Sunday, January 31

falafel, gelato, e bomboloni galore

what a wonderful sunday. sleeping until 2:30 in the afternoon, walking into town for some falafel and bomboloni pastry. followed by dinner at a great pizza place called Pomodoro, and to top it all off, nutella gelato. all for under $20. oh, and free baklava.

updating this blog is a lot harder than i thought it would be. there are so many crazy things happening all the time here, and in the moment i always think "wow i cant wait to write about this later", and then when i sit down in front of the computer i'm always unable to describe everything that's been happening here.

italian is improving. i now know how to say key phrases such as "my name is", "where is the...", "how much?", and "i don't understand". i also know all the months, days of the week, numbers, letters, etc. last night at the bar Aurora i spelled out my name for all the people i met. it's funny, hearing everyone trying to work with however much italian we've accumulated thus far. hand gestures are also very helpful.

so emily, alex, kadie and i have booked paris for spring break. we'll be leaving on march 6th and staying the entire week. we were originally going to divide up the break between paris and barcelona, but i'm glad we'll be spending the entire week in one city. hopefully that way we'll get to see everything we want to see. next weekend i'm going to florence for the day on sunday, and the weekend after that we're all going to venice for carnival. its like mardi gras. and we're going to try and fit 7 people in one hotel room.... no matter what happens i'm sure i'll come back with a million stories.

so after an exhausting weekend filled with farmhouse parties, bonfires, running through arezzo in the rain, falafel, gelato, and making friends with Luca, Luca, and Lorenzo, its time to start a week of classes again. this week i have philosophy of art, italian, modern/ballet, and dance performance classes, and tarantella. 6-8 hours of class a day is exhausting, but i'm so in love with it.

buonna notte, tutti.

Tuesday, January 26

time to start poppin' pills

one word: exhaustion.

i'll try to briefly recap on all the important details of the weekend/first day of classes

first night out on the town was thursday, we went to a bar in arezzo called mr. blooms. fairly young crowd, but the guys are way metro here. i don't know what i expected. anyway, they're a lot less creepy than i had anticipated. everyone told me that i was going to be grabbed and pinched by random strangers... but so far i've only received two very flirtacious winks. the older men are the only ones with the balls to really approach younger women. and to that, we just ignore them or run away swiftly. there was one 70 year old who was really digging emily. good stuff.

some serious accademia dell' arte bonding occurred friday night. our chef, ricardo, threw us a party in the mensa (dining commons), where we played flip cup and pong, enjoyed delicious food, and sang karaoke. i love how we aren't treated like kids here. yes, there are rules. but generally speaking, we are given a lot of freedom. all in all, best night so far. it ended with us all putting our orange fluorescent running vests (we all have one courtesy of ADA).

went to the local market, which occurs every saturday from 7am-1pm. ran into town with alex and my roommate, jess. we bought the most amazing local cheese (picarino fresca?) and two loaves of bread. the cheese melts in your mouth. also, we bought enough cheese and bread to last for several lunches, for only 5 euro (roughly $8). shazam.

communicating in this city has been challenging, to say the least. not many people in arezzo speak english, as it is a very small city. we've been able to get by with numbers, pointing, etc. but ordering at one restaurant on sunday night was really rough. especially when it came to paying the bill.

best restaurant hands down was the one we ate at on saturday night. we each paid 7 euro for a drink (fashion iced tea; rum, gin, vodka, champagne = death), and with it came a buffet of free appetizers. seven different types of pasta, rice, bruschetta, etc. we were able to make a meal out of the appetizers.

we saw a really great dance performance afterwards, including one dancer named Stefano who will be teaching us in a few weeks. the whole performance included three 20 minute solos. fluid, abstract, hilarious, quirky, disturbing. really great stuff.

phew. almost done.

first day of classes today. technique at 9AM was rough. i've had a sore throat since the first night here, which still hasn't gone away. i think it may just be the change in air... its much drier here. along with that, came a really bad rash that i developed today. in philosophy i started freaking out, thinking i had caught some terrible disease in italy. the professors reassured me it was probably just a reaction to the dust (rolling around on the floor) or just over-dried skin.

we took a bus into the city for ballet. our teacher is this tiny bird of a woman, no more than 80 pounds. speaks some english, very thick italian accent. she danced with nureyev. it was just the 9 of us taking class, but one italian dancer from studio was there too translate and demonstrate for us. perfect technique, crazy intimidating. but overall the class was great. i'm relieved to know that i won't be losing my ballet technique over the semester.

tomorrow we'll be taking our first italian class, and a four hour section of tarantella, which is like a mediterranean style dance (tambourines, scarves, etc).

there will be a cabaret on thursday night, emily alex and i will be dancing a little snippet of choreography from Adele's class, performed to Queen. costumes will be a surprise. we'll try to get someone to video tape it for us.

ciao! maybe next post, i'll be able to offer up a few more italian phrases... just maybe.

Sunday, January 24

a few photos...

(Top) Bomboloni! Enjoying delicious pastry in Arezzo
(Middle left) View of the hills from the Villa
(Middle right) Aqueduct right down the street from the Villa
(Bottom) Street in Arezzo

Wednesday, January 20

"we are... americanos"

7 hours to munich, 2 hour layover, one over-priced espresso, 1.5 hours to florence, 3 hours in the florence airport, one slice of greasy pizza, 1 hour bus ride, and a hike up a mountain... and i'm finally in arezzo!

well worth all the travel and time spent curled on an airplane. granted, i did sleep most of the bus ride to the villa, but i did manage to catch a few glances outside. mountains and hills all over, and every single thing about this place is so old. but in a really wonderful way. the villa is 13th century, and atop a huge hill overlooking arezzo (hence, the 20 minute hike carrying all my luggage, the bus couldn't fit because the streets are so narrow).

maybe it was just 24 hours of living off of pretzels and airport food... but our first dinner at the villa was incredible. ravioli, homemade meat sauce (there goes vegeterianism out the window...), fresh salad, baked ziti, homemade apple cake for dessert. amazing. i never want to dine in harris again.

so far i've been getting by with "grazie" (thank you) and "buon giorno" (hello). for lunch, all i had to say was "un... pizza, por favore...". i'm really hoping that with italian classes and my pocket italian dictionary i'll manage to not sound like a complete idiot these next three months. but even if i do, at least emily alex and kadie are here to laugh at me for it.

anyway, so far so good. my roommate jessica (theater student from Boston University) and i have our own bathroom and gigantic closet. the whole group really hit it off right from the start in florence while waiting for the bus. it's so strange how it's only been a day, but it feels like i've already been gone for a while now.

oh, and we've already begun to experience the sketchiness of local italian men. at a sandwich shop in florence, two guys actually picked up their plates of food, and relocated themselves to the table near where alex kadie em and i were standing. lovely.

ciao for now.