Drinking for Daze

Day Two is complete.IMG_1464

How do I feel? Exhausted.

I have so many thoughts about this experiment, beginning with the fact that I underestimated how difficult it would be. Having to drink every two to three hours is itself a challenge. The tonics are not bad tasting, but they are not something you want to drink down immediately either. On average, it takes me about 30-45 minutes to finish a whole tonic, which means that it’s only another hour and half or so until I need to drink another one.  Continue reading


The Perfect Pick-Me-Up

When I was in Italy I ate my fair share of tiramisu. During lunchtime at the Villa, the students eagerly waited to see if tiramisu would be served for dessert. The moments when the “pick-me-up” made its way to the buffet table, everyone would rush into line and proceed to take large spoonfuls. Sprinkled with coffee powder on top, the caffeine is not hidden. Yet despite the espresso laden ladyfingers and coffee dusting, the rich custard and overwhelming portions meant for very sleepy afternoons.  Continue reading

A Remarkable Moveable Feast

It would be fitting that as I watched Woody Allen’s new film Midnight in Paris the only thing I could smell was butter.

Even if the butter was emanating from bags of popcorn, the scent of the fat made me think of all the wonderful French things made with the glorious churned milk. Crossiants, pain au chocolat, sole meunière, beurre blanc. Each of these heavenly items sparked memories of my few days in the capital of France. Continue reading

A Villa Favorite: Chocolate Salami

The first time all of us at the Villa heard about chocolate salami, none of us knew what to expect. It was the second week in Florence and already we had grown accustomed to overeating at lunchtime because of the incredible three course spread. To this day, it is still a great wonder to me how any of us managed to finish off multiple bowls of pasta, followed by plates of meats and cheese, while drinking glasses of wine and then still have room for dessert; but if you could have seen the desserts at the Villa, you would have found the room, too.

During this infamous dessert introduction, our Resident Advisor announced that the day’s dessert was a popular Italy treat often enjoyed alongside a cup of hot espresso. When pressed whether or not it would be something with Nutella, a torte, or perhaps even cannoli, she said we would just have to wait and see. So when the time came to line up at the buffet and pick up our plates for dessert, all of us were confused by the site of a treat that resembled processed meat. Fittingly enough, our RA said that was precisely why the dessert was called chocolate salami.  Continue reading

Concise and Poignant Metaphors

“Il miglior souvenir di viaggio è un biglietto tranviario che una mattina, rivestendo un vecchio abito, troviamo in fondo al taschino del gilet, dove l’avevamo messo mesi prima, in una lontana città e poi avevamo dimenticato la sua esistenza. All’improvvisa scoperta, balza il cuore, quel pezzetto di carta è una metafora concisa e straziante.”

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Life is Beautiful

In Roberto Benigni’s Oscar-winning film La Vita è Bella (Life is Beautiful), the main protagonist Guido always seems to know how to add excitement and comedy to life. Even when faced with tragedy, specifically in the context of the film’s setting during Holocaust, Guido never fails to put a smile on others’ faces and to remind those of life’s simplest pleasures.

A comedic-tragedy, as many critics like to call it, La Vita è Bella tells the story of a Jewish Italian named Guido Orefice and his hilarious attempts to win the heart of the upper-class Dora. This chase for love dominates the first half of the film before switching to a more serious, somber tone. After marrying Dora and starting a family, Guido is transported to a Nazi concentration camp along with his young, naïve son Giosuè. Amidst the horrors and the harsh realities of the camp, Guido remains as bubbly and optimistic as ever to keep his son’s spirits and hopes alive. Continue reading

Morphing into Spaghetti

I can remember when I was little and my mother warning me that if I ate too much of one thing, then I would turn into that food item. Oftentimes the warning followed when I gobbled down too many chicken nuggets or too many Oreos. Upon hearing this idea, I would imagine myself morphing into a strange mass of breaded chicken or stumbling up the stairs as a giant chocolate cookie.

If this really were the case, it is likely that after more than three months living abroad  today I would resemble either spaghetti, penne, farfalle, or maybe even orecchiette. In light of my newfound beverage of choice, I might imagine that instead of blood, my veins would also be readily pumping wine.  Continue reading