Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Te amo...

Love. The heart. Is sacred in Italian culture. 

We learned about matters of the heart and passion for our work, as well as one another. Johnny, our Tarantella instructor is one of the most passionate people I have ever met. There is so much fervor that runs thorough him and exudes from his movement, his voice, his presence. It is a gift that I hope to one day assume in myself. 

I don't want this to be too long of an entry so I'll leave with the thought of love.

To say "Te amo" Johnny says, is very very powerful words. Many are afraid to say this unless there is a deep passionate connection that you have with another. He says even to relatives you would rather say "Te vulevo bene" which is more in the terms of "I like you a lot," a term of loving but not so deep as "Te amo".

I thought about how much we say we love one another in America, and I thought of how sacred it is to say these words.  To my family and friends, when I say these words to you I will mean it, remember that. "I love you," because I really truly do have a passion for you and for what you are in my life. 

That's all for tonight. I'm beat.

"Te amo"....

PS new pictures are up from day 14 and 15. MORE TO COME!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


What I choose to write about in my time abroad are of happenings and experiences that have heavily impacted my life and that will make me a better performer, leader, friend, daughter, sister and person when I return back home.

The past week have been work intensive and heavy on my heart and my body. I have been pushed to my limits in so many ways. From physically straining days, to emotionally challenging ones; we are given the opportunity to grow and become stronger people with every interaction that we are given with one another.

Sometimes I just wish you all could be here to see me in my element, because here when I am in my work I know that I am in that place, where no one can bring me down.

This may not all make sense, but these are my thoughts right now. And this is how I feel at this very moment.

Being behind the mask is a place where I do not feel so vulnerable in the way where I am afraid, but rather where I am vulnerable and willing, where I am ready for my body to take control of its self. The passion behind my movement, my action is present and to release that is such a powerful thing.

I feel present in my body and I feel present among the ensemble that I work with. I think of nothing more than living out my characters and feeling them without judgment. The most judgment comes from your teacher when you take courses, but with Michele, the most appreciation comes from him. He constantly pushes for us to do our best work and I strive to do it, because this is why I am here. This is why I am here so I could push myself beyond my limits, so that I could have Michele, with his approving and proud grin, give me a nod of gratitude for my work after each day. "Very good work" that's all he says, but he doesn't even need to say a word for me too feel what he has felt from my work.

We hope for times like this. For moments of appreciation, to build you up and put you in a place where you feel that much more assured that your passions are not leading you astray but rather bringing you to the place where you undoubtedly belong. The mask is a remarkable place to be. I let it take over me, and when I remove it I feel I have given a piece of myself to it and to my class for them to hold on to.

Improv work has been extremely challenging, having a 9-1230 period and then lunch in between, and a period again at 4 but before coming to class to have work ready to present, has been a mind fuck, but one that has brought out some of my deepest inner feelings and has allowed me to look deep within the work to find something I can really connect with and I can share with others.

Our piece we have been working off of is a Midsummer Night's Dream, but not in the way you always see it worked, like any Shakespeare. But our focus are the actions, and how the characters create those actions and are driven by their actions. We have taken it piece by piece, day by day and found more brilliance in it than I have ever seen or thought of before.

The question for the past week was "Where am I?" and I am in a place where I feel ready, and I feel willing to have life throw whatever it wants at me so I can take it in, struggle with it, learn from it, and grow from it.

Tarantella class and not having Michele around today was intense and emotional as well. Tarantella was meant to dance away the poisons and toxins of the body from the bite of the tarantula. It was said that someone inflicted with tarantula poison because lifeless, where their being would shrink away until they were dead. The cure: to dance the poison out.

And so today we danced, and felt one another and our presence in the room. We made connections to the ground, to the air, and most importantly to the flesh and bodies around us. To perform and experience Tarantella took us to a place where it seemed there were no confines around us. We were always to focus further and further, where if our focus was a wall it would be beyond that wall, if it were a person it would be into the depths of their heart.

