Friday, July 16, 2010

Famiglia!

So, just a very very quick post to tell you a bit about my famiglia here.

I am currently staying with some family of mine who live in Mercallo and Sesta Calende, two small towns near Lago Maggiore. The two main cousins that I have been spending a lot of time with are Federico and Nicola. They both are EXTREMELY fun, nice, and hospitable. Though I miss Bristin (not the heat of Bologna though) and Alicia, I am greatly enjoying my time with my family. It is very silly, but I really do feel at home with them as if I've known them all my life. I'm currently staying at Nicola's 'bachelor pad-like' house, which is the renovated wine cellar/basefloor of his family's home. It is nice and cool and there is plenty of room. Yesterday Fede and Nic picked me up at Milano Centrale (my train broke mid traveling, so I had to switch trains in the middle of no where and ended up getting to Milano Centrale an hour late, another story for another time...I anticipate updating this once I get home, since I don't have as much time as I would like to update you all now, or rather, I don't want to spend so much time in front of a computer when I could be doing other things...) and then we headed home to Nic's family place. I dropped my stuff off and then we went to the lake and played some calcio there. Dopo, we went to get some pizza and apparently I ordered something ridiculous, salame picante, prosciutto crudo, funghi, calciofi (spelling?), e olive, becuase they kept mocking me about that, haha...it was ridiculously good though. In any case, today we went to lunch with Fernanda, my nonna's cousin's daughter, or Nicola and Fede's grandmother (that's how we're related...haha.) and then we went for a caffe and gelato. Then fede and nic and I came home and rested while watching Il Padrino I, in Italian with English subtitles, much to my demand. Fede left for a family gathering in the mountains, but is returning a day earlier than the rest of his family to spend time with me!, so we'll see him tomorrow evening. I just ate dinner with Nic's family and it was delicious. We had some bruscetta, veil tunnato, zucchini stuffed, e gelato per il dulce. Mom, I learned how to make that viel and tuna sauce dish, so I can make it for us! I learned from Cristina (nic's mamma)! Now we are going to watch Padrino II. Tomorrow <nic and I are going to the beach and then sudnay I'm making dinner for EVERYONE! best news is that I'm going to learn to drive a shift stick! Nicola and Federico are taking it upon themselves to teach me! What a memory! okay, gtg! love to all. ciao !

Monday, July 12, 2010

More pictures and some stories to tell!

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Bah, I'm too tired to type at the moment. I'm slightly homesick and more so actually sick...mah. Haha, but everything is fine. Beside Bologna launching a full-out attach on my allergies which then caused a sore throat, two bloody noses in two days, and a slightly runny nose (good Lord, I'm falling apart!) I am actually having a lot of fun. Last night Bristin and I did our nails, and I think there is a picture somewhere in the photos I just uploaded of my hands. I decided to paint them multi-colored. It looks like a paintball war happened on my fingernails. Also, quick note, I started my cooking class today. It is AWESOME. I am the only person in the class! So I have completely one on one attention and my sensei is super cool. Anyway, we're about to eat some dinner, gonna elaborate more on this post later. Love to all.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Pictures!

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I have uploaded all the pictures I haven't yet posted. I hope you enjoy! :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

To catch up...

So, I realize that I left some things out, or rather, my computer died and I didn't get a chance to finish my birthday "day" experience.

After the hair cut, Alicia and I rested for a little bit in our nice, cold, air-conditioned room, thank you Lord. At the appropriate hour, around 8 pm, we went down to dinner. Mom had called ahead of time, sneaky her, and through much confusion, I'm sure, communicated that it was my birthday and she was curious if there could be a cake for me. So I should first say this, at dinner, there are tables with room placards and you are to eat where your room is seated. So every night we have eaten with the same family: Francesca, the mother, Ghera (12) and his sister Flaminia (14). I also befreinded another family in the hotel, Elena and Giovanni, and their kids Simone (1) and Erica (7) and their neice Alicia (9). After becoming friends with all the staff, I was especially taken care of by the main man, Umberto (previously known as "Michelangelo"). We had a lovely meal, and afterward I was surprised with a really really good cake that had filo dough like layers with creme and chocolate. I just realized that we still had like half a cake left, and man was it good, and I didn't get a chance to finish it! ah man...okay, back to the story. So, after dinner we had the really good cake, which i shared with Elena and her family, Alicia, and some people of the staff. But before that Umberto brought out some "Auguri" which is a type of champagne or something, and we had a glass of that with Francesca and her family, as well as Umberto himself, of course. :) After all of that, Alicia and I went out that night in search of a bar to order a fancy drink, for the sake of a picture, haha. We found one with a cute waiter, which is a hilarious story in and of itself, when I have time I'll write about the embarrassing encounter we had the next day. I ordered a "Caprioska" which has strawberries by nature in it and it was very pretty! I got my picture, and as soon as I figure this dilemma out, I'll post some more pictures! Apparently Casey says that alcoholic drinks are "good drinks with something gone wrong" or something along those lines, and I agree. I liked the flavor in that I like the lime and strawberry and sugar, but the vodka just gave it a weird twist. In any case, Alicia also drank some of it with me and she was shocked by how strong it tasted. After seeing her reaction to the fact that I didn't really taste alcohol at all, we pondered the subject. Apparently those with alcoholics as family members are genetically more likely to become alcoholics themselves. So, my thinking was this, (as I have an alcoholic, or many, in my family) was the fact that I couldn't taste the alcohol an indicator of why I would be more likely to become an alcoholic? My physical response after one drink was evident. I wasn't, by any means drunk, but I could tell that there was a slightly different feeling about me. So though I didn't taste it, I still could have, if I had more, have the physical responses of others. In any case, I didn't like it, so no worries to everyone out there. You won't find me in the gutters anytime soon. Just interesting food for thought. After wondering around for like an hour and then getting a drink, we went back to the hotel to sleep.

