I'm going abroad! To Italy! I'll be studying physical theatre at the Accademia dell'Arte in Arezzo for this exciting spring semester. On this blog I will write about things I eat, places I go, things I eat, people I meet, things I eat, classes I take, and things I eat. You may read and be hungry. MUCH LOVE AND I MISS YOU!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

jeremy's tippy tap part due

so remember how my roommate was on tuscan tv and i promised you to eventually send the link along? (if you don't, go read my post called "teletruria"). we found the link! if you go to www.etruriamediagroup.tv, then click on "archivo," then scroll down until you can click on "talenti alla ribalta," then click on "23/03/2011," then you will be brought to a gourmet viewing of the evening!

you may need to download a plug-in: if you need to, jeremy did and it didn't spam his computer.

also, the video player is quite bad. as in, it doesn't allow you to fast-forward or any of that jazz. if you right click, however, and go to plug-in settings (i think that is what it was called), and re-set it to open videos in quicktime, then you can open the video in quicktime and have more control there. jeremy is at the very end of the video, i make awkward cameos throughout. i wish there was a better viewer so that i could point you to specific times and you wouldn't need to sift through an hour of italian semi-talent, but if you are bored i now present to you fantastic procrastination material!

jonny bonnie ronnie zanni!

we're in the middle of mask-making week and it's awesome! mask-making began on thursday, and we have it for three hours of each day thursday, friday, saturday, monday, tuesday, and wednesday. by the end of wednesday we're each going to have custom made leather masks to take home! the class is led by a swedish man named Torbjorn who is basically santa claus. i could talk to him forever and never get bored.

anyway on thursday, we started by making clay molds of the mask that we ultimately want to create. i am working with two others - Maggie Jo and Rachael - because the three of us all wanted to make a Zanni mask. Zanni, by the way, is a generic category of commedia character that refers to any relatively stupid and goofy servant. beyond being a category though, Zanni can also be a more specific character with his own mannerisms and walk and such. we have named our zanni "jonny bonnie ronnie zanni" and have already come quite attached to him. we joke that mask-making is giving everyone a miniature preview of what it's like to have kids. i've become fiercely protective of "jonny bonnie ronnie zanni" and periodically check on him even outside of class just because i miss him. helicopter parent syndrome commence.

anyway, we started by making a clay mold of how we want our mask to look, which was a long process of refining and perfecting until we got him just how we wanted. next (by this point it was friday) we layered him with sheets of plaster-aid stuff. i believe it's the same stuff that is used to make casts when you break something. or at least something like that. regardless, we layered JBRZ with vaseline to provide a thin barrier, layered him with wet sheets of plaster cloth, and waited for this to dry. at the end of this process, torbjorn used our mask as a demonstration of how to remove the clay from within the plaster cast. this was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life, because the process makes it look like your mask (and hours of work, love and emotion) is literally about to crack and crumble beneath the knife. everything turned out fine though, and we ended up with a negative cast of our clay mold. i think, by the way, that we are at saturday by this point. we next supported our plaster cast with clay, re-vaselined the inside, and poured plaster into it to make a plaster version of our original clay mold. this is where the real waiting came into play - after about an hour and a half, the plaster inside the cast had dried (that's probably the wrong terminology, but whatever) and we carefully pulled the plaster cast off of the new plaster mold. this gave us a plaster version of our original clay mold! next week, we will be making leather masks off of this plaster mold, and then we will each have a jonny bonnie ronnie zanni to take back to america!

it's been an awesome process (even only halfway through) to learn the real way to make masks after a whole semester of acting in them. and it'll be really great to keep a quality leather mask as a souvenir of the program, especially one that is all of our own design and such. we've also had some movement and voice classes continuing, but mainly this week is mask-making. when mask-making ends, we will have our last movement/voice classes on thursday, and then the week after will be all clowning, and then we'll be done! now that we're down to these last two weeks, it's just hitting me now that the program is winding down - it's gonna be tough to leave this awesome place, these awesome classes, and my more than awesome friends (cue sad faces and tears).