Our subbing teacher today says that we owe to the audience the exposure of our hearts, we are to give them the present, of our presence and our openness. Today i danced away any negativity I have had and only focused on the work well done. 4 and a half hours of Tarantella, Commedia for the past weeks day after day; at the end of each day my sweat was dripping, my feel were callused, but I have never felt more alive than in this work of movement, of action, masks, of presence, of the heart.

I am awakened.

Friday, July 4, 2008


This past week has been a remarkable one. 

I have been delving deeper and deeper into this community and into the work that I have come here to do. Everyday I have pushed myself far beyond the reaches that I have ever been given the opportunity to do in any theatrical work I have experienced in the past. It has been a gratifying and fulfilling challenge, not only for myself as an artist, but also as a person, as a human being.

I cannot explain to you all how physically and emotionally draining this work is. I will be honest. Sometimes... I feel as if my studying theatre is not as worthwhile or to you all not as serious or difficult or what have you. But it carries its own weight and it is something that means a lot to me. I feel sometimes Artists are belittled. Sometimes I feel that you all may not think that I can perform either. But I have reaffirmed for myself, that I can and that I am good at what I love to do. I just never gave myself the credit.

I was always afraid of the judgement.

That's what comes with the work. No matter how hard you work, no matter how talented you are... there will always be judgement. 

Today I had a very beautiful experience with my work in class. I've experienced this sensation many times before, but today was the most intense I have ever experienced. I just tell myself that I am here to do my work, and to do it well, and to bring back whatever I can when I leave. For my art, for my soul, for my friends and family, my Kababayan and all the things I care about.

I also had a beautiful talk with Ricardo about life. And work. "Ricardo" it is always said by the other staff members "is the backbone of this Villa" because without him everything would fall apart. He is not married, he does not think to go back home because all he does is work. He says that he puts his heart (puso he said) into his work because it is what he has, and it is how he can live. But it return he is able to see the fruits of his labor. he knows that if he did not care for his job then no one would care for him, they could easily throw him into the streets. 

He also spoke about how he hired to work under him all his close friends and closest family he has in the Filipino Community here. It is difficult for the men, he says, to find work. And so he chose his men. He said that you have to choose wisely who works beside you, because there needs to be respect and love to assure you will not be threatened, or have to pay for the work that those under you cannot or are not capable of doing.

He knows the value of work and struggle and we spoke of how knowing this makes us appreciate our culture, the people we are, and our lives. 

I love him for always sharing his wise words with me and his strong heart.

He and the other Filipino staff members put on a party for us today, with Filipino BBQ, Lumpia, Magic Mic, Flip Cup and Beer Pong and good company. And it was absolutely amazing. So much generosity and so much good humor. I enjoy their presence and I have been doing my best to help them in any little way I can. For as long as I am in this Villa I will help them to know that they are appreciated and loved. 

I cannot explain to you all how much being here has taught me to appreciate everything that I have and everything that I am. 

I have always been dedicated to any work that I do. And it is all important because it is important to me. And I am determined and I know I will make a difference somewhere some day. 

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Some thoughts... and PICTURES POSTED!

So I'll leave you with the thoughts that stuck with me today!

Michele (after being translated from Italian to English by Dory!): "We have to keep going with this work, we will add on and go deeper and work deeper until we feel we will die!" 

That's a relief... hahahaha

Cayanne: "Think of the words Wellness and Illness, the only difference is "We" and "I""

That is all! 

Pictures posted!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


You can learn strength and happiness as long as you can learn  generosity to others and appreciation for what you are given. I have learned, in the past two days generosity because of the blessings and sacrifices that others are willing to give to those around them and appreciation because of the ability that I have seen in individuals to appreciate their lives and all that God has provided for them, regardless of whether others may feel it is not enough. I want to allow these individuals into my heart, because it will only further teach me to be a better person.

