Tuesday, September 28, 2010

la biennale

So this weekend has been weird. I really didn't feel like doing anything, but I worked up the energy to head to the Biennale on Sunday. It was pretty cool. It really makes me want to be an architect for the sole reason that I would get to build the models. They are soo cool. The Biennale is a collection of architecture exhibits from around the world. Most countries have their own pavilion of things. It was interesting to see the differences between each pavilion. I put pictures up of most of the pavilions on flickr. Unfortunately my camera died about halfway through so I don't have pictures of all of it. My favorite pavilion was the one from the Netherlands. When you walk into the pavilion you think its empty then you look up and see all these blue squares. Wtf? Then you walk upstairs and realize its a cityscape. All the buildings are made out of foam. It was pretty cool. I also liked the Belgian pavilion because it displayed pieces of flooring, carpet, railings, etc. that had been taken out of use. They did this to show the effects on certain materials with constant use. For example, there was a large piece of carpet on the wall. It had been taken from a house and it originally was in a room with a wood-burning stove. You could see where most people walked on it and how the fire affected it. It was pretty cool. A lot of the exhibits were interactive as well. The Great Britain pavilion included a wood structure you could climb up. There were places to draw and to sleep and to lounge. The Greek pavilion was called "The Ark." It was a wooden boat-like structure filled with everything one would need for living on a boat. Pretty neat.
There was also a main building for smaller exhibits. This housed more abstract works still under the realm of architecture. Look at my pics and you will know what I'm talking about and if there are questions just ask me :).

Yesterday, I woke up feeling horrible. I had a really bad stomach ache and decided not to go to school. I slept until 2 pm and felt a little better. I still didn't want to do anything so I just watched stuff on my computer all day. I don't know if any of you know of the show Roswell but I've been watching a lot of it. I have all the seasons on my external hard drive and I've probably watched each episode about 3 times now. You would think I would be sick of it but I'm not.

Today, I decided to try and talk more in class and be less afraid. In the first part of the class, I think I did better. I was in good spirits and lively. We took our normal break and after I had my coffee and my marmellata I thought things would stay the same. Things took a turn for the worse. I lost all my energy to focus and didn't want to talk about anything. Ugh. The teacher after the break is different then the one in the morning and does not offer great encouragement. She only offers small threats. I will send you back to level 2 if you don't start speaking now! Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Today after I get done with my interneting I am planning on going to an exhibit about Leonardo Da Vinci. I'll let you know how it goes in my next post.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

when it rains it pours

Hey everyone, sorry its been a little while since I've updated. Its hard to find time to use the internet. I found a spot in my apartment where it works though so thats quite exciting! This past week has been interesting. I can't believe I've only been here for 2 weeks...it feels like 3 years. As you know I was moved up a level in the language this week and its been going okay I guess. I don't think I will ever get over my nerves and just speak. When I have to speak my mind goes blank and I end up looking and sounding like an idiot. We'll see what happens. I think I would like the class a lot better if I were taking my others classes along with this one. I have to wait 6 more weeks to begin my other classes.

I really haven't been up to much I guess. Everyday after school I hang out with people, eat out for dinner then come home and sleep pretty much. Not a very interesting study abroad trip :( I'm trying to find ways to make things better but I don't know what to do. I'm still extremely homesick (which I never thought would happen). Anyone who knows me will tell you that they are surprised to hear this as well. Right now, I would give anything to get on a plane and be home. I know I would regret it when I got there, but I still can't pretend like I'm having a super amazing time. Its just been alright.

Friday night was kind of a horrible evening. It was one of my friends last night in Venice, so were hanging out by school getting some dinner and having some drinks. That was fun. We all got cheeseburgers which was odd since we're in Italy! It was nice to eat something familiar even if they didn't taste exactly right. Anyways the evening turned sour when the conversation turned towards a discussion of accents. We were talking about accents we liked and doing impressions, etc. This girl decides to say that an American accent sounds unintelligent. When she hears it she can't take it seriously and bla bla bla. I think I let it get to me more than it should have but she didn't even realize that it was offensive. I don't know, all I did was sit there and try not to speak anymore. After that I left because I didn't want to be near her and because there was a break in the rain. On my way home I was angry and hoping the rain wouldn't start again. I was walking over a bridge and it was slippery and I fell down a few stairs. Awesome! Then about 10 seconds later it started to rain, like monsoon rain. So I was upset, very very very wet, and hurt from falling. Such an amazing evening. I went home and fell asleep almost immediately thank Jesus.

