Sunday, August 31, 2003

Went and played frisbee this morning, and sweated half a pound easy, now if the weight would just stay off. I get the feeling that is not part of the deal. Came home and ran some errands after which we prepared house (which meant that I managed to take the futon out of the box- think I will try to get it together tomorrow) and hosted a tailgate party. Went to the UNC game- group bonding events, where we were getting pummled pitifully so we left early as a storm started to roll in (fulmine fulmine!). I nearly sweat myself to slime at the game- sweating may be natural but it can be really nasty at times. Then came home and crashed. I am so tired. And I am feeling kind of bad but so damn happy. I am mooching off of someone else’s wireless network. I have the internet again :)

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Went to class, ran some errands, and then came home. Was pretty lazy but a nice way to end the first week. Came back did some readings and feel asleep- took a nap, probably not a good idea. We went out that night and got movies, watched X-Men and then went to bed. Not really that interesting of a day to be honest so I am not going to over develop it.

Friday, August 29, 2003

Woke up and read some of the readings. Went to class, bus fiasco of missing one, next one being full and waiting in the heat for the next one for over an hour, maybe I will sweat off weight- I can hope cant I? Got to class on time. Went to TAM lab, then to financial aid meeting. Took care of paper work. Went to class- really enjoying his class. After which I went back to financial aid. Came back to lab talked with friends. Then came home, ate dinner slacked out some and then gussied up to go out with the others to the bar for some socialization. Went out had fun, went to a kareokee bar and it was really BAD, so bad I was laughing till my stomach hurt. Came home and crashed after writing some and trying to read. Week has gone by pretty quick not sure what all is going on for this weekend. I think we may go to the beach for a night and then to the football game on Saturday. Must get futon put together. I may have a lot of short sentences but I am short and I have a shortness of brain cells. I am short and cranky deal with it. No one ever said this was fun to read.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

More classes and a library orientation. I think on campus wireless is going to be a bit dangerous to my time studying. The amount of distraction is well has limitless potential. We went to the mall, which is just as dangerous. My life is revolving around dangerous things right now. It turned out to be a pretty decent mall and I spent more than I should have. Still have to deal with clearing things up with two or three other accounts- annoyances, and also the phone- MAJOR annoyance, but hey made it this far am sure I can figure something out. We all came home watched Sex and the City- I like the show but Cecily is ADDICTED. Afterwards I tried to read but fell asleep instead, I am sure that is not a good sign given all the reading I will potentially do in grad school.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

First day of classes. Bought books, got student card all that kind of crap, which really is annoying in the freaking sweltering heat. My student card photo is beyond hideous, and you can tell I have itchy eyes and am hot (no not Hot, but hot). Had another person speak southern to me- telling me that strawberry cream cheese was just the best thing on this planet and diet helped keep you trim. That would have some validity if you who were saying was not 5’3” and 200lbs. No artificial things please not the icky stuff. Can I please have my Italian foods. Had one hell of a hot bus ride. There was a lady at the busstop, she heard me talking a foreign language (Italian) and proceeded to talk all others she knew some random phrase in to me. When she came to French she decided to tell me to “ferme ta bouche.” Umm know I don’t think so you are the one talking to me when I am hot, sticky and want to be left alone. You fucking Ferme ta Gaulle. Worked out in the lame apartment complex work out facility and then crashed. Oh yes and one other thing unless you are Sarah Jessica Parker- you can wear short shorts/skirts or a tinsy tube top. Put the together and you look like a go-go walker, it seems there are a lot of women on campus who have this as a side job.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Today after a long day of a few errands, and nothing (couldn’t be arsed to try and figure out the futon) we went to our group orientation. It is all real, if I hadnt realized it before this was supposed to make it clear. Instead I am still kind of in a haze and well here. But I can now say I am an oriented grad student. It was the first time we met everyone all together. Not really that great of a way to meet up, and the orientation well I am not sure what I am oriented to now but hey I sat there for 2 hours and then got free appetizers at a local bar so why complain. It was nice afterwards to hang out with some of the other students and get to know each other in a relaxed environment. Lots of ideas about the different people :)

Monday, August 25, 2003

Wally world. I have a great roommate, she took me to Wally World today so I can spend more money that I don’t have- this is going to be a theme for grad school I think. My head just about exploded. There are too many extraneous things surrounding me for which I have no need but might spend money on that it was appalling. Add to that the dizzying affect of the people talking and some of the things said (I hope with a name from the Bible God will look kindly upon you when you have to atone for such actions- to the Cashier!) the walls were moving I tell you. I didn’t know what to do with all of that. I have been in Europe where there are a few small grocery stores and you make do with 2-3 kinds of things (which is just fine by me) instead of 200-300. Cheap shit is just that cheap shit.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

I crashed at about 10pm but woke up again at 1:15am and didn’t get back to sleep again. But I watched CNN and BBC and that just made my day! I left the hotel at 5am for the Venice airport. And I am thrilled they didn’t give me any issues at all, I took my carry on and off I went. I am on my way home, or to an apartment I will “call” home, it should be so nice. More importantly I am NOT in Grado!
Unfortunately I am feeling like utter shit. During my 5 hour layover from Hell in Frankfurt, ironically while I was emailing the person whose wine it is, some wine I was bringing into the country for one of the other students who I am friends and isn’t 21 yet the wine was stolen. I feel so damn horrible! Utterly hideous, I will go back while I am living in Italy and get some for her as I know what wineries it was and what she got but I just feel horrid, not enough adjectives for how bad I feel.
I did while checking email manage to find out that my roommates are in the apartment so I do have a place to stay, now I just have to figure out if I want to go there tonight after all the travel from hell with no bed or bedding to sleep on, or if I want to go with my friend who is giving me a ride and stay at her place till Sunday afternoon?? Gah I do not know. Just going to get on the next plane and try not to think about how bad I feel.
I am going to be one tired cheeky after today though, as I didn’t really get any sleep on the morning flight. Oh and I forgot that there is jack shit to eat at Frankfurt airport and I didn’t get breakfast. Yes trust in airline food- I am going to starve today. It seems I always starve on international flights. I really do hope they have decent movies on the way back. In addition to that you have to go through so many control stops in this airport and they do like to get up close and personal. I got felt up twice today- quite the day for me. One of the guys was cute though so….
The other odd thing is that I am not speaking Italian anymore. I mean I am in my head but I don’t hear it everywhere (yes I know I am in Germany now, and the states later). After having lived in Italy, it is still ringing in my ear. Instead after I helped people this morning (who I shared a taxi with) in Italian as I bought my roll (yes my meal for the day a decent but spendy (1€) roll) an American from behind helped me out in German as the lady was about to pour me a beer and I was too tired to notice that bit of it.
So while on the flight I was subjected to random screaming child, then upon landing in Philadelphia I had a long walk, a long wait and a security practical strip down. I think the German one made me feel safer. After another 3.5 hours in the FREEZING cold I got on a plane. Met a nice couple talked with them a bit but I really needed to sleep. Once I laid down I didn’t remember a single further thing till after the plane landed.
Had a panick moment when I couldn’t figure out Shanna’s plane info, but found her and was so grateful for the ride to the apartment. Where I finally met my roommates- who were kind enough to help lug things up 3 flights of stairs, and give me things to go to sleep on the futon.