Ricardo, Jeff and Eric are the Filipino maintenance workers at the villa and I appreciate how they allow themselves to be happy with making the lives of those in the villa more comfortable than maybe their own lives. 

Ricardo has been working in Italy for 15 years, 10 in Rome and 5 here in Arezzo. He is the head of all the other Filipino workers here, like a Kuya to them all and a Kuya to us as well. He is always smiling and always in positive spirits. I enjoy his presence.  He is still yet to return to the Motherland. Eric has been here for 3 years, but he says "No real difference from home to here... Either work in the kitchen in Italy or drive tricycle in Philippines." Jeff is only 16 years old, the ading of the bunch, he says he does not want to go back to the Philippines. He's been here for 1 year and all he has known is work. He never finished school, he was okay with this because he knows he has to work, for himself and his family. 

These indiiduals live day to day to work, and do the work day to day to live. I love and appreciate them for their humor, patience and generosity. 

Yesterday we had an Operetta concert at the villa and a reception after. They served us appetizers and wine and had to wait for everyone to be done schmoozing before they could leave the villa for home. They were here until after midnight.

I think to myself, do others realize this, do they see Jeff standing in the doorway ready to refill our Vino take away our dirty glasses and bring whatever is needed? Do they see how Ricardo is never sitting down? How we never see these individuals have a meal? How they are here from the moment we wake until we sleep. A hot meal three times a day, a clean villa, fresh linens... I like to think they see all of this and appreciate it and that they will maybe show their gratitude to them eventually. Whenever I have the chance I sit to talk to them and let them know that I notice and that I appreciate and that I love them.

I sat in the kitchen with them while they waited for the guests to all leave and the students to turn in, for so long I missed the meeting time Wes and I were supposed to talk online. Just listening to their stories and joking with them in ilocano, teaching people bad words and such. We listened to Ilocano music off of their fancy cellphones they were so proud to have. They tried to challenge my ability to understand the Ilocano  and were so happy to know I understood. They all speak 4 languages, Ricardo fluently (Tagalog, Ilocano, Italian and English) i respect them so much for that. If any person in this villa sat to have a conversation with them they could. 

I told Ricardo that I was craving Filipino food and I was tired of all the Pasta. he told me I'll make you a special lunch, Chicken adobo. And sure enough today there was chicken adobo and mongo on our menu and right before my eyes at lunch. I have never appreciated a lunch so much in a long time.

My roomate Yessenya is another amazing and inspiring person. Thank God for blessing me with a month of living with this beautiful woman. She is 28 years old and she came to America when she was 19; alone and with Spanish as her first language, barely speaking any English at all. In Ecuador she was wealthy, her family owned much land, but she was the first of her family to come to the states. She lived with another family when she came, but she experienced uncomfortable surroundings because of the Father of the family. She could not live there anymore, but before she could figure out what to do if she left, they kicked her out. 

She was left to the streets on her own; she slept in a park for weeks, until she met a woman, who she calls her family, and Yessenya was brought into her home with her large family. They lived together with 12 others in a small shack like home. There was no room for her to sleep and so they offered her a place in the small coop in the back where the chickens slept. Yessenya was happy to be with them. Their meals were almost nothing and the surroundings were poverish, but she appreciated the generosity and the love they gave to her. 

A little after they were kicked out of this home because they were unable to meet rent, but she was no longer alone and although they slept in the park for more weeks, she had her "family" with her to sleep beside.

She later returned to Ecuador after living for herself in America, and now she is married and back in school studying at UCI and now here in Italy and she is happy and strong. 

She reminded me of the people in my life who have given to me with gestures and with just their presence. I think of my parents and how I know they would give me the world, even if that world was just the clothes off their backs. How could you even take for granted and not appreciate such sacrifice and the genuine generosities of the heart?

I feel so privilege that God has continued to introduce so many beautiful people into this life and I only hope to be able to do for them even a fracture of what they have done for my soul.