since we had saturday class due to mask-making timeframe necessity, i stayed in arezzo this weekend. today we went into town and i had two kebabs and two gelatos within two hours. piggy piggy piggy. some things never change. afterwards, we went to arezzo's roman amphitheater and were frolicking around with juggling balls when a german tourist family showed up. the little kids were fascinated by us, as little kids frequently are fascinated by everything, and we quickly made friends with them despite the fact that our german vocabulary consisted of "bitte, ja, adieu" and nothing else. we commenced to play catch with little kids for a few hours, but eventually we had to go so we said bye to "fabian" and returned to the villa. and now i have reached the present moment, so i have nothing more to say.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

when in rome, go to capri

ciao a tutti! as per usual, it has been a long time since my last post.

first, classes. after body weather training, we started back in on commedia, and it's been fabulous. before break in commedia we did a lot of ensemble movement work, learned the different walks and characteristics of the masks, and did some other fabsy acting stuff. now that we're returning to commedia with that background however, we're starting to actually work on improvised scenes and canovacci (structured sets of actions used in commedia to give form to improvisation - the closest thing commedia gets to having a script). it's really difficult, but tons of fun to apply everything we've learned onto the work and actually perform commedia. some of the canovacci/improvs are turning out really hilarious in classwork too - they're all based on the notion of "Capulet's kitchen." essentially, we're improvising what the servants of the Capulets would be saying and going through during Romeo and Juliet. most of all though, it's great to be back working with Michele, our hilarious and very Italian commedia teacher.

last thursday, the accademia took us on a "working excursion" to rome for a long weekend! we switched roles with the dancers - aka, actors took a tarantella class and the dancers took a course with our acrobatics teacher. tarantella was awesome, exhausting, and actually pretty emotional. outside of that class though, rome was actually not my favorite city. there was all sorts of cool old things - i saw the colosseum, the roman forum, some other old important things, etc. and those were all really interesting. the city itself though was kind of boring and ugly, unlike many italian cities that are beautiful in and of themselves. rome was more of an ugly city that happened to have interesting things in it than an interesting city in and of itself. this is not to put down rome too strongly though, because it's packed with awesome old things. i just don't love the city itself. i did, however, have one of my favorite meals there at a place called carlomenta. delicious delicious delicious. i had penne gorgonzola for my primi piatti, pork with prosciutto and wine sauce as my secondi piatti, tiramisu, and all four of us tasted each other's plates. if you, whoever you are, ever go to rome, i will let you know where it is because it is DELICIOUS.

tiramisu. happy.

on friday afternoon, i planned on leaving rome with four other friends (elena, maggiejo, trevor, and jeremy) to head to capri for a relaxing fantastic weekend of beauty. however, as is somewhat typical in europe, there was a train strike on friday so we didn't make it to capri until saturday morning. once we did make it capri though, it was probably the most gorgeous place i have ever been. the island has a chairlift that takes anyone to the top of the mountain/island/hill/cliffs. from up there, there's a 360 degree view of all of the cliffs falling into the mediterranean, and every way you turn is absolutely breathtaking. we packed ourselves sandwiches, ate there, laid out in the sun, and basked in the gorgeousness that is capri. we also visited faro on saturday, one corner of the island where you can swim in the water. massachusetts ocean water is cold, but this water was FREEZING. as in, we jumped in, quickly lost the ability to breathe, exited the water, regained said ability, and jumped in again. it was quite thrilling. but it was still awesome because we swam in the mediterranean. 

we look really touristy. also, we are on top of capri and it is GORGEOUS.

again, gorgeous.

on sunday we went back up to our favorite place at the top of the chairlift, then headed back home. it's worth mentioning, however, that "going home" from capri requires passing through napoli. napoli (naples) is fascinating. apparently the mafia controls the garbage collection in the city and decided quite a while ago to stop collecting it. thus, there are heaps of garbage on every block that are as big as ten yards wide. gross. but kind of fascinating nonetheless, and it was also the location of my most terrifying taxi ride ever (never tell a napoli taxi driver that you're late). all in all, naples was interesting.

after this, we returned to the villa to the aforementioned commedia work! it has been a fabulous week. also, the weather has continued to be gorgeous and now reaches the 70s every day. happiness.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

body weather training and 70 degrees at the villa

i lied. you get three posts today. in addition to spring break, this week of classes has been amazing. first of all, we returned to the villa sunday to find that arezzo had burst fully into spring - every day has been high 60s or even 70s, and eating lunch out on the roof of the teatrino or having movement class in the garden has been pure bliss. the picture below shows my feet in the villa's hammock during lunch break.