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Went to class, ran errands including sending Becca’s ceramics (I have her address memorized from how many times I had to write it), email and taking my small carry on with books in it to Michael. Also said my good byes to the other people in the house and at the school. I should have taken a picture with Dino but I didn’t think about it, I am too fried. Debated about going to class or not but since Alberto threatened to hate me for the rest of our lives if I didn’t I showed. Packed and ran the better part of the errands for the break but also went over to the Fonzari to swim with Lucy, I love cold water and that pool is freezing. The heat is just indescribable and the sticky sensation well I am ready to be done with all that. Found a great pastry shop with Macaroons to die for, of course I find it on the last day as I am scrambling for my life. Oh well, I will get some when I get back to the states. Chapel Hill should have a Whole Foods- thank god. I am hoping to find a good teriyaki place too. It is on of my only cravings.
Alberto and his Dad picked me up and off we went. I haven’t been this thrilled in a long time. Alberto’s dad was great and they are so sweet- true kind of gentlemen and not mammoni. I am so eternally grateful that I didn’t have to do the bus train bus crap, didn’t matter that I felt a bit car sick (I haven’t been a passenger in a car for a long time), nothing happened though. I was simply happy and got to spend some extra time with Alberto. When we left Fruili we each gave it a one finger salute and said ciao with joy and gusto. I got to the hotel, and was in fifth heaven! I had the air conditioning cranked up so that I had to sleep with the covers (haven’t done that in months). I paid through the nose for it but it was SOOOOO worth it, and there wasn’t anything cheaper that I could find. I watched BBC World, CNN World, MTV, and even managed to catch some of that Italian porn that everyone says is on TV at night. They are right it is and it is quite odd.

Friday, August 22, 2003

Tonight is my last night in Grado and it has come non to soon and way faster than I expected. Went out to the party tonight, it was a completely different atmosphere than the last part, I think I liked that one better. People here really just didn’t bond in the same way and some people are just too immature etc to make things work in a large group dynamic. Mike met me in the middle today on the issue from yesterday. So I paid which I didn’t want to but I paid less, I didn’t like it but it did alleviate some of the irritation, also created some difficulties. The issue being that I know he is just the same type of person as Francesca is, evil and greedy on the inside. But he has a friendlier side to him and he has some interpersonal skills. My monster has more socialization than Francesca does, and I am terrified for how screwed up her kids are going to be. His diplomacy makes me not want to trash tehm, but I also know that is a tactic. After the fact I think Mike realized that my going back to a major university and fellowship with the major amount of negative feedback that I have wasn’t going to be a good thing. We had a party that night at the school. And then we all went out for drinks afterwards. I really am going to miss some of the people. It is going to be quite odd not seeing Alberto everyday.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

It was supposed to be a nice day but Francesca came along. She is beyond a psycho, and I really think she needs some serious help. She made a scene over 150 euros in front of the whole school. Her attempts to guilt, manipulate and make me “uncomfortable” were just deplorable. Sometimes is just unbelievable the antics she tires to pull. The irony of it all is that she really thinks that she is the only one who can do things as well as she can. And she is right she is and thank the lord for it otherwise the school would have crumbled before it could start. She is beyond in competent.
She says the most asinine of things sometimes and demonstrates such a distinct lack of professionality that I am going to be writing it up. I really wanted to be neutral but I feel I would be being irresponsible by doing so. I had the emotionally draining day from hell and it was specifically because of the way that Francesca interacts, lies, inflates, distorts and over all fucks around with things. It is the same thing that happens when you come to the school. She does great follow up etc but once you pay she falls off the face of the planet. The lady is greedy to her bone. She tells me you can do the privates next week. Sure I can let me hop on that commuter concorde for privates- or do you have a teleporter hidden in the closet I can use? Hello Bitch I am in the states on Saturday. And she is confronting me trying to get in my face and make me angry- intentionally. One that doesn’t work with me, two if there hadn’t have been other students around I would have made a bigger scene than what you know how to deal with, and three when I say I am walking away cause you are pushing my buttons yelling at me down the street really does make you look like an ass. I am just proud that I maintained my calm. I could have lost it so easily.
It may seem like nothing to someone else but it is a lot more than it sounds. I had two hours of class, the scene, I ate lunch with the teachers, then I had to go and run errands, had a 2 hour straight private, then two hours of class, and then an hour and a half of cinema class. Alberto really does know what he is doing there. And the privates went decently as I talked with Livvy about Italian politics so it is something that I will encounter again most likely. But nevertheless after a day like that I was so exhausted- mentally physically and emotionally that there is almost nothing left. All of the reserves I was trying to establish are gone. I want to just screw them over but I also do not want to lower myself to their levels. I do plan on writing on nasty review though and to be honest I hope that the piddly amount of money she spit about was worth the future losses.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Wow this time next week I will be in grad school! Realizations are starting to become real and I am trying my best to prepare but not think about it. I know that it sounds silly, but if I start thinking about it all then I will freak myself out. I will go straight to over-analysis paralysis. And that won’t help any. I folded all my clothes up and finished the last bit of washing I will do in Italy, all in the hopes that I wont be packing everything up in the last 2 minutes of my time. I am sad to be leaving in some ways. In others I am tired, I hit my max/threshold of saturation last week and my heart really isn’t in it here right now. Primarily due to the fact that I have no time in between classes here and starting classes at UNC, so I need to start making a reserve of energy. I went out tonight with Alberto, Barbara, and Laura. I came over to the apartment, we went out for a walk and then had a drink. I hadn’t eaten and they made the drink strong, wasn’t drunk but I sure felt the drink. I have so much fun with them and have met such wonderful people, that I don’t want to leave them. I am however ready for classes to be OVER. I have also decided that I am going to try my best to be neutral about the school. I have seen a lot and I do NOT agree at all with the way she runs her business or she treats her employees, or for that matter her customers- but I have had a good experience. I have been so determined after previous experience not to let the little things get to me and ruin my time. Fume and let go is my motto :) And even though I am confident most of the teachers aren’t returning next year and they are what makes the school as good as it is. And in the end I really don’t want to say bad things.
As for classes I now know how annoying I must have been when I first started with my Spanish. There are times where I simply want to kill one of the other students in my class. She speaks French and Spanish most of the time which is annoying enough, but for the love of god quit asking inane questions that are of no help. You are here to learn the language not the linguistics.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

