Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"The time has Come," the Walrus said

These are pictures from Food, Culture, and Society when we made seafood spaghetti. We learned hands-on how to gut and clean squid and muscles. The poor little guys were still alive when we stared simmering them...
"I weep for you," the Walrus said:"I deeply sympathize."
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.

"O Oysters," said the Carpenter,
"You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?'
But answer came there none--
And this was scarcely odd, because
They'd eaten every one.
Sad, but tasty! I'm saving all of the recipes, so if anyone would like copies just let me know.
I started training for the marathon yesterday. Even if I fail miserably, running around for hours will certainly acquaint me with the city layout. I'm trying to think positively.
Today I booked a flight from Pisa to Memmingen, Germany for fall break. Jan and Maxamillian said I could stay with them in Kempten, Germany for that weekend. So, I'm thinking I'll stay there for 3-4 days, and then book a cheap flight somewhere else for the remainder of the break, and fly back to Florence before school starts back up again. Barcelona sounds good.
The rest of the week I am going to get ahead on my schoolwork so when I go to Venice with Katy next weekend I won't have to worry.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Florence is Orange

1st: Start of the race

2nd: Tomasso, Me, Lucy, and Emanuela--cooling off

3rd: Tomasso, Serena, Paulo, Emanuela, Lucy, and Iside (dog) in the Boboli Garden.

I do not feel at all guilty for walking the entire race. First of all, it was physically impossible. The streets are much too narrow for so many people (and dogs). Secondo, the main perk of the race is that most of the museums/palaces/gardens in Florence are open to the public, for free. So, naturally, we took advantage.

The race began and ended in Pizza della Signoria. I don't remember every place we visited, but I know we wound through the Boboli Gardens, the Pitti Palace, a few churches, and two museums. The 4 mile course took us 3.5 hours to complete.
I had such a good time that I decided to sign up for the Firenze Marathon in November. I know I'm out of mind. I have never run a marathon and I only have 9 weeks to train for it. I already paid for it, so there is no going back.

Italia Tip #6: It's bad luck to be the only one at the table not drinking, especially when a toast is made.

Buona notte!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Galleria degli Uffizi e "Tonari no Totoro"

Santa Croce (picture) is 2 blocks from my school.
I finally got to go inside the Uffizi. The place is enormous. I couldn't stay for long, because I had an editorial meeting for my school's newsletter, but I was able to take a long look at the Botticellis, some Byzantine paintings, and two Leonardo Da Vinci paintings. I think I'm going to have to devote several afternoons to this museum. There are 45 rooms and I only saw three!

I spent most of the day studying, but I got out of the house for a few hours to see "Totoro" or "Tonari no Totoro." I used to watch this movie all of the time with my brothers and sisters, so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see the Japanese animated film dubbed in Italian. It made me a little homesick, but I'm glad I went.

Tomorrow is the big run. Tomasso (my host brother) says we're taking mopeds to the starting line! This will be my first Italian 2-wheeling experience. Wish me luck!

Italia Tip #5: "Ganzo" (means cool) is an 80s word...don't use it in serious conversation.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Catch Up

Do you like the curtains made with pasta?

Since Cinque Terre, I have not done much aside from attending class, homework, and chatting with my host family. I did, however, go to a small jazz concert at a caffe/libraria on Monday night. I really enjoyed that.

My school has organized an Italian movie series. This week we watched "Divorce: Italian Style" and it was hilarious. Last week we watched "Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow" starring Sophia Loren. I really love Tuesdays. I have Holocaust in Film and Fiction in the morning and then Food, Culture, and Society in the evening (special emphasis on the food portion).

This morning my host mother and I signed up for the Corri La Vita, which is a run/walk fundraiser for breast cancer. The race is on Sunday. Hopefully all of this walking will help me out.

One of my host brothers has given me over 200 Italian songs, so I've been listening/translating them in my free time. It's strange not having a job(s). I have so much time. I have never been able to read so much!

I'm thinking about going to Pisa this Saturday. It's only an hour train ride away!

Italia Tip #4: Pronounce all vowels with gusto!


Monday, September 21, 2009

Cinque Terre

We left Florence by train early Friday morning and arrived in Monterrosso around 11 am. The 5 Lands are only accessible by train, ferry, or on foot, so I dropped my bag off at the hotel and hit the trail. A day hiking pass is only 5 euro and that's a pretty good deal, considering the whole path is about a 5 hour+ hike. I only hiked from Monterrosso to Vernazza, but that took a good 4 hours to and it was really steep. "Uphill both ways," as my dad would say. When I was done I took a quick dip in the ocean. The water was so clear.

