Sunday, January 25, 2009

Please God, Let There be a Rahm Emanuel Out There For Me

WASHINGTON — Early this month, Barack Obama was meeting with the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and other lawmakers when Rahm Emanuel, his chief of staff, began nervously cracking a knuckle.

Mr. Obama then turned to complain to Mr. Emanuel about his noisy habit.

At which point, Mr. Emanuel held the offending knuckle up to Mr. Obama’s left ear and, like an annoying little brother, snapped off a few special cracks.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Skin Hates Florence

For some reason since I've gotten here my skin has broken out with a vengeance. Like, to the point of needing layers and layers of concealer/ foundation, and despite the fact that before I left my dermatologist put me on approximately a million milligrams of antibiotics for acne that I didn't, then, have. So the moral of this completely pointless blog entry is: What the fuck, Florence.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Let's Get Inaugural, Bitches

How cute was Barack Obama when he was in college? I totally would have dated him.

Anyways, I'm being all patriotic and shit tonight, going up to campus (which I've discovered takes 45 minutes when wearing any shoes other than sneakers) to watch it the festivities on CNN (in english!) instead of in our apartment, where I'm sure I could watch it, except I'd rather understand that shit.

Monday, January 19, 2009

This is Why I Wish I Could Sleep In

I've spent the last four hours doing absolutely nothing while sitting in front of the computer, reading every post on Jezebel and Feministe and Daily Intel, watching that god-awful episode of Gossip Girl in which the directors seemed to have fired every single good writer for the show (The half brother is dead? Come on, what a cop out. And Uncle Jack is totally unconvincing and a terrible actor, and like, why is everyone so OMGZ DAN AND SERENA SHARE DNA AND THEIR KIDS ARE GONNA BE DEFORMED AND SHIT when um, 9th grade biology class taught me that it doesn't work like that), after I managed to shower, get dressed, make coffee, eat breakfast, wash dishes, clean my room, and write out my entire schedule by 8:00 AM. I had planned on going to the gym until I woke up sore like a motherfucker, and of course I can't go back to sleep once I'm up.

New plan: Make Sunday my no-gym day, so that I have something to do on Monday mornings other than go insane that no one is updating their blogs since it's like, 5:00 AM or something in the US.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Highlights Roll

Italy Roundup: Week One

Oh, what to say, what to say. So much has happened in just the first five days of being here. But let's see, where did I leave off? Well, orientation started pretty much right off. And I'm glad, because as afraid as I was that orientation would be time consuming and pointless and boring, it really wasn't. They had informational meetings about traveling in Italy, shopping in Florence, community service, academics, and personal safety. The moral of the personal safety meeting ended up being essentially that letting a drop of alcohol touch our lips will inevitably result in being arrested for accidentally committing a crime and rotting in prison, or in death by drowning in the Arno. Oh, and American girls should stay away from Italian men. At all times. Because, you know, if you make eye contact you're obligated to sleep with him.

Despite these dire warnings, my friends and I decided to go out on Friday night. We got bar recommendations from a few people who had been here for a while, wrote down the most detailed directions possible, and proceeded to get completely lost. After ending up by the Arno and having to backtrack a few dozen blocks, we finally found the bar, Naima. The moment we got inside it was obvious that not a single person in there was Italian, except for one table of 35 year old men speaking in Italian. We got a drink, spent a bit, then got incredibly bored and left. We ended up at an Irish Pub for drunk munchies, where the menu was surprisingly (or not so surprisingly) devoid of Irish fare but had incredible pizzas.

The next day was a little more successful. We went on a walking tour given by a beautiful but probably gay graduate student who acted like he wanted to be doing anything other than giving a walking tour. But he gave us some recommendations about where to eat, and we all got free gelato at the end. But the tour wasn't a complete waste of time, since we met some guys in the music program to hang out with. We all wandered around the city for the rest of the day, going across the river and up to Boboli gardens (although we didn't go in because two of us didn't have our free museum cards yet and I lost mine on the bus on the way to the Uffizi), over the Ponte Vecchio, across back across the river over Santa Croce, Then we managed to get to Mercato Centrale a few minutes before it closed to get some food for dinner (we had the boys over). We made pasta with sauce with chicken and panzanella and drank red wine and prosecco (as good as I hoped it would be), and then went to a Jazz Club called, creatively enough, Jazz Club Firenze. Great music, and a good mix of Italians and foreigners.