I am never sure what to think of those two. Mike and Francesca aren’t bad people or anything but they are in this to make money and it matters not whose expense. And then they do nice things like take me out for a drink. I also talked with Mariella who really is a decent person I think. I go back on forth with this school and its people. They haven’t asked for the money they loaned me back that I had prepaid for things I am not going to do yet so that is a good sign. I barely made it to class today thoug. I think things are catching up with me in addition to the fact that I amtrying to start getting ready to head out on Friday. I have found a somewhat inexpensive hotel for Venice (especially if I can split it with someone) and I think I have a ride in, god I hope I have a ride in, I really don’t want to have to take the train to get out of here. My eyes while getting better are still annoying me more because of the humidity drying out my skin and making it sticky. When I got home I talked with Miriam, one of the other “residents” at the house- who is really sweet. After classes this morning I ran some errands (bank etc), sent a bunch of emails, bought some candy (me and my damn sweet tooth, going to undo all of that sweating off of weight I did while in Paris I tell you), tried to find a cobbler to fix my cute cheap shoes that fell apart in Paris (heel fell off), and then came home. Wrote post cards- don’t want to think of the bill I am going to hit to send about 40 postcards, foleded up my clothes in preparation for packing to leave, and crashed. Next thing I knew I was 30 minutes late. Forced myself to head into class, glad I did- we watched a movie Pane e Tulipane. I think I saw it last summer but it is better now that I understand it some more. It is funny how Dino and everyone in the house think my name is Katie though :) The pronunciation of my name here in Italy is a hysterical thing in and of itself but he is so sweet that I cant complain. I mean the school called today and he said he didn’t have a room, I saw him on the street and asked him and he said yes. He must really like me. Miriam says he always says that he isn’t going to do this again next year but he always does and that if I ever call on him again he will let me stay. Mike joked that he has a thing for me. I don’t know but he is a sweet old man anyways. OH well as grandma always said “life always looks better on someone else’s plate.”

Monday, August 18, 2003

Traveled to Venice. Made friends with Lucy. Was funny traveling with her parents, her mom reminds me of mine sometimes. She has a great attitude about it though :) Bought Jewlery at Murano. Saw St. Marcos Piazza. Was quite the rush. Eyes are getting better but the humidity is something. I did make it to Harrys Bar- didn’t have a bellini as we had to turn around to catch a train/bus combo to get back to Grado. Went out to dinner afterwards with Lucy, parents and Thea. ran into Miriam and Carlo the older couple that is staying here at the same house. They refused to let me say no and took me out for a gelato. Such sweet people. This has to be one of the best part of living in someones house rather than a hotel or anything else.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Managed to get up and headed into Aquilea with everyone. Was a good trip. We were out there for about 5 hours. It is an interesting town and ancient history is Mikes thing so he was all over it. There are some really interesting things there especially if you know the history to it. Quite tiring though as I was up late. Returned and had lunch with Lucy and her parents. Then took a 4 hour nap before wandering around some.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

It is Ferragosto. In some places that means something, as it is a national holiday. Here in Grado it means that most service based places like the banks are closed (instead of being open for 2 hours :), and the rest of the locations are randomly open or closed. My eyes are getting somewhat better but they are majorly annoying still itching like all holy hell at some points. I really don’t know how long it takes to get them better but I give the antibiotics till Monday, then we go see someone. I really need to get me some eye cream though, I am putting the poor delicate eye skin through hell.
I went to class in the morning, and afterwards realized I leave in a week. This realization is somewhat terrifying. However in practical terms, I desperately need to find a hotel that is not outrageously expensive to stay in. Alberto said he should be able to help me get into Mestre with my things which will be mush easier in a car than trying to do the taxi-bus-train-bus bit. I am in love with him for that.
But reality is starting to set in and I am trying to ramp myself down to give myself some space and rest before I land in NC and have to start my Masters. I am not sure I believe that part is really going to happen. Things are becoming real. I have gone full cycle here in Italy- the grapes that Dino has terracing the house have changed colors and it is time for the next step. GAH!
Also just found out about the power failure on the east coast. I hate not knowing the news but thank the lord for certain little flags popping up in my face about things. It is amazing that emergencies like this can still happen; especially in light of the entire hack that idiot of a president has given to this sector. I sincerely hope that Bush gets a severe lashing and beating for his energy deregulation policies and other stupidities in that sector (can anyone say Enron??). Like it or not many of his asinine ideas may not have caused this crisis but they sure as hell have helped it along on the way. Damn prat! I am almost at the point of not caring who replaces that idiot, yes I mean the puppet of Karl Rove who cant speak English, just someone make that anyone else. One of the things I am grateful for not living in the country right now. Not to say Italy doesn’t have its own Bush-esque idiot. Berlusconi lives up to his side of that friendship in more ways than one. Honestly though anyone has to be better. I can not imagine what it must have been like but it was pretty hideous sounding the thought of being stuck for hours in the subways. I though it was bad enough trying to get around on the metro in Paris. Being stuck in a car with no movement or circulation at 4pm the beginning of rush our- that sure sounds like a good definition of hell to me.

