Consolation Prizes

I apologize for being out of touch lately. I'm packing to go home. 'Nuff said, eh?
Here's some ear candy in the meantime.

sorry, great song.

Late of the Pier!

I sympathize.

Coming home on Saturday!


My literary life...

and the wonderful delusions that come with it. As I was writing in a letter to a friend the other day, I've long since liked to pretend as though my life were some epic novel. I've read about people such as this in my English classes - heroines that seem to think that life is one ironic story. They see heroes in ruined men who only have the capacity to disappoint, see in themselves a resolve to suffer solely because it makes life more beautiful.
For some reason this gives me hope and this has mostly to do with the poetry life can contain when sought out. I have no reason to believe that my life isn't, in some way, literary. I had a trying semester that ended badly, I stepped out of my world, journeyed to a new one, and had a life-defining experience. I was in denial, faced the truth, felt acutely all of the actions that could have morphed into an elaborate tapestry of regret, finished a book on a train to Paris, and instead, I forgave myself. Then I began to live. I could have become more guarded, could have decided that my open nature was unwise, and changed in order to feel less. Instead, I've embraced even more who I am because I've had to reevaluate the reasoning behind it.
If I imagine my life as a novel (hopefully a well-written one), it gives senseless things definition. Characters, the ones at least that play a part in an important experience, leave prematurely, but usually come back at the most appropriate time. I leave this city that witnessed my most honest and raw moments; in a plotline, it doesn't follow that I won't return.
There have been many times already that I've felt as though this life view was foolish. Real life isn't poetic, loose ends are left untied every day. I look back, though, on everything up to this point and I simply see no reason not to be hopelessly Romantic (yes, capital R) in regard to life. Forgive me for wanting to live in a world where things are unpredictable in their beautiful predictability, their poetic endings. Forgive me in advance for inflicting upon you, those I'm close with, all the multi-faceted intrigue of a dynamic character. It's just my nature.

And in the word's of Gibran, who now seems to be the author of this transitional stage in my life:
Almustafa, the chosen and the beloved, who was a dawn unto his own day, had waited twelve years in the city of Orphalese for his ship that was to return and bear him back to the isle of his birth.
And in the twelfth year, on the seventh day of Ielool, the month of reaping, he climbed the hill without the city walls and looked seaward: and he beheld his ship coming with the mist.
Then the gates of his heart were flung open, and his joy flew far over the sea. And he closed his eyes and prayed in the silences of his soul.
But as he descended the hill, a sadness came upon him, and he thought in his heart:
How shall I goin peace and without sorrow? Nay, not without a wound in the spirit shall I leave this city. (Gibran Kahlil Gibran - The Prophet)



an Italian song I like!

Just look at those dance moves. Irresistible.

Eye Contact

Recently I've gotten into conversations regarding a specific habit of mine: eye contact. I personally feel as though it's one of the most revealing gifts you can give to someone - whether it's a friend, a love interest, or a complete stranger. It shows curiosity - something I have in spades. I want you to know me, if only for 2 seconds as we pass on the street. I want you to be curious, too.
Throughout my time here, actually, throughout my entire life, I've made many friends in unique situations that I will most likely never see again. Why? Eye contact. It invites people in. In a world full of people who remain inside themselves, only thinking of another destination, that meeting next weekend, the late flight; eye contact makes someone snap out of their own thoughts. Whether or not the question that arises is "Who is that?" or "Why the hell is she looking at me?", it pulls the person out of their infinite vacuum of introspection.

Eye contact, and being comfortable with it, is one of the most valuable lessons to learn. Just imagine the amount of interesting people one can meet if the other person feels comfortable enough open up. Some of the most intriguing conversations and individuals I've come across in my 19 years have occurred as a result of eye contact.
This isn't to say that eye contact only applies to people of the opposite sex. Once, while I was in Scotland I let and older woman have my seat. She looked like my Nana and I made eye contact with her, smiling - it was returned sweetly. Before she got off the bus I told her that she reminded me of my Nana, sharing also that I miss her every day. The woman, mercifully and wonderfully, gave me a hug and kissed me on the forehead. Needless to say, it was a profound experience in a mundane background - a crowded bus on the way to the airport.
I received an email from a man I met in the London airport on the way back to Florence - we struck up a conversation in the obscenely long line to pay Ryan Air for some silly expense. He's been reading my blog and offered this commentary about our chance meeting:
I noticed that, with very little effort, you were able to strike up a conversation in such un-aesthetic circumstances as a queue to pay a check-in fee.
Here's the thing, a rather hippy-ish comment if I do say so myself: everyone has something intriguing inside of them. Why hide it and why not seek it out? Eye contact.


I'm just sayin...

