Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Crooked Teeth (Death Cab for Cutie)

I have to say that I have an affinity for that song since it reminds me of last spring: something that always makes me smile. Certainly it was the best spring term I've ever had...not least because of the travelling. Edinburgh, Copenhagen, Rome, Venice.

It was absolutely fantastic. Of course, my week alone in Venice yielded mind-numbing boredom at times. There are only so many walks that one can make between the Piazza San Marco and Piazzale Roma, useful though it was to learn how long it would take me to walk from my hostel to the bus station so I didn't miss my flight (as I had done trying to leave London via Stansted). I had also stopped counting at that point how many times people had mistaken me for being a native over my two weeks in Italy. Of course, my meagre stock of Italian is confined to terms such as accelerando, fortissimo, and andante, so shrugging my shoulders and shaking my head with a pitying yet clearly confused expression was my most elloquent means of communication. I dared not venture bravely into the realm of any real Italian lest I wind up foundering in the fathoms of fluency.

A prime example: d'ove la Chiessa della Santa Vittoria? I know what I'm asking here - unfortunately, I'm not just asking to go and be a tourist in a church...I'm asking to look up a Bernini statue, my knowledge of which must be credited entirely to Mr. Dan Brown. (Shame) Of course, knowing the question is only half the battle. No: to make this conversation your Austerlitz, you must fully comprehend the answer your friendly local provides, nodding with understanding and gratitude every time they tell you to turn just past the church of an obscure saint onto a street named for (to you, the helpless foriegner) an equally-obscure national hero. (I here witness the number of times I had to find sites in Rome by navigating through Via Vittoria Emmanuela.) Needless to say, my navigation was never to be supplimented by pitiful queries of the local authorities or other seasoned tourists. Much like the quintessential American father from every summer-release-date family comedy, I refused pointedly to ask for directions of anyone: I relied wholy upon the city map of Rome provided by the hostel in which we were staying. That the map was entirely in Italian didn't matter...I could fake my way through reading it well enough to identify the easy things (which also happened to be the essentials): Trajan's Forum, the Colosseum, Caracalla's Baths, and the Via Appia Antica which led us to the catacombs outside the city.

I now realise that I have run off on a tangent again (Hugo, eat your heart out). In recounting the spring break of last year, I have to say that it is once again spring break. My last one as an undergraduate. Relaxing though it is to stay on campus with my sister and do nothing but laze about in the sunshine and read and go to the gym, nothing can compare to a week in Rome. Or even a week avoiding pigeons in Saint Mark's Sqaure. (uurrghh) The weather, though, has been wonderfully oblidging the whole time. Even though I was used to the backs and forths of spring on the East Coast for the vast majority of my life, I must admit that I'm still mildly weirded out by the fact that this time last week I had just enjoyed a late night engaging in vicious snowball skirmishes. Now, the windows are wide open, the sun is shining, and I'm preparing once again to head outside in shorts and a breezy top to read some Aeschylus in the warm afternoon. I have, of course, committed to spend some time writing my history paper on Napoleon in Egypt at some point this week. Considering my other committments once I'm back, I really ought to make good on that, though there is also virtue in catching up on my reading for Classics.

On that note, I really ought to start being productive at all today and get back to Aeschylus. Or perhaps Sivan or Englund...(this trailing off ought to be capped with a long-suffering sigh and slump of the shoulders, as if the prospect were particularly arduous)

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