vintage selection.

yesterday, i had one of the best days ever. i hopped the train to florence with some friends and my roommate. it took about an hour to get there... i love how easy it is to get around. one of the grad students told us about a place to eat in what was essentially a covered farmer's market. the food was AH-mazing. it was very busy and loud and we had to sit at a table with other people, but it was just such a cool experience. it was clearly not a tourist spot, which made it even better. the goal of the day trip was to go to this vintage market, so that was our next stop. it was set up in stazione leopolde... the old train station. it cost 5 euro to get in, but even if i hadn't purchased anything, it would've been worth the money. there must have been over 50 vendors there and you could get anything from 5 euros to over a 1000. vintage louis vuitton and chanel. ysl and lacoste. i was just in heaven walking around. it was like a fashion museum warehouse. i wish i had taken a picture.

there was this really cool chain belt that said "coco" on it, but i decided to buy a vintage louis instead. thanks, mom! i'm so excited to go on my first overnight weekend trip and use it. we probably spent 3 hours just wandering around. we then spent about another hour just walking back to the train station. it was such a nice feeling to just walk around. we also got to use some italian... i'm pretty excited monica's lessons are so helpful.

after getting back to arezzo, we ate at this gem of a restaurant, mazzoni. everything was just so good; i was in heaven. we also showed up at the right time for dinner and in a group of 4 instead of 12 so it was less embarrassing than our last dining out experience. i'm still getting used to the feeling of living in a foreign country, as opposed to visiting it. it's very strange, but i can't imagine being anywhere else this semester.

we've also started booking weekend trips, as well as spring break. chocolate festival in florence next weekend? sold. carnival in venice and spring break in greece. any other suggestions?


first day of school.

so this past weekend was fun. ricardo threw his party for us. he had a nice spread laid out, karaoke and tables for beer pong/flip cup. it was a nice chance for everyone to get together and just have some fun. although my throat did hurt for several days after from all the singing. on saturday, we went to the market, which reminded me of a smaller version of porte portese. after dinner we went to a dance performance. there were three solos: claudia catarzi, chiara orefice and stefano questorio. apparently we'll be working with stefano later this semester, so it was cool to see his work prior to the experience. afterwards, some of us went to aurora, a bar owned and frequented by communists. we were the only americans there but it was really fun.

yesterday was basically just a veg day which was great before we started classes. we had a major tourist moment though because we got to the city for dinner so early that we couldn't get into a restaurant for another 30 min after we arrived. it was kind of embarrassing, but now we know i guess.

today were classes! those of us on the dance track had modern technique then philosophy with everyone. then we had to take a bus into town for ballet. we had this really intense teacher, but she seemed to warm up to us, which was good. we were being observed by the other teachers from the studio as well, so it was a little bit intimidating, but hopefully they'll become friendlier as the semester progresses. tomorrow we have 4 hours of tarantella... i'm nervous.


oh, i almost forgot. the title of that last blog is a reference to this merce cunningham quote that i love and wrote in my journal that i'm supposed to keep for the duration of the program:

you have to love dancing and stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive. It's not for unsteady souls.

not for unsteady souls.

after two years of anticipation i have finally arrived in arezzo for study abroad. first of all, it is gorgeous here. actually, i can't think of word that begins to encapsulate how feel about the overwhelming charm and beauty of a town so old. a walking tour of the town today left me in wide-eyed awe. it's amazing how old some of the buildings are; i feel like they pulse with thousands of sordid tales. of course, this comes from living in a country where a building that is merely 100 years old becomes a historical landmark. the difference is just mind blowing. although it's not my first visit across the pond, i don't remember feeling quite as awed the last time. maybe it's because i can't seem to wrap my mind around the fact that i'll actually be living here for three months.

i haven't updated in a few days because after the whirlwind of rome, it's been pretty slow paced here. i took a train into the town, then got a little disorientated and couldn't make it out of the train station for several minutes, but then i made it to a taxi and up the hill. i was the first undergrad student here so i got the luxury of settling in slowly while waiting for everyone else to arrive. for the last couple of days, we've just done basic orientation stuff. last night, about 20 of us made the trek into town and to the "american" bar for a taste of the nightlife. it was fun, although different from rome. tonight, ricardo and the rest of the facilities staff is throwing us a welcome party... everyone chipped in a few euro and i think it'll be a good time.

