Long Time No Blog – Week 4

22Apr08

This is usually the point in the quarter where students start to get lazy, lose focus, and do nothing. And I’m no exception. Even now, I’m struggling as I write this because my brain is just…slower. What’s sad is that I haven’t even been working that hard — our teachers understand that the “allure of Rome” is often greater than the “allure of homework” and have therefore assigned less work than they usually do. But don’t get me wrong, I am studying abroad and I have been doing something school-related. We just finished reading The Aeneid and are now beginning Dante’s The Divine Comedy. I’m not that excited to read it, especially after skimming the introduction titled “How to Read Dante.” So…the guy that translated the book had such a hard time that he has to tell the readers how to read in order to avoid being confused. Awesome.

My Italian class is good, but I wish we had some kind of textbook to help us study. I mean, it’s hard to practice Italian where I live because it’s very tourist-friendly. I get coffee and a croissant every morning before class and I’ve learned how to order it in Italian: “Posso avere un cappuccino e un cornetto, per favore?” But then they answer: “Sure. What size do you want?”  Wow, is it that obvious that I don’t really know Italian? My bad. At least I try. But my art history class is really cool, and we actually had one of the most interesting lectures yesterday. Ricardo talked about Giorgio Vasari’s Le Vite and how he was the first to define the methodology of Renaissance technique. I know nothing about everything over here, so it was all new and interesting to me, especially when he started talking about Leonardo and Michelangelo. Tomorrow we’re going to see some of Raphael’s stuff (and then hopefully we’ll get to Donatello, Splinter, and Shredder if I’m following correctly…oh wait, that’s not right…I told you my brain isn’t working properly).

 Aside from school stuff, I’ve of course found some fun things to do on nights and weekends. This past weekend was probably the most eventful — I officially started shopping after the discovery of Via del Corso (shopping central – beware) and Porta di Roma (a centro comerciale aka MALL. i know, i’m in trouble). I also went with some roommates to Naples, the birthplace of pizza. It’s also dirty, crowded, and it’s apparently not a big deal to sell pornography on the sidewalks. I also walked past this guy on the street trying to sell a laptop in a very awkward, non-legit, i-just-pulled-this-out-of-some-guy’s-bag way. I know I’m making Naples sound horrible…but it kind of is. And the pizza tasted the same as any other pizza I’ve had over here. Actually, the only reason we were in Naples was because it’s the only way you can get to Pompei.

Pompei was cool and I took a lot of pictures, but I felt like after you’ve seen one old, desolate structure preserved by a volcanic eruption, you’ve seen ’em all. Maybe that’s just me. I still liked it there, and if you’re ever in Italy you have to see it; it’s just a given. I want to see a few other places in Italy, like Cinque Terre (which I heard is beautiful), Tuscany (for wine tasting), and somewhere on the coast (I want to see a beach!). I’ll be visiting Florence, Venice, and Milan with my family and classmates, and I’ve planned a weekend trip to Brussels. Ricardo, one of our professors, says it’s the most beautiful place in Europe – and I believe everything Ricardo says. Sounds naive of me, but all the advice he’s given us so far has been great. And he’s not one to deceive…unless you count the way he says focus (with his accent, it sounds like…..a bad word).

I guess that’s all I can write for now…and as always, pictures:

http://www.picturetrail.com/gallery/view?p=999&gid=19509221&uid=10925516

I didn’t write any captions this time, so…use your imagination.

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