Tuesday, April 27, 2010

l'amor che move il sole e l'altre stelle.

I have finished the Commedia.

If there was going to be one thing I read while I was living in this country I was determined to have it be that.
While I would have loved to steal the copy from 1908 from the library and have it sit on my shelf forever, I just couldn't handle having my grades with held. So I went outside to read the last canto of Paradisio in the courtyard.
I had been saving it for weeks, wanting to have it be the last piece of anything great that I read before leaving the country.

And so, tonight, it is just another thing to add to the list of the great things that I discovered in the Spring.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Roma is amor spelt backwards

So it seems like that time is finally approaching.
It is my last 42 hours in the Eternal City, and studying is pretty much the last thing on my mind.
As we all are frantically packing our suitcases, hoping that they zip closed for the long trips that will scatter us all around the country, trying to pull all nighters, and running around the city to see everything that we haven't managed to in the last 4 months.

Weeks ago it felt like this wednesday night would never come, and now here it is, the monday before and we're all feeling a little bit melancholic for home sweet Roma, and we're still all right here.

Rather than trying to cram everything I need to put down about Roma on Wednesday I'm going to start now.

I can't even try to explain what an amazing and beautiful experience this has been.
I have learned more, seen more, and eaten more than I have in my lifetime.
Wonderful friends have been made, ones that will last beyond this little experience that we had together.

It seems like it wasn't too long ago when I walked in my front door in Houston at 3 am from a night out dancing to jump in the shower, cram the last of whatever in my suitcases, and be driven to the airport for a 6 am flight that would only be the jumping point for what has been the most beautiful Spring.

Rome happened just when I needed it to. I got on a plane with two packed suitcases, an empty notebook, and a broken heart just waiting for something huge life changing experience. Well, I certainly got what I wanted. I even got snow.

I've worn out three pairs of jeans, and two pairs of shoes (they need to be taken to the Houston Shoe Hospital ASAP).
My hair has grown 4 inches and can be put in a bun without a bobby pin.
I have seen three operas, one ballet, and Cats in Italian.
I've developed a love for ex-patriot literature and Italian cinema- I probably could give you a biography about Vittorio deSica right now.
I even can blind taste test wine, and tell you all about it.
I learned how to make crochette, and learned numerous Italian swear words and gestures.
Apparently according to the Neopolitans I can die because I have seen Naples, and eaten at the original pizza place.
I randomly took a trip to Belgium.
I danced at Carnivale in Venezia.
Ate macarons beneath the Eiffel Tower.
Teared up a little at Botticelli's finest works at the Uffizi.
Oh yea, I saw the Pope.
My feet have walked in the same places as Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Caesar, Marcus Agrippa, and so many others.
My feet have walked hundreds of miles.
I want to become a member of the Caravaggisti.
I've chosen my soccer team, and am a devotee to the school of Italian Opera (sorry, Wagner)
I think I love art history even more than I did 4 months ago, if that's possible.
I've eaten pounds of pasta and tomatoes...and oh, so much gelati.
I've seen the sun rise in every city that i've slept in.

I've made 5 of the best friends I could ever ask for.

I have spent the last 4 months living in one of the most beautiful places on this Earth.
And now I go home, with the same 2 suitcases, bursting at the seams.
A journal filled. And the only reason my may be heart could be broken this time is because it is too full.

Roma, or even these past months can't even be completely explained with words or with photos.
It was just something you had to be there for.

Sto facendo le mi ossa.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

food for thought

In my Renaissance and Mannerist class we were looking at this "Last Supper" by Tintoretto. No one could find Judas, we decided he's not there. What do you think?

It's the Venetian version of "Where's Waldo?".

ceci n'est pas une voyage...

So this past weekend marked my 20th flight since August, which is crazy. More so what is crazier is the next time I will be on an airplane will be on my way back to home, sweet Texas. The last few months have been incredible, but this past weekend was absolutely one for the books.

I randomly decided, along with some encouragement from Alana, Carolyn, and Mackenzie, that I should book a trip to Brussels.
Good thing I listened to them and dealt with a pretty empty bank account for a while. I think I have found my new New York. Before I moved to San Francisco I was determined to go to school in New York, it was my "goal" city, the one place I would choose to live if I could go anywhere. Well, now, that place is Brussels. I absolutely loved it. It reminded me a lot of New York. A lot of Greenwich Village, minus Magnolia plus waffle and frite, with a bit more history. It was so beautiful, and the weather was absolutely wonderful.

