Thursday, May 14, 2009

It's been forever since my last post, I'm sorry for the lapse. I'm not very good at regularly writing down what is happening in my life!

I just finished the first semester of my senior year. I wrote one out of three chapters for my thesis, and sat with three professors in my department and talked about it. Slifkin, the dept. chair, said that I handled Benjamin really well (a famous, famous art historian who gets academically man-handled a lot) and that my conclusion, or at least where my conclusion is going, is very post-modern. That is most exciting because I developed the idea myself.

I also took a Roman Art History class, and wrote a large research paper for that class. It was not as satisfying as my thesis, I didn't really feel like I had ideas to chew on. But I think, in the end, my paper reflected this: I did a lot of research, I know a lot about my mosaic, and it's really hard to make one over-arching conclusion about what a 2,000 year old piece of art means. The third class this semester was Humanities 210, and I will confess that my engagement in that class petered out at the end. I started out strong - even read the secondaries! - but have yet to read Paradise Lost. First book on summer reading list, I don't want to miss that one.

My roommate and I are about to transition. Her boyfriend moves out of the dorms into the one bedroom we're splitting, and I pack up to move to Seattle for two months to live with my best friend since childhood. I haven't begun job-hunting yet, but my target job is waitressing, barista, or retail. I've never heard someone say they were glad to have a job in that area, but it's only for two months, the first two have higher chance of tips, and hopefully the %10 of WA unemployed don't want those jobs (irregular hours, no health insurance).

This summer I'm definitely attending the Oregon Country Fair, and July Coronation. I have a high priority to revamp my wardrobe, continue exercising on a regular basis, and visit all these doctors (eye, dental, dermatologist, allergist, etc.) I've been meaning to for so long. If my finances work out really well, as in Financial Aid loves me, I may actually visit the East Coast, see friends I met in Italy.

Let's see if I can also write another chapter of my thesis this summer. AHG.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Turkey, at last

On the 26th we (Sean and I) flew into Bucharest, Romania, which was a cold, hard city. Never go there. It is not worth it. You can't even google a map - only satellite images. It is filled with beggars with baby lambs in slings, packs of stray dogs that can (and WILL) give you rabies, and casinos. Lots of casinos. And snow that doesn't even stick. And no food.

THEN we got on a train to Istanbul, some 19 hours. Somehow, coincidentally, we ended up in the same compartment as two Americans, one of whom grew up in Portland, OR, and they both worked on trail repair in Alaska. I had my first encounter with a squat toilet, and had some of the worst, most interrupted sleep in my life. The sound of grumpy beauracrats yelling for passports in a language I didn't understand and banging on doors with their short staffs haunts me still. At the border to Turkey the beauracrats would only accept Euro or American (we're not even sure they would have taken YTL, the Turkish money), and there were no ATMs. Sean covered the two from our compartment plus two American expats living in Qatar, all of whom paid him back at the station in Istanbul. Turkish beauracrats yelling about money... ah, the sweet sound lingers still.

When we arrived in Istanbul, we had still not made up our minds about where we were staying for New Year's, but initial research proved that a hostel (or hotel) in Istanbul itself for the New Year's would be incredibly, astoundingly marked up (a room normally going for about 10 bucks a night would be 500!), so we ran south! On the bus to Cennakale a Turkish man insisted on paying for some Cay for Sean at the rest stop - I slept through this. We took a room in Anzac house in Cennakale, and visited the dear, wonderful Troy. It was much smaller than I anticipated, but I feel like I have fulfilled my Reedie heritage. The 'dolmus' that got us there (basically a bus service, but in a small van) stopped service over an hour before closing, and we therefore missed it going back to town. However, a local shopkeeper offered to give us a lift for the same price on his way back into town. He talked to us mostly about Australians - there was a battle in Gallipoli apparently, that the Brits shipped a lot of young Australians off to to die, and every year there's an "Anzac Day" in remembrence, so A LOT of Australians travel through Cennakale. Australia finds me again. After another night there, trying to store up some "sleep on a stationary bed", we bused to Izmir, transferred to a Dolmus (basically a van) to Selcuk, where I am writing now :D

Tonight, after dinner, a man snagged us with "Hey Rasta man, what are you looking for?", which led to Sean saying he was from California, which led to us being taught Backgammon in a hookah/wine bar while drinking Raki. I'm loving Turks, if you can't tell. So far, none of the people who have tried to snag us have actually tried to cheat us - "How can I help you? Oh, internet is around the corner... Toilet is over there, by the big tree... Dolmus to Selcuk is downstairs." We did avoid picking up a shoeshiner's dropped brush though - Sean read about that scam. He can't remember what they do to you once you lean over to pick it up, but apparently it's bad :(

Tomorrow, we head to Ephesus! The largest most intactest Roman city on the Mediterranean. Then, back to the hookah bar! We must polish our Backgammon skillz before trying to play with people in Istanbul...


