Monday, September 20, 2010

at this point in my life.

I've been home for five, almost six months. I already wrote the "goodbye" post. So what brings me here? Why do I feel the need to leave one last blog entry?

The reality of Italy didn't complete hit me until I set foot on Goucher's campus in late August. I didn't really experience intense culture-shock returning to the U.S. and I had one of the most rewarding summers working at camp yet. Even in July, when people would ask me, "How was Italy?" and expect stories to flow effortlessly out of my mouth, I had no idea what to tell them. "It was great!" was probably my answer 95 percent of the time. If you caught me on a good day, you might have gotten a quick anecdote about the Scot who called me "Big Rouge" in Rome (yes, this really happened). I honestly had no idea how to describe those three wonderful, fleeting months of my life.

And now I'm here. Back in the place that let me know Accademia dell'Arte actually exists. We're currently on week four of classes, and I have very few complaints. Reconnecting with people I haven't seen since fall semester, or in some cases sophomore year, has been fun to say the least and all my classes are going smoothly. I will also say there have definitely been moments I've wished I were eating lunch on the grass outside the Villa with Claire playing guitar (I know, so cliché) or laughing histerically about some ridiculous thing Mitsuru made us do during Butoh week or even dancing with sweaters. I miss having Tuscany at my finger tips (who wouldn't?). But still, I'm glad I came back to Goucher and went to Italy when I did.

So... how was it?

Aside from me understanding more about what it takes from a dancer to move in a way that looks fluid and effortless, I have been more aware of my surroundings and have a greater appreciation for those around me. I have learned that everything works out even when you can't even imagine how. I feel more solid as a person. More grounded and sure of myself and what I believe in. I am more me now.

Does that answer your question?

Sunday, May 2, 2010


This is not going to be a post about how Italy/Europe is better than the U.S. At least I hope not.

I'm home! After the last week at school, which consisted of three performances and very emotional goodbyes, my dad and I set off in his rental car for a bed and breakfast in a small town called Cuna, outside of Siena. From there we drove to Florence for three days until we flew to Boston on Friday afternoon. We were lazy tourists, meaning we went to museums, but only for an hour before we decided to wander the streets and stumble across some gelato. Even though I started missing home a lot towards the end of the semester, it was so nice not having to go straight back after such an intense three months. A five day buffer was definitely necessary- at least for me.

After getting two bottles of wine and three cans of olive oil taken away from me (TSA, you suck), I sat on a plane for eight hours and traveled back in time. Literally. If you've ever flown from east to west for a long enough period of time, you'll know what I'm talking about. The sun just doesn't go down when it's supposed to and sleeping is difficult. The movies weren't working, so after I finished my book (the curious incident of the dog in the night-time), I just sat, listened to my ipod, and tried to process the past three months.

To make a long story short (because many of you will get the long one later), Italy and I had a love/hate relationship. Mostly love, though. The hate part really wasn't even hate, but more like "dislike for a little bit." I guess what I'm trying to say is there were way more positives than negatives to my semester. More pluses than minuses. And that is a good thing.

The performance we had in Cortona was definitely a perfect culmination of the work we had done in one of our core classes. And as always, it's wonderful to have the opportunity to perform on stage for the general public in addition to your friends and family. Despite the fact that we resented how thrown together we felt the show was, I don't think it would have worked any other way. It was a true Italian experience, to say the least.

Saying goodbye to people you've lived, worked, and played with for three months is never easy and I still feel weird waking up each morning and going down into my kitchen alone instead of the mensa full with sixteen other faces. We all got along really well and they are the ones who made the program what it was. Hopefully, there will be a few reunions next year, since some of our schools are relatively close on the east coast.

Slowly, but surely I'm adjusting to home. Running errands yesterday was weird and I think I might have looked like I was walking through the grocery store in a daze, but in a few days, everything will be back to normal. Summer is here, which means a lot of Bikram Yoga, visiting and hanging out with friends, and taking dance classes whenever I can before I go to camp for another summer. Then it's senior year, and well, let's not talk about that.

Since I'm home and this was a blog dedicated to my study abroad experience, this is the last post, so I hope you've enjoyed reading up on my adventures.


You were great. Maybe I'll see you again sometime.


for your listening pleasure.

and viewing pleasure.

Monday, April 19, 2010

check this out.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

lessons learned.

There is a book in the living room in which past ADA students have left pages of wisdom, inspiration, or whatever they feel like. Tonight, as a little activity of sorts, we all made our own pages to add for future ADA generations.

Here are a few of the entries that particularly stood out to me:

"Move in every direction simultaneously." -Scott

"Yes, it is impossible. But we are dancers, it is what we must do." -Mark

"Sometimes you are the person who cures, sometimes the person who is cured. Sometimes you fall and sometimes you catch. But you have to learn both roles." -Gianni

"You are enough!" -Claire

Everyday you must...
Take a deep breath of the freshest air you can find, touch somebody, and dance.

Remember that...
Beauty is something unique and spontaneous.

And always...
Enjoy your time in the sun.

Let happen.

Other important (or not so important) life developments include:

1. We're performing in Cortona next week!
2. To promote the performance, we're also performing on ITALIAN TELEVISION. Craaaazy!
3. My parents visit soon!
4. I went to a wine tasting yesterday.
5. I should be studying for my Italian final, which is tomorrow.
6. I played Ariel (from The Little Mermaid) in an Italian skit. Big surprise?
7. I only have ten days left. Fastest three months ever.

Why does time fly by so fast?

