Monday, March 31, 2008


If my dates are correct (and they may not be), my mother, uncle, and aunt arrived in Florence on Thursday the 20th. My mom stayed with Erin and I while my aunt and uncle stayed in an apartment a few blocks down the street. They arrived at Santa Maria Novella by a bus from Pisa airport, had a nice giro d'Italia, and flew out of Rome on Saturday the 29th. Erin and I accompanied them through Florence, Siena, the Cinque Terre, and finally Rome, leaving them there for a day and 2 nights to fend for themselves. It was great seeing them, and as usual for a proper retelling of the trip, I'll point you here. Now I want to tell you about the bones.

This was the third time Erin and I have spent time in Rome, and of all the things we've seen, we'd never been to a crypt or catacomb. As we left their fantastic apartment located just off of Piazza Navona, we followed a route chosen by Erin that would lead us to 3 Caravaggios and a crypt. The Caravaggios were amazing, but the bones at Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini were far more shocking. I broke the rules and sneaked some pictures on my camera phone. Obviously they aren't the best quality, but you'll get the idea.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Tagged: Personal Inquiries

I was tagged by A Tuscan View - from Umbria. I'm not a terribly active blogger, and I am even less active in the reading of other blogs. So, this is the first time I've been tagged!

What I was doing 10 years ago:
I was a 17 year old junior in high school. I was a student in that I almost never applied myself yet still received above average grades. Don't take that as a brag - I went to public school so it very well could be an indicator of public school failures ;-). Oddly enough, the one class I really did enjoy was Latin. I spent most of my time skateboarding or surfing with my friends, or playing music in a band I was in at the time.

Five things on my to-do list today:
Get my visiting family to the Uffizi Gallery.
Take my mom to see an Italian doctor.
Get a (very) little bit of work done.
Fare un giro intorno a Firenze.
Build my Italian vocabulary, probably with medical terms.

Snacks I enjoy:
Fresh tuscan bread + fresh olive oil.

Things I would do if I was a Billionaire:
Consult a money management/financial expert as well as someone with intricate knowledge of a social problem solvable (at least partially) with money.
Work on software projects that I enjoy, solely for enjoyment.
Live in several other countries and learn their languages.

Three of my bad habits:
Even though I'm a generally neat person I have a habit of leaving certain things out of their resting place. This seems to limited to only our home, so there's probably some weird psychological explanation of it.

Five places I have lived:
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
St. Augustine, Florida
Firenze, Italia
(I've only lived in 4 that differ enough from each other to be considered different)

Five jobs I have had:
Prep cook
Line cook
Software developer

As I said above I don't read very many blogs, and those that I do read have either been tagged by this or tagged me :-). I hate to be a dead end, but I'm not tagging anyone. Sorry :-|.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Per Non Dimenticare

Ho deciso di scrivere delle post in Italiano per darmi un'opportunità praticare il mio Italiano scritto. Se per caso tu sia Italiano o altrimenti ne abbia un buon commando, mi piace tanto il tuo aiuto. Come ho detto prima, ho appena finito le mie classe e ho paura di dimenticarsi tutto che ho imparato.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Another Particularly Beautiful Day

It's 3:30. We finished our final class a couple of hours ago, and it was great. Work had kept me from a few classes this week, so it was nice being there for both again. In conversation today Erin gave a presentation on the Lost Colony, which was really neat because sadly it's not a well-known story, even among Americans. Presentations on our home countries had been regular fixtures in conversation for the last month or so. It was great because there were so many countries represented, and even more so because our teacher loved asking provocative questions. Great for learning and gaining perspective, and of course great for speaking. The discussion of course found its way to Bush, America's occupation of Iraq and international behavior, and the upcoming elections. I always like hearing what other students have to say about America and Americans, because regarding international affairs Americans tend to have at least these presumptions:

1) The perspective of America is (almost) always right and therefore ignoring consensus isn't a problem.
2) Foreigners, especially Europeans (and especially the French), do not like Americans.

Number one is a tired subject, so I'll just skip to number two and say that it's just plain not true. Are there people that just don't like Americans because we are American? Probably, but I've never met one. Instead I've had pleasant encounters with some older people that spoke gratefully of the liberation they received during WWII. Of course the younger generation is different, but even they don't have a blind opinion. In class we heard opinions, some not flattering and rightfully so, but I've still yet to encounter someone that actually believes Americans as people to be just plain evil or otherwise undesirable. Do they have differing world views and opinions? Of course, but then how could it be any different? Things apply and make sense to different people based on how their cultures and societies have evolved. This is not a good or bad thing, it's simply reality.

Looking out the window now at the apartments that have become so familiar to me, it really is a beautiful day. As I said before I am glad to have a break from school, but I'm not ready for it to be over. Reflecting now I feel as if I've only just received all of the pieces to a puzzle, so now how will I assemble the picture? Eh vabbeh, it will be assembled.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

L'Ultima Settimana di Classe

This is the last week of our classes. I am so far from being ready to be finished I can't even think of how to express it. It has been a rich experience through and through. Before we arrived here I had thought that the amount of time we would be spending at school would be plenty, and now of course I see how ignorant a thought that was. I have learned so much, but there is still so much to learn. I feel that grammatically I have digested quite a lot, but my vocabulary and competence in idioms and modes of saying are lacking. These things, of course, take time and immersion.

I'm not sure what's next in terms of my studies. I simply can't stop, so I will figure out a routine and make it a point to spend more time with my Italian friends. The time to return to the US is nearing, and I really don't like thinking about it. It's still home and I miss it in some ways (friends and family specifically), but this place has become a bit of a home too. Of course we don't know what the future holds for us, but I feel that Italy fits into it somehow.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Terremoti Oggi

We have been experiencing mild earthquakes since this 8:43 CET morning. Erin and I woke up to one, and while typing this post we just felt another one (11:50 CET). The first one we felt registered at 4.2 on the richter scale, and the epicenter was just northeast of Florence. Here are links to the first report and general news updates (in Italian).

I don't guess it's all that strange given that there are volcanoes in Italy, it's just not wrapped in the wine/olive oil/sunflower stereotype. On top of that I've never experienced an earthquake and I would have thought that when I did, it would have been in California. Anyway it's a new experience. A bit frightening, but they've been very mild, so I'm going to relax with a caffe` and read my 'new' Dylan Dog (issue 111) that I picked up this morning on the way to the St. Ambrogio market.

A presto!