Yesterday, I really didn't feel like doing anything. I thought it was going to rain all day and I was prepared to just sit and watch movies in my room. It didn't rain and it was pretty nice outside so I decided I should suck it up and go do something. I had never seen the area around Arsenale so I decided to do that. I wanted to go to the Biennale but by the time I got there I wouldn't have had enough time to walk around and see everything. I am planning on doing that today.

Thats pretty much it. This week I've decided to dedicate my time to going to the museums and maybe Verona on the weekend so we'll see what happens. Sorry my trip has been so boring. Maybe it will pick up a little this week. Talk to everyone later.

Oh and some more pictures should be up later :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

mmmmm gnocchi :)

So I don't remember what I talked about last time. Sorry if I repeat anything. Life has been pretty much the same here. Class is going well I guess. Last week I was in level 2 and this week they moved me to level 3, so we'll see how that goes. I know the grammar pretty well, its just the speaking that gets me. I am trying to be less shy and am slowly coming out of my shell I guess. Another thing that has changed is the person I'm staying with. I noticed that I didn't see her all weekend, so I was kinda worried. I woke up this morning to a note from her sister saying that Annamaria had to leave suddenly and that she would back in a few days. I was just getting comfortable with Annamaria and now I have to try and get comfortable with her sister! Ugh I hope she is back sooner than later.

I finally went out to eat! I went out twice on Friday. For lunch I had gnocchi, which is God's gift to mankind, and for dinner I had spaghetti, I will always love my spaghetti. Both meals were delicious. I also had some wine with dinner which was fantastic. It wasn't much different then what I drink at home, but it was only the first time. I'm sure it will get better.

Saturday it rained all day. Not fun! I only left the apartment once to go to the internet point and then spent the rest of the day inside watching movies and reading, etc. Yesterday the sun was back and I was very thankful. I woke up ready to go to the beach! I had to take the vaporetto to Lido, an island near Venice. I was surprised when I got there because they have roads and cars and buses! Civilization! It was fun just to walk around. I was nervous about actually getting to the beach because I was told a lot of them are owned by the hotels and therefore, very difficult to get onto but I easily walked to one. It was beautiful. Of course, I forgot my suit so I couldn't actually go into the water very far. I spent my time collecting seashells, there were tons with this amazing red/orange color on them, and laying on rocks getting some sun. I didn't put sunscreen on so I thought that I would be burnt, but nothing happened. I think I'm done trying to understand how my skin will react to the sun. At this point, its a mystery :)

I've also bought a few things in the past few days. Friday there was a small garage sale type thing in the square where my school is located and the stuff was pretty cool. I bought some necklaces from a woman and they are pretty cool. I thought they were pretty unique and plan on giving them as gifts when I get home. Yesterday, I found a small video store and went in to see what they had. I wanted a movie that I knew, but had an Italian language track. I ended up finding Step Up 2! Its funny to watch it in Italian, but its helping a little bit already. It helps to learn how words sound and to train yourself how to hear words at regular speed. Plus I love that movie! I've probably watched it too many times in the past few months but whatever. I also bough a mask! Its a very touristy thing to buy, but I couldn't come to Venice and not buy one. They are everywhere and they are special to the city. I bought one from this shop that I walk by everyday. I always stared at this one mask. Its beautiful and pretty cheap. I'll show everyone when I get back!

Thats pretty much all I have for you. I hope other posts are more interesting for ya! Ciao!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I hate mosquitoes!

