Friday, January 31, 2003
well, my last post for my second week of italy has arrived...
updates: language? improving slightly, although my accent will be forever... I ask shopkeepers questions in Italian and they respond in English almost every time. sigh.
travelling? sticking around home this weekend and hopefully i will find the time to get groceries and start working on postcards
God? when asked, bobby said *shrug*... i feel much more concrete than that, but i am slowly realizing how much i don't know and have a deep desire to learn... also, recognizing that the praise of men is much more important to me than the praises i should be seeking from God... something to work on
etc? many long emails sent, many emotions squeezed through my weary heart, but slowly feeling like life is exciting and remembering hope (note: faith, hope and love all work together, so i figure that by strengthening love and faith, which seem a little easier to me, i will again feel the presense of the third...)
that is all for now
oh, except for a slight brag about the chicken i made with fresh olive oil and wine for dinner last night... mmm...
posted by renee 5:13 AM
Thursday, January 30, 2003
ah... si!! it is nice to have blogger up and running again today... yesterday was of course a frantic race from computer to computer hoping that it was not the end of my ability to make posts...that would be no good...
i am doing much much better than last week. a friend of a friend says that things are much more colorful on the extremes of the spectrum... and he therefore finds some sort of peace when he is very upset... i, on the other hand, and contrary to popular opinion, don't do the dramatics in some hope of finding fulfillment in being miserable. in fact, i don't really think i can help it.
most of the time here, i am cold. i didn't bring a coat, which was a mistake. "oh, the climate's milder there.. it's been in the 50s lately" bah. false. the next two days are going to be the coldest of the year here, according to my poor-english-speaking international business teacher. that means i will be working all day on finishing my scarf in order to survive...
surviving is good for me. i mean... focusing on surviving. the idea that my whole life isn't just about entertaining myself (the dillusion of adolescence) but the italians seem very different. about 70% of 18-34 year olds live with their parents here. they don't generally contribute any money or help to running the household, and only about half of them even keep their rooms in order. strange. but that's just how things work here. your first house is almost always bought by your parents, and you will buy a house for your child when he get married. about 40% of newlyweds will settle down within a half mile of their parents. hmm... very different.
olga, my belarussian roommate, had a friend over from france yesterday. i feel so... closed-mindedly american i guess. olga left home at 16 to go to norway for the rest of her high school. then she went to maine for her first two and a half years of college, and now she finds herself here, studying abroad from studying abroad. her french friend spend her last two years of high school in bangledesh and then Maine, and now she's taking a term off to take care of a couple of kids for a family that is staying in Italy while their house in the states is rennovated... and i think i'm so high and mighty for leaving nebraska for college... sigh. i am not international after all. because really, i am here as an extended vacation in which i happen to cook for myself and study sometimes. i don't live here. and if i did, i don't know if i would want to stay. the reason that the things here are quaint (people washing the sidewalks instead of watering lawns, because everything green here is growing in a pot) because it's an escape from real life. if this was my real life, they would drive me nuts. anyway. that was long. i apologize. and i apologize to the recipients of my long emails as of late, also... apparently i'm going through internet withdrawal....
posted by renee 3:52 AM
Tuesday, January 28, 2003
i wish i had a digital camera
the 9:00 bus and the 9:07 bus come at the same time here, and no one cares
this is good for me
posted by renee 4:31 AM
Monday, January 27, 2003
went to pisa. took pictures of the tower without which the town wouldn't even be on the map.
went to lucca. realized that once someone starts saying "it's such a pretty town" that you think that when you get there, even if it really isn't that cool.
but it was nice. there's a 145 foot tall tower that has trees growing on top of it. for €3.50 you can climb up. a racket, i say, but i suppose it was worth it.
some things are overrated, but i like them for what they're worth anyway.
and there was this cute little craft fair there, too. i bought something, but i can't say what it is, because it's a gift for a (faithful?) reader
talked to parents and m on the phone, and that was nice. nice and expencive, though. bah.
i hope i don't get so wrapped up in money that i don't travel as much as i should. hmm... working on that one in my head still...
anyway, it was a nice weekend, and i am glad i'm here.
posted by renee 3:20 AM
Friday, January 24, 2003
yesterday i sat in a corner, surrounded by people washing down their vino with multiple shots of grapa (50% alcohol... whoopie!) and washing that down with bites of zuppa inglese (estimated 90%) alcohol. and i thought "wow. good thing i came to italy where the water comes in bottles and the wine comes in pitchers." and they shoved small glasses of "water" in my face and i wrinkled my nose and was glad that i somehow didn't find it tempting at all.
but today i find myself pretty happy.
posted by renee 4:54 AM
Thursday, January 23, 2003
had my early class today... 1:20 am your time
so quit complaining about your 9 am classes, capisce?
yesterday all i ate was two eggs (scrambled) and a twix bar
i think this is the "culture shock" part of my emotional curve
or maybe my emotional curve is different from the typical international experience because i brought all of my personal issues here with me to deal with in "all my free time"
but the fact that i am the only non-drinking virgin in my apartment may have something to do with it
question: how come having standards usually comes off as being naiive? i fail to understand and it frustrates me.
