Monthly Archives: November 2008

Filling space

In lieu of having any time to write anything real, here’s an Italian tongue twister. I’ll teach you how to say it sometime and write something worthwhile even sooner, hopefully.

Chicchirichì fa il gallo

squittisce lo scoiattolo

la cinciallegra cinguetta

facendo cip, cip, cip

l’asino raglia

il maiale grugnisce.

Tomorrow I go to Venice with the rest of my school. Hopefully I’ll visit my host sister (who studies there) and see Stravinsky’s grave (nerd alert). I’ll tell you about some of the adventures next time, as well as post my itinerary of winter break travel, since that is finally finalized (!!!!). Right now, though, I absolutely HAVE to take a shower. Then I have to run back out into the rain to get some dinner and go watch a magician with my friends. I lead a difficult life.



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Nngh. I never thought this moment would come, but — I’m starting to get truly sick of pasta.


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“Che cose si trova nelle strade di Firenze?”

The title of this post is a small excerpt from a certain poem that was given to me for my twenty-first birthday, which, incidentally, was this past Friday. The poem is called “Ode to a Sauntering Parenthese of a Woman Who Laughs Like Black Coffee and Talks Like Fingerprints on a Newspaper in the Morning; Who Is Older Today Than She’s Ever Been Before, and, Perhaps, Will Ever Be Again.”

Hannah, thank you again and again and again. This weekend has sealed the deal: I’m quite smittin’ with this place and the lovely friends it holds.

My night was quite a good one: a few of my close friends and I went to the symphony with tickets provided by the school. Lo and behold, they had secured us a box. A box, friends. It was quite the glamorous experience, complete with red velvet and gilted in gold. Sir Neville Marriner was conducting the Orchestra Toscana. We heard Mozart’s “Haffner,” Haydn’s “Il Miracolo,” and five Schubertian Lieder performed by the Orchestra’s guest, Monica Bacelli, arranged by Webern.

The rest of the night was typically debaucherous, as most twenty-first birthdays should be. I had on my dancin’ shoes and everyone from school came out for a good, comfortable night at our Scottish Pub with Dexter, our dear bartender.

The rest of the weekend was spent in Rome. This was my first trip to a large city in Italy; what a rich way to start. I’m not quite sure I’ve ever experienced anything as physically stunning as the moment I stepped into the Vatican. There isn’t a way to convey how physically overwhelming it is, larger than you would ever imagine if I told you in words. I felt my jaw drop as I crossed the threshold and I promptly forgot how to raise it back again.


This post is mostly just to say that life is good, birthdays are quite swell, you all are the sweetest for your words and your kindnesses, and most importantly: that this weekend also marked the first time that I’ve solidly felt as though I will miss Italy when I leave. Perhaps that means I’ve settled in a little. It’s a reassuring feeling. Hopefully that’s a settled spot that doesn’t go away and that I can find it again when I come back.

P.S. One more thing: Aaron and Jared sent me this for my birthday. Please enjoy.

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Home away from Stumptown


This is La Citè, a libraria-cafe located on the south side of the Arno in the San Frediano neighborhood. This bar is unlike most in Italy in that you’re expected to sit down and stay a while, to relax and meet a few people at one of the community tables, to take advantage of the borrowable media laying on the shelves that line the room, and to rest and enjoy whatever you’re having to drink.

I’ve been finding myself here whenever I have a few hours where I don’t have to be anywhere else. There’s generally some kind of gypsy guitar music playing. Most evenings there’s some kind of cultural event, either an author reading from their most recently published work, or a small band performing, or their weekly tango night, or one of the baristas’ piano-playing friends who’s spontaneously invited to sit down and share a few standards.

It’s pretty fantastic, guys, and pretty much exactly what I needed.


To be continued.

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“Change has come to America”

“It’s the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.”

Full text for his beautiful acceptance speech can be found here.

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Yes We Can

Today has been a scary emotional whirlwind for me and everyone else I know. I’ve vacillated from not being able to focus (I’m sorry but Italian’s HARD when your brain’s not in this country) to then being snappy and then unreasonably sad. I spent the better part of this afternoon soothing my nerves with a strong mix of Yes We Can (Hold Babies), The West Wing, and peanut butter straight off the spoon (thankyouthankyouthankyou, Claire). Tonight I’m going to buy a blank t-shirt and some sharpies and get creative. After dinner with my family I’ll go to a pub to meet some friends, hold their hands, and watch the results roll in during the wee hours.

I was stopped by a few lost American tourists this afternoon while I was on my way to lunch. I pointed them toward the shop they were looking for, insisted that they walk through the centro and stop at the Duomo (even though it’s pouring today), then asked them how they were feeling. At first they didn’t know what I meant. When I then said, “Well, it’s election day,” they laughed a little and said, “We’ve got it in the bag, it’s going to be just fine.” We smiled at one another as I’m sure only a few lost, wet, stranded-in-Italy Americans could on election day. I started to walk away, headed once more toward lunch, but was stopped by a hand on my shoulder. I turned around to see one of the women from the group, a lady from Minnesota, standing there. “If you were at home and were voting today, who would you be voting for?” she asked me with raised eyebrows and an air of glee about her. I replied, “I cast my ballot a month ago and I definitely voted for Obama.” She raised both hands in the air, did a tiny victory dance, then smiled and nodded at me before continuing on her way.

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