Monday, June 30, 2008

2 days without posting and so much to talk about!

Saturday morning was when I took the leap into exploring Italy on my own.... well with a couple of friends. But it was a feat for me, trusting I will be okay in a country I am unfamiliar with was a bit nervous making for me. But I came out of it with some AMAZING memories.

We took the train to Florence which was about a 1 hour train ride and upon arrival were floored at the interesting new surroundings. Florence to be honest was not my kind of city in Italy. First of all it was extremely touristy, and English in my taste was spoken WAAAAYYY too much. 

Its interesting how you can tell the difference from an American and an Italian in Italy. I was a bit on the embarrassed side because of the crudeness of some of the Americans and their behavior around us. It was pretty ridiculous. However there were some nice encounters, like a group from UC Davis that was studying abroad and staying in Florence. Many hailed from the Bay so it was very comforting in that way. 

Our hostel was pretty amazing, if you ever need a hostel for cheap and in great condition check out Its the shit! 

We pretty much wandered the city aimlessly, and hit up some great food places. Mango gelato for the first time since I got here and it was so darn delicious! hahaha Dessert was the trend for this trip, we went to a cafe called Hemingway, yes like Ernie himself. But it was absolutely amazing, they had crepes with liquer that were absolutely amazing and chocolates that were bittersweet and melt in your mouth, and milkshakes that had bursts of flavor! I will definitely be visiting again before this trip ends!

We planned on going dancing, but the scene that we headed over too was not crackin', the music was something of Night at the Roxbury and the men were something of the same sort! No go! besides I would much rather just walk the streets and explore. Which we did and it was great.

Minuses were random gross men making kissy faces and passes in Italian! GROSS! Italian men, Dory warned us were very forward, that was experience #1. Our waiter at the restaurant that we ate at followed one of my friends to the bathroom.... and was being very forward to her. I could have socked them in the face. 

I dunno, I guess the people are really growing on me here. I am happy that my video chat has been useful here, I spoke to a couple of peeps, including my family today and my Wes, which made me really happy! 9hours ahead so if any of you are on when I am and have video on your computers I am sooooo down!

I posted pictures so look at them! I'm going to steal pics from other folks too soon, because my camera died after Hemingway cafe in Florence! i would love to hear how you guys have been! I miss you!

I'll write about class tomorrow, because today was draining! But I love you guys!!

Pictures Posted!

Click away!

A new blog will be posted tonight!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

"Feeling God's Embrace Under the Tuscan Sun"

Today we visited the city of Cortona. Which can be known as where the movie Under the Tuscan Sun was filmed, with the heart of waht we imagine Italy to be all around, from the accordian player that greeted us at our descent off our bus. Or the AMAZING gelato and grinate and Pizza's that were enormous with interesting and mind blowing toppings and flavors; the beautiful open plaza and courtyard and the narrow alley ways where people hang their clothing to dry and cats and dogs litter the streets. It was just breath taking!

But what was most beautiful about Cortona was the center of Religion that it had in its foundations. We visited a large church at the edge of the city and when we entered there was so much history all round us, mosaic ceilings, oil paintings, beautiful statues and chapels for prayer. And as we explored this house of God, the orchestra of the church tuned their instruments. The pitched of Oboes and the Organ enveloped the experience. I kneeled to speak to God for the first time in a church in a very long time. It was releasing.  

After running around town, we hiked above Cortona to the Monastery where Saint Francis resided.  The hike was long and steep and painful at points as the sun beat down on our heads. But upon the arrival of the group at the gates we were all just speechless. As we turned the corner our eyes opened up to a sight that kept me at a stand still. It was peaceful, and serene and I felt God all around me. He was in the air and the smells of olive trees raced through me. Seeing the room in which he slept and feeling so humbled to it. Walking the paths the monks walk daily, and being silenced by the silence that is practiced at this place of faith everyday. I was dazed.

I am still dazed. 