So the biggest problem I'm having with Venice, are the freakin mosquitoes. Anyone who knows my history with the little buggers knows that when I get a bite it swells up to the size of a quarter. Not fun! I didn't notice them until my host asked me if I had them in my room. I answered no but late in the evening I saw one. I didn't think much of one mosquito but when I woke up in the morning I had 2 bites on one arm and 3 on the other. Wtf! I've been killing about 5 or 6 a day since then. I guess I'll just have to learn to live with them.

Class has been going ok. Its pretty easy. I'm not alone like I thought I was going to be which is pretty great. A lot of the people in the class are only here for 1 or 2 weeks so I don't know what is going to happen after that. I've been talking to people more which is good. A lot of people speak English which is helpful lol. I do need to speak in class more. I tried to up my time today and I think it paid off. What I learned at Truman is slowly coming back to me.

I'm slowly getting to know the city and finding things that I like. I've become kind of obsessed with cappuccino. I've had one the past couple of days during the break between classes and they are oh so yummy. I've also been pigging out on gelato. So far I've had 6 flavors. I've found that I like the fruity flavors more than say the chocolate or the caramel. My favorite flavor so far has been peach. Mmm. I'm definitely getting some when I leave school today. You know you are jealous!

I'm really tired of walking everywhere. I know its good to do and you get to experience more of the city but its super exhausting doing it for like 6 or 7 hours a day. The bridges don't help either. I have to cross 5 or 6 on my way to school. The bridge right by the train station is massive and always crowded with people so that is always a frustrating one to cross. I'm hoping I get into semi-good shape with all this exercise. Eating gelato and drinking cappuccino is probably not good though so we'll see. Some fun things happen when walking though. There are dogs all over the place. A lot of the people don't put them on leashes so its fun when they come up to you. I saw a dog that looked just like mine which kind of made me sad :(. The most interesting thing that has happened when walking around was seeing two people fighting. I heard it before I saw it. The fight was between an older man and a man in his 30s maybe. I was walking along and I heard some screaming. I actually thought it was a kid screaming. When I saw a crowd I looked at what they were watching and there was the fight. I don't know what happened but the younger man was hitting the older man and he even pushed him all the way over. It was kind of scary. I wanted to stop and see what was going to happen but I just kept on walking.

Thats pretty much whats been going on. I'm sorry if its a little boring, can't really do anything about that.

Monday, September 13, 2010

first few days

Well I guess Venice is getting better. It involves a lot of walking which is super hard on my feet but I'm getting used to it. I've been using my vaporetto pass a lot to do all the touristy things around the city. I went to the Piazza San Marco on Saturday. All I can say about that place is there are people and birds everywhere. Its hard to even focus on the surroundings because of the crowds and trying to dodge the pigeons flying in your face. Saturday night I was really bored and decided to turn on the TV just to see what channels were there. I found MTV! I got excited because it was in English. I was like thank freakin God this is actually happening. Knowing that it was there I flipped through the rest of the channels and when I got back to MTV it was no longer in English. Damn. I ended up watching two episodes of the Hills in Italian. It turned out to be pretty interesting. I understood some of what they were saying but then that show isn't that difficult to understand. At least I had a little piece of home lol. I've also discovered a Burger King and McDonalds in the city. I refused to eat at the Burger King because it was so expensive and I haven't even been inside the McDonalds. My diet the past few days has consisted of pizza and gelato. Its all good in my book haha. Yesterday I visited San Giorgio. It wasn't intentional but the vaporetto stopped there. I went inside the church there and also went to the two art exhibit they had. One was about photography and the other about an artist named Piranesi. It was pretty interesting. I didn't know what I was walking into but I was pleasantly surprised.

I started school today and I was pretty nervous about it. For the past few days I've been walking back and forth between home and school so that I wouldn't get lost. It took me about 5 times to get the route memorized. When I got here this morning I was nervous about what level they would put me in. There are 5 levels for Italian and I got put into level 2. I can understand most of what they say in class and today was mostly review. I am still nervous about the program. I only take Italian classes for the first 8 weeks and then I will take my other classes. Kinda weird but I'll get used to it. The school has activities everyday after school so I'm planning to go to that today. I think its a walking tour around the square that the school is located by which will be good if I ever want to get food or drinks nearby. Thats about all I've got.