as for the program, there are 18 undergrads and 12 mfa students. there's only male among us undergrads, which i think must be as much a curse as a blessing for him. there are 9 students in each track: dance and theatre. i have a great roommate, who is also a dancer and actually spent her last semester in florence. she plays guitar and has promised to teach me... new skills here i come! i already have plans in the works for international travels, but what i'm most excited is a chance to explore the town on my own as well as for classes to start... i can't wait to learn italian! pictures to follow soon. meaning, once i actually take some.


food & fun in roma.

well, much has happened since i last posted, but i will try to keep this update from being too overwhelming. after a siesta, liz and i went out for dinner sunday night in trastevere. there were these two heartbreakingly beautiful guys that were literally STARING at us as we choose a table, but unfortunately they left without introducing themselves. oh well, such is life eh? liz had been telling me all about this after dinner liqueur called limoncello, so after dinner we went in search of it. we ended up at a bar and sipped on our limoncello which basically tastes like a super-concentrated lemon drop. burned my mouth a little bit though. one of the workers liked us, so he brought us free shots, completely unprompted by us. who can complain about that? met some italian men that were sitting nearby, but they were a little older and not quite as beautiful as our missed connection at dinner so we declined a ride home.

after some research, i found that the angels & demons tour costs 56 euro: a little steep for our tastes. instead, liz and i went to the colosseum and then i bought a cheap phone. after lunch, reading and a nap, liz arranged for her friend andrew to pick me up because i had mentioned my wish to ride a moterino. touring the city at night on the back of a moterino was amazing. we met up with liz and a great little pizza place and then had chocolate shots at this place after dinner. so yummy. i finished my book after dinner... i had gotten to a really exciting part when andrew came to pick me up, so it was satisfying to come back and finish it.

today was vatican day. before getting there, we had cappuccinos and croissants at a little place near liz's school/apartment. after a short bus ride, we spent several hours exploring the museums and st. peter's. the amount of artwork that the church owns is absolutely staggering. also got hit on by a vatican guard. not something that i would've expected but i guess the blonde hair works in mysterious ways. had some really delicious salami and cheese sandwiches for lunch while my pictures uploaded to fb and now i'll probably go read slash gather up stray belongings because tomorrow i'll be going to arezzo!

ps: looking back, it sounds like much of what i do here is eat, but it's just all so good, i can't help but include it!


lots of walking.

so yesterday i ended up taking a 3 hour nap after i posted. then liz and i lazed around. i drank some tea and read my italian guidebook while she made a fabulous dinner. we had spaghetti with tomatoes, sausage and onions in pasta sauce and it was quite delicious! after dinner, we went out and walked around trastevere (which is the area liz lives in). then we wandered through tiber island, the jewish ghetto and all the way over to piazza venezia. bought some chocolate and came home for a relaxing, if somewhat low key night, with wine and reading. audrey niffenegger, the fabulous author of the time traveler's wife, has a new book out, her fearful symmetry. it was 1/2 off at border's so i couldn't resist purchasing it. good thing too, as i'm loving it so far.

this morning, we went to porta portese, which is basically a giant flea market that opens every sunday. it reminded me of the street fairs in new york, only more crowded and about ten times the size of any i've been to. you can buy pretty much anything you want there: from lightbulbs and makeup to furniture and pets. spent a couple hours walking through a large part of it. i was able to purchase some nice gloves, along with band-aids and batteries. i am unfortunately suffering from a HUGE blister on the back of my right heel, which is making it difficult to walk. this is a problem in a city that requires much more walking than ohio, for example.

