Archive | February 2014

My Thoughts on the Bus in Rome

I study abroad. Which means I go to school. Which means I have to get there. On the bus. Every day.

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Pictured: My nightmare

The ride to school usually takes about 35 minutes, and generally goes like this:

Is she wearing a fur vest and a t-shirt? So it seems. Fascinating.

Srsly you brought your stroller on this bus I will kick you. That is the least efficient use of space in existence, at least get a foldy one. Also where is your baby. Why is it not in the stroller. Do you even have a baby.

Oh and your two kids are standing and not even in their seats, excellent

They are seven, they don’t get seats.

Bus goes over cobblestones

I try to push my teeth back into my gums

Oh, good thing this man’s armpit is directly in my face good morning

The best paaaart of waking uuuup is deoOOooOOooooOdoraaaant

I should blog about this

Wish that I had a constant transcript of my thoughts

Elaborate slippery slope fantasy where this mental transcript leads society to 1984-like circumstances

That guy looks like Alan Rickman

Some of y’all motherfuckers better get off this bus, I’m not playing

Nope, more people are getting on instead.

There is no space 4 u here

Ugh okay guess we’re making space

annnnnd now you’re grazing my butt

Omg her hair how

“Where are we going? Is this the wrong bus?

O shit

*Elaborate mental image of me being crushed as a field trip of Roman fifth graders gets on the bus*

OMG a seat

Nope

Dammit, that nun took it.

…That was a bad thing to think.

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Hmm cute boy in sunglasses.

But is it bright enough to justify sunglasses or is he just a douche

Backwards hat…

Leather jacket…

Might be a douche.

Although he has his shirt buttoned all the way to the top, maybe he’s just European.

Reserving judgement.

Having a backpack on the bus is like the worst thing you can do. I am ashamed.

No wait, the stroller is still here. I’m good.

Is that a guy wearing yoga capris? Right on.

Ok srsly am I on the wrong bus? Where are we going?

Lost on the same bus I’ve been taking for a month, good work.

Should I get off or?

I’m going to be late.

Lost on the bus.

Lost.

So lost.

Wait is that Circus Maximus?

I’M FOUND

WHY ARE WE HERE THIS IS NOT THE WAY

O yea that road is closed

Is this 45-year-old career woman listening to Rack City?

Do you understand English or…?

What if Gangham Style is just vulgar af and we don’t know it, just dancing around like “yeah fuck ur mom lol riding the invisible pony”

gangnam style horse stable gif

Elaborate mental image of me just eating it on the bus floor, Roman locals looking on with disdain

Holy balls, this is the first police action I’ve seen in six weeks here GET HIM CHASE HIM DOWN WITH YOUR LITTLE SIRENS GO

Attempt to count repetitions of the word “ass” in “Dance A$$”

I really do think I can twerk

Positive or negative that my phone just autocorrected to twerk?

Ok everyone is wearing sunglasses, I revise my douche assumption.

Idea for thesis about the social dynamics of bus riding vis a vis the patriarchy

Realization that as much as I use the word in jest, I don’t really get what the patriarchy is

Oh thank you God, people are getting off the bus, good riddance

OXYGEN

BREATHING IS WONDERFUL

Oop, more people getting on now, that was a tease.

Large groups prendering buses together are demonic

Reflection on my use of Italglish

So fluent

Lol jk

I am Italian as a potato

Oh good, we’re back on the right route now

How is this girl wearing heels on these cobblestones?

I’m going to be six minutes late, I am the worst

Prepare elaborate explanation of why I’m six minutes late in my mind

Realize I’ll still probably be the first one to arrive

Fiftieth check that I haven’t been pickpocketed of the bus ride

I haven’t

Or have I

Must check more thoroughly

Elaborate mental scenario where someone pickpockets me and only takes my pepper spray and my six pizza and croissant receipts from Forno

Nope, think I’m still good

Whoa, that guy almost took a dive

Nice spectacles

Annnnd I’m off

Which bus was that, was that go-left-after bus or go-right-after bus?