Friday, August 15, 2003

Well I didn’t make it to class on time that is for sure. They eyes when I wake up feel fine and I wasn’t awakened last night with crusted eyes so maybe it will get better. The problem is that after being open for a while they start to itch again. I really hope the antibiotic drops fix it and fix it soon! Can we say impatient?? I managed to make it to classes for the second half of the morning, which was probably a good thing. This morning since there was an afternoon excursion there was 4 hours straight of class. I have done that before on numerous occasions and well with my eyes it would not have been a good idea today I don’t think.
I made it through classes and right afterwards I ran to the internet café to send out a list full of emails that I had thought out, and check the responses. Got most things back and still have a few more to deal with but stupid apartment people. I swear to god the apartment complexes in the south are some of the most asinine organizations known to man! It is utterly ridiculous this whole co-signer bullshit. Does it matter that I would prepay, thus one would think removing the liability- No. Does it matter that I have the funds to cover this- No. I don’t have a job making 3x the annual rent (no I am not living there for a full year either- but I do have a salary 3 times the rent for the duration of the rental agreement but that would be too logical for their credit department to deal with), so I have to have a cosigner. Off I go to try and get this taken care of. I know I seem to be over reacting and it might be a bit ridiculous but I sincerely dislike being treated like a child, and I dislike it even more when people won’t work with you to meet you half way.
I made the decision to not be antisocial and not stay holed up in Grado, so I went to Udine. In Udine the biggest things we saw were the tiepolis. Some phenomenal paintings, much more of a style I could hand if I have to watch all the religious things.
It rained while we were in Udine, which was utterly wonderful. I wanted to go play in it, but the wind started to make the pain pelt down fairly and well I didn’t want to be drenched for the rest of the day so I hid in the church alcoves with everyone else waiting for the church to open. The storms here are so wonderfully beautiful and I still excite like a three year old at the sound of thunder and the sight of lightning. I really wish I was able to catch it on film as the coloration and the shapes are amazing, but it isn’t that easy. The best part of it all I must say was actually feeling cold. The sensation of a shiver was so utterly delightful and delicious that I simply cannot explain it.
I met Allison, an interesting woman/character who is British but lives in Belgium and works for a lobbyist organization. We spent a lot of time talking but as can often be the tendency with me I unintentionally over power the discussions. I am aware of this when I am at “full faculties” but I am not there right now. I realize at the end of the evening that I am still learning how to really listen to others and make sure that they know that I am listening. Perceptions they make the world go round.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Well it is my first day back I managed to make it to morning class and did ok. But last night I did not sleep well as my eyes in what I think is their attempt to clean themselves were producing enough gunk/sleep to seal my eyes shut. No I don’t think it is pink eye, but yes the thought did run through my mind. Midday break I ran a bunch of errands including purchasing some really spendy hydrating eye drops (the ones I brought from home were the red eye kind it turns out) and my beloved Economist. After finding out that my debit card did work, I went to clear out my email, send a bunch of wow I am coming back to the states emails and purchase my copy of the Economist. I then made my way home quite tiredly and crashed. Woke up literally just in time to go to class, where I continued to constantly rub my eyes. I am really not liking this. I walked to the pharmacy again after class and as can only happen in Europe while conversing in Italy, I got antibiotic eye drops with out going to an ophthalmologist. I figure they can’t make things worse since I already want to gauge my eyes out myself.
I headed out to dinner, first time in about two weeks that I have eaten out. Not sure I will do it too much more while I am here but it was good to have some prosciutto again. Afterwards I went to the café by the school and I went through the read the pamphlet spill antibiotic powder on self shake the thing up and let’s try it stages. We will see if it helps. I now have a new item to add to the list though- one of those gel eye masks.
After which I headed in to Alberto’s cinema night. We watched an Italian comedy called “Ovo Sodo” which in translation means hard boiled egg. Not sure that helps but it was an interesting movie. Heck I saw two of them today that one and “Il Ultimo Baccio.” Ultimo Baccio has one of my favorite Italian actors (gorgeous gorgeous man) in it which was nice. After class Alaine and I tried to get through the reading Alberto assigned us to present tomorrow but after 30 minutes of itching my eyes and this diatribe being so damn difficult I said to hell with it, and headed home to crash. I am ultra-sticky, and I still couldn’t be arsed to wash off the humidity.
Ugg tomorrow we have 4 hours of straight class and then a trip to Udine. I want to go as there is some great art work by Tiepolo that I didn’t see when I went shopping in Udine, but since getting back from Paris I am just completely drawn. All reserves feel gone and so I am always tired. Plus I really am at the stage where I am more preparing for starting classes at Chapel Hill than I am about throwing myself into my classes here. I am glad I came for 8 weeks but I should have left the states two weeks earlier. We will see how tomorrow goes.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Heading home today. I have mixed feelings about it all. I learned an amazing amount about my family, its history, things that I never knew where to identify from. The more I learn the more amazed I am. On the other hand I definitely have hurting feet, and I am definitely tired. To which trying to save 10 minutes and taking the wrong train (it was supposed to stop in Cervignano but doesn’t anymore- joy joy I got to back track more in the heat!) didn’t help. I did however, get to have an interesting African gentleman sit across from me who had a lovely discussion all by himself, with himself, and if I understood the Italian well enough about himself.
It is also definitely hot, I am dreaming of a cold shower. Though to be honest it is cooler here in Grado than it was in Paris. Probably for no other reason than I am not sleeping on the 4th floor anymore I am on ground level now. I am also hoping that when I go to classes this afternoon my debit card will have arrived making life a bit easier for the next 10 days.
Still going ***LALALALALALA*** with my hands over ears about leaving Grado in 10 days and starting Grad School in two weeks GAH! There is so much to think about and get under control (what ever that means) and prepare for that it is quite tiring. I got back to Grado after taking the bus from Udine, where the train did stop. I immediately took a shower, laid down and promptly fell asleep completely missing class. I ended up walking the town and talking with Shanna, which was nice. Ran into Francesca at one point and they had my debit card- YIPPEE. But I am really tired and my eyes are still recovering from the high pollution indexes in Paris thanks to the heat. I am hoping that I will stop rubbing them soon.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Turns out we slept through the hottest night in over 130 years of Parisian history last night. No wonder I could barely sleep. The really difficult part is in addition to the heat the pollution indexes rise and my eyes have been itching like a mo-fo every now and then. We delusionally thought it might rain today since we got a few sprinkles this morning, but that was just somebody’s idea of a tease (and if I find out which one of you did it you are gonna get it!)
I wandered most of today. Went to the Old Opera House, where they had a great display of costumes from Spanish productions. I cant wait till I am living here this winter (one for the cool weather- it is about all I am thinking of right now if you cant tell- this is what heat does to you, it melts your brain). I am going to try to got to a production or two at the Opera house (which doesn’t really do Opera any more but more of Ballet etc). The library area is quite interesting, but I think my favorite part of the whole location is the Chagall ceiling. It is gorgeous. Then I wandered a bit of the surrounding area. Found some great deals at Zara and Promod- for 32 Euros I got 2 nice shirts, a scarf and a pair of really cute pants, I wanted to get a skirt for an extra 25 but they didn’t have my size. I only wish I had more money on me, well maybe it is a good thing that my card didn’t make it in time after all, as it is I will probably go home with some money and that isn’t a bad thing as costs are starting to add up and add up quick.
I decided to walk over and try to see the Archeological Museum of Paris (the entrance is right in front of Notre Dame’s “courtyard”) but it was closed. It doesn’t seem to matter when I go it is closed; maybe I will have better luck in the winter. So I walked my way to the D’Orsay, which since it is Monday was also closed. Damn I wanted to see a photography exhibit they had and my feet freaking hurt from walking all the way there (yes I have abused them once again, poor things- I am promising them a pedicure when I get home). After which I went and found the internet because I needed to clear out some email and I was tired of walking. Not that it alleviated any of the heat nor my fear of electrocuting my self with all the sweat I was dripping on the keyboard.
In an effort to combat the heat I went to the Louvre. I love the Louvre I can get lost in there for days. Especially now as it was the first place in Paris, make that Europe, where I have found REAL air-conditioning. Got to preserve all those nice cold rocks and paintings. Had my Marilyn Monroe moment as I walked over a grating vent and it blew my skirt all over. If there hadn’t have been others around I would have stayed right there with out moving an inch. I went through most of the exhibitions in one of the 3 wings with Roman, Greek, and Etruscan sculpture, with a bit of Egyptian thrown in for good measure. I walked through the Italian and Spanish painting corridors but since it was mostly 14th-17th century it was quite religious. There are only so many Jeezy Creezy’s (Jesus Christ alla Eddie Izzard) I can handle before I go slightly bonkers. I mean how many times must we show the anorexic man with thorns on him? I know I would hate to be portrayed like that for eternity. I can just hear him now every time someone paints him like that again saying one day in damnation for that painting- I wanted to be smiling you twat. I guess I really don’t get into art as much until you start to hit the impressionist period where they are painting more than just church scenes. But I do love sculptures.
Headed home and thought I was going to get some take-away fried rice, cause it would be a good idea, the Chinese in Grado isn’t exactly up to par even for my diminished standards which says a lot. And I am really craving it, first thing I have really craved since I left the states to be honest. Always interesting to order Chinese food and have it come out to you on a plate on top of spaghetti here in Italy. I was too lazy though; instead I went and lay in the bathtub. The French are one smart people; they make their bathtubs perfectly sized. Just for me! And I will love them forever no matter how politically incorrect it is for this, that and the hospitality Parisians included have shown me every time I have ever been in the country.