anyways, after a quick stop back at liz's apartment, we headed over to the roman forum and the palantine hill. it was so fantastic to walk through the ruins and imagine a bustling ancient rome. during our whole tour of the place, i was just so excited to be in a place that's steeped in history. our ticket included entrance to the colosseum, but we didn't have enough time to make it there today. luckily, it's a two-day ticket, so we're going to hit that up tomorrow. liz and i started talking about dan brown's angels and demons and decided to look for a tour that takes us on the path of illumination. so i think our day is pretty much planned out for tomorrow.

for now, the plan is to take a siesta then go out for dinner and roman nightlife afterwards. i'm loving the later eating times here... much better than sticking to a strict 6 pm eating time at the gouch.



so kids, i made it! liz is making me update, even though my hands are shaking really bad, so here goes...

on thursday, my mom dropped me off at the airport rather early because i was nervous about lines/its an international flight. of course, barely anyone was there. the bag i wanted to check was 9 lbs over so i had to do some shifting around, but that went fine, except my backpack got rather heavy. then i was a hot mess going through security... forgot to take my laptop out, forgot to take my belt off, they had to rescan my purse after searching it for mysterious, invisible liquids. yeah, i was THAT person. and even though there was no one there when i got to security, it filled up right after so a bunch of people witnessed that mess. my flights went smoothly and i had nice seat mates each time; the first was a physical therapist on his way to london and the second a woman who was visiting her daughter in rome. the only bad part was that the in-flight movie options were bolt and cloudy with a chance of meatballs, both of which looked cute, but i wasn't that interested in seeing either one. i also wanted to sleep, but that proved difficult. flying into rome was a beautiful experience. for the whole descent, i just looked out my window (luckily, i had a window seat!) and soaked it all in. it was interesting to notice how different the country looked from the sky than america does. when flying over the states, the land is divided much more evenly and into very distinct patterns; not so with italy. there was some order, but also some chaos. it was nice. i couldn't help but wonder what implications this had for differences in lifestyle. i guess i'll find out soon.

after making it through customs, liz met me at the gate and then we were off... only a train, a tram, a bus and a short walk separated us from her apartment! quite the adventure with my gigantic bag, but we made it. we went to the market and ate fresh fruit on the way to the grocery store. then i took a nap before we went out for the night. liz took me to a beautiful fountain and we watched the sun set over the city. then we meandered through this piazza and that, liz showing me some of her favorite sites while i ate my gelato. we at dinner at a fabulous little place where the owner gave us postcards to send home and then we went to a bar where i had my first experience with an italian man hitting on me. he didn't speak english and i don't speak italian. as you can imagine, we were doomed from the start. went to a few other bars and met some guys. after several problems with people pronouncing my name, liz and i decided that i would be sofia for the evening. it went much better after that. we met some italian guys who took us to a salsa club, but we couldn't get in because there was a list. FAIL. went to one last bar, but the italian guys disappeared and we were tired so we came home.

right now, i'm sitting on liz's couch and contemplating my next move. my body is rejecting me for going out last night. and punishing me with a wicked headache/the shakes. can't separate which is from drinking and which is from just jetlag. hopefully i'll recover soon and go experience the great american pastime: shopping!


my bags are packed, i'm ready to go.

okay, so that's not completely true, but i did start the tedious process of packing today. i have two suitcases: a small one with all my clothes for the short stay in rome and then a large one for everything else. i am a little nervous about navigating through the train station with a couple large suitcases (especially since there's apparently a lot of stairs) but i don't really think i have any other options. at least they are of the rolling variety.

as the day of departure fast approaches, i am increasingly apprehensive. i know when i get there i'll settle down, but right now i'm nervous that i'll forget to pack something essential or have flight delays or something will go wrong. but i guess i get that way before i travel anywhere. it's just exacerbated this time because i'm not going on vacation... i'm going to study for a whole semester in italy. i'm also nervous because i really don't know what to expect. i've become comfortable with what i do, who i am and where i fit in at school. but, in 36 hours, i'll be throwing myself into a foreign country where i don't speak the language. and a few days after that i'll be participating in a conservatory-style program in a little town in the midst of the tuscan countryside.

at least i have my travel outfit picked out.
roundtrip flight to rome? $840. landing with confidence? priceless.