Friday, December 10, 2010

The past two months: Sweden, Tuscany, London!

So I have been very negligent with my blog and I only have one week left in Italy, so I have a lot to catch up on. Here goes.......

Sweden (October 22 - 24)
I really wanted to go to Sweden because Daddy's side of the family is from Sweden and I wanted to connect with my Swedish roots. My friend, Maggie, came with me. Instead of the main Malpensa airport in Milan, we decided to go through Bergamo, a smaller airport about 45 minutes away, because there were significantly cheaper tickets. The flight was about two and a half hours, but then we had to take an hour and a half bus to the actual city of Stockholm. And once we got there, we wandered around until we found the metro station. It was really funny because all the signs to the metro were on the ground. Once we found the metro, we took the MOST EXPENSIVE 1 stop metro trip ever (equivalent to about 4 euro!!!). So after that, we decided not to take the metro. Once we found our hostel, we decided to walk around for a little bit. Fortunately, out hostel was in an excellent location because we were within spitting distance of one of the major shopping areas in Stockholm. So we walked around a little bit. For dinner we found some excellent Indian food and then decided to go see a movie. We saw "The American" with George Clooney. It was a very strange, but mostly entertaining movie. After the movie we met one of our roommates in the hostel, who was from Finland, I believe. He suggested that we visit Old Town the next day. So we did just that. All Saturday, we walked around this really adorable part of Stockholm with a lot of touristy shopping. For us, it ended up being a lot of cafe hopping because it was SO cold that we couldn't be outside for too long without freezing. Unfortunately, it got dark really early and we didn't really feel like going to any clubs or anything (not that we knew where any were) so we decided to go to another movie. Unfortunately. I say this because this was probably the WORST movie I have ever seen. We saw "Buried" with Ryan Reynolds. He was pretty good, but the movie was so depressing that Maggie and I both left the theatre miserable. Fail. On Sunday, we walked around a little more and returned to our favorite coffee shop that we had found on Friday, which we discovered was basically the equivalent to Starbucks because we quite literally found it on every corner. Then we caught the bus back the the airport and attempted to spend the rest of our Swedish currency on airport food and souvenirs. Overall, a successful trip!

The kitchen, before we dirtied it up!
Cooking Lesson #2 (October 28)
On Thursday, as part of my Italian Culture and Cuisine class, we had our second cooking class. The recipe this time was to make gnocchi alla Romana and stuffed artichokes. I learned how to cut artichokes and grate a lot of cheese so that was exciting! If you have ever eaten regular gnocchi before (which happens to be one of my favorite foods), gnocchi alla Romana is MUCH more heavy and rich. It is made with milk, butter, flour, and a whole bunch of fun things like that.  Everything came out very well, and I got a lot of great action shots! Haha. The chef also made us lasagna with artichokes in it, so it was a very rich meal all together. Lots of fun! I really enjoy the cooking classes because it helps us to solidify the stuff that we learn in class. And its a lot of fun too, of course! At home, I usually do a lot of baking and not a lot of this kind of cooking, so it is fun doing something different that hopefully I can bring home and share with my family!

Italian celebrate Halloween a little differently than Americans. First of all, there is this big debate about if Halloween should even be celebrated or not. And then those who do celebrate all dress in very morbid costumes. I am pretty sure at least half of the people I saw had blood dripping from some part of their body. Collegio hosted a party that was pretty fun. A lot of visitors from outside of Collegio came as well. After much contemplation, I decided to dress as Audrey Hepburn. I watched an instructional video online about the hair, which I thought turned out pretty well. It was a fun night! And it was great because we also had Monday off for All Saints Day!