1st Week and I am visiting Florence with good people. Good friends. So no entry for Saturday! But I miss you all too much for words. 

Sara, you are in my thoughts and prayers. I love you.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

"The Group is Always Right" and "Filling a Skeleton with your Soul"

Someone once told me... (oh to start a blog with this, cliche but needed).

Someone once told me as President of Kababayan you have to see your self not just as a leader, but rather a leader of leaders. This means that I should never see myself as getting the last word, or that my passions, thoughts and ideas are above those on my board, but that they are equally as important and should be ready to be compromised as much as my own. 

Today our exercise for group work had to do with this concept, and had to do with listening. We, were instructed to have our groups move as a whole, with certain rules and limitations that we as performers in the space we were in had no choice but to abide by (I could explain this further but it would be besides the point of this entry so I won't). Listening to the whole is a beautiful thing, because once you have reached a point of togetherness you feel as if you are a part of something greater.

It is easy to focus on yourself as an individual, but to be able to FEEL yourself engulfed something bigger its indescribable. And it didn't need any words to feel that connection to the whole, all it took was stillness and breath. 

At first my group seemed to be individuals who just could not and would not allow for complete listening. There was impatience, some could not wait for the whole to move, but wanted to initiate movement and be the leader. Some were reluctant to follow, or waited for a cue from another individual to lead them.

Michele pointed this out, he knew, but we knew too. He said that even if you make the choice to move and the entire group stays, even if your impulse may have felt right, if the whole of the group does not move, then the GROUP is becomes right. The group, the whole, is always right.

This is something to apply to our work in Kaba. Our Board can only work if the whole moves together. We don't have to have the same intentions, the same passions, but if we choose to make an action we must move together with ALL of the intentions in mind. 

Michele also said that it doesn't matter how long an action takes, if an action takes time, if it is cared for, then it will be more interesting it will draw you deeper.

We presented our dreams today, I don't know if I mentioned that we were doing that, we had to perform a dream, something that sleep had brought to us. And well I chose the dream I spoke of in my earlier blog, the dream of all of you. 

Your dreams, your soul are untouchable. I really am a complicated person. I need to start looking at the skeleton of things. We build the skeleton, we know the action and we must fill in the "drama." The soul.  

The response was good and it was gratifying to feel the room sharing that moment with me, sharing my dream. Michele appreciated my heart laid out on the table. I wish I could have had you all there to see it, its better than me just telling it. After class a couple of students gave their appreciation for my sharing, I can't explain to you guys how much doing this piece meant to me. 

I'm starting to see why I love theatre so much. It really is a window into someone's soul. Theatre is a reflection of life!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Brush with Death, Danger in Retrospect

So I was feeling bummy today and even though the whole of the school decided to go out to town I said "Nah, I'm going to sit in tonight." But then I just felt like not being that person who sulks in their confines when right outside their window is the Italian dream. Which of course means that I ended up going and I decided if I did I would enjoy myself to the fullest. 

We went out to the city and decided to get some real Italian Gelato, and it was really really good! I had Melone gelato, which by the way non Italian speakers, means MELON! Well anyway, after that we just kinda split up and I was with a couple of people, 5 of us, Julian, Cayenne who is from NY, and Mark and Cheryl who are pastors from the East Coast but sooo young and beautiful at heart, they are married and on the program as fellowships not students through the UCI program. 

But anyway we decide to take a route that Mark usually runs in the morning he found it, which is by a HUGE cemetery where there are these beautifully lit crypts. On my first night here we were looking out at the horizon at night and saw what looked like a large group of stone walls filled with lights. It looked like what a lit building in the city might look back in LA from a distance. It was those crypts which were BEAUTIFUL. They say there are more people buried there than the living population of Arezzo. 

