Monday, November 30, 2009

Day 1, Second Half

The last part of the day ended up being the best. Four students came to the ISA office around 4:30pm and we spent 2 hours chatting about their time in Rome. I love that part – it reminds me why I like my job! Then afterwards we went to a little pizza shop that is right by ISA and I had some incredible pizza. So, two good Italian meals in one day and I’m feeling much better. Now to figure out how to get to my meeting tomorrow . . .

Favorite observations from the meeting with students:

  • Recognizing the double standard Americans have with language; we want people who come to our country to speak English, and yet expect to speak English when we go abroad, too.
  • Italian teenagers are a hundred times worse than American teenagers.
  • Adjectives like busy, crowded, & noisy are not negative when they talk about Rome. That’s just how it is and they love it.
  • It’s possible to get used to walking past the Pantheon every day, so that you don’t even notice it.
  • People ask me “What did you do? What did you see?” But it’s not about seeing all of the museums and monuments. It’s about being able to give an Italian woman directions (in Italian!) and figuring out the bus system. That’s what I’m proud of.

Day 1

I can see that I need to be more organized. I'm sitting in the ISA Office in Rome where I have free wireless. I took pictures today and would like to post some, but my camera cord is back at the hotel.

So far, so good. My body is all out of whack, so hopefully it will catch up soon. I woke up at 2am this morning and couldn't fall back asleep. I think it was around 4am when I finally did. Fortunately, I didn't have an appointment until 10am.

I met the ISA staff and toured the American University of Rome. It's windy and gray here today, which everyone says is unusual. I had my first real Italian meal for lunch--it was delicious! Ravioli, Sardegna style, plus salad and a pear & cinnamon dessert. I really needed a real meal. Since I got in late last night and slept through the hotel breakfast, I've pretty much been running on crackers that I packed along. Things almost got ugly during the University tour when we got to the library. They had the furnace cranked, and suddenly it was a hundred degrees and this man was talking about open source databases and everything got all swimmy and I nearly threw up (Jaime, I know you're laughing at me). Anyway, they got me some water and I sat down and made it through without incident. Now that I've had a proper meal I'm feeling much better.

I'm going now to see one of the student apartments, and then to meet with students. More later!

Sunday, November 29, 2009


It seems to me that travel - the nitty gritty parts of waiting in line, showing your passport, taking off your shoes, waiting in line - is a quest for comfort. You have very little control over your surroundings, so you find what comfort you can here and there. For me today (yesterday?) it was a chai from Caribou at DIA, then helping myself to Reed's chocolate from dinner (he didn't want it, don't worry Mom), then listening to some of my favorite music after giving up on getting any sleep on the flight over. Now I'm at Heathrow Airport in London with a cup of coffee, watching a flow of people walk past with their bags, jackets, briefcases, purses, scarves, backpacks . . . everyone burdened by their comforts.

The biggest comfort on my mind right now is a bed. I can't wait to get to that hotel room! British Airways had the nerve to trot all of the coach passengers past their luxury "Club World" section with chairs that stretch out and have foot rests. Foot rests! Now that's comfort.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pasta & Prego

An unsettling thought occurred to me tonight as I was eating my usual bowl of pasta with Prego sauce. What if eating real Italian food ruins this staple for me? Granted, I put real parmesan cheese on top, so it's fairly authentic, but I have a nagging suspicion it might not stack up to fresh marinara with pasta made from scratch.

It's probably worth the risk, but I might need a new staple in the near future. Any ideas? Parameters are it must be cheap and easy to make, and you must be able to buy large quantities of it at Costco. And it can't expire quickly.

I'm so American.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hello, friends -

I will be in Italy for 14 days beginning November 29 (I leave on the 28th). I would like to share photos and anecdotes with you while I'm away, because if you know me at all, I'm notoriously bad at summarizing "how something went." You will ask, and I will not have much to say. So my plan is to post things while I go.

Here's my itinerary:

Rome - Nov. 29-Dec. 2
Perugia - Dec. 2-3
Siena - Dec. 4-5
Florence - Dec. 5-8
Milan - Dec. 8-11

Follow along if you'd like!