Friday, February 06, 2004

Andiamo in Italia!

Very exciting news...we're coming to Italia! My friend Eric has our tickets in hand - here we come!

We'll be there for a wonderful week in March. Non vedo l'ora!

I've already started making the lists...what to take and what to bring back.

Necessities To Take: passport, journal for me, camera for Eric, sour patch kids

Necessities to Bring Back: cafe, formaggio, and gelato...allora, aspetta! (I better just eat as much as I can while I'm there!)


Thursday, February 05, 2004

Dinner Party Number Two: Cena Messicana

Last night we had our second dinner party: this one with friends from our caving excursions. Antonello had decided already that he wanted it to be a mexican-themed dinner, so our first dinner-party-gift as of yet was delivered to us by our friend Giampaolo--a cactus! I am not sure exactly where to put the cactus (since I have no windows), but I thought it was justly Mexican-themed and, therefore, made a nice start to the night.

Actually, I started preparing rather frantically about two hours earlier--everything from my new Spanish Rice/Risotto recipe (from scratch, since I only have two boxes of the precious stuff--Rice-A-Roni style--and I wanted to learn how to make it myself) to refried beans, cheese, and all of the lettuce, tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, and other goodies you need to make a successful burrito. But, before I had even put the flour tortillas on the stove to heat, some 3 minutes before 8:30, Giampaolo and Sbiff (yes, that's a nick-name, but I don't understand what it comes from. The opposite of Biff, I guess...) showed up. Antonello still hadn't arrived, I was in a ratty t-shirt and jeans, and the apartment had a very strong cumin smell. Ah, the beginning of Mexican Night.

Overall the whole evening went well. We had found Corona at the local supermarket, and Antonello was really proud to show his friends that he knew something about Mexican food, as he opened up the bottles and then went to work on preparing his burrito. Sbiff and Giampaolo, though, felt it was best to watch me as I rolled up my burrito, taking careful steps to add the ingredients--beans, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, etc.--in the right order. Giampaolo, especially, looked a little confounded as he tried to fold the burrito shut but instead wound up with an odd-looking wonton-shaped concoction. After a few bites, however, everyone was happily surprised, and by the end Sbiff claimed he loved the jalapeno peppers.

Yes, Mexican food isn't as scary as it seems.


Monday, February 02, 2004

English Lessons

Jane and I put one of the signs up for the English Lessons on Friday! I am just glad we got something accomplished with it, but I have yet to hear any responses. That's not surprising--when we hung it up on this huge bulletin board in the student center, we found half a dozen other tutoring signs, from English to Law to Philosophy.

Since hanging it up, I have stopped by the student center quite a few times just to check to see if anyone has taken a phone number. Nothing yet, though. The sign is still fully intact, all of its little flaps of phone numbers just waiting for some eager language student to see them.

I'll keep you updated...

-Jackie, the soon-to-be-English-teacher-(hopefully)

To See the Sun the Other Way Around

With friends and family visiting in March, I have recently started scouring the internet and various Italy guidebooks to come up with some good travel ideas. This "research" started last week, when Corrie gave me an idea of what places she and other friends had listed on their travel itinerary (I wanted to see where Domodossola was), and it continued into this week, as I began to think also about where my parents and I will go when they come. So, from Domodossola in Piedmonte down to Emilia Romagna and then, just because I can't resist, Rough Guide's description of Puglia and the cities within--I have been dreaming of travel. I have been dreaming of hopping a train and even going just for a day by myself into the deep unknown parts of Italy--to explore. Abruzzo, tiny towns in Umbria, the coast of Emilia Romagna. Even Calabria, which I have never even thought of visiting, looks appealing as I read about it, nestled between mountains and sea.

And then, at nighttime when the sky is switching from blue to black, I exit the computer lab and head back to my apartment. Looking up the street, Piazza della Liberta' beckons with its clock tower, its Loggia, its people standing around and chatting. I am here, in Italy--the real heart of it--dreaming of going away. I bundle up in my jacket and scarf and turn down the hill toward my apartment.

And I almost smile. It's nice to think you can leave a place and come back to it--to see it, familiar in the distance, and to hasten your step. Because it's almost like you're going home, even if you are thousands of miles away.