It was erie to look over the wall and see all those spaces, there were thousands of windows for each crypt with memorials inside and it was breath taking, but also almost intrusive. I felt a strange security being there, but then again also the presence was all around me so it was a bit scary too. So we continue the walk around the cemetery and we squeeze through fences and follow graveled paths and there is no light but mine and Cayenne's flashlights, which we decided to bring on a whim on the way out (fate... I think so). And we get back to the main road and are just in awe by what we just walked through. 

When we arrive back at the villa Mark and Cheryl go to the Annex where they are staying and we head for our resident's hall. On the outside patio Jesse, the Academics coord is sitting with our teacher and the old student life coordinator Angelica, and we tell them where we have been. Jesse give us a look and says "NEVER, go to the cemetery at night!" And we all stare at each other in a little bit of fear.

"That area is where Drug Dealers, Addicts and Prostitutes sleep at night...and especially in flip flops," she says, "there could be needles and things on those paths you walked." 

I felt my stomach turn.

"Just don't go there at night again, its EXTREMELY dangerous."

We all turn to enter the resident's hall with our jaws dropped and get a little creeped out when looking at it in retrospect. Thank goodness we got back safe, but brush with Death... yes. 

That was the adventure I took to escape my homesickness. Amazing no?  

"The Superficial Dreams versus the Ones Where You Connect to Others"

Wine tasting at a Tuscan Winery today, and we were given the royal treatment. A wine tasting especially for our class. With appetizers and 3 types of very very good red wine and a lesson on wine drinking and selection. We went into the owner's celler surrounded by 25,000 bottles of wine dating from 1879 to today! They are supposed to be one of the most acclaimed wineries in all of Italy. I didn't get drunk, but I was on a strange high.
Today's class was a session on movement and combat. We did work where we needed to communicate through our bodies, we had to be the initiators and the ones to receive. And there were points where we played both roles simultaneously. A lot like performance, like acting, like living, like life itself. 

I'm doing my best to always stay connected and allow Michele's instruction to seep into not just my mind but be felt throughout my body so that its not about remembering what to do but allowing my body to feel the naturality of every movement to allow it to feel that what we are learning was never foreign but that instead it is being reintroduced as something instincual in my movements.

We worked with staff combat and balance and exchange. There was a lot of harmony in our little studio today. 

But what I remembered the most was the relation of dreams with performance. We can easily center our thought on our own individual fantasies, because they are our own, but it also closes off those outside of our minds from connecting with us.  In an ensemble when you must communicate and understand each individual's dream, including your own, there is no rom for the "superficial dream" This is something for KabaBoard 0809 to think about and hold onto for the year ahead. Let it sink in, I'm still allowing it to myself.

On the topic of dreams.

I woke up  this morning and a dream, a stream of thought that was pushed aside in the past three days I have been in Arezzo,  hit me right over the head. I woke up feeling the impact of these thoughts pushed aside, a dream that had caught up with me. I was confronted by the vision of everyone back home. And in that instance I felt overwhelmingly home sick.

It feels like I've been here for days, but its only been three. The excitement, the adventures, the discoveries, the intriguing and extraordinary people, the new environment the freshness of it all was shielding me from my insides. Everything has been fast forward up until this moment where my connection to this dream made me press STOP.

I turned on my computer and it was 1130pm at home. So many friends, family, were online. I messaged Michelle to connect on Meebo with me, she linked me and two small screens flashed on my monitor. One revealed my own anxious face and the other had Michelle, Pia, Kim and Wes with the exclamation of "We can see her! We can see you!"

My emotions flooded over me. I could barely speak even though I had so much to say. I miss everyone so much. I know, you guys tell me when I speak to you that I should just be focusing on my trip. I'm in Italy. 

And I am. I realize I am in ITALY!

But how could I ever allow this to be something to move my attention from you. I think about everything on my trip in relation to all of you. ALWAYS. Because even though this is a once in a lifetime experience, you are the ones that have built and continue to make up my lifetime.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

"Humans have lost their animal"

I am being instructed under one of the most acclaimed Commedia dell'arte performers in Italy. Michele is one of the four actors who has taken the role of Arlecchino in "Two Gentlemen of Verona" here in Italy, an he is absolutely amazing. 

