I confess, this week I’ve hit my first truly homesick patch of the Orvieto trip. Actually, I think it might be my first genuinely homesick patch in years, since sometime freshman year of college (although I don’t remember being particularly homesick, I know I must have been at some point - it’s obligatory). I really do love it here in Orvieto - I don’t want the semester to end yet - I’ve learned so much and I know that this last month and a half is going to teach me a lot more, and it’s so idyllic here in so many ways - but also I’m just ready to leave. And I still have five weeks of classes yet and then two weeks of travel. Seven weeks is a lot of time. But when I realized that the count was going down dramatically - that in a week I’ll be done with woodblock printing, that there are only 19 days left in May, that in a month Greg and Ryan will be here, that in five weeks we’ll be traveling on our own and the semester will be technically over with - well, when I realized all that, I just got this wave of homesickness.
It’s probably kind of funny, actually, me as homesick (it so rarely happens that I just don’t know how to deal with it reasonably). I went into the studio with the intention of working hard on my woodblock prints, but I ended up writing a letter instead, and then just sat for about an hour, not doing anything, just with my head down on my workbench saying to the only other occupant of the studio, which happened to be Jeff, “Heffay, I’m tired. Heffay, I’m bored. Heffay, I have no motivation. Heffay, is it June yet? Heffay, am I being whiney? Heffay, I’m thirsty. Heffay, can we watch a movie? Heffay, I don’t want to do my work. Heffay, what do I do with my woodblocks? Heffay, I’m tired.” Heffay displayed his usual patience and just kept working while I vented my 7-year-old-ness (I swear, that guy is like an infinite well of patience. It’s absurd. I think that’s why everyone picks on him so much - just to see if his patience ever ends). And then Katie and Becca got back from their run and we watched Casino Royale, which provided a good dose of escapism (and people speaking in English. Also as a side note, to my surprise, I enjoyed the movie. It dealt much better with the plotline inevitabilities of James Bond movies, and gave James Bond a little smidgen of humanity, which I approve of. Main characters should always have some smidgen of humanity. My one issue with the plot was the elevator/key bit at the end - they should have done away with that part. It would have been much more tragic and interesting if there had been no key. Also, what was she doing in the elevator in the first place, when none of the other characters where there?).
And then this morning, to cope with my homesickness, I wrote about a bazillion postcards that have been accruing on my desk, and which I just never got around to writing last week, when I intended to. The thought of all the money I’ve spent or will spend on postage this semester cracks me up. Mail is a huge freaking deal here (Alexis is a good example of this - she gets mail, and then saves it for when she feels homesick or discouraged). When they deliver mail it’s like Christmas, and you just feel so darn loved if you got something. Realizing how much it means that someone from home took time to write makes me feel really bad for not sending mail to anyone who was abroad last semester, so I guess I’m overcompensating by sending postcards to practically every person I know this semester. But the clerk in Sardegna didn’t bat an eyelash when I bought fifteen postcards at one whack. So maybe that’s typical behavior for anyone studying abroad?
This is turning out to be kind of a depressing e-mail, isn’t it? But I suppose I can’t be perky all the time. I’m just not built that way. Have no fear, though, the homesickness will pass. I should just throw myself into my work, I suppose, even though I lack any taint of the slightest motivation at the moment, and that would keep me busy and happier. Just as soon as I get my laundry done - until then I haven’t got any clothes to wear in the studio. You remember how few clothes I packed, Mom? Well, somehow I’m still making them stretch two weeks before I do laundry, like I do at school, even though I’ve got a fraction of the clothes. I tell myself I’m just practicing up for those last two weeks of travel, where I’ll be living out of a backpack without even an exorbitantly expensive lavatrice to do my laundry in (it costs 3 euro to do a small load of laundry in the convent’s washing machine!). Possibly this is dysfunctional, but no one else seems to mind - we’re all doing the same thing. = )
Maybe part of being homesick is also just realizing that this is the last week of school for my friends - they’re all doing those things like exams and last-minute-before-summer hangouts. My internal school-clock is telling me that it’s time to be going home, even though for me it really isn’t. Does that make sense? I think it might. But then, it is my head. And if anyone gets what’s going on in my head, it should be me.
This is also a woefully short e-mail - but I can’t help it, because there isn’t really anything going on except the regular day-to-day work and eating and playing and sleeping. I’m reading James Joyce’s “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,” which I’ve always been curious about from the title, but which is really only mildly interesting in actuality. Still, isn’t it one of those classic books? So maybe plowing through to the end will be worth it. That’s certainly one thing I love about this semester - there is time to read. Although it’s kind of wasted because there’s not an English-speaking library anywhere, just the few bookshelves in the sala, which is fine, except that apparently no one leaves behind sci-fi or fantasy or kids books or mysteries, which is what I really like to read for fun.
Off to laundry and then the studio,
P.S. My face got better, and my sunburn is practically gone - so it’s a good thing I didn’t bother with the Italian health system. It would have been way more stress than it was worth!