Monthly Archives: April 2008

and in other news…

In other news, my dad totally splurged and bought the in-room internet service, which is only worth the money if you use it for more than two hours, so I am gladly tapping away. except that i can’t access my Davidson email account, life is golden! We just ate a delicious meal at a thai restaurant and we are now (more than) full and totally content. Oh, and I’m in Prague right now. I met my Dad here Friday evening and then Tuesday morning we’re taking a train to Budapest together and spending another three days there. Then I go back to Italy and he goes back to work: no rest for the weary (that meaning my Dad). Although to be fair, I actually did have a crazy week for once. I got back from Cinque Terre Sunday night (so fun, so beautiful!!), Monday went apartment hunting, Tuesday found an apartment and wrote a presentation for my Italian class, Wednesday had two exams and the presentation, Thursday packed, moved, unpacked and repacked for this trip, then went to Juliana’s birthday party, which resulted in my not really sleeping Thursday night before l got on the train to Rome at 7 am Friday morning. When my Dad finally arrived in the Prague airport, it was six in the evening, I had been waiting a little more than an hour and a half, and I looked like death warmed over.

So, anyway, Prague! Today we saw a proprio sacco di cose. I miss speaking italian, by the way! Not when I’m with my Dad, because I should be speaking English with my Dad, but with shopkeepers and waiters, etc. i feel like a jerk not knowing the native language. Literally everyone speaks English though, so i don’t really feel like I’m being entirely egregious, but still…

My dad has been patiently enduring my talking his ear off while we sightsee. His only respite was when he struck up a conversation with a group of fellow americans, although their “fellow” status was quickly thrown into question when we learned they’re in an MBA program in Utah. Mormon alert!!!!!!! They’re not from BYU, though — they go somewhere called westminster… which sounds Anglican or Methodist or something to me, but who knows. It might just be a trick. Plus they looked like aliens, which is another symptom of mormonism.

And I still haven’t said anything about Prague, really. Today we went up to the old fortress area and saw the Old Royal Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George Church, the Powder Tower, the “Golden Lane,” Kafka’s house in passing for the 30th time, a lot of gift shops, dad saw gelato, then dad conquered gelato, then dad and i conquered sacher torte together, then… we totally limped home and that’s when we bought internet. The real problem for me, however, was not that I could feel my knees giving out (which I could), but that I could feel my brain giving out. We went to a museum that covered like 3000 yrs of Czech history in one floor. To that i can only say: girl, please.

Then what else? Our first day here (yesterday, that was so long agooooo!), we went into a Tourist Information Center and Dad totally got talked into buying one of those all-tourist-destination one-price-covers-all cards, complete with a booklet of tear-out vouchers for all the places you cango. The plus side is that it clearly illustrates where everything is and because we’re intrepid tourists, the price is right. The down side is that it has awakened my Dad’s competitive juices, and I know he totally wants to do them all. (Excpt maybe the Museum of Mechnical Instruments. He was really disappointed to see that there was a voucher for that instead of the Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments. I am not joking.)

Our room is still nice, the shower is still tops, we have both survived another day in Prague without being defenestrated (you gotta hear about this, it’s the craziest thing…), so, you know, life is good. Or as Korstiaan (Amsterdam) would say: alles ist gutt!

Aww, man, I still have so much to say! Things really build up when you don’t have regular internet access… and then when I do, I normally just try to return emails. But I’ve done so many things since I last posted: my sister and my Nonna came to visit over Beth’s spring break, I went to Cinque Terre, I have this great new apartment now and I live all by myself… now I’m here in Prague, next Budapest, then I go back to Italy and I don’t have classes for a couple of weeks. I might travel with my cousin Francesca some when she comes with her family to celebrate her mother’s 50th birthday in Montalcino, where some of my Italian cousins also live, Then I start my last month of class, then I come home. It’s a total rollercoaster. It’s also weird to think that I’ve been here for four months already — it sounded like such a long time at the beginning, and now it seems like no time at all that I’ve been here. It’s such a strange thing the way periods of time seem to stretch out so long when they haven’t happened yet, and then they go so quickly once you’re actually there. yeesh.