also, we have one week of something called "body weather training" this week. it has been one of the most intense workout experiences of my life, while also being really artistically enlightening. kind of like zuumba or jazzercise or any of those classes where you move continuously for 2 hours without stopping, except that it's led by a woman named franziska who has an extensive martial arts and acting background. she has formulated this method of training where the ensemble goes through a series of continuous movements for roughly 2 hours through which i have gained an unprecedented awareness of my body's interconnectedness and movement along with an amazing sense of group movement. kind of hard to describe i suppose, but it's been great and i'm very sore from it. yay excuses to eat lots of gnocchi!

lastly, we had our other movement class outside yesterday afternoon and it was wonderful. we were working on partner cartwheels and funny other ways of flipping over each other, but all in a gorgeous garden/lawn space with a giant blue sky above and luscious green hills all around. i have almost never been happier. i feel a little bad writing all this because most of y'all are sitting under snow right now, but it's been so wonderful i just had to share.



lucky you - two blog posts in one day! but this deserved its own blog post. i semi-unintentionally ended up on italian tv! it was one of the most hilarious evenings of my life. backing up a few steps, my roommate jeremy is an insanely talented tap dancer - definitely the best one i've seen ever and he's fantastic and we share shoes. the only relevant part though, is that he's an awesome tap dancer and that tap is pretty rare in italy. through some process that we still don't quite understand, a tuscan television station asked him to do some tap on one of their programs. also, the dancers in his dance class were invited to be in the studio audience for the show. being pushy and wanting to be on italian tv, i asserted my rights as jeremy's roommate to get into the studio audience along with the rest of the dancers.

so last night, three teachers drove us to the tv studio so we could watch jeremy's moment of tuscan fame. as we entered though, we discovered that we were in the studio audience of some strange tuscan version of star search (a talent competition tv show for kids/teenagers). not just the studio audience, though, the television station was so enthused by the notion of a crowd of american exchange students that they put us on a separate couch that was essentially onstage. so while "gli americani" sat literally right behind the competitor of the moment in full view of the main camera, the italian studio audience watched both the tv show and us. essentially, we were part of the spectacle. which made me really happy that i had showered beforehand.

we commenced to view a two hour competition of mildly talented and adorable italian youth sing and/or dance from onstage, with enthusiastic instructions from a tall italian woman in 5inch heels that we should cheer very enthusiastically, clap, and sway to the songs that the kids were singing. it's a good thing that we were a group of dancers and movement-trained actors, because sitting on that backless, strangely-poofy, overly modern couch with a smile and decent posture was not a simple task. we paid for it all day today with backs that were incurably stiff.

once we realized what was going on, i decided the most fun would be to play an italian-tv version of fan cam at the red sox game. i hammed it up as much as possible and competed for the audience close-ups. if i do say so myself, i got a decent amount of facetime while goofily dancing or emotionally smiling to whichever 11 year old was singing in front of me. jeremy, we discovered, was the guest performer. kind of like on "so you think you can dance" when the judges are deliberating and votes are being counted and lady gaga performs. by the transitive property, my roommate is lady gaga. he did amazingly as always though, and the italians loved him.

supposedly, the show is going to air online after its live and non-live tuscan television appearances. when i get my hands on that link i promise to post it here so you can all watch me ham it up on italian television.


i am back from spring break! well actually, i returned from spring break on sunday but alas, i am lazy and busy and that combination makes blogging rarely something that occurs on time.

anyway, i went to spain for spring break and had a fabulous time! i went to barcelona for the first four-ish days with four other ADA folksies. it rained for three of the days, but the second days was gorgeous and we went to the beach and touched the mediterranean. during the rest of the days, we wandered around the city seeing the many fabulous things - gaudi's architecture, las ramblas, some really awesome street performers, and such.

elena by the water in barcelona

my foot on the beach!