Monday, August 11, 2003

I did absolutely nothing but stay at the house. Talked and read all day after sleeping in quite late. It is amazing how when you express yourself some things can come through to others so clearly and lucid. Talking with Marianne has not only given me some sense of where I come from, but also a more than painful sense of that which I still have to work through. She also gives me a sense of hope and also a good dose of reality and simple but ample and effective advice. Succinctly it is summed up as “Being is better than doing.”
Besides our discussion the highlight of my day was that I took a cold bath twice today. I like those almost as much as cold showers. But it is better here as the bathtubs really are perfect for me. One of the things I am sure of is that the more you travel and take yourself out of some of your comfort zones the more simply one can be entertained. Being here at Marianne’s I am constantly entertained currently by weighing myself on the scale. There are three parts to my utter enjoyment of the scale. 1. It is in pounds something I can recognize with out having to do any calculations. 2. It is novel, while I have weighed myself in the grocery store in Grado, it is fun to watch and see if I am fluctuating in weight at all. And 3. I am weighing less which I quite like. Let’s hope it doesn’t pile back on me when I get back to Grado.
When there is such little going on in a day I often feel like adding something that is a bit off the wall to the table. Today I am going to discuss clear bra straps, and after 6 years of working for Victoria’s Secret I figure this to be an apropos topic for me and that I am a bit knowledgeable in the area. This fashion style seems to be quite the mode right now as I can’t go more than 10m with out seeing at least 2 women wearing them. First of all I more than admit I am not a trendy kind of gal and fashion is still somewhat elusive to me (I am still trying to figure out the whole shoes and accessories thing as it is), all part of that finding me bit I guess.
But simply put I do not get this trend at all. I can only speak for what I am seeing here in Europe, and I don’t know if it has made its way over to the states (which I am sure when it does it will just be the next best thing to peanut butter on all the runways) but as far as I am concerned the trend is going a bit too far. On Friday while wandering I went in to some lingerie stores. Ok I wear thongs and the itsier-bitsier they are the happier I usually am and honest to Jehosephine the more comfortable they are. So I go looking. I finally am able to get enough out in French and point at enough pictures to show the saleswoman what I want. It seems in addition to the matching clear strapped bra they had a thong with the clear straps, on all three straps. Ummm no thank you. What baffles me is that you can see the straps people! These do not just disappear- they reflect light, any and all kinds of it. I understand that Europeans are less concerned with their bra straps showing than Americans. I actually like that part of the trend. But the clear straps just confuse me, if you don’t want any one to see your straps either don’t wear a bra or wear a strapless one. Otherwise if you don’t care if anyone sees your bra straps wear a real bra with real straps and let em show.