posted by renee 3:03 AM
Wednesday, January 22, 2003
i'm in italy
what the crap am i doing?
well, mostly, i'm trying to blend in more (which is hopeless... stupid blonde hair...) by looking generally disinterested
and i'm realizing that i might enjoy telling people about this trip more than i enjoy the trip
most of my life is lived in retrospect
that is pathetic
but here i am
and dang it, once i get over this lethargic jet-lag induced laziness, i will have some fun
and they didn't lie about the gelato, either
posted by renee 3:18 AM
Tuesday, January 21, 2003
i have been informed in the past that i'm a little dramatic...
and i see it here more than anywhere
last night i got myself completely emptied of hope for awhile
like life has nothing to offer me
and i'm growing up too fast
i guess it's just the knowledge that this experience will soon be over
and then following will be my last summer as a kid
and then LIFE
it seems i have yet to look full in the face of my creator
but everything i've tried since kidhood has fallen short
and my states life looks even more like a movie from here than it does while i'm in it
added to "your place" and "my place," we've found "your time" and "my time"
i wonder what charlie would say about that....
posted by renee 3:03 AM
Monday, January 20, 2003
it's really hard to fall asleep when your body is telling you it's 5 in the afternoon.
i stopped looking for people who understand me, and all of a sudden, i end up talking to a kindred spirit in a random coffee shop in firenze.
life is so strange... but so fast that it's hardly worth adjusting sometimes.
that is all for now.
posted by renee 6:10 AM
Saturday, January 18, 2003
i was on a plane, and i felt it when the wheels left american land, and for some reason, that's when it hit me.
what was i thinking?
and as we pulled away from the ground i thought "and snow creeps onto the river veins of my country just like the fat from a billion cheeseburgers cloggs as many arteries in my countrymen." and then i laughed.
but some force has brought me here, to an itty bitty computer lab in the heart of firenze...
and i don't know yet what He will do with me here, but i suppose that's all part of the adventure
posted by renee 6:03 AM
Wednesday, January 15, 2003
one more night
i like it when you're sitting at a stoplight and you have a minute to look at the people sitting in their cars around you. most people get in this comfort zone where they don't think about the fact that they are still in full view of their fellow drivers. the tough guy croons along with the newest top-40 sensation at the top of his lungs. the sorority brat examines a pimple in her rear view mirror. and i watch as the woman in the car behind me wipes away violent tears and the man driving puts his hand on her head in the only gesture of help he can think of. and i wonder what goes on behind the visual picture of them i have. sometimes i wonder if life is, in fact, infinitely complex. maybe "elementary particle" is an illusion we create to feel like we've mastered creation. hmm... i feel like not going to italy at this moment.
posted by renee 8:23 PM
Tuesday, January 14, 2003
discovery: although the hiker's backpack that will accompany me to italy is large, it is smaller than my house
therefore, many things must be eliminated from the sum total of my belongings before the zippers will agree to close
one more normal morning in the united states
one more jones with my favorite boy
one more dinner with the family
one more runza... mmm
and a challenge: in all of this frantic packing, what essential will renee forget?
if you get it right, i just might knit you a pair of mittens....
posted by renee 11:50 PM
tonight i sat knitting across from jim sketching
and casually, purposefully eavesdropped
the guy at the next table put away the course packet he got today
[first day of classes]
and said to his friend
she's very pretty
i've been praying a lot
and i just started watching her
i had this funny feeling, like i was very full somehow
the next time i see her, i'm going to ask her
i have to
through the whole retreat, i just kept watching her, learning about her
she's really quiet at first, and i just love that
and physically, i mean, she just has it all
5'5", gorgeous curly hair
i don't wanna mess around with it, though
i just want to do this right
it's so good to finally feel like i at least know for sure what i want
and elsewhere, it was every girl's dream that someone is having that conversation about her
posted by renee 1:08 AM
Monday, January 13, 2003
today i woke up at 7 pm italian time
i will wake up across an ocean in four days
there's this boy and sometimes i love him, sometimes i'm scared of loving him, and sometimes i'm scared of not loving him
and this is only the best time of our lives because it will be over soon and everything after this is just repetition
when i eat cheesecake, i like to peel off paper thin slices with my fork and let it melt in my mouth
i have more to do in the next three days than i can list, and yet my motivation's at an all time low
in conclusion: i like MUSIC, i like BANDS, i like ELECTROMAGNETIC WAVES HITTING MY EARDRUMS
posted by renee 1:58 PM
Saturday, January 11, 2003
i am afraid of becoming an annoyance or a bore to the person to whom i commit my life one day.
but there really isn't anything i can do to protect myself except putting up walls so no one ever finds me.
if i'm boring, i'm boring. if i'm annoying, i'm annoying.
and if someone eventually finds that out, well, that's just the way it's gonna be.
i just don't like feeling like maybe i've already been discovered and my fate is sealed.
