Month One

I’m three days away from the one-month mark!

Wow, it’s hard to believe it’s been almost two weeks since I last posted. I’ve got a lot to share! First I’ll update you on my courses…

My Italian course is going well, we are making progress Rosella promises us, but sometimes I’m not so sure. Last night we went to a Florentina soccer match, but we didn’t understand what the announcer was saying or what the angry fans were screaming! We tried saying random words we knew in Italian, but then realized we mostly knew foods, which wasn’t useful. Yelling cornetto (croissant) or pomodoro (tomato), even as enthusiastically as those around us, didn’t work out well. We had our first quiz last week and all did well though.

This week my cooking class is making homemade pita bread and three traditional Meditteranean dips to enjoy. I’m incredibly excited for that and honestly have made peace with the crazy hats and long aprons we have to wear! Last week we made fresh pasta with pecorino (my new favorite cheese) and freshly cracked pepper. We have a class debate regarding the Meditteranean diet coming up! Also, who knew my cooking class would inspire me to choose my thesis topic! I’m hoping to write about the Marshall Plan and how Italian cuisine and culture was unintentionally impacted by urbanization made possible by the Plan.

My holocaust course is interesting, and truthfully, a class I enjoy taking because it’s only an hour and 15 minutes- my other classes are 2.5 hours and I have two back to back, sometimes 3! The professor is incredibly knowledgeable and it’s small enough that we all have the opportunity to talk.

War and Media is really interesting, but this weekend I spent a huge chunk of time creating a presentation for a group assignment we received last minute. I could tell you a lot about Fallujah, Iraq now though! That class is especially educational because we have a middle-aged man taking classes at our institute in the class with us. Our professor preaches peace journalism, but the man-student is a retired Air Force/ State Dept employee, so listening to the two debate figures is entertaining. However, it is a great reminder of perspective and I often wonder what the man-student thinks of all of us.

Last, but not least, is my body language and communication techniques class. Two classes ago we spent the entire 2.5 hours staring at paintings “trying to advance our observational skills”, but I grew a little bit frustrated when our interpretations were deemed incorrect time after time. It was entertaining, nonetheless. I actually really enjoyed this past week’s class, because we talked about the six primary emotions the whole class and watched contemporary youtube videos she selected to demonstrate signs of each emotion. I’m learning a lot! Apparently, part of the reason we instinctively cover our faces when we’re surprised, is because for a fraction of a second we don’t know which emotion we are going to feel next, so we hide for a moment and cover our faces. It makes sense, but isn’t that kind of interesting?

Enough about my classes! The weekends have also been fun! Last weekend we went to Lucca and Cinque Terre, while this past weekend we went to Bologna, Modena and a soccer match. I’ll post again with some pictures from those trips!



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