Sunday, August 10, 2003

After slowly ambling around this morning Marianne and I went grocery shopping and took a small lunch to a small park out here by the apartment. Ripe with ponies and all. Quite entertaining to see Poney written everywhere. Should have taken a picture and submitted it to Engrish.com , doubt it would have made it on the site but still, I find it humorous. Granted it sure as hell doesn’t take a lot to entertain me any more.
On a normal day Paris Plage is wonderful city provided event. Given this heat it is a stroke of brilliance from the office of the Mayor. Paris Plage is where the city has paid to truck in 6 million Euros worth of sand and set it up along the Seine as a beach and also litter the rest of the area with some niceties such as sand volleyball courts in front of the Hotel de Ville. Only in Paris can you have a building over 300 years old with a huge courtyard, and also have people playing Volleyball not have it seem absolutely ridiculous. After a nice walk through Paris Plage we headed over to a cute little café across the way from Notre Dame. The waitress was so sweet. I finally broke down and became American, yes I asked for ice. I figure with the temperatures almost 40 degrees Celsius (I could bother to do the calculation for Fahrenheit but I simply don’t want to know how hot it was in numbers I recognize). It was time to crunch some ice. She kept refilling the bowl too. I loved her.
After which we headed over to the Jardins Luxembourg. We got there a bit late and so we didn’t have long in the garden itself. I went over to see the Medici fountain, and then we were starting to walk to the main esplanade but the police started blowing their whistles. The sounds of this going on in the park really does sound quite funny. Humorous or not, we unfortunately had to clear out (they said it was dusk, but I thought there was plenty light… it really was those pointy things that sealed the deal. I could have climbed over the gates but the pointy tops look really uncomfortable to impale yourself on. I am not into that kind of stuff). The city was also presenting a photographic display on the periphery. Wonderful photographer who was absolutely amazing, I am eagerly awaiting the book, which I hope will be put together of this exhibit. Mostly it was of portraits in mainly war torn areas of the world or those in desperate poverty (usually both).
On our way to the metro home we walked past St. Suplice, which is HUGE. I mean I really wonder what it was like to be attending these churches so many moons ago. You know it is hot when you drink almost 2 liters of water and you don’t have to pee- AT ALL, I might be a camel but I am normally not this bad. Please someone send rain, cool air something.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

Since Marianne works, I was wandering all by self today, mostly through the Marais. It is going to an adventure living here. I hope I am able to take advantage of every moment of it.
I went to two free museums. Free is something I always like to hear, and is just never heard of in Paris. I went to the Victor Hugo Home/Museum, and the Musee Chatelet. Both were interesting, some what cooler than outside and like I said free. Chatelet is the art holding of the City of Paris itself there are a variety of really interesting things so I enjoyed it. It was odd at the Chatelet I could go up three flights of stairs in the heat but one of the ground floor exhibits I wanted to see (Madame Sevegny’s room and letters) was closed due to the heat. After which I went and read a book at Place des Vosages. It seems that reading a book brings out my freak magnet and up came two different French men to talk with me; they were not the cute kind I have been encountering so far but the kind of weird ones. Really to be honest I am amazed and frightened, I am starting to remember some of my French, in bits and pieces, but am quite unsure about most of it and can only form sentences if I go very slow as my verbs are failing me. The fear is that I am going to get to back to Grado and I am going to have one hell of a time with my Italian for the next week and a half. Then I went to the Hugo Musee which was interesting but to be honest a bit on the dull side. I love Les Miserables but I need to know more about Hugo to really appreciate all of this I think.
I found Paul’s, a chain of phenomenal boulangerie, the bread there is simply to die for and I had an exquisite lemon/strawberry tartlette. I debated about going to the Picasso Museum but ended up in Hotel de Ville, sticking my feet in a fountain and eating said tart. This is the life. After which I checked over at the Archeological Museum of Paris but it had closed early. Everything here is closing early due to the heat. So I went over to Hagen-Das and paid an extortionate amount for one scoop of some delicious raspberry sorbet. I walked my way back to the apartment just in time to watch "Some Like it Hot" with my cousin and then the news in French.

