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!