Friday, June 29, 2012

June 29th - Last Day of Italian?

Hopefully - fingers crossed - today was our last day of Italian language. Don't get me wrong, I like Francesca, our teacher, and I want to learn Italian, but it was amazing how much time I spent in class this past week frustrated because I couldn't understand her and I wanted to! She was teaching us, for goodness sake! I shouldn't have been so confused! But, for good or bad, I think we've switched things up so we can simply enjoy our mornings doing other things (seeing Florence?) and our afternoons in art classes.

Speaking of which, in our Fashion Design class our teacher (Sara) told us that if we wanted to Morgan and I might be good enough to do something with Fashion Design more than just as a hobby. Tempting - awfully tempting. But, I think I'll keep in the way of pursuing my DPT. :) It is possible I can do both.

After Italian but just before Fashion Design I booked it over to the housing office to pick up a letter from Brandon. :) I had about half an hour to get there and back and did it in less than thirty minutes. I was booking it to iPod music. :) It was a hot day today! One of our warmest yet. Anyway, we'd received an email of Wednesday saying the letter had arrived but didn't get it until today. My mother emailed them to make sure it was there, and then again to let them know that I was on my way, but I'd already been there and picked it by the time they got that second email. :) Speedy, speedy.

This evening we walked around a bit North of where we live and found a new little restaurant to eat at (not that there aren't tons of restuarants that we pass by all the time and haven't been to - because there are - but rather that this was in a new place). Of all the places we've eaten, their bread was the most fantastic yet. And the food! I got gnocchi and it was quite delicious. Leftovers!

A walk down to the river and a stop for gelato and we're home for the night.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

June 28th - A Bit of a Break

Thursday! I keep forgetting what day of the week it is, always looking forward to the weekend (even here) because it means no class. :)

Language class has been...interesting. Our teacher has continued to speak mostly in Italian and it has been surprisingly frustrating - particularly when it is obvious she is explaining more rules of grammar! I want to understand the grammar! I just don't understand you.

Anyway, exhausted after about two weeks of our language class, I think we're leaning toward perhaps switching around classes and ending out our month here in Florence with two more weeks of fashion design for Morgan and me and two weeks of pottery for mom...we'll see if we can fanangle that.

Part of the reason we wanted to stay put in Florence for the entire month was to take these Italian courses, but honestly I feel we've gained a good base but have lost the enjoyment in the class for a variety of reasons. At this point I'd much rather keep working on what I already know, slowly solidifying and growing, rather than continuing at a break neck pace that leaves us all feeling confused. And the art classes are wonderful. :)

So we'll see! But perhaps we'll have more time in the morning next week to be out and about seeing stuff that is open during that time here in Florence!

In the meantime, today has been a nice break. Home from classes and pretty much done for the day. No pictures today. Just rest.

There's a big soccer game tonight between Italy and Germany - I'm sure we'll be hearing the results from the cheers and groans from the streets.

June 27th - Out With Friends

Off to the market this morning before class! It's hard to know what to get, as there is a wide variety of everything (and everything is beautiful), but we came home with a nice selection of fruits, veggies, cheese, meat, and bread. We bought some zucchini with the flowers still attached and asked in our class how they were meant to be cooked. Apparently we're supposed to either deep fry them or stuff them with cheese. :)

Resulting from our trip to the market this morning, for a snack during our break I had an apricot and a piece of dark chocolate. I can handle that.

I feel there must be a balance between the amount of water that we need to stay hydrated and the amount of water that doesn't require an inordinate amount of trips to the bathroom, but I haven't discovered that balance yet. As it is, I drink water throughout the day and make frequent trips to the restroom, but whenever I attempt to stave off the drinking of water a bit, I feel extremely parched....I'll have to keep working on that....

Class was a bit rough today. More and more frequently our teacher explains everything in Italian, which is good on the one hand, getting more exposure to the language, but very bad on the other, because usually we don't understand everything she says so we end up even more confused after.  Let's just say that, even though I like and enjoy learning language, I definitely prefer my fashion design class over my language class.

