Monday, January 31, 2011

The Hippies

Lounged in the sun on the stone steps this afternoon. Bought a sandwhich and brought my sister; we studied for a while. When the sun went behind the clouds and the temperature dropped, we started talking to the juggler and the harmonica player who had shared a can of corn on the steps below us.
They told us about their hitch hiking around Italy. They depended on people for food and for a couch to crash on.
We are living like, how do you say, Jack Kerouac. On the Road Again. said the harmonica player. Tonight we are staying at a Communist ladies house.
They were both going to school for Chinese language, Mandarin. That's almost as bad as my Classics degree. They looked cold, dirty, hungry.
For breakfast we had a big glass of milk each, then we climbed that mountain. The juggler pointed.
I stared. I longed to say Take me with you! I'm quitting school, and I will travel with you, depending on kind people. I could play the tambourine. You could teach me how to juggle. It will be fun. Let me go grab my back pack.
But I didn't. I have paid a lot of hard earned money to be here, to learn Italian and Art History. I need to stay still sometimes, in one place, to learn things in a classroom instead of through experiences. As much as every fibre in my body leaned towards moving forward with them, I chose to stay here. Maybe I am growing up.
We had to go soon. As we left, I said Here. Have an orange. and I offered them each a Clementine.
Thank you so much! This is wonderful! they said.
I smiled. You need your vitamins, I said. You should stay healthy. And I shook my finger at them, like a scolding mother. They laughed.
I laughed too, but inside I was sad and curious about what would happen to them. I wanted what happened to them to happen to me.
Maybe next time.

Monday, January 24, 2011

So, I think I will go live in a tree house in Olympos, Turkey, when I am done school in March.
Who knew things like this existed??

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

We settled into the rooms in the old monastary. I bought an extra cheap blanket since the nights were so chilly. I do not think any of us were prepared for the bitter damp wind that comes with living on the side of a mountain... they are mostly prairie kids anyways.
Matt, D and I went to Naples for this long weekend. It was almost like being back in Cairo again, but without the heat, fewer people, and- can you believe it- more garbage. It did not help that we arrived in the dark, and were staying literally on the wrong side of the tracks beyond the train station. That night we wandered around looking for something to eat, and stepped in dog poo, saw people buried in the trash, and saw a man pull out a gun and point it at someones head. But there were some beautiful moments. It was warmer than Cortona, t-shirt weather, and so one day we sat at a cafe by the seaside, outside in the sun, and ate pizza in short-sleeves. I wanted to take that couple of hours and bottle it and keep it for rainy January afternoons.

We three are going to Rome again this weekend. I love that city. I love that we can do weekend trips there. I am trying to stretch my money though, perhaps until June, to maybe visit some friends in Hong Kong. But Hong Kong is a million miles away from Syria or wherever I am going to be in May. We will see. I was trying to do some book-keeping last night, figuring out a budget, and I think I can do it if I spend $300 or less a week. Which will include accommadation, food, train tickets, etc. Haha, nothing ever goes according to plan though!

Dinner is the highlight of my day. We get served every night a large plate of pasta, often just with olive oil, garlic fried zucchini, and then a salad with some form of protein. Dessert is next. There is always a jug of wine on every table. It is warm, filling, healthy, delicious. We would all gain a zillion pounds but since we are living in a mountain town, none of the streets are flat... constant treks up hill and lots of stairs.

School during the day. We often play cards for a few hours before dinner. After dinner we either sit around and drink more wine and play games, or you can go hide in your room with a book. I do both.

I do not have early class today. I think I will go read for a bit. It is nice and quiet this morning. And warmer. The views are spectacular.