Tuscany (November 4 - 6)
View from Montalcino Castle
As one of the trips with my program, they took us to some places in Tuscany, which I have decided is probably the most beautiful place in the world. Unfortunately we did not get to go to Florence, but we did get to go to a lot of other amazing places in the region. On Thursday, we had a great tour of Siena and we checked into our hotel. Siena is on the smaller side, but it has a lot of great history attached to it. One of the great traditions, is that they have a horse race each year, or maybe twice a year, to decide which part of Siena is most favored by the Madonna. On Friday we visited Montalcino, which is famous for its wine. We got to explore Montalcino castle, which had some great panoramic views of farms full of grapes. For lunch, I tried this really delicious soup that was like tomato soup, but it had basil and bread in of the most delicious meals from a restaurant I have eaten here. That afternoon, we visited Sant'Antimo Monastery, where we were able to hear them do Gregorian chant as part of their daily prayers. It was a really amazing experience and a beautiful place to visit. On Saturday, we visited Arezzo where there was a really adorable vintage market that we were able to explore. We also visited Sant Francesco Church where we saw some amazing frescos done by Piero della Francesca. That evening we came back to Milan. The trip was a really wonderful experience and I hope someday I will be able to come back to see more of Tuscany.

Teatro 7 Cooking Lesson #3 (November 11)
Peeling potatoes for the ravioli
For this cooking lesson, we made ravioli and panna cotta. Traditionally, Ravioli is made with meat, but I am a vegetarian so I made a vegetarian alternative. Instead of a meat filling, mine were filled with cabbage, potato, onion, and cheese. They turned out really delicious, and now I know how to cut ravioli! I kind of like when I have to make a separate dish for myself, because I get a lot more experience. Everyone else is working on the other dish so I get to make the entire dish myself. I didn't eat the panna cotta, because it has gelatin in it, but I did try the fruit sauce put on top and it was very delicious, and everyone else was raving about the panna cotta so I am sure it was very good!

Piacenza (November 12 - 14)
My friend from Collegio, Alessandro, lives in a small town near Milan called Piacenza. So I went home with him this weekend, to explore his town. He took me around to a lot of amazing castles. At one of the places we went to, we randomly found this little museum. So apparently this really famous librettest for some famous operas like Tosca, Madama Butterfly, and Turandot lived in this little town. So right next to his house where he grew up, there was a tiny little museum that had some of the original costumes and opera scores. It was quite a find in this little town. And I am pretty sure I may have been the museum visitor from the farthest away place because when I signed the guest book, I think I was the only person from outside of Italy. Even though the weather in Piacenza wasn't very nice that weekend, I enjoyed seeing the castles and visiting his family. On Saturday, while Alessandro was teaching, his mother took me out shopping and showed me around the main part of Piacenza. That night, Alessandro took me for Mexican food, which I had been craving for months! It was a little strange ordering Mexican food in Italian though...

London (November 18 - 21)
So some of my friends studying and Vienna and Avignon decided to meet up in London to see Harry Potter 7 because we all wanted to see each other and see the movie in English. On Friday, we explored around London a little bit and I got some nice "American" food at a restaurant. It was really unfortunate because everything was so expensive because the pound is doing really well. It was alright though because we did get a free tour of London and I was very happy to see some of my friends. And Harry Potter  was amazing...just in case you were wondering.

Corriere della Sera and Die Walküre Interview (November 22)
On Monday, our Italian class went on a field study to the famous newspaper in Milan, Corriere della Sera. This was a nice experience because we got to see how a newspaper is published and distributed and how this specific newspaper was different than the others. Also, the presentation was given in Italian and I understood most everything! So that was exciting too!

That evening, our opera history teacher conducted a well attended interview with the conductor and director of Die Walküre that would be opening at La Scala. This interview was done in Italian, and unfortunately it was very difficult for me to understand so I did not enjoy it as much as I would have hoped.

Die Walküre (November 28)
Our opera history teacher was able to acquire tickets for our class to see the dress rehearsal of Die Walküre  for free! For the first act, I could only see half the stage and there were no subtitles (the opera is in German), so I was very confused as to what was going on. Fortunately, for the second and third acts, I moved my chair closer and the subtitles started working, so I understood and enjoyed the opera much more. It was really a fantastic opera and I had never seen a Wagner opera before so it was a good experience. The set was minimalistic, but I thought it worked well with the concept. The opera was 5 hours long and there were two 25 minute intermissions so I was able to get dinner at least. All together, a very interesting experience and I wouldn't mind seeing a Wagner opera again!