Oh and one note on the head of the music department here: fucking awesome. He had a session for the music kids, and my friend Jennie and I didn't know whether or not to go, since we weren't full time music kids, just taking lessons. But we did, and he basically abducted all of us and took us to the Uffizi (the bus to which I took out my museum card that gets me into state museums in Florence for free, put it on my lap, then stood up letting it fall to the floor and get lost forever (but I'm pretty sure I can get a new one)), and explained all the art to us. Turns out he only runs the program half time, the rest of the time he works at the Uffizi and runs a jazz festival with his brother. And he KNEW WHO WE WERE. He asked us our names, and right after we said, he knew exactly what instrument we played! Let's absorb this for one moment. I go to NYU. I have NEVER had a professor have any idea who I was. I don't think my advisor knows who I am. To this day. But Antonio Vanni immediately said, "Alexandra, violin," "Jen, musical theater" and explained to me that my lessons are going to be downtown in the conservatory and that he would love if we could start up some sort of ensemble for the classical kids, but that he was worried at the difference in skill level between me and the other violinist, since he knew I had been playing much longer. Add to that the fact that he's cute as can be, and basically you have two girls who worship the ground on which he walks.

Well, classes start tomorrow. I totally forgot that whole paper and folder and textbook thing is going to be necessary. So I'm basically bringing nothing to class tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Good Morning. Let's See Some Pictures!

Just to make you all jealous, here's the view from my bedroom window.

Firenze, in all it's Angry Moped-Riding Glory

No, that is not my picture. Not yet. It's still the rainy season in Florence, and will be until the end of January, at least. So it's wet and gray. But it really is that beautiful.

So my flight was um, interesting. The flight was packed full of NYU kids going to Paris, and either stopping there to study or going on to Florence. There ended up being a lot less people on the second Florence flight, but it was crowded nonetheless. I wasn't sure I was really meant to hang out with the people I was on the plane with. I think I inadvertently ended up taking the Frat Boy Flight ("BRO LET'S GET WASTED TONIGHT MY SISTER WASN'T SOBER MORE THAN TWO NIGHTS SHE WAS THERE YEAH DUDE THAT'S SWEET LET'S DO IT"), which as you might suspect, made me a little nervous about the kind of people that attend this program. And everyone seemed to be living in this one dorm, Via Maffia, while I was the only one out of everyone I met in Via Micheli.

So I slept through the flight to Paris, which wasn't terrible. The flight attendants were ridiculously nice and joked with us and force fed us (even though I politely declined to eat dinner, since they served it to us at what was the equivalent of 12:00 AM and I was like ew food take it away I just want to sleep. However, Charles Degaulle in Paris is the most confusing airport ever. We had a three hour layover where I got my first migraine (I think) and realized that I definitely had nothing in common with the people with whom I was travelling. But anyways, the flight to Florence went smoothly (we flew over the Alps! Stunning! Incredible! Glacial! And now I feel no need to go to Switzerland, unless a lot more chocolate is involved.) It went smoothly, that is, until we actually reached Florence.

The pilot said about five times that we were getting ready to land. And then he came on, and in his nice french accent, said that we couldn't land in Florence due to wind, and were being diverted to Pisa, an hour away from Florence. Of course, we al freaked out since every single one of us packed two suitcases plus extra carry-ons, which ended up being significantly more than we weigh. We had to collect our baggage in Pisa, then wait for a bus to the Florence airport, where the NYU people kindly waited to pick us up. By that time I was so exhausted and had such a headache, that if you poked me with a pen I would probably have started crying hysterically. But then again, that's just me.

But we finally got to the campus, and after checking in they drove us to our apartments. And here's where everything starts to go uphill. My apartment is lovely (pictures soon to come, when I have daylight hours to take them, as the dark gives them no justice), with marble stairs leading up the three floors, a lift WITH A LIFT KEY AND DOUBLE DOORS, a gas range, a washing machine, and a double refrigerator. We have a balcony overlooking the neighbor's backyard, and my window faces the Florence Botanical Gardens. I love it.

Today after orientation stuff my roommates (NYU seems to have outdone themselves placing us with people similar to ourselves) and I went out for a celebratory first night dinner, where I managed to speak Italian without making a fool of myself and ate ridiculously good food. Then we wandered around Florence for a good two hours, found the Duomo, and I fell in love. I think I'm really going to enjoy living here. I just need the damn rain to stop.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Three Days

It's finally hitting me that I'm leaving on Monday. I have a habit of turning into Scarlet O'Hara whenever I'm under any significant amount of stress ("I'll think about it tomorrow, at Tara"), and I actually managed to get all the way through oh, yesterday before realizing that I'm not just pretending to pack, I'm actually getting ready to spend four months in another country, on another continent. I think the best way of describing my mood right now is finely calibrated terror.

If I think about it, though, my apprehension and stress levels have manifested themselves in almost everything I've done this break. Which is to say, not much. I'm sorry I've been m.i.a. for the majority of this past month. I've been spending a lot of time with my family, trying to cram it all in. For someone who is as close with her family as I am, not being able to go home every month is going to be a bit of a shock.

I've also been having mini (and sometimes not so mini) emotional breakdowns, crying hysterically at the smallest thing, and generally overreacting to slights, intentional and unintentional. For me, stress generally manifests itself in self-hatred and recriminations about my weight, which is unfortunate, since I've definitely put on holiday weight that I'm now trying to lose. Which adds more stress.

Well, the living room is covered in all of my things. I leave Monday night. I think I have to finally wrap my head around it.