Monday, December 22, 2008

Catania, again

So, while a lot of my friends and family are completely snowed in, this is what I get :D

We plan on going to the Circus tonight, and climb Mt. Etna tomorrow or the day after. Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, depart for Romania on the 26th. It is warm out, in the sun, but I'm kind of sad I don't get to make snow-women and dogs (I'm not into the traditional snowman).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cibo preferito in Italia

e fagioli (beans)
con cacio e pepe (Pecorino Romano Cheese with black pepper)
pomodoro [e basilico] (it is not the same as marinara, I swear)
arrabiata (hot and spicy, "enraged" if you will)
carbonara (2 egg yolks and 1/2 cup parmesan, with ham/bacon pieces)
coi broccoli (
con aglio, olio, e peperoncino (with garlic, oil, and pepper)
ubriaca ("drunk", with red wine, garlic and oil)
amatriciana (spicy, red sauce with pancetta, or bacon)
con melanzane (eggplant, similar to the broccoli idea)

That's really prejudiced for pasta, so I'll try some others:

prosciutto e melone
insalata (green leafies with olive oil, vinegar, and salt on it, like my host mom does it)
zuppa di verdure
patate arrosto, al forno

It's amazing I haven't GIVEN myself gluten intolerance, like some Italians do. And yes, I know a few of those dishes have cheese in them. I'm not perfect about avoiding it, and the cheese was very aged. No cream dishes if you notice.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


So, my grandmother from my dad's side visited this weekend. She and I went on some adventurous journeys, beginning in Florence and spending three days in Rome. I saw some of my long-term goals, such as the Ara Pacis, inside the Colosseum, and then revisited the Forum. Pat knows everything about history (at least Roman and English) but denies it. We drank a lot of wine together, and generally I very much enjoyed her as a travel companion. I'm hoping I can afford a trip to England/Stone Henge with her this upcoming spring.

The dying Gaul in the Capitolini Musei in Rome is her favorite statue: I therefore include my photo of it :D

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Yet again I have literally come close enough to the Coliseum to touch it, but did not enter. Sigh. That's what happens on one-day school trips. Also, failed to see Stone Henge. Again. But that's a different adventure - upcoming Oxford post!

My friend Lauren was the HAPPIEST person I have ever seen be happy in a religious way - she's a devout Catholic and actually got to confess (in English!) in the Vatican! For her, this was literally one of those things on her list of life-goals, and she was so ecstatic. Much like I imagined I would be to see Stone Henge. Hmm... I suspect I'm a little bitter about what happened in Salisbury.

I found it amusing in the Vatican, because I ended up walking around with another friend who wasn't in such religious spasms of happiness, and had a chance to surprise her with Michelangelo's Mary and Christ - and the story of the crazy axe-man who attacked it. Can't see any problem nowadays with Mary's nose, despite the violence she saw... But she is certainly behind some tough glass, and a railing. Also got to point out the decomposing popes in glass tombs to this friend, making her squeal in surprise/disgust. I found them as amusing now as I did when I was 16 - as my dad pointed out, their bodies are incredibly well-preserved, a common side effect of arsenic poisoning. Then again, he's a bit of a disillusioned Catholic, so I don't know how seriously to take that bit of info.

This image was me attempting to take a picture of just how incredibly crowded the underground was, and instead almost got eaten by the escalator. Oops. Saucy girl winking (or closing one eye?) at me is THE fellow Reedie in this program with me :D

Night-time Vatican, shiny. The girl I walked around inside with said it looked like a hotel in Las Vegas. Footnote: she's a Russian Jew. She'd like to see the Vatican stripped of its gold embellishments in order to feed starving children. A touch suspicious about extravagant displays of power and devotion... nah, I can't tell she's a Russian Jew.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Last weekend I visited Sean in Catania - it was lovely. Traveling was a bit of a hassle, but fortunately none of my modes of transport were late. Due to the nature of Ryanair, a cheap airline in Europe, I had to fly Pisa to Palermo rather than Florence to Catania. This requires: bus from Florence to Pisa airport, fly to Palermo airport, bus from Palermo airport to Palermo city center, bus from Palermo to Catania. So, a two hour flight turns into ten hours of travel? Well, I made it roundtrip for less than 100 euro, so I think it was worth it.

I gave Sean a list of things I wanted to see/do: Mt. Etna, the Mediterranean, the fish market, limoncello. The only thing I didn’t get to was Mt. Etna, but I certainly saw a lot of it from afar, so I feel pretty satisfied. The night I arrived we checked me in at Bianca B&B and headed to Capoiera at the local kommie community center. I had a lot of fun dancing, but man oh man... we then went out to a nightclub for 80’s night. The rest of the weekend I walked funny, my legs were so sore. Sunday we hung out with some of the people from Capoiera - originally we were waiting for a ride to a practice out in the woods by the ocean, but it turned into us jamming together (I actually played musical instruments!) and eating tasty tasty pasta with pepporicino (sp?). I also saw an old Roman ampitheater that mostly exists under the streets of Catania, but they have one small portion of it excavated and open to the public.

While I was there I met most of the people in Sean’s program, saw Nigel Nicholson, and ate horse meat. There was much drinking and hanging out in the evenings, and much sunshine and wandering around during the day. Catania was almost completely rebuilt after an eruption of Mt. Etna back in the 1600’s, so all the architecture is very similar, and pretty. But, because the city is much more poor nowadays it’s also dirty and filled with stray dogs. People were more prone to riding scooters on the sidewalk, there weren’t any actual crosswalks, and everything was cheaper. I met a mini-pony that goes into coffee bars with its owner.