Teatro 7 Cooking Lesson #4 (December 2)
For this cooking lesson, we made risotto alla Milanese and tiramisù (literally translated: lift me up). This may have been my favorite dish so far because the risotto and the tiramisù were both ridiculously delicious. Rissotto alla Milanese is characteristic for its golden yellow color coming from saffron. I will definitely make this when I get home. Again, I made a vegetarian alternative for the risotto with a vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.  Delicious!

Holiday! (December 3 - 8)
We had an extra long weekend because our study abroad program gave us Friday off, Tuesday and Wednesday were religious holidays, and all of the teachers canceled class on Monday. Most people traveled, but I decided to stay in Milan because I am just so sick of traveling! It is so stressful sometimes. So on Tuesday, I went to this HUGE artisan festival in Milan that had people selling things, not only from every region in Italy, but from all over the world! I enjoyed the USA booths the most because they were all "cowboys and Indians." Apparently, that's what Italians think we all are. Haha. I was able to buy a lot of nice gifts. I also bought this adorable espresso maker for myself! There were also a lot of free samples of everything...we were hardly hungry for lunch (Mexican food again! Woooo!). To see the entire fair took the entire day and I was exhausted by the time we got back to Collegio.

Teatro 7 Cooking Lesson #5 (December 9)
Me with Chef Marco!
Yesterday was our final lesson at Teatro 7. How sad! Chef Marco fulfilled my request and we made gnocchi alla sorrentina and these delicious cookies with cream. Gnocchi is my favorite Italian dish and was really what I wanted to make the entire time. So I was happy that we got to do this! It was a good end to a wonderful series of cooking classes. These lessons were some of my favorite memories from my entire time here! I will miss it. And of course the gnocchi were probably the most delicious I have ever tasted. And I am sure I will be cooking a lot for my family and friends back home!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fa freddo!!!!

On Friday, October 8, there was a sponsored trip to Lago Maggiore. Unfortunately, it was not the best weather to go to a lake because it was very cloudy and cold. But we had a good time anyway. There were only 8 of us so we kind of all decided what we wanted to do together. It was an hour train ride to get to the town and we took a boat from the town to a few of the little islands on the lake. They were all very cute, very touristy little places. We visited the botanical gardens that surrounded a mansion of a very rich and powerful Italian family. It was interesting hearing about the family. One thing that I found unusual was they had several puppet theatres in their house, which I guess could be considered like having multiple TVs in one's house. After visiting the mansion and the gardens, we went to lunch on one of the other islands. After a successful day of exploring, we returned to Milan!

Las Vegas Party!
On Saturday night, there was a party at Collegio. The theme was Las Vegas and everyone was expected to dress up. Some of the costumes were very amusing. I just wore a little black dress...very uninspired, but it was cute, so whatever. The party was really fun and I got to meet a lot more people...a lot of friends of people from Collegio. I can't wait for the next party!

On Tuesday, instead of having my regular Italian Culture and Cuisine class, we had a field study at a a little cheese shop called Miracolo a Milano. This little family owned store makes their own fresh cheese everyday and we were able to watch them make it and even sample a little piece. I wish I could have bought some, but I don't have a refrigerator to put it in so unfortunately I could not buy any. But that was a fun alternative to going to class!

Me and Maggie eating gelato!
Me and Raul, reunited!
On Friday night, I finally was able to go to Fidenza, where I did my opera program this summer. It was fun seeing the town and all the guys from the hotel again! My friend Maggie went with me and we walked around the town a little bit and we bought some excellent gelato. We ate dinner at the hotel where we got to see my friend Raul, who works at the hotel, for a little bit. We left at 9:15 to go back to Milan. Hopefully I will be able to go back and visit again at least once more this semester!

