was no break so i was pretty twitchy after the first hour. my classroom is really far away from my apartment and the program's building, so i'm not sure if i'll be able to find it again tomorrow. :P

i can't wait for actual classes to start. i also really want my student ID so i can go to the sport center and join some activities and meet people. apparently i live in the hip and happenin' part of town, which is pretty sweet.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


last night i didn't sleep at all, and this morning i slept from 4-5 and 7-11. i managed to get up and get ready for the bus tour at 1130, and i'm glad i had all my stuff together because at 1145 the hotel staff came in and said i had to check out by noon. noon was also the time i needed to be in piazza maggiore to catch the bus, so it was kind of a problem. i had told them i was moving into my new apartment at 2030, but they neglected to tell me that i needed to check out at noon regardless. i ended up having to move absolutely everything i own down three flights of stairs to keep at the desk, helped my roommate move all her stuff into another room two flights down, then sprinted several blocks to catch the bus, all within 15 minutes.

long story short i am kind of a sour patch today.

the bus tour was enjoyable. i saw the sun today for the first time in six days, and it was glorious. i wore my sunglasses because i could, even though they weren't exactly necessary. it's not like italians need sunny days to wear sunglasses though; i guess the sun never sets on the roman empire. i saw a bunch of places i'd like to visit this semester, so i think i'll be able to keep pretty busy. i can't wait until it's warm enough to visit the beach.

bologna trivia:
-saint catherine is mummified in a cathedral here, and according to my program director, she is so well preserved that it looks like she's only been dead a year or something. the problem is, you have to have "connections" to get in to see her.
-the basilica of saint petronius (i posted a photo of it yesterday) is half marble because it was supposed to be bigger and fancier than saint peter's in the vatican, but then the pope was like no way that's not cool guys, so they did the rest in another type of stone.
-bologna is called la grassa, "the fat one", because the food is so good here that everyone eats too much. now i definitely need to figure out where to get some exercise. :P
-the meat that we call bologna/baloney in america is called "mortadella" here.

i found the market the other day, and it is the greatest place ever. so many delicious things, oh my god. i can't even describe it. i need to go back and take pictures for you guys. i can't wait to get my groceries there, although i'd have to walk a fair distance with a bunch of grocery bags if i did that.

i'm still trying to break ties with my dear friend caffeine, and it's actually going alright. i've been avoiding it as much as possible this week to try and get onto a decent sleep schedule, although there have been limited results. :P

this is getting long, so i'll stop for now. moving in to my apartment tonight!

Friday, January 16, 2009

pictures from friday morning

this is the archway that leads to the street i live off of, and it has light up vampire teeth. i'm not sure if they're there year-round, but i'm hopeful haha.

i got a totally gluten free three course meal at a restaurant the other night! that's not how you spell "celiac" in italian at all, but i was so so happy that the program asked them to do that for me!

okay it's taking about 20min per picture, so i'm going to stop there for now. -.- i'll have more time to post more later tonight. i took a 8-9hr nap this afternoon by accident, so i'm pretty sure i'll be up all night. :P

Thursday, January 15, 2009

ps i'm glad that i don't go out drinking with everyone. my roommate comes in every night around 4 which either means my waking up at 4am to let her in or leaving the door slightly cracked, neither of which i'm okay with. also i can hear someone throwing up upstairs right now. we all totally need to get up at 7am tomorrow and walk like 2k to the post office. :P this is why everyone hates americans, guys!

italian mcdonalds

this is going to be a quick post because my computer's about to die.

fun fact: i'm starting to think in italian! neat. also confusing. english seems weird sometimes.

the point of this post: i went to a mcdonalds today and it was AMAZING. i was just trying to find a cheap drink that i could walk into the streets with, but i found so much more. in the mcdonalds here, there's shrimp (which, granted, is questionable), donuts, croissants, CURLY FRIES, espresso, and flurry magnums, which are chocolate flurries that you can add brownies, almonds, or extra chocolate to. they also had random little pastries. molto cool.

i saw someone jogging in the city today! however, they were athletic-looking and very well dressed, so i'm still not sure i could pull it off the same way. hmm. i might check out some dance classes or something, and there are also spelunking/scuba/rock climbing/etc classes at the university that are also at my disposal.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


so first and foremost, i already knew that there was going to be another harry potter movie, the watchmen movie, and the wolverine x-men origins movie this year, and i was ALREADY painfully excited, but i did NOT know that there's going to be another transformers movie and movie versions of fantastic mr. fox and where the wild things are. i am excited about my cinematic future.

