Thursday, December 22, 2011
Saturday, after all my students departed westward bound, I headed east to Bologna to meet up with Gio, Shawn, and Carlotta. Saturday night we got together with a few Italians who had studied abroad at UCSD and went out together to a fancy restaurant outside the center, and in our own private room at that. We tasted so many delicious Bolognese plates, including tortellini in broth, spinach lasagna, pumpkin ravioli, prosciutto-wrapped filet mignon in balsamic vinegar, and a pork cutlet in truffle sauce.
After dinner we went out to a club called Tresor where people were dancing maniacally and vying for the attention of a guy dressed in a giant spotted frog costume.
We walked around the entire town of Bologna on Sunday, swinging by my favorite charity store to pick up some Furla steals (including my new fur hat, which I have named Minsk and had to hide from animal rights protestors) and even stumbling upon the Santo Stefano antique market where we looked through lovely prints of Bologna and old Italian goods advertisements while singing along to Doris Day's "Que Sera Sera" (which is not spelled correctly in any language). We were exhausted by the end of the day, but were excited to see a few snowflakes fall along the way.
Despite sub-zero temperatures, we remained gun-ho Castiglione supporters, as always. Just how many pictures do I have on this bench?
I just missed Alessandro's Monday graduation because I had to work and get ready for my Tuesday flight back home to the states. Fortunately, I was able to see almost everyone at an aperitivo the night before, including his parents and Azzurra. It wasn't quite long enough (when is it ever?), but at least I got to wish him luck and give everyone hugs. Tanti auguri, Ale!
Monday, December 5, 2011
The fog and the clouds and the cold have rolled into Florence, but I don't mind because I can find my way by the twinkling Christmas lights illuminating all the main streets in town. Life's been more or less tranquillo for the last couple weeks, spent mostly getting into the Christmas spirit and saving up energy for my jam-packed trip back to the states for the holidays.
Last weekend I went with the students and several professors to see Puccini's opera La Boheme at the Teatro Communale. It was beautifully done with elaborate sets and melodious voices, and of course a heart-wrenching love story that had me in tears more than once. They very smartly have subtitles running above the stage so the audience can follow along in Italian. I had not anticipated understanding everything, so it was a wonderful surprise.
Ho tante cose che ti voglio dire,
o una sola, ma grande come il mare,
come il mare profonda ed infinita...
Sei il mio amore e tutta la mia vita!
Thursday was the feast of the Immaculate Conception, and thanks to this wonderful Catholic country, everyone got the day off. I spent the afternoon with my friend Anna, baking heart- and piggie-shaped Christmas cookies and listening to holiday jams. Then we went out for a sumptuous dinner near her apartment on the other side of the river.
Let's see, I had an interesting bus companion the other day, an old Sicilian man named "Joseph" who regaled me with his views on Italians' world impact. First of all, it's the old mafiosos like Joe Dimaggio that made America great. Also, while the nazis were obviously terribly wrong in thinking that there is a superior race, we have to admit that Italians are effectively superior to all and Arabs are ignorant. For example, Italians are the best painters in the history of the world and they invented everything, despite countless mistaken attributions believed the world over. Chew on that, Benjamin Franklin.