So the meaning of the title of this blog entry "Fa freddo" means "it's cold!!!" So apparently Milan doesn't turn on the heat until October 15th to save energy. And you ask: but Valerie, it it is October 17th so why are you complaining about the cold? And I answer: apparently Collegio doesn't want to turn on the heat until the 18th, so I am actually freezing. I am in my Gettysburg sweatpants and sweatshirt (represent!) and a scarf and my wool socks...and I am in my room under 2 blankets. So hopefully tomorrow everything will start working. Hopefully. Or else my feet might fall off. Just sayin.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


This past weekend, we went to Oktoberfest. But it wasn't just was Oktoberfest in Munich, on the 200th anniversary, on closing weekend. So it was pretty wild. Eurasmus, the major European foreign exchange program, offered to drive foreign students to Munich for the weekend. After having some homemade pizza at a friend's apartment, we all hopped on the bus at 10:30 on Friday night. We drove 8 hours to get to Munich. Unfortunately, I have a very hard time sleeping on buses, so I hardly slept at all. So Oktoberfest is basically this huge carnival...with a lot of beer. So we got in this epic line to get in the Hofbräu tent, where I almost lost my shoes because people were stepping on my feet. We spent part of the day in the tent and the rest of the day wandering around Munich. I bought this cute bag that said München and Oktoberfest on it. We met the bus at 10:30 that night and drove 8 hours back to Milan...again without much sleep at all. I was so exhausted when I got back that I just took a shower and went to bed until 4 in the afternoon. It was a really fun trip overall though and I am glad that I went!

On Monday, I had my first History of Italian Opera class. It was pretty interesting. We talked about Monteverdi's L'Orfeo and the teacher talked about some interesting structural concepts that I hadn't really thought about. So this class should be pretty interesting. I am excited expand my opera horizons!

On Tuesday night, we had another one of the lectures. This one was about Italian versus English phonetics. My mother would have LOVED this lecture. Haha. One of my Italian friends from Collegio came with me and he thought it was interesting because he had never thought about some of the differences between Italian and English pronunciation. After the lecture, they served us some pannetone, a traditional Milanese bread during Christmastime. 

Last night, my study abroad program provided us with FREE tickets to go see L'Elisir d'amore at LA SCALA!!!!! It was sooooo wonderful. The opera was amazing, the singers were amazing, the orchestra was amazing, and basically the entire experience was EPIC! I had so much fun and I hope I will be able to go see another opera there! It was really interesting because the singers' voices didn't seem gigantic, but they really were able to cut through the orchestra.

Today, for my Italian Culture and Cuisine class, we had our first cooking class! It was held at this really swanky cooking school. We made le trofie al pesto and la focaccia Ligure, which is basically pasta with pesto and bread. But we made the pasta by hand and everything was from scratch. And then after we made everything, we all ate it together. It was really delicious! The entire process took about 3 and a half hours! I forgot my camera, but I will be sure to bring it next time!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Weekend in Aosta!

Oh much to catch up on...

Last week, Maggie and I bought tickets to go to Sweden. We are going in October and I am so excited! We found cheapish airplane tickets and now all we have to do is book a hostel. I was looking at 4 person hostel rooms, but now Maggie is trying to convince me to have us stay in the 12 person rooms...oh my gosh. I don't really know how I feel about this. Ok, that's a lie. I do know how I feel about this, but I have to weigh the benefit of not paying a lot for a sanity??? Haha. Everything will work out though!

This past weekend, my study abroad program sponsored a trip to Aosta, a little town near the Alps. We had Friday off of classes so we left on Friday morning and it was a 2 hour bus ride to Aosta. Once we got there, they took us to the strangest museum about the Alps. It was the weirdest experience that I can't even describe. It just had so many weird exhibits and I couldn't even understand half of what the tour guide was saying, just because she was speaking so softly.