Friday, August 08, 2003

One long day today, that is for sure. I went to class this morning with a grin on my face, knowing that this evening I would be sleeping in Paris. After class I finished up preparing and headed out on the two hour journey to Venice. I had a minor annoyance with the airport it seems that your carry on cant weigh more than 7KG or 14lbs, this may be come a problem when I am flying back to the states... Which meant that my nice small carry on had to be checked. So after my 1.5 hour delayed flight, the 1.5 hour flight and my arrival at Paris-Orly, I had a 30+ minute wait for my luggage only to find out it was coming off a different luggage carousel. Silly me I thought it would come off the one labeled from Venice; nope it came off the one labeled from Marrakesh.
I made my way into town just fine. Bus to the metro; metro connections and went to what I thought was the right stop. Walked out and said- oh shit this doesn’t look like anything I remember. Had to purchase a calling card, had to figure out how to dial the number I had (it was written down as if to call from out of the country). Spoke with Marianne. OOPS I forgot. I don’t get off at the Metro listed with the suburb name, but the one two stops before that. I turned around and went back two stops to the right metro to meet Marianne. Oh now I know where I am :)
So we walked home and tromped up the stairs (she lives in an adorable attic apartment on the equivalent of the 4th floor) and crashed. It has been so hot through out all of Europe these past 2 weeks. I thought by planning this trip I was going to be getting away from the heat. Thought is the imperative word; it isn’t a normal year Dorothy. Must have brought that Arizona weather with you. That or global warming. Most everywhere is having record breaking weather and many of the other associated problems (such as deaths of the elderly and forest fires). See air-conditioning isn’t a bad thing, having it might give you a cold but a lack of it can kill! Regardless we slept on the floor underneath the skylights that were open praying for a breeze, and actually caught a few. Unfortunately I also got a few mosquito bites too. At least the European ones don’t itch.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Three tacky things in Italy.
1. I don’t care if this is a beach town. Please do not walk 6+ blocks from the beach in your thong bikini giggling your cellulite dimpled ass in front of me, whilst grabbing your boyfriend’s ass and package. It is rude, put on a pareo.
2. Please do not ride your bike with your itsy bitsy Speedo on and your knees pointing east and west. I don’t care if it makes your package look bigger, you are 60+ years old and I don’t want to see it.
3. Please do not use the head rest of the passenger seat as a drying spot for your Speedo and expect me to put my head on it. It takes a commitment before I get that personal.
Yes all three were seen with in the course of my five minute walk from the school to the internet café and number 2 is not an abnormal occurrence. Just some observations made by your smart ass foreign correspondent.
Now on to my other complaints as I haven’t been appropriately whiny enough in the past week as it is. I have such a low tolerance level for some things that is it is annoying to me to hear myself speak with people in these situations. For those who know me this is a lot as really I very rarely am at a loss for words or tire of hearing my own voice, let alone have it annoy me. My issues: One is poor management the other is bitching with no action.
The management of the school is annoying, yes this is a fact. Everyone here has had their issues with one of the Directors at one time or another. I mean for the love of god she is profiting at everyone else’s expense, in some utterly deplorable ways. Yes I do believe in karma and that lady really has it coming to her. Yes, really she does make a bigger sell than reality and once she has your money the level of service does drop. But she went a bit far when she told Martine who went out with me on her own free-time; she couldn’t hang out with me outside of school. We are starting to cross the line in to an area beyond stupidity which even with my verbosity I can’t find a better phrase.
As for bitching…. Don’t get me wrong I like to bitch with the best of them, preferably at the top of my lungs. I do so quite often- ask me about banks right now and you will see, but I can’t make drama where it doesn’t exist. In addition if I am bitching I am also going to try and do something about it. I bitch about my bank but I am also working with them to get me my new card. Ok so you aren’t happy, I sympathize but that happened in the past. You know that whole thing about spilt milk- figure out how the hell to lick it up off the floor or mop it up, but don’t cry (that is my motto at least). There is nothing you can do to change it, what are you going to do to make the best out of what situation is in front of you. Bitch away at how annoyed you are but DO SOMETHING. I feel like screaming we are NOT in America any more, Dorothy needs to learn how to deal with life out of Kansas. And one of the biggest things I have learned about living abroad is that you can not expect the rest of the world to be like America. I actually like that part- call me strange.
I feel so weird saying this as many of my friends have said it to me, must be some either evolution or changing of the guard thing. Ooh growing up- ummm yeah lets not really think about that right now, I don’t want to be an adult yet. Fuck I am one. God it stinks when life hits you in the face like that.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Yippee my plane ticket purchase went through. I am going to Paris this weekend come hell or high water. And yes I am doing a twirly dance. The director of the school agreed to give me a loan to last me until I get back from Paris and I am going to have the bank send the card to the school!!! Things might just work out after all. Hell the bank even told me they received my permission slip. Knock on wood; I might be seeing the light of the tunnel soon.
It is really hard to explain how things add up and drain you when everyone else assumes you are on vacation. Being here in Italy isn’t a “rough” life, but it isn’t all roses either. Spend 5 hours a day in intense and attention demanding classes, functioning in a different language, doing about an hour of homework per day, 95º+ temperature with about 75%+ humidity, little to no air circulation at times, walking around everywhere, no where with air-conditioning (Italians think it is bad for you), and basically a foam pad for a bed. Compile these things and it makes it a lot more tiring than most would think.
Please keep that in mind when you make complaints about how I am not living it up enough or traveling enough to take advantage of my experience here. First of all I don’t have the time for your judgmental bullshit. More importantly, I am here to learn the language and anything extra is always an added benefit but not my primary priority. I have spent the past couple days reprioritizing things and myself and my education at this point are tops on the list- above all else, even sadly enough *GASP* travel.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Yippee my plane ticket purchase went through. I am going to Paris this weekend come hell or high water. And yes I am doing a twirly dance. The director of the school agreed to give me a loan to last me until I get back from Paris and I am going to have the bank send the card to the school at their house!!! Things might just work out after all. They even emailed me to let me know they received my permission slip.

It is really hard to explain how things add up and drain you when everyone else assumes that you are on vacation. Being here in Italy isn’t the “rough” life but it isn’t all roses either. Spend 5 hours a day in intense attention demanding classes, functioning in a different language, doing about an hour of homework per day, 95º+ temperature with about 75%+ humidity, little to no air circulation at times, walking around everywhere, no where with air-conditioning (Italians think it is bad for you), and basically a foam pad for a bed, well makes it a lot more tiring than most people would think.

Please keep that in mind when you make complaints about how I am not living it up enough or traveling enough to take advantage of my experience here. First of all I don’t have the time for your judgmental bullshit. More importantly though, I am here to learn the language and anything extra is always an added benefit but not my primary priority. I have spent the past couple days reprioritizing things and myself and my education at this point are tops on the list- above all else, even sadly enough *GASP* travel.