All of my writing energies in this moment in time are being devoured by one of two things: writing my Art History paper or sleeping. I apologize.
This post is going to be a certifiable journey through randomness - a beautiful place where my shoes chill in the refrigerator and giraffes attend Mustachio Bashio parties. Rudabaga!

I've been making lists in one particular notebook of mine, and here are a few selections from these lists so far - feel free to judge me based completely on what's written below.
Things That Make Me Happy
Texas Pete Hot Sauce
- dancing
- nail polish (especially hot pink, dark purple, or navy blue)
- crushes
- sneakers
- eye contact
Words That I Like
sizzle, ravenous, fuzzy, decadent, smuggle, skulk, moxie, enigmatic, cantankerous, archaic, stupendous, gummy, presumptuous, facetious
Good Movies
Meet Joe Black, The Magnificent Seven, Sin City, Kill Bill (both), The Shadow, Back to the Future (the first one), High Fidelity, Aladdin, Stranger Than Fiction

Speaking of Aladdin...

seriously? It's worth mentioning that watching Disney songs in other languages is infinitely amusing.

Look, I'm just saying, this may be a completely pointless use of my time - posting lists and videos that only I find hilarious - but I'm doing it anyway. I'm frustrated, so here's a list of questions.
- Why do we need reasons for everything? How did this semester go by so fast? Why can't people just be honest? Why do things have to be complicated/difficult? Where does that sinking feeling in your stomach come from medically? I'd like to know; I'll put it on my list of Things to Google.

Now here's one more list.
Things I'm Honest With Myself About
- I'm terrible at taking criticism
- I don't want you to be indifferent, because I'm not
- I'm slightly scared about leaving Italy
- my imagination is eerily good at creating mental mirages

To end in randomness - a mirage is also, incidentally, a car.


The Cure

for just about anything.


Moment of Infinite Bliss

Sometimes things just fall into place perfectly. These moments cannot be planned, forced, or manufactured.
I was sitting in Caffe Amerini as usual, just finished some good pasta, Daniel's package of yogurt covered pretzels and dried pears in hand, and was already happy enough. I had already eaten one of the pretzels but the pears still remained unopened.
Smiling, I opened the bag and selected one carefully - the first one is always the most important. Biting into it, images of high school rushed back: Kate and I getting these dried pears in Yoder's before a soccer game, sitting in Ethan's Miada in the parking lot talking, skipping 5th block for an extra 25 minutes at home, navigating around Charlottesville in Daniel's massive pickup listening to Def Leppard...then as if I wasn't swimming in incandescent joy already, this song came on:

In that moment I felt as though bliss stretched on and on like an endless highway situated in the sublime regions of my imagination. These are the moments that make me grateful for being easy to please.


I always pride myself on being decisive. When other people are shifting uncomfortably, staring into the dark abyss of not knowing which movie to watch, I'm the obnoxiously blinding light that will negate their confusion. We're going to watch "The Big Lebowski." Done.
Decisiveness comes in handy - I'm staying up late tonight, we're going to see this movie, let's go to this restaurant - but does that also translate to more serious decisions?
I've been thinking lately about how I can see my life going in so many different directions. I can go back to Charlottesville, graduate with an English major and try to write for a respectable publication in the US. I can see myself living in Europe, in Edinburgh for my Masters or in Italy working with Art; I can see myself going completely wild, learning Hindi and moving to India for a few years just for the experience. Is this indecisive? Should I go get a Tarot Card reading to put me on the right path once and for all?
Basically my view on decisiveness works like this: when time is wasted in limbo, I step in. Let's not waste 30 minutes deciding what to do tonight; we're going to Fiesole to watch the sun set and then after that we'll go back and cook some dinner. I don't want to spend time talking myself into and out of something, I just want to try it. If it was a bad call, then I'll know that sooner, be able to make a note of it, and move on.
This being said, I'll probably write a post next week about the virtues of not making rash choices and taking time to think things through.

Two songs by Pink Floyd that factor into everyone's decision-making:


Random outbursts of song.

Lately my journal has been accumulating many entries centered around one common wish: why can't my life be a musical? I'm fully aware that this is not a particularly unique wish, but I find myself thinking about this a lot.
As I was on my way to and from London (I promise I'll cover that subject more in-depth later), I listened to my iPod continuously and of course wanted to live in such a way that breaking out into spontaneous dance sequences and music numbers would be seen as perfectly normal and acceptable.
Similarly, if my life were not a musical, and simply a movie, I often wonder what songs the soundtrack would feature. For example:
I want to be heartbroken to this song.

This would be my travel song: train, plane or automobile.

And, I can't leave this out, this would be my falling in love song, but only in my musical, and not the movie.