The next day entailed a day of freedom!! :) The scuola went to Venezia and neither Alicia nor I wanted to go. Instead we went to the local market (a new addiction is to buy sundresses) and searched around for a good buy. We also went to this Ross-like store where I found some more cute clothes! However, my favorite part came when we happened upon a specialty store. Though they aren't that unusual over here, they are the ideal store for Italian dried/canned goods and it is SIMPLY AMAZING to wonder around in them to me. Definitely the highlight of shopping for me. In any case, I met a nice man, the owner of the shop and found out that a certain chutney went really well with a cheese that he had on display, and which I sampled. So naturally, I bought some chutney. Of course, as I was meandering around the store I found some pasta made from pepers, bow-tie pasta with the colors of an Italian flag, saffron, and funghi. But for a lunch that day,I got some good olives, mystery cured something rather (tasted delicious, though i had no idea if i was eating a fish or a vegetable, could have been both), and cheese. Not to forget that I bought, the best drink ever, this EstaThe Pesca, or a peach iced tea that is simply amazing. Of course, what I needed for this lovely meal was some fresh bread and a great pomodoro (tomato). After this store, we meandered down the road to a farmers' market where I bought a pomodoro, ceziege (I think? cherries, in any case), and a peach. In fact, it was from the same vendors as where we earlier had gone. On our way back to the hotel, as it was approaching shut down hours (13:00-16:30ish), we stopped at a little hole in the wall market because we saw watermelon, or anguria. Of course, you can't just buy a little piece of anguria, you have to buy a whole big chunk. We ended up buying a fourth, but cut long ways, of an anguria (about 5 or so lbs.) and they cut it up into pieces for us to eat! It was SO MUCH watermelon, but it was SO GOOD. The couple that owned and operated the store were very friendly and we got to talking, in Italian. We took a picture with them and they gave us their email address, wanting a copy of that picture. Note to self, find pic and email address. After that we bought some bread, or it might have been before, but in any case, we got some fresh baked focaccia with olives in it. Mmm...soooo good. Once we got back to the hotel, we had a LOVELY lunch of our fresh fruits, tomato, and goodies. A lovely nap followed and life was thought of fondly.

I'm actually quite tired, so I will finish catching up later. I promise, I will have consistent access to do so for the next week as I am now in Bologna with Bristin!

Sneak peaks!:

-My club experience at Bussola

-The embarrassing waiter

-My train ride/people/sciopero experience

Hope you all enjoy! I promise to also figure out the picture situation. As for now, I think we are off to go eat somewhere. Tonight I am celebrating my birthday with Bristin! :D Man, I am sooooo tired. Ciao ciao!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It's my birthday!

Wow! Today is my birthday and I'm turning 18 while in Italy! HOW COOL?! So to start things off:

I was pleasantly woken (actually, I was kind of awake and just lying in bed) by Rainer who called to wish me Happy Birthday. Yes Rainer, I know you are reading this, let it be known that he was the first to say "Happy Birthday" (happy now?).  I then got up and got ready when I was called by my mother, and to my lovely surprise, Nancy and Keith! :) They sung a wonderful rendition of the American song "happy birthday."  After getting ready and putting on the new make up that I bought yesterday (to be explained later) I went down to breakfast. Alicia and I have brioches and nutella, as usual, and were off to our lovely/humid/hot class at Scuola Jenco, where I was gretted with many "buon compleanno"s and "happy birthday"s . Mid-way through my class my teacher found out I was turning 18 and the whole class sang to me in Italian. :) IT WAS AWESOME! I recorded it on my camera, so hopefully I will be able to post it up here as well.
As I was walking home from school, my lovely brother, best brother in ALLLLL the world, called and very on key, and pleasantly, sang "Happy Birthday" to me. We had a lovely chat and he was very surpised/pleased when I paid for some gum and the whole exchange happened in Italian, while he was on the phone. Thanks bro for the call! (Anyone is welcome to call me, it's free for me to recieve calls, just remember that I'm 9 hours ahead of PCT and 6 ET. I won't give out my number on here, but you can email me or ask mamma and get it that way.) I then came back to the hotel and rested for a little bit while checking my email and what not. Thank you to everyone for all the facebook wishes, I love them all. After resting, Alicia and I went out. I went to the salon where I got my sun hat and hair products (don't know if I mentioned that, it's a salon qui vicino alla Bella Riviera) to see a specific stylist. Not only does he have a cool name (I think it was Giancarlo) but the guy knew about MIT! After much talking about where is a good place to live in Italy and my hair type, we started talking about school. I hadn't mentioned where I was going, but just said I was interested in Business and either Mechanical Engineering or Mathemtics. He then mmentioned something and said "is it pronounced "mit", like a glove, or "M-I-T""? I was super excited that he knew about it, and was like "MIT! I'm going there!" Of course he was then very surprised and impressed  that a "California girl" with a "Californian smile" was going to MIT. Haha. In any case, he said that he reads Wired often and like all the technology.