AND THEN WE HAD TAPAS ALL THE TIME! apologies for the capslock, but tapas and sangria meals make me extremely excited. so many little mini meals that you can just keep ordering and so many different delicious things! some of my favorites included ... 1) little piece of toasted bread with crabmeat, a shrimp, and a pickle. 2) mini cheeseburger with sweet onions 3) same little piece of toasted bread with 4 delicious cheeses melted onto it. 4) roasted peppers and vegetables with melted goat cheese. 5) little piece of homemade cake with creme brulee IN IT. essentially, tapas excite me like nothing else in the world. also, i saw my tufts friend dan richards in barcelona, which was an exciting touch of home while abroad.

the seville cathedral

after barcelona, i flew to seville for a whopping 7 euros (europe traveler tip: if you manage to put up with ryanair's ridiculous restrictions you can go all over really cheap. but be careful and do your research because they do things like flying you an hour from the actual city, etc or charging you 40 euros for a carryon that is the wrongs shape). seville was probably my favorite city in spain - it felt the most "spanish" despite being stuffed with american exchange students. we saw a flamenco performance in a local bar, went to the seville cathedral (i can't remember if there's a specific name but it's humungous and gorgeous), and rested in the parks/streets during the 70 degree weather. it was so amazingly therapeutic. also, more tapas and sangria. happiness. also also, i forgot this until i went to upload pictures, but we also so my favorite animal, peacocks, in the garden of a palace in seville.

i named this peacock francesco.

for the last two days i took the train up to madrid with one other ADA friend - we met up with a third actor there along with bunches of tufts people. it was great to see some tufts friends and how fabulously they were all doing. madrid was also great, much more laid back than i had expected. i also went to the reina sofia, spain's national museum of 20th century art. i have seen tons and tons of gorgeous cathedrals over the past month or so of europe, but after a while the million portrayals of jesus, mary and occasionally peter start to blend together. ergo, it was great to wander through picasso and such for a few hours. my last meal in spain was actually sushi. and it was so wonderful. the first asian food that i have eaten since january and i missed it lots and lots.

all in all, spain was fabulous.

Friday, March 11, 2011

spring break!

i leave for spring break tomorrow morning at 530am and i haven't packed at all! anyway, this post is mostly a warning that i'm not bringing my laptop on spring break (i'm going to spain), so i won't be able to post for probably a week and a half.

also, we had a contact improvisation intensive week and it was AWESOME. however, i have not packed yet and so i don't have time to talk about it. i'll let you know about it next time.


Sunday, March 6, 2011


i'm back at the villa right now after my favorite weekend yet - carnevale in venice! i made the great trek with five other fabulous actors from the program - morganna, emily, stuart, maggiejo, and elena. we left arezzo at almost 1am friday night and our train arrived in venice at 5:30am. about an hour and a half into the train ride, we finally attempted sleep by arranging ourselves into one giant knot of cuddle and in the process making most of our body parts either extremely sore or numb. 'twas fantastic.

arriving in venice just before sunrise, it was already gorgeous. we took a "water bus" to lido (kind of like urban sprawl, but not because it's an island) where our hotel was, and the really nice concierge lady transferred us to a different hotel so that we could check in and get breakfast despite it being (by then) 7am.  by this point we were rather awake and excited, so rather than taking our planned power nap we ate five croissants each, got into our carnevale makeup/costumes, and headed back towards venice.

side note - one of the most awesome parts of venice is that taking public transportation (these waterbuses) is basically an enjoyable event of its own. the whole city is beautiful, so their equivalent of hopping on a dirty subway is boarding a boat and floating past gorgeous buildings while the sun glints off of the ocean into your eyes. this made me very happy. end of side note.

i think one of my favorite parts of venice is that unlike other cities, i didn't feel that i needed to rush about to see fifteen million things. just being in venice during carnevale itself was the attraction, and everywhere around me was fabulousity. everything was hugely crowded, but it almost in a calm way because the crowds were full of amazingly dressed up people, the weather was beautiful, and no one was rushing towards any specific direction. we mostly wandered about piazza san marco, seeing the elaborate and gorgeous costumes of the venice elite.

carnevale, by the way, is a two week period leading up to fat tuesday during which (traditionally) masks and disguises are worn such that class and social structure are flipped on their head. it was originally the period in which the peasants could behave like nobility and vice versa, the designated time of year for the whole world to be flipped on its head and for craziness, basically, to rule. today it has much less of the original economic/social class implications, but remains a time when people don masks and elaborate costumes. some of the most elaborate and beautiful masks/costumes in the world are on display in venice during carnevale, and it was amazing just to walk about and see how people were dressed in the street. i included a few pictures below, along with a picture of our own carnevale costumes.