We lucked out finding an apartment that was a rent-by-night a few blocks off of Le Grande Place, with an absolutely incredible view.

Right downstairs was the Holy Grail of frite stands. With a mountain of hand cut potatoes and a list of 20 sauce choices, I was in absolute heaven. There are three foods I love without any question and could eat any time at all- my mom's Tortilla Soup, yogurt, and french fries. I made it a point to make at least one trip a day down to the stand. We became loyal to Brasil Sauce, which was some sort of honey mustardy-curry-sweet deliciousness. Of course there was plenty of waffle (gaufre) eaten, as well as the most incredible chocolate, and it wouldn't have been Belgium without beer, of which we had plenty.

Aside from being the home of the Mannekin Pis, Belgium also is home to the largest collection of Magritte's works, only larger to the collection at the Menil Collection, in Houston. I always wondered why the Menil housed so many pieces, but learned that MFAH was the first place outside of Europe to showcase him...pretty cool, huh?

Everything about the city was perfect to me. I frequently was heard saying that if I had to become an expat I would HAPPILY pack up and move to Brussels.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

-Mary Oliver

Thursday, April 1, 2010


I am going to miss walking through the hallways decorated with the works that occupied Caravaggio's years. "Bacchus" next to the computer lab, "Medusa" hanging in the stacks, but especially eating dinner underneath "The Supper at Emmaus". It is my own private gallery to visit whenever I feel like it. No admission fees, no hassle of the Metro, MUNI, or the L, but just there, part of my everyday life. Half the time totally un-acknowledged, once in a while completely ignored, but always there- constantly lending themselves to my eyes at my own discretion.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

vedi Napoli e poi mori

Taking a break from the massive amount of Art History piling at the corner of my table in the library to write a little about the wonderful day spent in Napoli on Saturday.

It seems everyone has something to say about Naples, either about it being huge, or incredibly dirty, dangerous, "a little rough", or absolutely fantastic (that coming from my friend, Joe, who thinks it is the best place in the world), there is one thing for sure- the Neopolitans know food.

Our tour de force started off with an 8:15 am train from Termini, which, I will admit, included some McDonald's breakfast, we set some ground rules.

-two meals AT LEAST
-no complaining (about tired feet or about the crazy amount of calories we were going to consume)

The rest of the day was up to chance.

Once we arrived we strolled through the area surrounding the train station, immediately we realized some of the ideas that had been put into our head about Naples might be right- we laughed a little and kept walking. Following about 15 "CIAO, BELLA!" and a proposal to Alana (we got about 40 more), we stumbled upon Piazza Dante, and through the cutest alley of used bookstores, grocery stores, and gelaterias- this was the Naples I was waiting for.

The first place we stopped at was a recommendation from Joe (the one who LOVES naples), called Gino Sorbillo's. We got here just in time, because as we started eating the line outside was growing. I stuck to the traditional Margherita, while Mackenzie got some sort of Pesto delight, Carolyn with something including sausage, and Alana with her Diavola. It was all FANTASTIC and all completely eaten. We of course, walked down the street and had gelato sitting on the steps of a church afterwards.
Let me tell you, this was the best Nocciolla I have EVER tasted. Blew Old Bridge out of the water.

After round one of eating, we started to make our way towards the beach- there was NO WAY I was going to be in Naples, right on the coast and NOT sit next to the sea. After a few detours and some direction by the police...we arrived sea side.

From where we were we had this stunning view of Vesuvius, and just miles and miles of water.
Soon enough, we were cold, were getting tired, and needed coffee before trekking back towards the train station and our last pizzeria.

Now, while everyone else seemed to favor Gino's over Da Michele, I can't even begin to explain how much better my Doppio at Da Michele was.

First of all, they keep it simple there, 2 types of pizza served two ways.
Margherita + Marinara.
Regulare o doppio (double mozzarella).
Secondly, it was the ORIGINAL pizza "place".

Let me set it straight, though. There is no such thing as bad pizza in Naples, probably not in all of Italy, but if you have to go to one place, and one only, go to Da Michele.

I was not a fan of pizza for the longest time (following an incident after a night of Papa John's) and refused to eat it for a few years. Since this trip I am a loyal convert to the glory that is a good pizza.

The best pizza is found in Italy, and the best pizza in Italy is found in Naples.