Oh, my computer is saying it is low on battery. Gtg. But I'll be back later!

At 21:30 I'm going for a gelato and then getting a fancy drink (don't worry mom, more for pictures than anything else) at a recommended bar. :) Love you all. Ciao!  A dopo.

NEW INFO!:

I included some of the new information about my brother above and it was italicized so as to be sure and let you know what is new.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sorry for the lack of posts!

The story is posted as a coment!Okay, so the computer I'm on works sometimes and then other times not so much. I posted something from my iPod, which was EXTREMEY TEDIOUS TO TYPE, so I'd GREATLY  appreiate it if you read this post especially, haha. Anywho, my iPod wouldn't let me make a "post" so I had to include the message as a comment. I hope you enjoy! Ciao!

P.S. The man I named "Michelangelo" is actually named "Umberto." I just asked. Ciao!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Okay, allora...

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Oggi e' il secondo giorno a Viareggio. Mi piace molte questa cita'!! Tutti i genitori sono molte simpatici. I really don't know if that is grammatically correct, Dr. Maceri, mi dispiace, but it is so fun to try. I am eager to go off and explore the city more (we found a great little place a couple blocks away with GREAT foccacia e caffe'!) so this post might be sort of short. I will do my best to keep you guys updated, but this one right now is primarily to get an outline down (like cliff hangers and what not to make you want to find out more and continue reading!) so I don't forget. I will also post some pictures!

Let's start with this morning:

I had my first day of class sta giorno. The first teacher I had was REALLY great, she didn't speak in English at all, but unfortunately it was primarily all review. I got placed in the second lowest class because of the test we took yesterday. I could probably move up if I wanted to, but I'm thinking, with the pace we were moving with the first teacher, that this class will become more complex with time. I also met, in the hall after class, the main guy in charge of it all. I don't know if it was Luca Gamba himself, but he was very helpful. In any case, the school looks promising. The kids, on the other hand, seem to be primarily interested in drinking and the likes. While they are plenty nice, they simply aren't the type I'd be likely to hang out with, for the majority, that is. There are some sweet people, like my other room mate, don't get me wrong, just the students are a surprise.

Earlier this morning we came back from a dance party on the beach. I called mom, (oh! I got my Italian phone number, another story) at like 2am my time and she was like "what are you doing up?!" Haha, it's so surprising, things just don't end at night until like 2am. I saw, for the first time, this sunglass store open, and it was midnight. Yes. I'm not sure if it is normal to buy sunglasses at night in Italy, but in any case, it's definitely close for the majority of daylight hours. Furthermore, things really shut down from 13:00 to about 16:30. They open about 09:00 and close officially about 21:00 ( 24:00 for non-"office" like buildings. for instance, I was in a bookstore last night and got kicked out because they were closing, at 24:00). After walking inland in search of karaoke, we explored the desolate inland city and found the city was really only "alive and kicking" along the boardwalk, or lungomare. After getting a gelato for the second time that day, we headed over to the music we heard playing and started dancing. There was a bouncer, and people just hanging out in front of the "Bango" (which apparently means like a mini-hotel-like thing right on the beach, where people rent rooms for changing and hanging out on the beach for the day), but Bristin just quietly walked right on by. Haha, it was really funny because like though the guy was huge, he was actually a really sweet guy. We took a picture with him as we were leaving and he was SUPER honored. We named him Fabio.

Yesterday:

We took a test at the school to determine what class we would get placed in. After getting lost several times, Alicia and I managed to get to the school without being late for the test. :) Then we just hung out for a little bit in our room, in the heat of the day, AC is WONDERFUL, and then went exploring. We found a market with TONS o fopen air clothes and stuff. Oh, and we saw this old man argue with an older woman about vegetables, totally made my day.

okay, so I'm going to go into more detail at some point, but that is the gist of the day so I don't forget. I really need to get going, so I'm going to upload some pictures. Enjoy! Thanks for all the comments and reading! :) Ci amo molte! Ciao di la bella Italia!

Okay, so it's not letting me upload pictures becasue of some stupid reason. I'm going to find out a different way to upload them...curse non-mac users...grumble. I think the heat is getting to me. haha...and i'm off!

Update: I found out what was wrong and will now try to upload them again. I hope this works! And it's cooler and I'm feeling happier, haha. :)