This evening we wandered a bit before dinner and then after dinner we walked up to an overlook on the south side of the river. Very pretty!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

June 26th - Opera

Today was pretty normal. Class in the morning and early afternoon. Mom got her hair cut today. :)

In the afternoon we headed out to go to the grocery store, attempting to find a slightly larger one than we'd been frequenting. We walked around in circles for awhile and then randomly came across one of the guys in our class who'd mentioned the grocery store to us in the first place. After asking him we discovered that we'd walked right by the front of the store but that, because it was entirely covered by scaffolding, we'd never have seen it. It ended up being closed, but a dollar store next door had some of the things we needed and the little grocery store we'd been to before filled in some of the holes.

With an hour to go before an opera performance of La Boheme in a little British church on the other side of the river, we wandered some smaller streets for a bit until we found a little trattoria that looked like it might be good. Delicious! Pesto Penne for me! We've come to the conclusion that typically, for the three of us, two and perhaps a half dishes is consistently enough. We got two dishes and a small fruit salad and that was just a bit more than we needed.

After dinner we headed to the church and listened to the opera. We'd bumped into the Russian mother and daughter on our way to the church and they came along to listen as well. The opera was good. It's amazing what human voices can do. I perhaps don't have much patience for operas though, as I was getting tired and bored by the end. But the little church venue was very cool and the performance was well done. I'm just not well trained to listen.

Good evening! So ready for bed!

Monday, June 25, 2012

June 25th - The Hoods!

 This morning and afternoon we had class like normal. Nothing terribly eventful in Italian. We started our "collection" in Fashion Design....I'm still not really sure what my inspiration is....

Some of our friends came into Florence today and are staying with us for a few days while they bounce around Italy. Very fun to run into friends from the home town!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

June 24th - Pisa and Lucca

Today felt like a long day. And it's not really even over. It's only 8:00. We could go out and do a bunch of other things. The night is young and it's Florence's Saints Day. There will be fireworks later. The final of the historic soccer games is occurring right now. The big game between Italy and..., England (?) (I think that's right) is happening tonight. There's stuff to do and see.

However, instead of doing any of that, I think we're just going to enjoy the night in. We've already had dinner, so we're good to go.

But what did we do today?

Well, let's see....

We got up early and met Ketzi and walked to the Santa Maria Novella Station to meet up with a group from the Italian language school to catch the train to Lucca. Off to Lucca, we arrived and entered the city, walking around the city walls that are all still intact. They're wide walls with gardens on top.

Walking around the city we stopped at various buildings and cathedrals. Lunch we had at a little cafe just outside the inner Colosseum circle of Lucca. It's a pretty cool area because you inside and all the buildings flow mostly seamlessly from one to the next, dating the circle back to its original use.

After lunch we headed back to the train and headed for Pisa. Everything you'd expect and more! We of course visited the leaning tower, but so often people forget to mention that there is a beautiful cathedral, baptistry, and other buildings there. The tower was cool, but it was mostly just fun to laugh at all the people doing the "supporting the leaning tower" pose. No, I was not one of them.


After lunch we headed back to the train and headed for Pisa. Everything you'd expect and more! We of course visited the leaning tower, but so often people forget to mention that there is a beautiful cathedral, baptistry, and other buildings there. The tower was cool, but it was mostly just fun to laugh at all the people doing the "supporting the leaning tower" pose. No, I was not one of them.

Following that we walked around, seeing a few more sites and then heading for the train. Quick ride home! Under an hour.

Getting off the train we realized how exhausted we were and how much more than almost anything (aside from getting dinner) we just wanted to go home and rest. So here we are. :)

I think I'll post the photos tomorrow. They take awhile to upload.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

June 23rd - Held Hostage in a Film Showing

We had a nice easy morning today. Sleeping in. Breakfast. Computers. No rush to get to class. Open windows. The sound of people walking and cars passing. Laundry (the little washer in the kitchen sounds like an airplane). A nice light lunch of cheese, fruit, meats, and bread. :)

Tried again to go to the post office. It was closed. I'd looked for the hours online and it had appeared that it would be open until early this evening, but apparently not. Now, having been thwarted a second time, I'm determined to win the next go. This time I even had three letters to send. Just wait Monday...I'm coming for you...with even more letters in hand.