in the middle of the afternoon we also headed over murano, famous for its glass art. we saw a free glass demonstration (which was crazy impressive) and then explored the shops where glass was sold. afterwards we headed back towards san marco and the carnevale celebration, but we didn't make it too far into the night before we got exhausted and headed back to the hotel for the night. today we meandered our way to the train station, seeing more costumes and beautiful sights along the way, and returned in time for kebab in arezzo. all in all, it was a crazy fun yet relaxing (in a way) weekend. moral of the story - if you ever get the chance to go to carnevale in venice, jump at it. here's a few photos of the awesome environment where i spent the last weekend :

this guy's red purse wins him best carnevale costume of the weekend.

elena with the commedia characters!

our homemade versions of carnevale, many thanks to ben nye stage makeup.


the mask stores were also stunning, as you can see.

Friday, March 4, 2011


once again, i got lazy and busy and haven't posted in a long time! sorryyyyy!

first, weekend fun things - i travelled to Rome last weekend! it was actually somewhat overwhelming because there were so many amazing things to see and we hadn't really planned much beforehand about what our priorities were. as a result, we didn't have the right timing in order to get into the vatican or the colosseum, but we still saw lots of awesome old things. threw obligatory coins into the trevi fountain, wandered around exploring all the old things that are everywhere, and in general enjoyed ourselves. the highlight of the weekend, though, was probably seeing a piece of physical theatre on saturday night by a group called "peeping tom" from belgium (i think belgium - i might be remembering wrong). it was one of the most captivating performances i've seen, and was a huge inspiration to continue with the sometimes grueling work involved in physical theatre. here's a little clip with some highlights of the show - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlrXPVZG5Ho.

during the week, we've shifted focus in class the last two weeks such that we are spent half of each day on commedia training. it's been awesome - commedia itself has been a blast to learn, but the way that our teacher helped us connect the characters and conventions to larger broader work in all types of theatre has also been awesome. it has taught me much more about theatre as a whole than i would have expected, while still being a great realm of its own to explore.

anyway, here's some pictures from rome! and stay tuned, i'll try to start posting more often again and i go to venice this weekend for carnevale, which promises to be fantastic :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

arezzo from above

it's been a very very long time since my last post, and michael did his faithful duty of chastising me for this horrific deed, so rather than doing my philosophy homework i shall grace the internet with my tales of grandeur.

wooooah it's been a long time since my last post - i went to florence last weekend (as in like, 8 days ago)! 'twas fabulous! i didn't actually go into the uffizzi or the accademia, so i plan on returning to actually go into the museums. instead, i just wandered around the different piazzas. i saw the duomo (gorgeous), the statues outside of the uffizzi (stunning), strutted across the ponte vecchio and ate fantastic food. AND AND AND there was a chocolate fair going on! all of piazza santa croce was stuffed with chocolate things. there were shoes made of chocolate, tools made of chocolate, a chocolate kebab vendor, and anything dipped in melted chocolate that you can ever imagine. it was basically heaven. the only sad part about florence is that i brilliantly left my camera's memory card in my room in arezzo, so my camera was essentially useless. thus i have no pictures to show you of the chocolate or gorgeousness.  florence, although fantastic, also helped me appreciate how much we are almost the only americans in arezzo. florence was stuffed to the gills with tourists and that's not necessarily a bad thing, but it was nice to return to a place where we were the exceptions as americans and everyone gladly helped us practice italian.

last week was another fantastic week of classes, although i got pretty sick for the first half of it so i spent a good amount sitting in the corner in many layers of sweatshirts :( an italian doctor came to the villa though for all of us sick folk, and with the help of a translator he managed to diagnose me with something-or-other and i'm all better YAY! translating "post-nasal drip" was a challenge.