For lunch, they took us to eat a "typical meal" of Aosta at a restaurant. Unfortunately for me, this "typical meal" was deer and polenta. So instead of deer, they gave me a sample of their regional cheeses. One of them was really good, but the other smelled (and tasted) sooooooooooo bad, so I didn't eat it. For the first course they gave us some really good pasta. The second course was the deer/cheese and polenta specialty dish. For dessert they gave us this really delicious vanilla gelato with cut up fruit. And then they gave us coffee (well espresso...but they call that coffee here). Overall it was a pretty good meal although VERY overpriced. Especially since I didn't eat any of the deer...

After lunch we were able to settle into our hotel and wander around the town. I noticed when we were walking around that everyone had either a baby or a dog. A very interesting observation. Unfortunately for us, it was raining that afternoon so it wasn't all the fun trudging through the puddles. That evening, at the hotel, they provided us with a 3 course meal, which was also very good. We had a cheese risotto, a veggie omelet (which was nice since I hadn't had eggs since I have been here!), and creme caramel. I felt soooo full after that very rich day of eating.

The shower in the hotel was ridiculous. Actually it wasn't a shower because it didn't have a shower curtain, but I wasn't about to take a bath in that thing. So instead I had to hold the shower head while standing up, but the shower head was leaking all over the place so I ended up flooding the entire bathroom and the hallway in our room. Haha. Oh well.

On Saturday, we got a tour of the town of Aosta. There was this really interesting outdoor theatre that we got to visit, along with a lot of other historical buildings. It was a sort of interesting tour, but again lasted way to long and it was kind of cold, so some of my friends and I peaced around lunch time. We went to this really good falafel restaurant! It was strange, though, because they put the regular things in the pita with the falafel like tomato, lettuce, and yogurt sauce, but then they also had french fries. Granted, their french fries are far superior here than in the US so I guess they feel like they should add them to everything.

For dinner, the hotel provided us with a 3 course meal again! I didn't like it as much as the night before, but it was still pretty good. After dinner we went to a concert. I don't remember the name of the group, but they seemed popular and everyone seemed to know their songs...even though the concert was free. Maybe they were doing covers of songs. Who knows?

French/Italian Border on the top of Mont Blanc
On Sunday, they took us into the Alps. Unfortunately, I came unprepared and only had my ballet flats with me and didn't bring my heavy I just bundled up with all I had and prayed that my feet wouldn't fall off. We had to take three gondolas (no, not the boat, but a little glass box suspended on a wire) up to the top of Mont Blanc. It was really awesome because we were above the clouds and there was snow everywhere! I was so cold. But I did get to see the border between France and Italy, which was excellent! But between my low blood pressure and the thin mountain air, I almost passed I went inside, sat down, and had a hot chocolate. Oh, a word about the hot chocolate: it is actually hot chocolate, not this watered-down crap that you get in the US, but like liquid pudding. Excellent. We had the option of hiking down the last leg of the descent from the mountain, but I decided against that considering my shoe choice, the cold, and the fact that I had just almost passed out. Once everyone got down from the mountain, we stopped for lunch and at this random castle and then returned to Milan. Overall, an excellent weekend!

Yesterday (Monday), we started our first day of classes! Although, I didn't really have anything new because I had already been taking the two classes I had yesterday (Italian and Music Performance Workshop) and the third class I was supposed to have (History of Italian Opera) was canceled this week. But speaking of Italian opera, my study abroad program bought some tickets for La Scala for us so I am going to go see L'elisir d'Amore at La Scala!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Today (Tuesday), I had my first new class, which is an Italian Culture and Cuisine class. This class was so interesting! We will be learning about regional dishes around Italy and then we will be attending an Italian cooking school and will learn how to make some of these dishes! I am so excited!