Monday, April 5, 2010

the five.

Cinque Terre was amazing. By far my favorite weekend in Italy. We hiked through all of the five towns on Sunday and took our time to relax and enjoy the scenery. I wish I could put pictures up for you to see, but my computer's full, so they might not be up until May.

Besides that, there's not too much to update you on except that my package finally got here (it was shipped on February 20), my hair is getting ridiculously long, and after fifteen or so years of being convinced I hate peanuts, I discovered I really do like them.

I guess they don't lie when they say study abroad will change your life.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

just for now.

Last weekend, the school paid for all of us to go to Naples. We all stayed at La Carafa di Madalonni, a beautiful bed and breakfast that used to be an Aristocratic home, where our rooms were gorgeous to say the least. On Saturday we all (the dance and theatre students) took class for four hours in a ballroom ten minutes away, which was a lot of fun and went by surprisingly fast. Over the course of the weekend, I devoured three whole pizzas and loved every bite, but by Sunday, I was ready for some other carb-filled food. Pasta maybe? On Sunday we took the train to Pompeii, which is probably one of the coolest places in Italy. Looking back, I had a great weekend, but I wouldn't say Naples is my favorite city in Italy. We were all warned numerous times before leaving to pay extra attention to our surroundings since the crime rate is high, so we were more or less on edge all weekend. Luckily, everyone made it back safely to the villa after stopping to get kebabs/gelato for dinner, which is turning into a post-weekend travel routine.

Classes this week are relatively tame and then its a three-day weekend in Cinque Terre. To quote Rick Steves, the travel guide genius, "There's not a museum in sight. Just sun, sea, sand (pebbles), wine, and pure, unadulterated Italy." Can I go there now, please? Hopefully the forecast will shift from rain to sun before Saturday, since the main attraction is hiking through the five towns. If not, I guess I'll pack my rain jacket? Oh wait, it's in my package that's been stuck at customs in Milan since March 1. Never have anyone send you contact solution overseas, because apparently it's chemical.

Now I'll leave you with a quote I stumbled upon recently:

The compelling thing about making art, or making anything I suppose, is the moment when the vapourous, insubstantial idea becomes a solid there, a thing, a substance in a world of substances.
-Audrey Niffenegger

Monday, March 15, 2010

mamma mia.

Spring break is over and we’re already into the second half of the semester. Our trip to Greece had a bumpy start when we were advised by Dean, the receptionist at the Student and Traveler’s Inn, that it’s not smart to visit the Islands this time of year because everything’s closed and the weather isn’t warm enough. After our first “family” meeting over some snacks at a nearby restaurant, we decided that instead of going to Santorini for four days, we would see what Athens had to offer.

Although we were disappointed that we wouldn’t get a chance to wear our bathing suits and get sunburns, the trip ended up being great. Our very eclectic group had the ability to make the best of every situation and roll with the punches. We learned that plans really do change, and even three pre-trip meetings won’t warrant an accurate itinerary. Highlights of the week include: going to Nafplio and climbing countless steps to the fortress on the warmest day we had, discovering The Art Foundation (a really cool bar that only locals would know about), buying handmade Greek sandals from the famous “Sandal Making Poet”, and playing mafia and essence whenever we had down time. We also went to the Acropolis, the National Archaeological Museum (whoa, old marble stuff!), and on a three island day cruise to Hydra, Poros, and Aegina.

Now a few fun facts/stories about Greece:

- You can buy the most ridiculous souvenirs (if you can even call them that) on the street in Athens. We saw miniature, mechanical, dancing donkeys that jolt back and forth, giant lighters, light up stick things, miniature mega phones, and really scary dolls. No, I did not buy any of them.

- Greek restaurant owners try really hard to get you to eat at their restaurant. Luckily we had Claire and Brian to bargain down our dinner prices. One night we managed to get free bread (instead of paying a euro per person), unlimited wine, and any entrée we wanted for only 10 euro. Whhhaaaaatttt?!

- The nicer buses that take you longer distances do NOT have bathrooms. I discovered that it’s best not to down a Coke before a three hour ride to Nafplio unless you want to pee your pants. Don't worry, I didn't pee my pants... that would've been really bad considering I only packed two pairs (one of which ripped in the crotch-ish area when I was climbing some rocks on the last day. Oops). I'm definitely over-sharing in this bullet, sorry.

There are definitely more "facts", but weird souvenirs, food, peeing, and ripping pants are the only things that seem to come to mind right now. Hopefully these will be helpful to know if you ever find yourself in Greece.

(One of my favorite pictures I took. Courtney, Claire, and Emily by the fortress in Nafplio.)

So yeah, Spring Break was the bees knees, but now I’m back in Arezzo and back to work. After being in another country for a week, I’ve developed a newfound appreciation for Italy. I missed the gorgeous countryside I get to look at everyday, the pasta, and the relaxed Italian mentality. Today, after ballet, I walked to Coffee O’Clock (the closest thing to a Starbucks), ordered a cappuccino, and dove into this week’s philosophy reading. Since Tuscany is starting to warm up, the half hour walk back to the villa was very pleasant. It was nice being alone for a while after having constant company for seven days and I had a chance to just stop and think about things.

I have no big plans for this weekend as far as traveling goes. Liz and Perry, two of my friends from Goucher, are planning on visiting Arezzo, so it will be nice to see them. If the weather’s nice, I’ll probably go to the market and pick up some fresh fruit, pecorino (the best cheese ever), and proscuitto.

I don’t like closing blog posts, so listen to this song instead.