Tonight, on the way back to Florence I listened to that song, lip-synching and staring out of the window. If my life was a musical I might have opened my mouth and let my eager vocal chords be heard. Ideally, the other passengers would not have been phased and would have kept on reading their novels, sleepily leaning on those shoulders, unsuccessfully whispering. Meanwhile, I would have kept gazing out of the raindrop-covered window singing, "Just open up your heart and let this fool rush in, oh, open up your heart and let this fool rush in." My forehead would have crinkled strategically, conveying my naive and pleading heart.


Oldies but goodies

As mentioned before, I've been listening to Patsy Cline lately, whom I adore. During "Back In Baby's Arms," my childhood favorite, Patsy's voice lilts "don't know why we quarreled, we never did before."
I have two notebooks, one is my journal/diary, the other is a notebook solely for lists. I have a favorite word list, and quarrel is going on there immediately. Why did quarrel get elbowed out of the English language by words like "baller," "bling bling," and "Facebook friend (the verb)?" OMG! He defriended me on Facebook!
Poor quarrel is there sulking in the dusty and cobwebbed corners, rarely used, rarely heard, mostly forgotten. I feel bad for it, and I think it should return from its tragically long exile. Couples that quarrel are probably much happier fundamentally than those that fight. I want to have rows, not blow-ups. I want to quarrel.
When I imagine a night of quarreling I see a quiet night alone with my man; we pick a fight about something silly, something domestic. It gets a little out of control and after a while I look up at him and say sweetly and softly, "I'm sorry, I don't want to quarrel anymore." Afterwords, we dance slowly to the jukebox, maybe to Patsy herself, he in his cardigan sweater and button-up, and me in my apron and starched dress. His cigar smolders, abandoned.


Patsy Cline

is always a favorite. This song reminds me of driving through the countryside, passing general stores with rusted soda machines and men in overalls. She's the part of my childhood soundtrack that taught me how to be heartbroken with class and dignity...or at least, if I ever learned that lesson it would have been from her.

I accept your apology, Feist.

Rediscovered Feist's "So Sorry" today when sifting through my iTunes library. I wish fighting could be like this song.

As I see it...

fashion is a big deal, especially here. Beth and I have remarked many-a-time on how back at UVa we'd go to class in sweatpants and a t-shrit 75% of the time, simply not caring how we looked to our TAs and groggy classmates. I saw a girl on the street today wearing athletic shorts, a t-shirt and flipflops and I was appalled - this just isn't acceptable.
Since being here I've really gotten into fashion, but is that completely superficial? Maybe. I want to be a fashion photographer (though not limited only to that sphere), I get excited about putting outfits together, I love flipping through Vogue, and (thanks to Colleen) I always check The Satorialist for ideas.
I admire the way clothes can transform someone. For example, if I trudged out of my apartment on a rainy morning in sweats and a t-shirt, I would feel tired, meek, and a little drab. If I, on the other end of the spectrum, strutted out in heels, jeans, my leopard print tank top and a vest, I'd feel rather empowered as evidenced by today.
Listening to the remix of "I Kissed A Girl" (I know, bad song choice), I catwalked around Florence. Squaring my shoulders and holding my head up, I played chicken with people on the sidewalks seeing if they'd move to let me pass - I won most of the time. I'm going somewhere fabulous in these shoes, can't you see that?
I can pretty much attribute this new affinity for fashion to: a) Italy's obsession with it but b) also it's laid-back nature in concern with labels. Sure, people walk around with Gucci and Chanel bags, I see Fendi and Roberto Cavalli every day on my way to school, but I don't feel any less fashionable because I don't have a huge label plastered on my chest. No one cares. The person is more important than the label they're wearing - that's how fashion should be. Spend 1000 euro on a dress if you have the money, but don't scream about who made it. Make it yours instead - define the clothes, don't let them define you.
The simple fact is, clothes turn heads. If you can rock an outfit enough that it merges into your personality, accentuates your mood, and doesn't overshadow you as an individual, you're going to have a good day. Feeling classic? Wear some black. Feeling alive? Radiate color as you walk down the street. The point is: do yourself a favor and make it obvious how awesome you are through one simple glance. Oh, and always listen to David Bowie.

Photos by The Satorialist


I still love this song

especially when I imagine Steve Carrell dancing to it.

peace love ecstasy.


The Russians Are Coming!

Title is movie reference to 1966 film of the same name, and is worth seeing. Strangely enough my walk home from Caffe Amerini reminded me of it as there was a Communist demonstration against Berlusconi a couple minutes from my apartment.

Maybe you can help me with the translation Italians - something about the Man being happier? What?

Apologies and Photographies

Sorry for the long pause in posting, as mentioned in the previous post, the parents were in town and when I wasn't with them I was most likely sleeping. I have decided that I don't post enough pictures (besides just not posting enough period), so I'm going to catch up on that. Here are a few of my favorites lately.