This evening we went to a lecture on the different dialects of Italy. It was very interesting hearing how they evolved into what the language is today. After, they provided us with aperitivo. Then, after my metro ride, some woman comes up to me and asks me if I speak Italian. I say yes (ehhh...sort of a stretch...) and she noticed that I was talking on the phone in English and goes on to ask me if I will meet with her to help her learn English. She is taking an English course, but she is realizing that to really learn the language, you must speak with a native English speaker. So she is offering to pay me 15 euro per hour to talk with her in English. Not a bad gig...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday: Too Much Italian

Today during class, we had a field trip. First, our teacher took us to a cafe across from La Scala and treated us to breakfast. After, we visited the house and church of a famous Italian author. Then we had a tour/lecture of the Palazzo Marino. But our tour guide was talking so fast in Italian that I hardly understood what was being said...and this lasted for at least 2 hours. My mind was about ready to explode. And he kept picking me out of the group and asking me questions about the Italian legal system and I was so much. And I had to do a lot of research this evening about what we were actually supposed to learn during the tour because it was so darn confusing at the time. I don't understand warp speed Italian yet. Haha.

I had my second voice lesson today, which went pretty well. Patrizia told me that I have a lot of bad habits that I need to get rid of...but I am working on it. And as I am leaving my lesson, Patrizia stops me and asks if I can stay for the next lesson and play piano for her next student because the pianist who usually comes to our lessons wasn't there. So I said that I could look at the music and try to play through it. So I had about 20 minutes to look over the music and then I find out that the student is having to record this aria for I guess an audition or something, I have no idea. But I was slightly horrified because I was like...well I have 20 minutes to prepare this aria for a recording that might be of some importance. But I ended up not butchering it too badly...hopefully it was good enough to send in to whomever she was sending it to. And I ended up missing all of one of my classes instead of half of it. So I went to apologize to the professor and I think he just found it funny that I was so apologetic and worried about missing class...

And the best part of the day: my 2 hour nap from 6-8 this evening! Haha. So good.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Monday - Sunday: Week 3

So I am very behind on updating my blog...but I will do my best to remember everything that has happened this week. I have been so busy!

Monday: I had my first voice lesson on Monday. There is one voice teacher for the study abroad program and her name is Patrizia. She is this fabulous Italian soprano and she is HARD CORE. I had an excellent lesson though. It was so helpful. We talked (half in English, half in Italian) a lot about technique and she is VERY picky about everything, which is what I really needed. The best thing she kept saying during my lesson was "meglio," which means "better." But that was it. Haha. She assigned me this epically long aria from La Sonnambula by Bellini. At first I didn't like it very much, but as I have been listening to it and singing it more and more, I have grown to appreciate it. It sits pretty well in my voice too. So she picked well!

Tuesday: On Tuesday afternoon, we had our course presentations where all the professors came and talked about each of their classes in preparation of us signing up for classes during the following days. There were so many classes that sounded really interesting. Unfortunately we are only allowed to take 15-18 credit hours. But knowing how I work, I will probably be taking at least 18 credits. After the presentation, they had a small reception for the students and professors in which we were able to talk one on one with professors if we wanted to get any more information out of them.

Wednesday: On Wednesday, my Italian class went to the Museum of Modern art. It was really fun seeing these beautiful paintings. I think there are also concerts at this museum because there was this huge grand piano and chairs set up. So I will have to do some research to see whats going on there!

I also had my required doctor's appointment at Collegio. Each student living in Collegio has to have and appointment with the resident doctor in order to work out in the gym in the basement. This was an interesting experience because the doctor barely spoke any English. And I mean, I can hold a decent conversation with the average Italian person if they are willing to speak slowly and occasionally repeat themselves, but as far as medical terms go...I am not well versed. So there was a lot of writing and gesturing, but it all worked out in the end. And now I can work out in the gym, which I need to start doing if I am going to continue to eat pasta for every meal!

After my doctor's appointment, I went to buy tickets for Oktoberfest! They have this special deal where they will bus students to Germany for Oktoberfest and bring them back that day for only 34 euros, which is an AMAZING deal. And it should be a really interesting experience so I am super excited.

After buying my ticket, I rushed over to the study abroad center for my advising appointment. As suspected, I am attempting to take an record breaking (for the study abroad program) 24 credit hours. Oops. But the first 18 credits are completely necessary between my major and my minor. Its the last 6 that aren't completely necessary, so I have to decide between taking piano lessons and choir. So this should be an interesting decision. I mean, I could take 24 credits, but 1. I don't want to die, and 2. I want to have time to do a lot of traveling so I don't want to be overwhelmed with all the work and practice I have to do (especially with the piano lessons). So we will see how this works out.