this most recent weekend i stayed around arezzo rather than trekking off to anywhere else in italy. saturday i strapped on my athletic self and went hiking with my friends stuart and maggiejo in the hills above arezzo. it was so so so gorgeous. beyond words gorgeous. i put some pictures below, but they don't really capture how fantastic it was. we were originally planning on hiking all the way to alghieri (spelling might be completely wrong) and then taking a bus back, but we got about 2 hours up the path that was supposedly leading us there, and it forked. not believing in things like maps, we had no clue which fork to take. we were, however, at a gorgeous mountaintop villa/gated estate, and so while we were half trying to figure out where we were and half gazing in awe at the gorgeous property, the owners drove up. of course we tried in our fluent (horribly broken) italian to ask them which fork to take. there was only one minor problem in that we couldn't remember the name of alghieri. oops. so we didn't even really know what we were asking for. despite our stupidity though, they took us through their gorgeous house so that their garden-keeper could attempt to tell us where to go. they were completely useless in showing us directions, but seeing their adorable and gorgeous property was fantastic nonetheless. and they were very enthusiastically useless.

we eventually made it back by way of an adorable town called san polo, from where we took a bus to arezzo. that was a very strangely constructed sentence. but regardless in san polo we stumbled upon a church that had sections dating back to the 4th century. so cool. once we got back to arezzo we ate lots of food, and this week we start intensive commedia classes! i promise to (try to) post more often!

gorgeousness from above arezzo

part of the estate thing on top of the hill.

stuart and me and pretty views

prosciutto break!

this was so pretty it looks fake.

Friday, February 11, 2011

gnocchi night!

Just a shout-out to the fantaaastic cooks here at the Accademia - gnocchi night was a few nights ago and MMMM it was delicious. Here's a picture of my bliss :D

Monday, February 7, 2011

barbara streisand

I had a big breakthrough during open studio time tonight - one of the headstands we were working on in movement class was giving me trouble, and I can hold it now basically as long as I want! WOOHOO! It took me a little while to teach myself the right way to arch my back and balance my core instead of just kicking myself up - I had to overcome my instincts and trust my own ability to balance in a new way. I suppose that's some deep analogy for life, but for now it's just how I managed to stand on my head :)

ALSO this song, "barbara streisand" by duck sauce is ridiculously popular here, and I think it's hilarious: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uu_zwdmz0hE

Sunday, February 6, 2011

il mio primo fine settimana!

I'm nearing the end of my first weekend in Arezzo, and it has been a blast! During the first weekend of each month, Arezzo holds an antique fair. Now every antique fair I've been to and/or seen and/or driven by and/or sprinted away from in America has been a rickety collection of ugly chairs. In Arezzo, antique fair means that the whole city - literally countless streets and piazzas - are all filled with vendor after vendor of awesome stuff. Beautiful jewelry, awesome leather bags, gorgeous old furniture and paintings, artwork, some clothing. I posted a couple pictures below of some of the awesome stuff lining the streets. Plus, everyone in Italy dresses beautifully, so going into town is kind of like living on a runway of a fashion show. And everybody has BEAUTIFUL dogs.

A huge success also occurred yesterday in that I found a hair dryer that won't explode the European sockets!! I can now coif without exploding the villa, which is a positive step. We went into salons for about two hours asking directions, and they kept telling us (to the best of our Italian knowledge, at least) that if we went to a certain piazza (which we couldn't find) we would see "tutto per capelli!" We were a little confused how sitting in a piazza would suddenly reveal to us "everything for hair," but we trudged on and eventually found the store named "tutto per capelli." I suppose that explains why we could never figure out the name of the place we were being sent to...

Saturday night we went to dinner at a delicious amazing place of which I can't remember the name, and then went to "la discoteca" for the night, where I attempted practicing Italian with bunches of locals. The people from Arezzo love when we practice Italian with them - it seems to amuse them just as if we were hilarious 5 year olds.

After a busy start to the weekend, we took a little bit lazier of a Sunday, playing a pick-up soccer game at a nearby park. And tonight we are taking our first step into an exciting yet terrifying realm : we're going to get non-Italian food in Italy, specifically Chinese delivery. Should be fabulous.

antique bidet. fabulous.

lunch in arezzo!

Dinner saturday night!

