Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ho detto una bugia (in realtà, ho amici)

So, as it turns out, I do actually have (Italian) friends.  Which I realized pretty much immediately after writing that last post.  Bologna is a small city (even though it has a population equivalent to that of Saint Louis, the actual physical space of the city is, based on my "extremely accurate" google maps relative size comparison, approximately one twentieth that of Saint Louis), and the day after writing that last post I ran into two of my non-American acquaintances just walking around the streets.  Which in and of itself doesn't mean much because I already knew that I had several friendly acquaintances, but it did make me feel better.  After that, however, things really heated up.

I made a plan with one of these aforementioned acquaintances to go out for a pre-dinner aperitivo, and what was originally intended to be a glass of wine before dinner turned into three glasses of wine instead of dinner (I had originally planned to go out for pizza with some of the other Americans).  We then took a giro (walk) around the city and ended up at his apartment, where we hung out with his friends and roommates until quite late in the night (and finally did eat dinner).  All of them were students at the university studying art and music and philosophy and other wonderfully humanities-type subjects.  Most of them were vegetarians (the first Italian fellow-vegetarians I've found!), one of them makes delicious herbal tisanes, and around midnight one girl stood up, announced she was making a cake, and asked if we would prefer lemon or apple.  For the first time since being in Italy, I actually met a group that reminded me a little of my Wilderness Project crew back in Saint Louis!  Not to mention the fact that I spent something like seven hours speaking nothing but Italian in mostly one-on-one conversations.  Successo!  (Even more successo: we have plans for another dinner next week.)

As if this weren't enough, a few days later I had a dinner with Matteo and some of his friends again and some of his friends invited a few of us to do something with them the next night as well.  We ended up driving (in a mini-van!) out to Francesco's house near the beach in Ravenna to pick him up there before commencing our journey to find somewhere to eat in a deserted beach-town in February...late at night (by the time we arrived at Francesco's it was already 9:30).  A lot of yelling and last-minute sharp turns ensued, as it appeared that no one had a very good sense of where we were trying to go.  Eventually, after an hour or so of seemingly aimless driving, we ended up at a restaurant quasi (almost) in the middle of nowhere.  There we enjoyed several courses of incredible cibo (food), including pasta and lemon sorbets made completely from scratch.  Several hours later, we finished our meal and continued on al mare (to the sea, in this case the Adriatic).  We found an empty beach (which wasn't especially difficult, seeing as it was the middle of the night in February) and proceeded to splash around in the frigid water, attempt handstands and cartwheels, and chase each other around the sand and do our best to trip each other, pausing only for a spot of yoga and stargazing.  Eventually the cold sand became too much for our bare feet and we headed back to Enrico's nearby apartment...only to find that he had forgotten the key.  So...we turned around and spent the sleepy hour-long journey back to Bologna listening to the Blues Brothers soundtrack at full volume, finally arriving home around 3:30 in the morning.

In other news, my mysterious third roommate has finally arrived (only a month and a half late)!  Charlotte is another Brown student but is originally from London.  Aaaaaand that's about all I know about her, because even though she's been here for about a week by now I still haven't seen her for more than about a half hour.

The one thing she did miss by arriving so late was the debacle of the windows.  For some rather mysterious reason, all of the windows in my apartment were recently changed.  When it happened, I was the only one in the apartment (my Italian roommates were both smart enough to skip town), and thus I was the only one to endure the three days of dust and cigarette butts covering everything and the only one to find the notes left by the workers entreating me to Facebook them (...IN my computer and IN my bed...) while the workers themselves were still unavoidably present (Charlotte and Marie found their notes only once the work was finished).  But, on the upside, we now have new windows?

Out with the old...

To switch topics again, I have finally settled into a groove with my classes at the university.  After the agonizing process of course selection, I finally chose Fenomenologia degli stili (Phenomenology of styles; it's basically an art history class focusing on modernism and the avant-garde), Istituzioni di storia del cinema (Institutions of the history of film), and Storia della radio e della televisione (History of radio and television), which doesn't begin until March 15.  The Storia dell'arte moderna (History of modern art) class that I was thinking about taking before turned out to be the worst lecture I have ever attended in my life (so much so that I couldn't even make it through the whole two hours), so I decided not to go with that after all.  Although the two-hour lecture periods (or two-and-a-half-hour lecture periods in the case of Fenomenologia) take some getting used to, there's a break in the middle and the material is interesting so it's really not so bad.  Even my "long" hour-and-a-half classes at Wash U will seem short after this!

My favorite graffito in Bologna, on the building where my cinema class is.

The main text reads: "La vostra crisi non la paghiamo"
("We aren't going to pay for your crisis")

The monkey is climbing (King Kong-style) on one of the Due Torri
(Two Towers), which are a central landmark of Bologna.

Well, this post is getting to be fairly long so I suppose I will stop for now so as not to completely wear out all your eyes.

Ma non temere, mi sentirete più a presto!
(But have no fear, you'll hear more from me soon!)

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