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One year more. It's going fast. Am I taking advantage of every opportunity? You betcha.

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Archive: February 2012

Spring Approaches

This year, everything I write has been put through Google translator twice, one in Italian, again and again in English. I hope that this post contains a modicum* of sense. Why? Because I can. 

Two months is approaching! This marks the halfway point of the semester. I am happier than I could imagine, first of all because my Italian is reaching unknown heights of skill (I can stumble into a conversation of moderate intensity), and also because I am constantly awed and overwhelmed by the magnitude of this experience.

Pictureseque, this is. -Yoda

I took a ride* today, and stopped halfway because of what I saw. The Italian hillside paved* me. And ‘finally becomes hot again (after weeks of cold and snow) and the campaign*, everything seems to be swelling and reopening the sun*. Hmm, I wonder if I could draw a correlation between the earth and the sun in my experience with Italy, but I think I’m running out spongiform*-
*Translator uses better vocab than me
*country side
*flowering beneath the sun
*Patience (this wins the best translation of the day. Congratulations)

Carnevale: Pt 2

Q. You’re not better than me because you visited Venice. I heard it’s overhyped and really expensive.
A. Words of an ignorant man. As I was saying, the city was alive with festivities. I split my time between exhausting my camera’s battery and my wallet at delicious restaurants or tourist sights. Normally I try to avoid being a tourist, but in this case I had to give in.

People always tell me I shouldn't stick my nose in other people's business...

Q. Know the best way not to be a tourist? Stay in your own country and stop complaining.
A. Listen, I’m sorry I didn’t bring you with me! You would have loved the flight of the angel (an event that left my neck begging for rest) and all of the panoramic shots of the canal system. I just didn’t feel like being crazy abroad. But, I can buy you a knick-knack if that’ll make you feel better.
Q. …It might.
A. I’ll get you one from Venice. How about a mask to remind you how much you missed out on!
Q. I don’t like you.

(Thus concludes Andrew’s first and only existential dilemma.)

Flight of the Angel!!!

Carnevale: Pt 1

An assortment of mask...what fun!

Q. So Andrew, what’s been new with you?
A. First of all, I’d like to thank you for having me on your show. This past weekend, I visited Carnevale!
Q. I think you misspelled carnival, there.
A. You are incorrect sir! Carnevale is an annual festival throughout Italy that precedes Lent. I visited Venice on the opening weekend. It was incredible: the entire town was in the streets, partying in the classiest manner. I felt like I had been dropped into medieval Europe, what with all of the costumes, masks, and even the—
Q. So it’s just a hyped up Halloween? So really I’m not missing much right?
A. …You are incorrect. Sir.

Find out what happens next HERE

I'm as excited for Carnevale as I am for this Twix that I bought on the trip there

Cari Amici Internazionali

Mi sono recentemente reso conto che alcuni dei miei lettori sono diventati italiani. Perciò dovrò modificare un po’ il modo di postare nel mio blog e scrivere in italiano. Mi dispiace per tutti i miei lettori americani (possono usare il traduttore di Google)!

Nuovi amici, una cena squisita...perfetto!

Mi considero particolarmente fortunato di essere capitato in un gruppo meraviglioso di italiani. Fin dall’ inizio, tutti si sono dimostrati premurosi con me, specialmente con i miei primi, miseri tentativi di parlare italiano. Mi sostengono sempre e mi correggono anche innumerevoli volte. Grazie a loro, il mio italiano sta migliorando.

Oltre a questo, mi hanno fatto scoprire quartieri di Perugia che non avrei visto senza il loro aiuto. Abbiamo giocato insieme a calcio (purtroppo confermando loro che
gli americani sono terribili a calcio), a ping pong, siamo andati a messa insieme, e sopratutto ho imparato tante parolacce.

Insomma, grazie ai miei nuovi amici! Veramente state rendendo il mio soggiorno qui memorabile.

International Friends

It’s come to my attention that some of my readership demographic has become Italian. Therefore, I will mix up my agenda for this post. In a single blow, I will write a homage to my Italian friends, and welcome them into my blog with a translated post! (See Above)

New friends, good food...perfect!

I consider myself incredibly blessed that I have stumbled upon a wonderful group of Italians. From the start, they were all accommodating to our miserable attempts at Italian, offering us support and innumerable corrections that have helped cultivate my improving language skills.

