La Carne Non Più: Meat No More

This is one of my favorite stories to share, so please forgive me if you are someone who is hearing it for the bagillionth time.

As many of you know, last spring semester I studied away from the Georgetown Hilltop and relocated to the hillside of Fiesole in Florence, Italy. During those four months abroad, I commuted from my homestay to attend classes at Georgetown’s Tuscan villa, Villa Le Balze. As a homestay, I lived with another female student from the program in the home of a local family. My host mother was the sweetest, tiniest woman, and, as could be expected, she was an incredible cook. Every meal at Flavia’s table reminded me of those Sunday mornings as a child spent with my Italian great grandmothers. Continue reading

Longing for a Conversation

I am in language withdrawal.

Right now I am suffering from an inability to speak in a foreign tongue. Having lived with Flavia and gallivanted throughout Italy for the past four months, my mind gradually began to think in two languages. Although I was far from bilingual, hearing Italian words became music to my ears and conversing in the tongue felt like singing a beautifully, eloquent song. Today, however, I am back in a country where ain’t, yo, home boy, BBM, and lol, among others, are everyday words and phrases.

In high school I studied Italian for three years, but I was unfortunately unable to continue with the language as a senior. Lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you look at it), Georgetown required that I study a language during my undergraduate career. Looking to review and renew my interest in the language of my dad’s ancestors, I enrolled in intensive Italian courses during my freshman year at the university. As a student in the College, I was only required to take Italian through the intermediate level, so I completed my language studies at the end of last spring, or so I thought… Continue reading

Arrivederci, Italia!

Orson Welles once said, “There are only two emotions in a plane: boredom and terror.” No offense to Mr. Welles, but I think he forgot the emotion “anxious.”

After waking up Thursday morning at 4:30 to the sound of my alarm, I climbed out of bed for the final time in Italy. Outside my window everything was dark and eerily silent; only the occasional sound of car zooming by disturbed the silence of the morning. As I slowly lifted myself out of bed, the reality of what was to come began to sink in: in less than 24 hours I would be back in America. Continue reading

Charlie and His Diet

My host dog is, or is supposed to be, on a diet. In light of the fact that all he seems to do all day is lie around, it doesn’t surprise me that he has a weight issue. But, as always, there is more attributed to his poor numbers on the scale than just his lack of exercise. The other culprit: Flavia’s delicious dinners.

Perhaps if Flavia was not such a good cook Charlie would be in better shape. But alas, Charlie is only two years old and already he has been advised by his veterinarian to start eating healthier. The problem for Charlie is that he really has no control over what he eats. Though I am sure he has no qualms about enjoying whatever it is in put in his bowl, he has no way of recognizing that the food he is consuming is contributing to his poor health state. How is a dog expected to lose weight when he is constantly being fed food too good for him to refuse? Continue reading

L’Arte di Non Fare Niente

It is hard to believe, but in less than a week, I will be back in America. After more than three months abroad, I keep trying to tell myself that the clock and calendar will suddenly freeze, and I will be able to stay in Florence forever.

Although there is plenty of magic to be found in the Renaissance city, it seems there is nothing that can be done to stop time. Perhaps even worse, my last few days in Italy will not be a time of relaxation or contemplation. Rather, with my semester officially ending next Thursday, my to-do list includes a nine-page art history paper, 2,500 words for a class on European globalization, an Italian composition and two other tests to worry about.

Yet amid the craziness of finals, I am making a strong effort to practice l’arte di non fare niente. Italian for “the art of doing nothing,” this saying epitomizes the Italian ability to spend hours on end doing seemingly nothing. This is in sharp contrast to the fast-paced, have-to-do-it-all lifestyle of the typical American. With Starbucks coffee in hand and Blackberrys in their pockets, Americans seem to race from point A to B without ever taking a break.

To read more, check out the original post for Georgetown’s weekly magazine The Guide.

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