The class today was a lot of physical theatre, movement that was basic but extremely challenging. The simplest movements can be the most difficult to master. 

We talked a lot about the body's center today, how the pelvis is your center, it is what drives youand in Commedia dell'arte a form of performance theatre where people are driven by power, sex and hunger, its no wonder why it would be your center. We meet at our centers.

"Humans" he says "have lost their animal". 

We think we are bi-peds but we were meant to be on our fours. we learned to have control by allowing our pelvis to be our centers. Our centers give us direction, they tell us our relationships with one another. This might not make too much sense, but it was a very simple and beautiful thought and allowed my movements to feel more controlled and natural. 

The body is a pretty miraculous thing.

I have learned so much about the animal in my body, just in one class sitting.
Michele says that we must recognize we come from ONE CULTURE, the same culture. If you can allow yourself to open your eyes to that, to understand that is our nature and animalistic truth, you can connect to each other much more.

He also told us about the body and how when a man tries to convince an audience that he is doing something real, he becomes not believable . Jeph Parker, my voice teacher last semester said something like this "Keep going deeper. When you think you have gone deep enough, keep searching deeper." I wonder to what degree I have actually accomplished just living on stage as opposed to trying to convince through acting?

We are going to be doing mask work in class, and from what we learned today the mask is an amazing thing. Every actor that works with a mask, brings life to it. Something of the human being, something different deep within can be revealed when a mask conceals the facade we put on during a daily basis. Michele says "We look to perform an "exorcism" of ourselves from the character, from the mask."  Humanity is seen beneath the mask. 

Today it was all about understanding an impulse, a reaction, how to be honest to your body. Just understanding what is happening to your human being when you perform. Understanding your animal.

After our 8 hours of class with only 1hour of lunch between, (which did not at all feel this long) I along with a coupe of homies decided to explore and find the nearest market to our villa. We hiked through vineyards and passed villas today to get to the local market. It was a long walk, but it was a beautiful journey, we tried all routes until we finally realized we had been going in the right direction during our first choice in the three forks in the road we hit. It was worth the adventure though. And Julian yelling "Escusi" over and over again trying to get the locals' attention, but failing. Again... I think they hate Americans. hahaha

We asked a man for help trying out some broken italian and he was talking to us in italian back, but then we spoke a bit of english and he started to too... it was hilarious!

Anyways, we made it to our destination finally and it was soooo much cheaper than the supermarket we went to yesterday. By the way, I don't know if I told you, but Euro sucks 1.6 times more in conversion than us. boooo... i bought plenty the drinks because I hate the water here, its calcium treated and tastes a bit funky. We felt accomplished and my tan is pretty tan hahaha, DarKaba maybe? We'll see if my Tuscan sun tan pans out!

After dinner I took an amazing shower and chilled outside with my friends Dana and Aarynn. Only for our teacher to start rocking out to Benny and the Jets with us. He comes and sits with us and we talk about his travels and his experiences and he brings us an Asahi beer each. We were knocking down beers with our teacher, this extraordinary performer, witty, charming and humorous italian man. It was amazing, until we got in trouble for being too loud. 11:00pm is quiet time in our Villa and in our neighborhood as a whole, we heard stories about yogurt and dirty mop water being thrown on folks who were making noise on our outside street past 11:00pm. The only place to do this is the Limonia. But our conversation with Michele just seemed to end too soon. 

Tomorrow is class again 9am sharp. I'm so happy to be in Italy and I am happy for the friends I have made! We're eating lunch in the best winery in Arezzo which is acclaimed all throughout Italy; they invited the students for a wine tasting and a light lunch... AMAZING! And then class all day and maybe hit the town late at night. We'll see where the wind takes us!

My few times I can be on my computer to say hello to you all is just to remind me how lucky I am that after I leave Italy to come home to all of you! I love you guys!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Day Two and still so much to do!



