Just another weekly update from the land of Italia. My Italian is growing by leaps and bounds, although my grammar frankly sucks. But I am learning! I know more this week than I did last week, and I know a thousand times more today than I did the first day. I can definitely tell a difference in its improvement since we went to the high school to hang out with the kids and talk about Dante in Italian, both in my ability to form sentences and in my motivation to learn. I hope that I continue to get better and better over the next four times we get together with them. I’m still anxious, and I know that I probably sound like a complete idiot, but I’m also thinking that it will be good for me.
I’ve been pretty disciplined, lately, about doing things that will be good for me. For instance, I started running. All the health-nuts out there would be so proud of me, except that mainly I’m just running as a form of self-defense against the ever-present nutella, chocolate, Laura’s mom’s cake, and all those delicious varieties of pastries and gelato that are everywhere (If I could pack up one thing that you all need to try from Italy, it would be yogurt&nutella gelato with caffe gelato - and also coconut gelato). Elena, Juanita, Maria Louisa and I have been running every day this week (except I missed one day). Just short runs, maybe a mile, but it’s good. Or it will be good, as soon as my body stops hating me.
This semester is striking me as an example of the perfect artist’s colony. There are people here that I love, a beautiful setting, and everyone is so very creative. We’re all feeding off of each other and growing in tremendous ways, on personal levels at least, and I think also on artistic levels. I know that I’ve been challenged to keep a better visual record of this semester by Katie and Elena, and I really appreciate that. Also, the workload is not absurd. I have time to hang out, time to write, time to read a little, time to run, time to have long lingering meals, go for hikes, and still make things. It’s good. I can only imagine that it will get better when this Renaissance history class is over, and we’re back in the studio.
I am all registered for classes! I may have to rearrange my schedule a little, depending on if my application for honors in English gets approved or not (last I heard, my application was the only one the department had received, so my odds of getting someone to advise the project are good, even with the deadline being extended). If it is approved, I’ll be taking eighteen credits and working at least ten hours a week. It’s going to be crazy, though. I have senior seminar for the art major, advanced two dimensional studies for the art major, and then hopefully my honors project class, as well as linguistics, post-1900 lit, and newswriting. Then next spring I’ll have my senior exhibit, my capstone writing course for the English major, and hopefully the last half of this honors project. I’ll admit, I’m flipping out at having to deal with so many senior projects all at once. But somehow it will all work out... right? I’ll just keep telling myself that I wouldn’t trade either of my majors for the world. I would, however, trade some of the coursework away. It’s ludicrous.
It’s Easter, and the liturgical calendar is quite full. Last night there were Maundy Thursday footwashing services, and we had a sort of Italian sedar (how do you spell that? Cedar? Say-darr?). Today is a fast day, so we had simple food, and we’re doing the stations of the cross later today with both the Anglican English-speaking congregation and the town as a whole is doing a via croce procession at nine. I hope to go to both, although I will miss Vespers at 6 tonight which is kind of sad (I go at least once a week, and I wish that I could go more). I am really excited to be able to catch, a little bit, the rhythm of the liturgical calendar on such a town-wide scale. We’re also having the traditional Italian picnic-feast on Monday, and I’m going to the midnight Easter vigil on Saturday night/Sunday morning.
Somewhere in there I also have to fit in working on my paper. And to think that my first weekend here was boring! There’s always something to do, but I don’t feel overwhelmed. I love it. It’s good. Va bene. And hopefully even the paper itself will be good. I just need to cloister myself and work on it, and not let anything interrupt me other than meals, church services, and possibly occasional bathroom and sleep breaks.
Lots of love,