secondly, I FOUND AN APARTMENT. furthermore, it is the greatest apartment ever. i will have a big single room in an apartment owned by two middle-aged gay men, gilberto and romano. to be fair i just assumed they were a gay couple because they share a room and are well dressed artists, so i could be wrong. the walls are a rather bright orange, which is intense but actually really intriguing, and there are paintings and sculptures everywhere that the two guys made. there's a nice bathroom and washing machine, a kitchen i can use (only after 8pm, not sure why), and a balcony covered in plants and flowers. the building is right next to the university and the italian literature building is right there, and there's a nice sturdy gate keeping non-residents out. i said i was a celiac and gilberto said there's a pizzeria nearby that makes wheat-free stuff. there are a couple gardens nearby i can run in. and italian copy of the little prince was sitting on the table near the door and i was like no way that's my favorite book, and gilberto was like no way that's my favorite book, so we should get along. gilberto's italian was really clear and he spoke a little english, and was very patient if i got stuck on a question and thought it was amusing (rather than frustrating) when i messed up or couldn't understand. my room has a bed, bookshelves, desk, chair, lamp, closet, coat rack, and a big window.

i'll stop there for now, and i'll take pictures once i move in. i'm moving in saturday night!

contact info!

so i now have an address to receive mail at and a phone number!

my address is:

Morgan Coffey
c/o IU - Bologna Consortial Studies Program
Via Malcontenti 3
Bologna, Italy

if you send packages, do NOT insure it, write "VALORE $3" or some other small number under 5 to say it isn't valuable, and write "USED OBJECTS FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY". otherwise i just won't get it and the post office won't care. :P

my cell phone number is (+39) 347.391.2105. it's free for me to receive your call, but it would be really expensive for you to call my cell phone, so i guess i'm putting it up just in case of emergency.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

i am locked out of my room. :( my roommate and i share a key, and we agreed to leave it at the desk whenever we left, but this morning she forgot to. sigh. i'd wander around outside more, but it is FREEZING here. another girl was really sweet and is letting me use her computer while she goes to check out an apartment, so here i am!

this morning i got up at 8am, which is 2am back at home, and it definitely felt like i was waking up at 2am. i've managed to stay up all day so far, so i think i'm doing pretty well battling the jet lag.
we had a four hour lecture this morning from the program directors, which was...extensive. they told us everything there is to know about finding an apartment, which is helpful. i'm actually looking for apartments right now! exclamation point!

Monday, January 12, 2009


i made it! got here about nine hours later than planned. flew to venice, couldn't get on the bus to bologna because of space issues, waited around to take a van to bologna airport, then took a taxi to the hotel. good times.

i'm going to go get some food, and then hopefully pass out in a serious way. i have been up for quite a long time.

my hotel room is pretty okay! small, but it gets the job done. nice bathroom. my bed is an inch from my roommate's, i guess that's pretty standard in italy.

more interesting things to come after i get some sleep.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


i'm in paris! there's a bright pink sunrise and snow on the ground, but i'm just not as chipper as i could be. this airport is about the longest airport i have ever been in, and unsurprisingly i had to run from one end to the other with all my stuff. customs was a nightmare and everyone was very pushy. i finally got to the right terminal, where i found out my flight had been cancelled. hilaaarious. then i went to four different desks to try and find a new flight, and i eventually found a flight that will be leaving in an hour. the problem is it's going to VENICE and then i'm taking a bus to bologna. the bus ride should be two or three hours long at best. i should be getting into bologna about five or six hours late, i think.

not. amused.

they also ended up going through absolutely everything in my carry-ons when i went through security again, which was fun. thank goodness i have all this extra time now to repack. -.-

i really hope my luggage ends up in the right country. it might be too much to ask for it to go to the right city.

fun things:
-i've actually spoken a little bit in french! i knew enough to say "what number is my gate?" and "i need to go to bologna", among other things.
-i successfully interpreted english/french to italian for this guy who's also trying to get to bologna.
-if there were a zombie apocalypse, this airport would be the worst place to be. it is ALL glass and escalators. there are a bunch of soldiers around with really terrifying guns though, so i guess that would help.

well i should probably go, i only paid for half an hour of precious internet. hopefully i'll be updating soon about my successful arrival in bologna!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

leaving on a jet plane (again)

i'm all packed and ready to go! i've got two fat suitcases that i remarkably managed to keep within the airline's weight limit, and i'm taking a backpack and my laptop case onto the plane, both of which are full of gadgets and books to keep me entertained. ideally i'll be sleeping for the whole flight so i'll arrive in bologna fresh as a daisy monday morning.

i will miss you all terribly, but i'm a great letter writer so you'll be hearing from me (whether you want to or not i suppose) once i get some stamps. in theory, the hotel i'm staying in for two weeks will have wi-fi, so i'll definitely be around on the internet.

kisses, arrivederci!

Blog Archive