Not only that, but they have opened up for me parts of Perugia I would not have experienced otherwise. We played indoor soccer (where unfortunately I perpetuated the myth that Americans are terrible at soccer), ping-pong, gone to Mass together, and above all, learned Italian swear words.

So, thank you new-found friends, you are truly making my time here memorable.

It’s A Journal, not a Diary…

Advice for all people planning on studying abroad: take a journal! The reasons are innumerable. You are going to want to remember everything that happens during the incredible months you have abroad. Also, you’ll improve your language proficiency in leaps and bounds.

So maybe not innumerable, just the two actually.

My biggest problem at this moment is time management. THERE’S TOO MUCH I WANT TO DO! (Admittedly a good problem). I want to read Harry Potter in Italian, watch movies in Italian, journal, spend time with friends, hit the town, travel…Man I love this place.

It's Journaling Time! (Sometimes I think I just shouldn't write anything in the caption...)

Homeless for a Night

So maybe we could have planned better. At this point, pointing fingers won’t help anyone. And at the very least, it was a good life lesson. But needless to say, the concrete floor of Florence’s streets aren’t ideal for sleeping. I believed I mentioned it in an earlier post, my friend and I went to Florence to play Ultimate Frisbee.

“Why?” You might ask.

I can hardly restrain my excitement

“Why not?” I would incredulously respond. So what if it was a Tuesday, and I had class the next day at 9. It was time to seize life by the throat.

Well, come 1 PM that night, we came to the decision that a hostel for 20 euro wasn’t worth the four hours we would be sleeping before our 5:50 AM train that morning. At this time we also learned that the train station was not familiar with the phrase “24/7.” Yet none of this matters a lick, because the minute we reached that train after 4 or so hours of restless sleep, our lights were out, big smiles plastered on our faces.

It’s also important to mention that for a Midwesterner like me, who is quite unfamiliar with trains always performs the same routine upon arrival at a train station. First, I search for Platform 9 3/4. Then, I quietly become giddy as I sit into my sit, realizing that I’m playing out the story of Harry Potter.

We were all a bit too excited for the train

Pane di San Costanso

San Costanso is the patron saint of Perugia, and this Sunday was his feast day! To celebrate, I went to a famous bakery near the center of the city and purchased the bread/cake/tasty treat that is only sold this time of the year.

I decided to purchase it because, after mass at the stunning Basilica in the center of town there was a little festival in the streets, where sweet bread and sweet wine were given out like…well, sweets.

Every week there seems to be a new bit of the culture to learn about. I can’t believe a month has passed, but I look forward with endless optimism to see what the next three months will hold.

Mmmmmmm....Pannnneeeee (coincidentally, "i Simpson" is pretty big here in Italy

Piazza Spagna: Reflections Atop History Pt. 2

Last Time

The night was incredibly poetic. Beauty struck me in the infinite as well as the fleeting. The steps, the fountain, the street, those had been around for years and will go on much longer unchanged for the most part. The stories behind them give a life to them that is both subtle and formidable.

Yet the people rushing around brought vivacity to the square. It would not have been half as stunning if the night were dark and silent. It would be like a fountain without water, like a street without lamps.

The people and the city, the city and the people. They can’t be separated, unless you only want the lesser half. The family hosting me was even better evidence of this. The city would have been a less vivacious place if I did not have arms open to me, willing to show me the wonders of this historical goldmine.

I’m excited to learn every aspect of this country that is  brimming with history, with life, the static and the erratic. Viva Italia!


And Now For Something Completely Different

Have you ever been at a party, and suddenly it morphs into a Youtube Party? (Definition: n. a get together in which persons take turns–usually in a counter-clockwise direction–sharing their favorite Youtube videos.) This is not a phenomenon limited to any one country. Here are some clips from the most recent YP (as they’re calling it these days) that I attended.

1. Funny cat video

2. Monty Python–CLASSIC

3. Cute/Funny Baby–ESSENTIAL

4. More Cats–Cant’ live with ‘em, can’t live without their videos

5. A Few Tips on How to Act, Brought to You by Gandalf

6. Babies and Biting –talk about a throwback

7. And to finish off, K-pop. Why the heck not?

On a randomsidenote, I really miss french fries. So I made some. Now I miss them more. This message brought to you by Speedstick.