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.