Abstract

Hello everyone. I guess if you’re here and reading this blog, then you must’ve heard about it through me or someone related to me. And I guess if you’re here, you might have some interest in what I’m doing out in Italy. I’ve decided that I should then provide you with some sketch of this blog, its probable future, and what you can expect from it.

First of all, it’s hard to keep a steady account of such an overwhelming experience, an existence so different from the one I’m accustomed to leading back home. Perhaps this is all best illustrated by admitting to the fact that I’m still not used to the rhythm of a normal day here in Florence, not even after being here for 38 days now. It’s a western country, that much is true, so, yes, being here in this new sphere is not completely foreign or so different from living in Portland. However, it’s an old, old city, its streets are tiny and winding, the people … the people — they speak a different language, therefore fundamentals like basic communication and ways of thinking, things governed by language to some degree, are different. The culture has the benefit of history and origin — art starts here in Florence. There are several different well-known operas playing at the Theatre Comunale every week. I’ve had the opportunity to hear local orchestras, even some of those affiliated with my conservatory here, conducted by the likes of Jeffrey Tate. Even things as basic as the colors, the quality of natural light, and the texture of the air are different here. The countryside can be stark in comparison to Oregon’s. Tuscany holds a completely different palette of colors in its fields, vineyards and coastlines than the lush family of greens and ochres that are found at home in the Willamette Valley. I’m overwhelmed and more than a little off balance because of it. Needless to say, I spend a lot of my free time napping, trying to pick up as much of the language as I can, and looking around starry-eyed — rather than doing my reading for class and writing you all your long-promised postcards. Still, I’ve hit the ground running, I love my professors, I’m eating up every single free (FREE!), mind-blowing musical performance we get to see, I’m traveling and seeing places I never dreamed I would, and I’ve made some great friends.

Anyway, what I can predict and promise is that this blog will probably mostly be retellings of a lot of captured moments, moments that I found striking for some reason while wandering these tiny streets, moments that stuck with me through all the other little moments, then somehow had the luck (or ill-fortune, depending) to be recorded here. Anyone that’s received an email from me can tell I’m not usually one for long, detailed, terribly organized accounts. Frankly, I get bored and antsy while I’m writing them. I also not convinced that a lot of extra words can really help to convey what I’m feeling and seeing here. On top of that, it’s difficult to tell the same story several times over to several different loved ones and still feel as though its original integrity is intact. I hope that having one simple, central record will help me bottle some of the magic, basically.

However, if you’re still reading, I’ll consider it safe to assume that all of this is okay. Read the moments. Tell me what you think. Ask me questions. I’ll tell you more.

The gist of this semester, kids, is that Reed College is letting me go to school in the land of fairy tales, drink wines with counts, meet Spike Lee, take midnight flights to other European countries, learn a brand new language by ordering coffee and talking art with world-renowned academic authorities — and they’re still somehow granting me academic credit for it. I feel like I’ve found out that Reed College has a secret love child and that I’ve blackmailed the institution into giving me delicious credit in exchange for not telling anyone else about the child’s thus-far successfully protected identity. Well. The secret’s out, I guess.

I hope you like the moments.

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Filed under Experiences Abroad in Italy, organization

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