On Saturday several girls and I took the ferry so that we could see the other 3 Lands. Although it had been raining hard earlier that morning, it turned out to be a gorgeous day. We spent the whole afternoon in Portovenere. Here I had my first (and definitely last) experience with anchovies!! Never, ever, EVER again. The taste still haunts me.

On the ferry ride back to Monterrosso we saw dolphins!

I absolutely want to go back to Cinque Terre before I come back home, if only to hike the entire trail.

Yesterday I went to the Museo Academia to see Michelangelo's David and a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit. Beautiful!

Italian Tip #3: Unless you like chewy, salty, tapeworm-like fish, do not eat anchovies.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

No Piu' Inglese--No More English

View of the Duomo from my school.

I told my host mother I would no longer speak in English. I'm not at all comfortable with this decision, but I think it will help me in the long run. I actually just tried to ask, "Do you have a stapler?" I failed miserably.

I visited Dostoevsky's Florentine apartment. My sources tell me this was where he wrote The Idiot It was actually very easy to find.

Tomorrow I go to Cinque Terre. I will be there Friday and Saturday. Hopefully the weather will be nice and I can enjoy the beach. If not, there are plenty of hiking trails. Our Director said there really isn't much to do in "The Five Lands" except enjoy the scenery.

"Macbeth" is playing at Teatro Manzoni on Sunday, so I will try to see that when I return.

Monday, September 14, 2009


I took the picture in a Roman bookstore. It amused me.

The earthquake was not bad; just a little tremor. But I can still say I survived an earthquake.

It rained most of the day, which was fine, except now I know I need to invest in some rain books. The cobblestone streets do not allow the water to drain very quickly.

I finished a Pirandello book of short stories. Now I will have to hunt down another one translated into English. I would try my hand at Italian, but I still have trouble translating my child's dictionary. So....maybe next semester.

Italia Tip #2: Pouring olive oil over your dog's food makes his/her coat soft and shiny!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Museo di San Marco

Since I had no idea what was in Museo di San Marco, I brought Rick Steves along with me. He maps out the floor plan and describes what is in each room; it helped immensely. I was a little hestitant to take it out (I looked uber touristy), but I took a look around and every other person had a guidebook. Apparently I'm not the only one who does not know, and who would like to know, what is going on! I exchanged an embarrassed smile with an older man who also had a Rick Steves' book. We quickly parted ways.

I'm going to have to go back to San Marco, because it closed an hour after I had arrived. I only got to see the first floor. The second floor (according to Rick) is supposed to be the most interesting. The second floor is where Savonarola, former leader of Florence, lived and it is also where he was arrested. I don't feel too sorry for him though, he sounds like a jerk.

The first floor was worth the walk though. The Hospice, where the Beato Angelico works are kept, was my favorite. The Giudizio Universale (The Last Judgment) was pretty morbid. The left side of the paining is Heaven, and the right is Hell. In in the center demons are pushing new inmates further and further to the right of the paining where people are being tortured and eaten. Satan (a big blue minotaur thing) is eating three people at once. Blood is everywhere. Meanwhile, the lucky people in Heaven are dancing and jeering at the sinners on the right.

I didn't take many pictures, because it was not allowed. I found out the hard way. I did, however, post a picture of the Hell half of the aforementioned Anglico.

School again tomorrow. I think we might go to the synagogue in my World Religions class.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

I ate so much! Eggplant (melazana), mozzarella, chicken, pasta, green beans, salad, plums, gelato...! Mi amore ospite famiglia. Sicuro pieno.

The Uffizi IS open tomorrow.

The larger picture was taken from the top of the Duomo a.k.a Brunelleschi's Dome.

The smaller one is the view of the city center from my home.

  • Italia Tip #1: It's alright to use the same glass for wine and water.

Time to study. Buona notte!

Yesterday, I saw my first Italian movie, in Italian, while in Italy. The title is Il Grande Sogno (The Big Dream). As far as plot goes, I think I understood most of it...I think. It was a beautiful theatre anyway.

I walked/hiked to Piazzale Michelangelo with Melanie today. The hike was not that strenuous, but the view was amazing. We ate a light lunch at a city-view cafe, took some pictures, and called it a day. I have some Italian homework I need to finish, but my host mother wants me to watch some televised gymnastics with her, so homework will definitely have to wait.

I bought a monthly bus pass yesterday, and, so far, it has proved to be a good investment.

Tomorrow I think I will go to the Uffizi--if it's open.