I feel extremely blessed for the experience that has been placed before me.


Arrezo is beautiful. For 5 weeks I am blessed, to be living in a gorgeous Italian Villa, I am blessed to be surrounded by 17 remarkably diverse individuals from different parts of the US, with different backgrounds and interests in performance and theatre, I am blessed to bask under the Tuscan sun, I am blessed to see the stars in the clear night sky, I am blessed. 


Our view from our shuttered windows is the city. In the morning we see villas atop green hills, and the city of Arezzo, with medieval walls that separate the ancient architecture from the fancy Italian boutiques, restaurants and shops. Shingled roofs, lines of vineyards and windy streets; at night the lights brighten up the sky so that the horizon creates a grandiance that is absolutely breath taking. The horizon glows and the crisp dark blue sky looks like pinholes have been poked through it and right lights shine through them. The stars are miraculous.


The villa is enormous. I share a large room with my roommate who is 27 years old, but extremely friendly and thank goodness; extremely tidy. In the villa we eat in the Mensa, a large room where we all eat banquet style. The kitchen and maintenance help are Filipino OFW’s I’m sure. But they are well taken care of here, they are treated like family as the rest of the staff and faculty and us students are treated as well.


There is a library of books and a lounge with computers and comfy couches we can use as we wish, but what’s especially great is that we have wireless internet so we don’t need to use this room! Except for the amazing book collection, which I will definitely tap in on!


We have a game room called the Limonia where we are allowed to hang out, watch movies, play board games and drink. They allow us to be as loud as we want in this student’s quarters, and they know that in fact we will be drinking… we have a fridge to store alcohol especially. We have yet to utilize it, but we are watching Hook right now.


There is a courtyard where we sit and talk about life and what has brought us here, what we have in planned for our lives and how Italy is a way for each of us to clear our thoughts and learn about ourselves.


There is a rooftop that I have visited at every break, that is where the view is most amazing! I can’t help but take my time up there just so I can feel the rush of the view crash upon my senses.


We went to the city today and walked for 5 whole hours! Almost 6! And it was amazing, just seeing the people and the history right before my eyes. I have so much to tell you all about what I learned of the Politics of Arezzo, the hierarchies, the power of the church.

The architecture can tell so much.

The people are amazing, I was watching them and just in a weird awe. The women, all carry themselves like they are the most beautiful things that God put on this earth and the men, are just so burly, with slick hair and just hairy in general. Hahaha. They really do not like Americans, they make fun of them. There is one girl on the program, Arynn, who is straight out of the OC, rich kid, elitist, but strangely really chill, and I saw the mocking eyes and comments of the Italian passerbyers.


It was a little disheartening.


I had dessert and a lot of different drinks today, but I can’t wait to try more foods, however the food at the Villa is AMAZING a different pasta and veggies at every meal, I am going to be so healthy out here! Unless I eat more than my stomach says I can!


I’ve made kinships with so many people here already. It’s been really easy to, I have a respect for my fellow abroaders and I just feel so happy to know them. There are really good people on this program.


I’m trying to go to Barcelona to meet up with Kevin and Giselle! Is it going to happen!?! I hope so. I have so much more to tell you guys about and I’ll blog pics soon but for now this is what I have.


I want to leave you with something the director of the school told us today at our “community meeting”; about culture.




When you are accustomed to one culture (most commonly among us students, the American culture) you allow that culture to define you. But to be exposed to different cultures that are outside of your normal, comfortable, scope, is to allow yourself to not have a culture define you but for you to find culture in yourself. He told us that one of our biggest goals is to discover what our own individual cultures truly is, or at least begin to understand this concept in terms of ourselves.


I hope that I can do that while I’m out here…


Day two of being here, and day one of really experiencing the city and tomorrow is the first day of classes. I am feeling anxious, nervous, happy and just ready.


More to come.


I miss and love you all!


Ciao for now.