Thursday: So every Friday, we have a test in Italian. This week we were studying propositions, which for some reason are particularly impossible for me. Although in general I am very good at grammar in foreign languages, this element of grammar proves very difficult for me, unfortunately. So on Thursday night, I spent hours studying these silly prepositions. Some very nice Italian guy from Collegio sat with me and went through every one of my examples with me and tried to explain the reasoning why I should chose one over another. By the end of my studies that evening, my brain was about to explode because it makes absolutely no sense to me. Oh well. I guess all that I can do is practice using them in conversation and hope these silly prepositions start coming naturally to me.

Friday: So I was hoping that all my preposition practice would have prepared me for the test, but alas, I was completely lost on the majority of them. But I guess we will see when I get my test back. After the test we started watching this adorable Italian movie called "My Name is Tonino," which is about this Italian boy who falls in love with an American girl who is on an exchange program in Italy. Haha. It was very cute though and I really want to see the rest of it.

On Friday night, some of the people from Collegio decided to go out to the discoteca. We went to a place called Lime Light, and it was so intense. This place was packed, but it was a lot of fun!

Yum! Gelato!
Saturday: On Saturday, I had planned to go to Fidenza to visit some friends with my friend, Maggie, but we couldn't find each other at the train station so we missed our train. Oops. So instead we wandered around Milan, had a nice lunch, went shopping, and had some excellent gelato. Then it started pouring, so maybe it was better that we didn't go to Fidenza because we wouldn't have been able to walk around very much.

That evening we were celebrating the birthday of one of the girls at Collegio. And we were planning on going to a club afterwords but it was still pouring buckets outside so I think most of us decided to stay in.

Sunday: Today I stayed in Collegio and did my work all day. I was pretty tired from last night, so it was nice to be able to relax and not have to do anything requiring a lot of energy. Tomorrow, for Italian, we are supposed to meet in Piazza della Scala. I am not really sure why, but our professor is treating us to breakfast so I am there! I am not sure quite how to get there though because I just got a text from the director of the study abroad program telling us that the yellow line was closed, which is the only way I know how to get there. So this should be interesting...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Friday - Sunday: The Weekend

I couldn't think of a more creative title. Forgive me. I had planned on maybe going to Venice this weekend, but things didn't work out so I stayed at the Collegio instead. On Friday after class, I had a lot of interesting "Italian Interactions" because I wandered around in search of an agenda book. I cannot live without an agenda book so I do not know how I have survived these past two weeks without one. So I go to the copy place near my study abroad center to buy some notebooks. I asked the cashier if he had any agenda books books and he didn't, but he drew me out some directions to a place where they they might have them. So I attempted to follow his directions, but as I do, I got lost and was just wandering around going into promising stores desperately trying to find an agenda book. One of the stores I went into, I asked the man and he looked at me like a crazy person like, "why in the heck would you want to buy an agenda book this time a year?" was the basic gist I got. So I ended up giving up and just settling on a little pink notebook to record my commitments in. But, I was not defeated because I got to talk with a lot of people in Italian! Hooray!

On Friday and Saturday evenings, I went out with some people from Collegio. And one night, I tried to wear one of my new blouses I bought and concluded that it looked like I was wearing an extra-large T-shirt over leggings. I looked ridiculous. Fail. I concluded that this Italian style does not work for me at all. Alas.

Today (Sunday), I am just finishing up my homework and hanging around. I was able to practice an hour for piano and an hour for voice in preparation for my lesson tomorrow. So I feel pretty well prepared. I am excited to work with this new teacher! I have also been talking to my friends, Jenny and Amanda, who are studying abroad in Avignon. We are trying to make plans to visit each other! I am so excited to see them! Also, some of my other friends who are studying in Vienna are visiting Italy this week, so hopefully we will be able to see each other!