Is it time for another update from Italia? It feels like it is. This morning Elena and I went running again. Whee! And by “Whee!” I mean “Ow ow ow!” We went running only one day last week, our pattern irreparably thrown off by the Sardegna trip, so this week our muscles are a little sorer than usual and our lungs are working a bit harder. It looked threatening and overcast when we got up, but that was actually kind of a motivator, because I love the fog in the morning. The cliff is always in focus, but the hills in the valley are obscured and mysterious. Halfway through our run, though, it did more than look threatening - it started raining. So we picked up the pace quite a bit and pretty much sprinted the last 4th of our run to try and get under shelter before the sky really let loose and soaked us to the bone. It sounds weird, but it was fun, and I laughed a lot. I think running in the rain is sort of akin to dancing around in the rain, and we all know how much I love that.
I realized that maybe I actually do like spring. It’s just not the same kind of liking that I have for fall or winter, and it’s obscured a little bit because it always proceeds so quickly into summer, the one season that I don’t like at all. Don’t get me wrong - I look forward to summer break from school, and good things happen in the summer, but the weather is just horrendous and I loathe it. I wrote a poem once upon a time which ends: “between summer and the silence there will be nothing left of me.” It’s a terrible, cheesy ending line, but it illustrates well that I equate summer weather with a feeling of oppression. I feel like maybe that’s odd, but is it really? Opinions on the worst season?
Alexis, my lovely roommate, turned 22 on Sunday. I felt for her, having to have a birthday in Italia. Sure, it could be cool, but also it’s just weird. And she couldn’t get a package from home on her birthday even, because so many of the packages her mom has already sent have gone astray and never arrived. I think that she doesn’t, honestly, feel all that close to anyone here either, so she was worried that we wouldn’t celebrate her birthday. Well, I don’t know how I always luck out with roommates, but Alexis is really one of the most amazing people ever. She’s great to talk to, and I feel like I’m learning so much from her about mature ways to carry oneself, and about actual compassion. So of course we were going to try and celebrate her birthday in high style! We being Katie, me, and Jeff who did the organizing. But, being secretive, creative people, we wanted to surprise the crap out of her. We didn’t exactly succeed (she knew something was up, but the scope and exact nature of our plans eluded her). But we did leave presents on her bed when she left for church (a journal, which is perfect for Alexis - the only person I ever met who journals even more than Jenn), and then blindfolded her and walked her through the streets to a picnic along her running route, filled with her favorite food/food we invented just for the occasion (the fact that Italy has no salad dressing, for example, leads to creative solutions to salad problem-solving). So her birthday turned out to be more eventful than she expected, and I think that was good. Oh Alexis. I heart that girl. I am going to miss her when we all disperse back into our own little united-states bubble.
Katie’s parents are coming this Thursday! She’s so excited, she can barely sit still at her workstation when she talks about it. I don’t blame her; it’s totally exciting! They’re going to meet up in Rome, and she’s going to travel around with them some, and they’re coming here, and it will be great. She’s pretty close with her parents, I think (she’s the only person I know who discusses her relationship with her parents, which I think is a reliable sign of a close relationship with them). Heaven knows how she’s going to get her portfolios done in time for woodblock printing class, though. She’s still cutting blocks, and hasn’t even cut or obtained her paper yet. Of course, I’m in the same boat, basically, but I don’t have visitors or weekend plans, so that’s a plus for my sanity. My sanity and I aren’t particularly close friends, but I still like to keep an eye on it.
I went to buy stamps today, and as I started to ask for my usual ten stamps, I realized - wait, will I even use ten more stamps? How many letters do I plan on sending? I might only use five between now and the end of the program. How weird is that? So I got five stamps instead. And then I found five dollars.
There have been some hijinks lately. Hijinks of the flirtatious kind. Truitt Seitz, the 27-year-old drawing professor, is showing quite an interest in Alexis lately. And by lately I mean for the last two or three weeks. Or um... basically the whole time Truitt has been here. It’s just gotten really pronounced lately. Alexis’ feelings on the subject are, I think, more complex than she’ll actually admit. He also lives only an hour away from her, and she apparently knows his sister from school. So I have a feeling that the story won’t end when the semester does. At least, Truby shows every inclination to prolong the association.
In any case, it’s just been awkward that he’s crossing the student-professor line so blatantly and frequently. But at least he had the good sense to flirt with someone who’s aware and responsible enough to mitigate the damage. If he’d been flirting with Mary, for instance, odds are that drama would have exploded (Mary being the one who almost slept with her second cousin in Rome, who she hadn’t seen for four years, who barely speaks English - and she barely speaks Italian - well, I probably don’t want to go into the whole saga. But let’s just say Mary lacks good judgment in a lot of areas, including how to relate to her roommate. She and Erin had a number of dramatic fights until they had to move out and switch roommates). So. Romantic hijinks with Truby (we call Professor Skillen “Skills,” Professor Knippers “Knipps,” and Professor Seitz “Truby” - Truitt’s a little sensitive, but Skills and Knipps are totally cool with it).
Then Heffay seemed to be showing an interest in someone! Elena and Katie and I had a betting pool going for a while on who he’d end up dating and when, but we dropped it eventually because he was so determinedly not showing an interest in anyone. So we got kind of excited that someone might win the betting pool after all, but he’s now back to being just brotherly in general. It’s definitely best for all concerned, but still, I really wanted to have an excuse to eat more gelato (whoever wins the bet gets taken out to gelato by the other two). = )
I miss chai tea. I heart mint tea a lot, it’s true, especially with acacia honey in it, but chai tea is also pretty much amazing. I remember when I discovered chai tea and it was like the best thing ever. I haven’t had a cup of chai tea in three months. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. Mmmm.... chai tea. *sigh*
Laura speaks such good English. We’ve all been remarking on this lately. Laura is the 22-year-old cousin of our Italian teacher and RA (Federica), in case you’ve forgotten. She took English in high school like everyone else, but at the beginning she was so quiet and loathe to practice it, and she got confused easily when we were asking her questions or something. But in these last couple of weeks, she just is great with it. Her pronunciation is really good, and it comes easily to her, and she understands whatever you ask her regardless of the complexity of the sentence structure. I mean, it’s totally impressive. I wish that I could speak Italian a tenth as good as she speaks English.
Did I tell you that Lucy is coming to visit here? I’m so excited! In just a couple of weeks, I’ll get to see Lucy! Whee! I can’t even tell you how excited I am. I guess it goes back to this: if you’ve done a semester abroad, you’ll understand how excited I am, and if not, then I’m not sure how to tell you.
It will be nice when I am back in the states and I can do more frequent and less lengthy missives. I know it’s sucky to try and read a long blog post or e-mail. But at least you don’t have to contend with the horribleness of my handwriting this way, and I can actually communicate with more people. I think of that as a plus.
Until I talk/hear/type/read all of you again,
You know one of the best things about Italy? Napping. In the afternoons sometimes I’ll just lay in my bed and think and look out the window, and then I fall asleep for a little while. I never have time to just look out the window and think when I’m at school.