Goes right

Turns around

Goes left

0 for 12 on that one

Condom vending machine, excellent

18 Euros dear lord, that’s like a kidney

Elaborate mental scenario where the devil accepts one kidney for the privilege of having sex 18 times. Cash register goes chaching as he stows kidney.

It’s All About Winter Term

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As of now, Winter is not really a thing in my life, since I’m in Italy and the weather is at worst 50 and drizzly and at best 60 and sunny. However, I did spend last Winter in the throes of the Arctic madness that is Dartmouth, and while desperately searching my computer files for my 6 page bucket list I thought I’d lost, I came across this document. It’s a letter I wrote to myself at the start of Winter term last year, and I think I gave myself some real (if banal) advice that I needed to hear again. I said:

“It’s all about winter term. I’m using 14 pt. so you know I’m serious. It’s going to be dark. It’s going to be cold. And you’re going to be in the best place in the world, with some of the best people, so get out there and fucking make the most of it.

Don’t feel sorry for yourself when you have to go out in the 15 degree weather. You look cute with pink cheeks.

It’ll be dark in the mornings. Get up anyway, and just do it. The worst part is getting out of bed, but you have things to look forward to today, girl!

Your body. Take care of it. You were lucky for so long and it just stayed nice without upkeep, but that time is over. You know how it feels to look in the mirror and not like what you see. And you know how the opposite feels. Do some abs, do some cardio, go the the gym for god’s sake. It’s right next door. Don’t care so much about getting sweaty. You think people are going to like you less if they see you one day with sweaty hair, or every day with ten extra pounds?

The day. Seize it. I know you’re scared sometimes of the opportunities and of growing up, but you don’t know what you want to do so what’s the harm in pursuing different things? If your initial inclination is yes, then don’t wait around coming up with reasons why not.

Don’t swear so much. Be classy.

Boys. They like you. Be friends with them. Be friendly. See where things go. You’re in college, and you don’t want a boyfriend anyway, so what are you all stressed about? Just have fun and don’t overthink it.

Don’t just be friendly to boys, be friendly to everyone! Adults too. No one is going to dislike you for talking to them. Or at least a huge majority of people won’t. So what’s the problem? You think you’ll embarrass yourself? What’s more embarrassing than sitting in the corner and not talking?

I’m not saying no foco ice cream or whatever, there aren’t any rules, just try. Try to eat healthier. Be reasonable. I know you will be.

Drink water, girl!

Don’t be antisocial. Give yourself some down time, yes, but you’re not going to remember the nights you laid in bed and watched Netflix.

On that note, make some memories. Do some wild stuff. It doesn’t have to be drunken wild or any stereotype, just some things you won’t forget. You’re in a great place with great people. Do some great things to match.

Don’t be afraid of doing work. You like to learn and you like school. You don’t mind reading or writing or talking to people, so stop branding it as a chore.

Don’t get discouraged if you’re not the absolute best. Focus on doing your best rather than THE best. But if you can be the best, be it. No shame.

Write some poetry or some creative stuff. Put down facebook.

In that vein… spend less time on Facebook. There’s no reason for it, you’re just filling the void. Fill it with something else! Not food.

Try not to procrastinate so much.

Don’t short change or take advantage of your friends. Remind them that you love them sometimes, and do special things for them.

Help strangers. Meet new people. Make new friends.

Play in the goddamn snow. It’s fun. Trust me.

Get more sleep, unless there are memories to be made. But find balance. It’s all about balance.

You’ve got this. You rock. Be confident and know that you deserve to be where you are. Keep deserving it. Make it yours. I love you, I respect you, I trust you. You’re smart and talented and beautiful and yada yada. :p Own it.”

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I couldn’t be happier with my 13W, and I made a lot of great friends and great memories, but it can always be more. There is always more to do and to see, and there are always more people to meet, and sometimes it serves us well to remember that.