Saturday, February 5, 2011


I've finished my first week of classes, and they've been fantastic! Each day we have a movement class, a voice class, an italian class, and a philosophy class (each for 2 hours). As the semester progresses, our schedule morphs to have different focuses each week (one week of extra commedia training, a clowning week, a more intensive voice week, etc). For the first week though, we had a more even schedule to lay the groundwork. The teachers are all fantastic, have adorable accents, and I'm learning loads. ALSO, I'm ridiculously sore, so hopefully this implies that I won't have to worry about the Italian freshman fifteen!

There's an MFA program here at the same time, and two of the MFA guys are awesome jugglers, so if I return to America unable to do tons of crazy juggling tricks, please chastise me.

Last night was the first of multiple cabarets, when anyone at the villa (teachers, students, mfa people, whoever) can perform whatever they want. It was awesome to see how much amazing talent, humor, and variety is here. There's an open air market in Arezzo today and another fair here for the weekend, so I'm excited to explore a little on my weekend off from class.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Villa time

I've made it to Arezzo! Well actually, I made it to Arezzo on Monday, but whatever. We were all bussed from Florence on Monday night to the (gorgeous) villa, and spent the last day and a half doing orientation things, eating fantastic food, and meeting everybody. Today is the first day of classes, so I'm really excited to get going onto that! Here's a few pictures of my beautiful new home :)

My room in "la casina."

View of Arezzo from the roof of one of the villa buildings.

The villa!


Arezzo is beautifulllll.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

My First Meal!

I may have just posted literally 15 seconds ago, but I had my first meal in Italy this evening and I thought that it deserved its own post. Since it was already dinner time when I arrived at my hotel, I didn't explore Firenze much tonight - I just walked a few blocks into a neighborhood next to the hotel until I found a little restaurant full of people who were blatantly not American. I gathered my courage for about ten minutes, and then walked in. When the server looked up at me, I instantly forgot all the Italian that I've learned since January 2010. Somehow, I sputtered "Uno!" One? Really? What did I even think I was saying?...

He eventually figured out that I wanted to eat dinner and that I didn't want a coffee to go, and so he gave me a seat in the corner, from which I creepily watched everyone eat delicious things. When the waiter asked what I wanted (same guy as before) I managed a similarly fluent combination of sounds, and then pointed at a random part of the menu and read it out loud. This flawless method yielded me the most delicious pizza ever ever ever (seen below) with prosciutto and mushrooms.

I gather that pizza is not served sliced in Italy (at least this one wasn't sliced), so I creepily spied on my neighbors, saw them gracefully eating the pizza, and then managed some combination of cutting and picking up and slurping and being very very happy. I wasn't actually very hungry when I walked in the restaurant, but of course I ate the whole thing. And when he asked if I'd like dessert, my brain said "No thanks, I'm very full." My mouth, however, said "Tiramisu, per favore," which was brilliant decision number 2.


<3, Giovanni

Airport Shenanigans

I've arrived! Yay yay yay! Both of my flights were splendid, although the first one was delayed 2 hours because of a mechanical something or other and I ended up with a surprise 4-5 hours at the Zurich airport waiting for a later version of my connection. Rather than sit in one of the very comfy Zurich airport chairs, I thought I would tour the airport duty free stores and document the most illogical items to be selling at an airport. I then tried to hypothesize why anyone would ever buy said items at an airport. I came up with the following items...

1. $10,000 fur coat. Literally, it was 9,950 swiss francs, which according to google is $10,560.43. Potential buyer thought process : "Wow, it is much colder than I expected here in Zurich! Especially since I am stuck indoors! I think I will spend $10,000 on a fur coat. It's duty-free and tax-free so it's a bargain."

2. Very large boots. Potential buyer thought process: "Oooo! I love those boots! It doesn't matter that I'm  already lugging two giant suitcases, I can fit them in my carry-on bag."

3. Luggage. Potential buyer thought process : "I brought all of these clothes but I forgot to pack them in anything! How convenient that I can buy luggage for them here!"

4. Fine jewelry. Potential buyer thought process: "O NO! I forgot to get a souvenir for my significant other! I guess I'll just get them something that doubles as a very-expensive-anniversary-gift. And then if there's something wrong with it, I'll just fly back to Zurich."

5. Chocolate truffles. Finally, something that makes sense. I refuse to mock these potential buyers. Also, I got a free truffle sample immediately after taking this picture.

<3, Giovanni