posted by renee 6:29 PM
looking at old pictures of myself left me both amused and amazed that all that i am today is wrapped up inside or waiting to happen to the little girl with skinny legs stuck awkwardly in rollerskates. and i see glimpses of my future self in the older women in my life. someday i will make quiche crusts with the confidence of my mother, and people will depend on me like they do on her, and i still won't have figured out how to take a compliment. and in the distant future (on my time-scale, that is) i will still find joy in creating art, i will make those perfect dinner rolls for my granddaughter, and i'll still have the "grit" i am accused of harboring, just like my grandma. but sometimes it seems like all those phases of my life are somehow not really me. that the real ME is this instant. my past and future are someone else entirely.
also, i have to get up at seven am. nice that i don't smell like smoke tonight, though. it's a welcome change. sleep... mmm...
posted by renee 12:50 AM
Thursday, January 09, 2003
in an effort to be spontaneous, i let ella and abby convince myself to cut three more inches off my hair on a whim this evening. i suppose it doesn't matter that much, really. i mean, i'm twenty bucks poorer (like it matters that much when i'm this poor already) and have a lighter head that won't be ponytailed for awhile. heck. we also got a deal on our pizza because the cashier thought we were cute and played one of those arcade games that eats your quarters faster than you can figure out how much money you're spending to shoot aliens on a screen. and this summer we're going to learn how to shoot real guns, just for kicks. you're only young once...
posted by renee 11:04 PM
Wednesday, January 08, 2003
true love does not conquer all. but it sure feels like it could sometimes.
posted by renee 11:15 AM
Tuesday, January 07, 2003
warning: not worth your time
so maybe i spend my whole day with words running back and forth across my mind and never come to any conclusions. and maybe i sit in mo java, listening to techno and knitting, and when i look up, i notice how the yellow light shining through my jones bottle makes a half rainbow in the dark blue liquid and it intrigues me more than anything has all day. and maybe, just maybe i read all the valentine's day cards at walgreens just to scoff at their generic professions of undying devotion. and maybe sometimes i think he was right (9-8-02). sometimes i let myself believe that i am incapable of falling madly in love. but maybe madly in love is a little too dangerous for me anyway. even just plain "love" has proven itself a risk. sometimes i want to gather our memories, my feelings, and his heart and thrust them back at him like i don't care, even though i do. because i'm afraid that i'll look back in twenty years and think myself a fool, or that he will. and then i talk to bobby for a few brief moments and my hands get shaky over the keys. a figment of my cyber-imagination almost, and he makes my fingers less certain. sigh. i feel full with contrived emotion when i've gotten too hard to care anymore. all i want today is to sink into myself and avoid anyone who would pull me back out. i'm all dammed up. caution and fear make distance my safety net. i need to purge somehow, but don't know quite where to let the cascade fall. maybe that's how i'll know in the end... one day the dam will break, and if whoever it falls on can take it, the reward will be well worth it. "i love you very much renee, have a good night's sleep." and maybe i will think myself a fool looking back. but so what?
posted by renee 1:04 AM
Monday, January 06, 2003
oh yeah, and the night before, i found myself eating scruptiously inauthentic mexican food in a random hallway in bryal memorial hospital with three of my favorite people. and such is the magic of mij.
posted by renee 2:16 PM
yesterday i found a roll of smarties in the pocket of my leather jacket, and i don't remember putting them there. but all i thought was "why couldn't that have been a twenty dollar bill instead?"
posted by renee 2:05 PM
Friday, January 03, 2003
there are a lot of comforts in being in the place you grew up. the familiarity of it all... knowing who's coming down the stairs in my house by how the wood creaks, avoiding the mountain dew on the fountain drink machine on the south side of amigos because it makes a really loud buzzing sound, stopping at best buy and running into people who saw my mom when she was rounder because i was growing inside her... and friends who make $20 bets on who'll get married first...
for the record:
lisa goes first: she owes $20 to both me and abby
abby goes first: i owe $20 to her, she owes $20 to lisa
i go first (yeah, right): they both owe $20 to me
and these are the things you tell your kids about in twenty years, and they laugh at how weird you were when you were in college
also, happy birthday mom!
posted by renee 2:26 AM
Wednesday, January 01, 2003
---sometimes when i'm playing hostess i escape for awhile. wander downstairs, blow dust off other people's framed photographs, catch glimpses of myself in mirrors, my face half shadowed. and after everyone else has gone home, we stay. three girls with light brown hair sometimes mistaken for blonde, one queen size bed, six in the morning, words tumble out, thoughts empty themselves into the post-party stillness. and this is love.
---the next afternoon, down cappucino with j and remember the old days. his presence is comforting. he greets me with plutonic kisses on the cheek every time i see him and says we can't lose touch when he leaves to fulfill his chi-town dreams. and this is love.
---and i get home to my grandma sleeping on the recliner, still uncomfortable with the metal pins sticking out of her wrist, and my mom in the kitchen like i knew she would be, taking care of her family as usual. and this is love.
new year's resolution (same as last year): don't get as fat as john goodman.
posted by renee 3:19 PM