I am so damn tired from dealing with the banks and feeling so restricted that I can’t even take joy in my expanding abilities in Italian. It is utterly frustrating. Though to be honest the best thing about being in Italy while feeling “low” is that when you say ciao to anyone (at least when I do :) everyone responds with ciao Bella. No matter how shitty I am feeling hearing everyone call you Bella can do something quite nice for the ego. No matter how oppressive the humidity is and let me tell you it is pretty damn bad right now, it always lifts my mood a bit. I pray for two things- no not world peace and end to hunger, but my debit card and a storm to take the humidity with it for a while.
Alberto is back from the Chicken Pox with his Puntini, which is good because I have missed him. It is also going to initiate more drain. There are only three of us in the class now and Alberto is nothing if intense. Classes require all of your attention to be focused. Sounds simple but in reality it is more than you expect. It is great for learning but it he is very demanding of you, and since he knows me well he is even more demanding with me, the joys.
Really though all I want now is to numb my mind and get out of dodge. I am terrified by the thought that the bank will not pay out on my ticket to Paris for the weekend and if cant go I really am going to want to scream. Time is starting to crash in and I don’t want to be in Paris return and then 4 days later heading to the states to start classes all while continuing my classes here in Grado. It is my only other option to get to see Marianne this summer. That is not my American dream. My American dream is for the fucking bank to get me my card in time for everything to work out appropriately (which involves me with a new debit card in Paris this weekend).

Monday, August 04, 2003

I have done nothing today. I spent most of the day sleeping, reading and playing spider solitaire. The plan had been to go to Venice for the day but since I am tired and conserving funds till I can access my debit card again, I am going to try and take it easy and make the money stretch as much as I can. I did manage to drag myself up to work on getting all the entries ready so that I could start to take this blog live. I cleaned up a bit in the room, which looked like a cyclone or tornado had hit. Then prioritized the issues I need to deal with in terms of my next 3 weeks and next three days. Ate a little bit of the food I have at the house and then went to go sit on the beach and write some postcards and take a walk on the boardwalk. When I checked email I was reminded that what the hell was I thinking expecting you to be open the hours you said you would. The internet café is closing.
So I went to the lungomare, realized I had forgotten the post cards, went and bought some new ones. Got through almost 2 cards when a pair of older (late 50’s) Italian men started talking with me. I decided I would play the game since the worst thing that would happen is I get to practice my Italian and they would buy me a drink (water). We talked for a while and then I headed home, finishing my passegate watching the moon turn a dusky orange color and then taking a shower.
The air is so humid and thick you could practically cut it with a knife. I really am hoping it will get better but I do not extend much hope and honestly I would rather my hope (and everyone else’s) went to me getting my new debit card. But I don’t even have 20 more days (really say it aint so Joe!), I am sure I will find a way to make do. I only hope that the bugs didn’t eat me alive as I am somewhat itchy.

Sunday, August 03, 2003

I absolutely had to get out of Grado. I am tight on money but I HAD to go somewhere. It was a good thing that Martine invited me to go with her to Udine. It was so good to be out of town. We window shopped most of the day. I may not have been able to purchase much but the simple fact that I was out of Grado was enough to make me quite content.
It was a great day. The weather wasn’t overly oppressive and I was using my Italian all day. Even after I got home, I spoke with another lady who is “vacationing” here-while I made dinner. It was annoying not having my debit card, there were two or three nice things that I would have considered. But I barely have enough to get me thorough, so I will have to either not purchase anything or return and hope for the best.
Also it is one of those things talk about someone from the school and they will show up. Yes that is how it happens. Martine and I were talking about some of the other students and some of their idiosyncrasies, and on the way home there they were.
Having functioned in Italian all day with no real break is somewhat draining and by the time I got home all I wanted to was eat (hadn’t eaten barely anything all day), take a shower, make that a cold shower- I love cold showers, and go to bed.

Saturday, August 02, 2003

Life is always interesting, I wish in my life interesting wasn’t always expensive. Nevertheless I am learning again how to deal with highs and lows coming in rapid succession. Unfortunately, I DESPISE drastic change in my life, on any level. With my debit card at the most inopportune time, well it SUCKS!
I went to class all excited about getting my card back. After going to the station and playing the “how many carabinieri does it take to find a debit card” game, we found out. It takes 4 to find the “report” with a copy of my card cut in half. The bank, who knew I was coming to get it, called VISA and for some reason cut my card in half.
I came back to the house and proceeded to rack up a pretty hefty phone bill. I got a hold of the bank. I convinced them to release my card so I could “use” the numbers to purchase my plane ticket to Paris for next week (that trip is NOT coming soon enough). I then called back and had them re-block the card to start the process of getting a replacement. For which privilege they are going to charge me to FedEx to Europe and I have to fax them a “permission slip” to get them to send it here, to HOPEFULLY have it here by the time I return, thank lord for the director of the school being willing to float me till then.
I haven’t been this happy to see a day over with in a long time. At least I got to talk with Jayne. I broke down and called her. I needed that comfort, it has been a long time since I have heard a familiar voice and it meant just about everything to me. As much as I LOVE living here right now, the thought of being “home” in three weeks, though it is sounding way too soon and somewhat frightening as it indicates I will be starting grad school, sounds pretty damn good after dealing with all the costs of today and stupid shit of this week. Yes I am completely aware that it is little things, no I am not letting it ruin my experience, but does it suck, HELL YES!
Besides that I figure as long as I can laugh while I am stabbing the living hell out of the bank people I am doing good- you know maintaining the sense of humor (demented as mine is, no one said anything about that part…:) and all that. Anyways lesson learned: next year when I really am living here- Take more than one card, debit and credit and any other means of getting money out of a machine. As a matter of fact I am going to reactivate one old account and open another just to ensure this.

Friday, August 01, 2003

Really long day but a really nice day. Had classes all morning with a substitute, which was interesting. Turns out that she is the opera class teacher at the school, I haven’t gone to that class as I usually take Monday night as my own night. She has taught here before so it was nice. Realized that I had lost my debit card and by the provinces of the universe Mike came up to the group I was with and said did someone loose their debit card. I DID I DID!! So he set up to pick it up tomorrow. I am completely and utterly grateful as I only have 2 euros to my name and was a bit anxious about the whole thing. Went on the castles tour, Trieste wasn’t that interesting to me but MiraMare is gorgeous. It was great to have Mike back and running the tours, and the dinner we had was awesome. The best part of it all though for me was the fact that it 1. “rained” on us- which was quite reminiscent of Seattle and 2 I was actually cold. That was absolutely delicious. I also found out that one of the men with us here on the school is a catholic priest. So I had an interesting discussion about all sorts of topics. Got home really late and honestly really tired

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