Here are a few pictures, more to come later (I was going to upload more but my computer is being mean):

Friday, September 10, 2010

I just want to go home!

So...let me tell you about my trip to Italy. All of you who have listened to me talk know that I hate planes and that has not changed. I got on the first plane...not bad I guess. The flight was only an hour or so, which is a manageable time frame. The problem was that it was 45 minutes late and I almost missed my next plane. I met another girl on the flight to Dallas who was taking the plane to Madrid and we pretty much had to sprint to make it. Ugh it was horrible. Thanking God that I made this plane since it was the only one of the day, I prepared myself for the 9 hours I was going to be in this plane. Yea nothing can really prepare me for that. The beginning was okay because they fed me and we got to watch some TV. I had lasagna which was actually pretty good for being plane food. The movie was watched is called Just Wright and it stars Queen Latifah and Common. Really? This is the movie you choose. I didn't want to watch it at all but it was the only thing that was going to keep me sane. To my surprise it wasn't that bad. I missed a major plot point when I had to let my seat mate out to use the bathroom, but I think I put the pieces together. After the movie they showed an episode of the Office, which made me feel better. I wished they would've showed more. After all that we still had like 6 hours left. Ugh. I fell asleep soundly for the first 2 and then after that it was a struggle. I just wanted to stretch out and turn over. Plus, the person next to me was sleeping completely soundly. He was pissing me off so much. When the plane landed and I could finally stand up it was like a piece of heaven.

The Madrid airport made the trip hell again. It is the most confusing place I've ever been. I asked three different people the same question and they all gave me a different answer. After about 3 laps around this one floor I was able to find my plane with only about 10 minutes to spare. I looked like a wreck. I got on the plane pretty quickly, boy I did not want to get on another plane. I pretty much immediately fell asleep, which felt amazing. My neck pillow was a life saver. I woke up with about 20 minutes to go and enjoyed looking out the window at the Italian landscape. My plane was about 30 minutes late so I had to rush to get to the place I needed to be. I had to get my luggage, find a bank to get some euros, buy a bus ticket, and make it to the Piazzale Roma (which is 20 minutes from the airport) in about 35 minutes. Needless to say I was about 25 minutes late, sweating, and stressed.

I get to the Piazzale Roma and find the person I'm meeting with. We have to wait in line at the ticket place so I can buy a waterbus pass. I didn't really want one but I think now that I can use it to travel to the islands and then not buy one the last few months I'm here. We took the waterbus to a stop about 10 minutes from my apartment. The canals and buildings are beautiful! There are so many people and so much to look at. I'm happy I'm here, but I just want to sit down and not being carrying this luggage. We get to the bus stop, but we still had to walk. I had to drag my luggage all the way there. I made tons of noise which was pretty embarrassing but there wasn't really much I could do. I get to my apartment, thank God, and its pretty nice. I'm nervous about sharing the living room, bathroom, and kitchen because I don't want to impose on this woman. She is pretty nice and really helpful. After I got to the apartment and took the tour, I called my mom. This is where the breakdown started. I really thought I would be fine, but I guess not so much. I got a hold of her and started tearing up. Of course I made it okay and I'm safe, but honestly at that point I was just stressed and wanted to be home. I hung up the phone and had a good long cry. I decided that I just needed to get out, but after about a 10 minute walk I turned back around. I went back to the apartment and went to bed. I slept from 7 pm to 7:30 am. I was super tired and homesick and jetlagged so sleeping felt like the best option.

Now here I am, 11:20 am, still tired, haven't had anything to eat yet, sitting in the middle of my schools lobby using the internet trying to calm down. The internet is free at school so I'll probably use it everyday. I don't have it at home so that kinda sucks. But anyways, my shoulders are sore from my luggage, I'm still tired, I'm hungry, I'm homesick, and I'm hoping I feel better tomorrow. Meh thats all I feel like writing right now so hopefully its a happier post next time.