THINGS THAT YOU WILL MISS UNEXPECTEDLY WHILE STUDYING ABROAD

I can’t be sure that you will study abroad. I can’t be sure that if you do, you will miss these things. Basically, this title is largely deceiving. Maybe I lied. But it was an accident.

I’ve been in Rome for almost a month now, and while it’s a great, tumultuous, wine-drinking-with dinner sort of experience, I find myself unexpectedly missing a lot of things about home I never would have expected. Things like:

-Eating early. Dinner time here is probably around 8 if you’re being judicious, and that’s a far cry from my Dartmouth life, where if food is not in my face by ten past six bad things will start to happen. It’s even further horrifying considering that over the summer I needed to eat dinner at 4:30 in order to get to work by 5.

-Smartfood Popcorn. I think this is probably the 3rd or 4th blog post since I left home that has included Smartfood, and for that I make no apologies. It is my snack food kryptonite, and the broad-spectrum lack of anything made with chemical cheese in Italy has not helped to assuage my withdrawal symptoms.

-Free drinks. By this I mean free refills in restaurants, etc., but also the ability to go out on any given weekend (or weeknight, you party animal) and be offered essentially anything you want to drink. And it’s free. It does not escape me that someone, somewhere, is paying for it (is that my “student activities fee” on the tuition bill? Did I just buy six tequila shots for a bunch of BG brothers without realizing? Is that my Keystone someone just shotgunned and then threw aggressively to the ground, spattering me with generations worth of grime and student-activity-fee?) but it is not me whipping out my wallet and paying like 7 Euros for a cocktail (Insanity).

-Free water. While we’re on the subject of beverages, water here is not free. If you’re a cheap bitch in the United States and you’re in the Smitty’s cinema trying to figure out a way to get closer to your semi-boyfriend while greatly impeded by the fact that the movie theater seats are free-wheeling extractions from a Sanford-sized junkyard of Lincoln Continentals, the waiter will come by and ask what you want, and you’ll say, “just a pitcher of water, please.” And it will be free. And you will get cups. And water. And ice. And you will not have to pay for it. Savvy?

-Being able to get back to my room in 10 minutes maximum. Dartmouth has a small campus. I can walk, hop, skip, or crawl like a toddler back to my room in almost no time. I rarely get lost (that’s a lie, I’m lost all the time. I got lost once on the stairs in the library). Here, if I go out, it’s going to take me at least 30 minutes, likely more, to get back. If I go out at night, I have to constantly check the time in an attempt to get on the bus before midnight, because after that they stop running. If you’re out in Rome at 4 a.m, which people constantly are, since they’ve probably just finished dinner, you’re basically boned.

-Frat doggies. Rome is filled with dogs, but they are not Samson. (This is Samson).

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-Boundless hookup opportunities. My friends from home (who I guarantee do not read this blog) would laugh if they saw this, because they know that I don’t do random hookups. Apart from the hot British guy from Stanford that one time, I prefer to convert in the context of complete sobriety. But, the feeling that you could have your tongue in someone’s mouth at a moment’s notice is really one of those things you don’t miss until it’s gone, ya feel?

-Real showers. How do I shave my legs in my squat little sitting shower with hand-telephone contraption for the spraying of myself? If I turn off the water, I get cold. If I leave the water on, the water gets cold. There is no winning.

-Being able to pay with my card. All jokes and legitimate statistics that say something like 30% of Dartmouth students are in the top 5% of the country’s wealth bracket (shudder) aside, money really doesn’t exist at Dartmouth. We have ID cards that we use to get into the dining halls and to buy discretionary things. You pay for your laundry that way, and unless you’re going off campus for dinner or to sample the meager shopping options, there’s not much you need cash for on campus. The 50 euro notes you can’t avoid getting from the ATMs here but simultaneously also cannot get change for in shops without eliciting an exasperated Italian sigh and some shade eye are rendered completely unnecessary.