We went for a walking tour of Florence early this afternoon. I was excited for it before it started but then when we started it we realized the guide was only speaking Italian. Sure, we're learning Italian, but the words he was using to describe historical and artistic things were a little outside our range, so after just a bit I started to get tired of it. We have the same guide tomorrow to Pisa and Lucca and we'll see how that goes.

We got to the Chiesa di S. Spirito and realized that we weren't properly dressed (your shoulders and knees have to be covered) so we sat outside waiting with a few others, not realizing that that was the end of the tour. While we were waiting a man offered to water us with his sprinkler (while he was watering his plants), asking if we were "caldo", to which we replied that we were fine without being sprinkled, thank you, but ended up being accidentally sprinkled anyway when was of his friends came up behind us and he tried to sprinkle his friend.

On our walk home we stopped again for some gelato and for Mom to get a scarf. Kezti (I've just murdered the spelling of her name), a girl from Mexico in our language class came along with us,

Victory! As we walked I spotted a Tabacci store (where the sell cigarettes) and I had just read that they also sell stamps (minus the weird line), so stopped in and got some. :)

Kababs for dinner! Yum!

This evening we went back to the Palazzo Strozzi to watch the Florence Dance Company perform again. They did the same two dances, but in costume, a preview for their full show. It was beautiful again, as expected.

Afterwards we were sitting about waiting to see if there was anything else and it turned out that there was, that a small independent film preview was occuring just off the main room. It was the most darling little room with cool bookshelves and comfy looking chairs.

The style of the films, all by the same film maker, was very interesting, using mostly detorating film from archives to tell his stories. It really was cool.

However, after the eight minute film, the 25 minute film sounded very long, but we'd push through and be happy to leave as soon as it was finished. But what? The third film is another hour? Less than ten minutes in, I wanted to go. But how do you leave those kinds of things politely? You don't. I guess. So we were essentially (or at least it felt like this) held captive for at least an hour longer than we'd have liked. It was interesting. Beautiful even. But waaaay too long.

Happy to be home. Happy to be going to bed.

Friday, June 22, 2012

June 22 - Dinner and Dance Rehearsals

Today in class we've been talking about houses, rooms, and furniture. Usually our teacher seems to be able to translate whatever questions we have rather easily, but some of our word requests have been rather odd today.

Me: "Chest - like a trunk?"

Teacher: blank look

Australian guy: "Like a treasure chest - with pirates."

Teacher: "Oh!"

Later during a conversation reading between the only two guys in our class, as they read the parts of "Daniele" and "Paulo" the guy reading for Daniele suddenly switched into a high feminine voice (thinking Daniele was a girl). Our teacher, with her usual animation looked at him and said, "Daniele is a man." Which we all laughed in response to as he was surprised. Our teacher then said that, "If it was a woman, I couldn't have picked one of the nine women here, not a man."

This afternoon our Design class went well. We drew faces...I've decided that faces are not a necessary part of drawing model figures to draw clothing on. And since I decidedly don't like drawing faces, no faces for me. :)

We got to start making up outfits based on some of the test outfits we'd done. Essentially trying to maintain a thread between the different outfits, to make it all one collection, but to also be drawing new and different things than we'd already drawn. Fun.

This morning it was rather chilly. I had goose bumps for the majority of the first two hours and took my hoodie back for the last two, but didn't end up wearing it. But outside? It's hot. Around 88 degrees Fahrenheit right now. Oh, air conditioning, how I love you.

We stayed home for dinner tonight. First time. We've eaten breakfast and lunch at home most days, but this was the first time for dinner here. Fruit salad. Pasta. :) Simple, but delicious.

This evening we walked to the Palazzo Strozzi to watch a dress rehearsal for the upcoming Florence Dance Festival. The performers were from the Florence Dance Festival and were incredible beautiful to watch. Really amazing. Then, walking home, we passed some street musicians and stood for awhile watching them before heading home (passing the incredible organ music and window shopping on our way!).

