The American holiday in a foreign country

Trip Start Aug 28, 2009
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Trip End Nov 24, 2009


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Flag of Italy  , Veneto,
Sunday, November 8, 2009

I can't believe I've been in Italy for over two months now!  It feels like much, much longer.  How can so much happen in such a short amount of time?  So let's see...the week after Barcelona, we carved pumpkins.  Usually Italians just eat the pumpkins, so to have a jack-o-lantern was a novel thing.  I asked the boys if they would like to help gut the pumpkins, but they were too grossed out by the slimy-ness (sliminess?) so I did them myself.  They took them to school to show off :)  We kept the seeds and baked them with oil and cinnamon, and they were amazing.  I was happy to introduce a new treat to them since they've usually been the ones giving me delicious snacks.  I got the recipe for pumpkin pie, so I'm hoping to make that sometime soon.  The next weekend, I decided to go visit my friends from Florence who are living in a small town in Reggio Emilia, which is about 4 hours south of Brescia.  On Friday though, I went to Vicenza, which is where the famous architect Andrea Palladio has many buildings.  One of his buildings, Villa Rotonda, has been an extremely important part of my architectural training, and I've been learning about it since the first day of college.  Once I got there, I checked into my hostel, then spent the day walking around with a map I got from the tourist info place.  There were about 30 or so buildings to see, and I think I got around to most of them.  For such an important architect, I have to admit the buildings are rather boring.  I took a bus up to Villa Rotonda and walked around there, taking pictures until my camera died.  Then I walked back down to town and read a book in a little pizzaria.  I was exhausted and started to get a really bad headache, so I went back to my hostel and got ready for bed.  It was about 6pm.  But I had seen the entire town, I was there by myself, and my head was killing me-I had nothing else to do.  I laid there hoping the stillness and darkness would calm my splitting head, but it just got worse and worse.  Finally around 8 I asked the front desk for some medicine and fell asleep soon after.  I got lots of sleep and woke up feeling refreshed and not so lonely like I had the night before, and it was Halloween!  I had to take 3 different trains to get to Reggio Emilia, and the first one was late so I was afraid I would miss the others.  The lady next to me spoke English so we talked about how beautiful it was there and what to do once the train finally got in the station, and luckily my next train was at the next platform so I ran from one to the other with even some time to spare.  I stood in the doorway and waved and said thank you to my new friend.  I'm turning into my dad here, making friends with complete strangers!  The rest of the traveling went fine and I met John at the station in Reggio Emilia.  Michael lived some distance from the station and had told us to get a taxi there.  So right off the bat I spent money.  We got to his apartment where Meri was waiting.  The three of us went out around town and I found peanut butter at a grocery store (I was so excited!!!!!).  We killed time watching Office and Family Guy episodes then got another taxi to the place where Michael was, it was a club or something in another town where his school was throwing a party for the kids that go there.  I had wanted to be grapes for Halloween but couldn't find balloons, and I knew it would be cold and I wasn't sure how I'd wear a jacket over my balloon grapes.  John and Michael didn't dress up and Meri had a witch hat.  It was sad to not go all out like I probably would have at home, but it was still fun.  The party with the kids was interesting, I'm not sure why we went, even though we got food, it was not worth the money spent on taxis to and from.  We went back to Michael's apartment and had a few drinks as his co-workers came and went.  After a while we got ready to go to a club in town.  Of course, Michael wasnted another taxi (I think he's obsessed) but luckily we walked instead.  It wasn't too far away, and it was 12 euros to get in so I'm glad we had saved money from not spending it on taxis.  The place was packed.  There were Italians everywhere, some dressed up like Meri in just witch hats, with only a few more decked out.  A live band was playing, all American music, and I couldn't stop laughing that I was singing "YMCA" with a bunch of Italians who knew more words than I did.  I had a blast, but sometime during the night Meri's camera had fallen out of her purse and she couldn't find it, so we left, she was super upset, Michael was comforting her, John had had a little too much to drink and was having difficulty walking, and I just couldn't stop smiling the whole walk home about yet another random night in Italy.  The next morning we watched some British Office as we ate (the American version is waaaaaaaaay better) then I had to get going to catch my train.  I'd have 3 transfers again and was not looking forward to the long journey home.  Apparently the second transfer was not on another train as I thought, but via bus, but no one really bothered to tell me that.  I asked so many questions of so many different people until I was sure I was in the right place.  Just to double, triple, quadruple check I asked a guy at the stop if I was really at the right place because his ticket looked like mine.  He was a big guy with a beer and he was just tickled that I was American and had talked to him.  On the bus ride he called everyone he knew and couldn't stop laughing hysterically at the "ragazza di Colorado" (girl from Colorado) and he even made me talk to one of them.  The rest of the day was relatively easy, and I got back to Dello tired and feeling the start of yet another cold (that would be 3 in 2 months if anyone's counting).  That night I'd had the bad headache my throat had felt a little scratchy too and after shouting at the club to be heard over the loud music my voice had pretty much gone out.  Luisa picked me up and took me to her aunt's house, where most of her family had gathered to roast chestnuts (on an open fire).  I ate so much, and I think that was the night I OD'd on chestnuts.  I met even more members of her family which I didn't think was even possible.  Now that I only have a couple weeks left I feel like I've finally adjusted to life here and am actually enjoying myself.  There are a couple places left I'd like to get to, and I'm not sure when that'll happen.  But, I can say now, life is good!
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