ok ok ok ok I must finisco!! My dad is totally threatening to wake up early tomorrow because we’ve still got to explore the entire Jewish quarter, tour Kafka’s house, and do 800 other things, the list version I’ve already forgotten. The point being that we’re going to be busy. And I’m sure I’ll be writing more tomorrow, as long as we get back before our 24 hours is up.

ci sentiamo! write me something, yes?

love from prague/praha/praga/prag,
kate

things italians like

  1. their mothers
  2. mcdonalds
  3. the beach boys
  4. the song “whip it”
  5. complaining about the government; talking about politics
  6. twinkie-like “plum cakes”
  7. dogs as fashion accessories
  8. espresso/espresso drinks
  9. going for a walk on the town

!!!

Here are the things I’ve been doing since we last spoke:
  1. Katie came and visited me. We went to Rome and then spent lots of time in Perugia.
  2. I turned 21.
  3. I went to visit my family in Genova for my birthday/Pasqua (Easter), then went skiing in Bellamonte.
  4. I have finished one level of Italian and am moving to the next, where I can learn advanced grammar, which is really exciting, obviouuusly.
  5. I went to the sea.
  6. I learned to drive stick shift.
I am never on the internet, so now after two hours I am exhausted of it. But here are some highlights.
The hills really are alive in Northern Italy (close to Austria, close to the Sound of Music, close to my childhood dreaming of being best friends with Liesl von Trapp). There are huge mountains covered with snow and hills that are totally green and as you climb from the second to the first you see a valley open up underneath you. There are long stretches of vineyards mixed in with small terraced gardens and horses and cows right by the side of the road. And then there’s the skiing…
The skiing was great. I got to spend lots of time with my cousin, Margherita, and I got to meet her boyfriend Daniele (also called Azzurro, also called Azzu). Marcella, if you’re reading this, you’ll know that I think he’s great. Daniele is great. She also had three friends that came along. We skiied and cooked and hung out and had a good time. But let me tell you about the mountains. There’s a different mentality here, obviously, but it also applies to the ski resorts. In the United States, you get to the top and there are lots of signs and maps at every split that will tell you where exactly you’re going and how hard getting there will be. At the top of an Italian mountain, there is a great view, because there are no signs (or very few). It’s a mountain: ski down. You could end up in Bellamonte, where we started, or in Modena, which is not close, even by car. I think with a little effort we could have skiied into Austria and back. And forget differentiating between black diamonds and greens. It was incredible. Thank God I’m a good skiier.
Katie and I stayed in the world’s best cheap hotel in Rome, Hotel Katty, where we paid 50 euros each for two nights in a private room, clean, with a private bathroom, also clean. Score. The landlady’s husband, Luigi, was also a good decorative fixture in the property. When we arrived, Luigi was sitting in an armchair two feet away from the television wearing sunglasses and headphones. The television was on, too. The only time we saw him in a different place was when we returned from a club late at night and saw in a closet of a kitchen, furtively making food in the late night. Strange.
Katie and I also saw an intense fight in the subway in Rome on our way to the club. This Italian guy was screaming, literally screaming in rage and being held back by his friends while some other guys maybe from North Africa were doing some sort of taunting. Katie and I jumped on the subway as soon as it came, but then the North Africans followed us in… we scurried to the opposite side of the car with a middle-aged couple, then at the next stop jumped into the next car with that same couple, only to see that the floor was spattered with blood throughout. We were both freaked out and grossed out and hoped that we would just get to our destination soon, but no. The train didn’t leave from there for another 10 mins because the fight started again down at the opposite end. About halfway through, security very slowly sauntered down. I don’t know what they did mostly because I was huddling with Katie, trying to be inconspicuous, but it took forever. Finally we got to our destination, only to mistakenly (my mistake) enter into the most expensive club in the entire world. Oops.
The sea was great… I’m running out of time… We rented cars and drove to Falconara, then spent the evening in Ancona… then this morning I practiced driving stick shift.
I need to meet Juliana now, one month more of formal classes, then I have to search for an apartment of my own. I’m excited!
Email me, call me, whatever! I am so, so happy here, but I miss the people from home.
Love,
Kate