(Florence Dance Company - Rehearsal - Palazzo Strozzi)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

June 21 - Concerts!

Today has been particularly basic. Language class this morning was mostly uneventful. We invited Isabella (the girl from the UK) to come over during our twenty minute break and it was fun talking to her.

At lunch time we walked over to the Duomo because apparently the light was coming straight inside the dome for an hour, but we got there and there was a long line and we wouldn't have even made it in in time. So we walked home to have some lunch. Cheese, soft cheese, flat bread, bell pepper, watermelon, salami. All of the above from the market this morning. :)

In our fashion design class today we worked some more on being able to draw clothing on figures my imitating more magazine photos and transferring the clothing as accurately as possible onto our figures. Some textures are easier to depict than others. And no matter what, I will always avoid fitted onesies. Especially denim fitted onesies. Even on the slender model in the photo, it just wasn't a good idea.

We're supposed to be looking for pictures or ideas for inspiration for the collections we'll be working on in the next week or so. I have no idea right now...

Nice break this afternoon. So often we've come home from class and gone out to walk the streets. It's nice to just sit and chill for awhile.

My feet have never been so consistently dirty every day. At the end of each day I consider just hopping into bed but then I glance at my feet and (sighing) walk into the bathroom to wash my feet off. My white white sheets appreciate the thought.

This evening we went to a parts of two concerts. The first was an incredible organ concert that they have at the church of Santa Maria de' Ricci. That was beautiful. Incredible acoustics. The church was dark and mostly lit by candlelight. :) The second concert was a vertical concert, or a concert where the band members are scattered a bit on balconies on the front of a building and the crowd looks on in the streets. That was pretty cool. We stayed for a bit, dancing to the music, and then came home. Good day today.   

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

June 20 - Butterflies and Snakes

More class today. We've got an addition of a girl from England now, which is fun.

On our break this morning we came home to some women cleaning the entry way and as we headed up the stairs a woman came out of the lift and we squeezed by her and were about to head up the stairs when she started talking to us. We stared back at her, listening, but comprehending little. I think she finally realized we were having trouble understanding, but she repeated herself and we thanked her and then hurried up to the stairs...we're not ready for the public...and we need to solidify our "I don't understand" statements. "Non capisco. Non capisco Italiano."

Some other bits and pieces from class this morning. Our teacher recommended not to read children's books to practice our Italian. "Not logical. You'll be reading and a butterfly will talk to a snake. You start to hate children, butterflies, and snakes." There was a question regarding games we like to play and the Australian couple talked about Australian Football, which our teacher had never heard of, so there was a lengthy discussion trying to compare it to something she might recognize. Something was said about the rules being similar to Irish/Gaelic football, but I'd certainly never heard of that. We learned that in Italy, a specific salad is a "Russian Salad", but that if you go to Russia, that same salad is an "Italian Salad". Our teacher appears very often perplexed at some of our answers to various questions.

More fashion design in the afternoon. We worked on hands today. I don't particularly mind drawing hands, but I don't particularly like it either. Fortunately, they're not terribly important when you're drawing clothing on figures. But you need something there - and I almost feel like determining a minimalistic hand approach is more difficult than the hands themselves. I still haven't settled on something that works for me.

Our last assignment of the day was to draw an outfit from a magazine picture onto one of our figurines. Essentially attempting to accurately describe the clothing in simple ways. That was fun. :)

Out and about we went after class. The goal was to visit Boboli Gardens but we got there just at 7:00 and they were closed for the evening and for some sort of special event. So instead we wandered and then got some dinner and finally headed home after stopping by a couple of new piazzas we hadn't been to yet.

It has been interesting to notice that Italians dress well here. Both the men and the women. In the States it is sort of typical to assume the incredibly well dressed men are probably gay. Not always, but that is not an uncommon stereotype. Here though, that stereotype simply doesn't work. The men are all just too well dressed alongside the women. I wish that were more common in the United States.