10 things you promise yourself you’ll do every break (that you’ll never actually do)

As a college brat on the trimester system (in fact, Dartmouth has a “D Plan” that is slowly in the process of ruining all college relationships by keeping students on for one summer term and then allowing them one off term of their choice), I have a lot of “breaks” from school. With the exception of my most recent “spring break,” over which I toured Europe in a very un-Stacy-like move, I have returned home for all of my breaks. Even the miserably long one between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. During these breaks, I always tell myself that I will use the time for certain worthwhile pursuits, such as:

1: See high school friends.

427274_2382683986371_809918202_n

I’ve been in New Hampshire, they’ve been in Maine, blahdyblah, star-crossed friendship, impossible circumstances, one-state-divide, etc. The problem with this is that apart from one group chat I have with two friends which we use to update one another on the states of our uteruses, I don’t keep in much touch with my high school friends while I’m at college. They are busy, I am busy, and shockingly, there isn’t generally that much uterine news to report. While I’ll see one or two on each foray back to the homeland, we get together less frequently than one would expect (not to mention, there is nothing to do in my town that beats marathoning Teen Wolf in my bed).

2: Cultivate some skills

There is a sticky on the side of my desktop as I write this with the header, “skills to cultivate.” It includes useful shit such as “cooking,” “sewing,” and “compass and map navigation” (?), but also memorizing the presidents (that’s not a skill, Stacy) and escaping handcuffs. Safe to say, I have learned none of these things over this or any break, though I must admit I have put the most effort into learning to escape handcuffs.

3: Exercise/lose weight/ try paleoveganovolactopescamultisyllabic diet

To my credit, over summer break I lost 13 pounds. I needed to do this, as I had gained a commensurate amount at the start of college, and since my sister then weighed less than me, I could not let such heft continue. Back at school for the fall, I went to the gym once or twice a week, and then proceeded to go to Italy and exercise precisely zero. And eat precisely everything. The problem with this was less gluttony (despite my penchant for fried croissants and gelato) and more the fear of saying no to my host mother, who prepared me positively monstrous portions and tsked her little old italian tongue at me and said “che peccato” whenever I couldn’t finish (what a shame, what a waste). Roman Catholic guilt-weight should be a more heavily explored topic for sure.

4: Read classic literature

I started War and Peace over winter break as a promise to my then-boyfriend. Then-boyfriend had managed to finish it in three days, and insisted that I read it as well. I started it. I made it through part one. I broke up with then-boyfriend in order to escape the horror that was the idea of reading the remaining 800 pages.

If it’s 800 pages of Eragon, let me at it. But 800 pages of badly-translated Russian? Enough to cut ties.

Head and neck of a dragon. She has spikes on her scaly curved neck and antler-like projections over her eyes.

5: Find a job/ internship/ occupation/ apartment/ life plan

I scrolled through the campus jobnet for eleven minutes the other night. I bookmarked some things. That counts.

6: Set your sights high

When I started this post, it was titled “25 things you promise yourself you’ll do every break.” It has since been narrowed down to 10 things. I feel this accurately represents my life.

7: Online flirt with a boy from school

I’m a great online flirter. Facebook chat is my bitch. Texting is my mistress. I crush these things, and when face-to-face interaction is taken off the table for an extended period of time, my crush-inciting ability skyrockets (there’s an inverse correlation between interactions during which I can’t spell-check and/or delete things I say and perceived attractiveness). My prospects, however, remain as bleak as usual, as there are never any boys to Facebook chat. I suspect this is due to me having graduated junior high.

8: Get back on a reasonable sleep schedule

Illusion: I leave behind the days of 3 am to 10:30 am sleeping, resetting my body to a healthy 10:30 to 8:00 schedule that I will adapt to and sustain for the rest of the school year.

Reality: Sleep schedule expands out to fill available space, becomes 3 am to noon.

puppy animated GIF

9: Spend quality time with family

Three minutes into them picking me up someone is always shouting that we’ve made the wrong turn, another is pulling an ill-advised u-turn in an Arby’s parking lot, and someone else is loudly singing in the backseat “Jesus take the WheeeeeEEeeEl.” That last person is me.

10: Wear pants more

This is a lie. I’m ending with a lie. I never intend to wear pants over break.

tom cruise animated GIF

Rome Wars Episode Seven: The Phantom Venice

SO I AM FINALLY GETTING TO USE “THE PHANTOM VENICE,” AFTER MONTHS OF ANTICIPATION. My excitement can barely be contained, so I’m just going to lead right into Overly Detailed Email Update Numero Sette (the last one!!!), after a photo of La Venezia from above (other photos in consideration were ‘fat orange cat,’ ‘very skinny Venetian street’, and ‘toddler attempting to stab pigeons with a three inch knife’)
Image

Hello beautifuls,

Hope your winter carnival weekend was fly and that you had lots of fun. I was being similarly wintry in Venice, where it was cold as balls. I didn’t fall in any canals, but I did talk to a gondola man and watch toddlers try earnestly to shank pigeons. The streets there are also approximately as wide as one of my thighs, so new fat European Stacy almost had trouble fitting.

I’m wearing my glasses today in an attempt to be able to really see the board in class. Instead, I feel like a drunk person. This prescription hasn’t been updated since I moved up to square frames from little wire Harry potter glasses (not as long ago as you might think).

My bus seatmate smells like a barn. I think it’s him. It could be me.

I went into a shop in Venice strictly to pet this dog. His name was Blu. I pretended to be looking at the stuff in the store, but really I was only there to creep on this cool dog. He rolled over for me to scratch his belly. I’ve never felt more accepted.

I managed this weekend to fit a bottle of limoncello, a bottle of wine, and a strange Italian beer into the pockets of my coat. I considered bribing the gondola man with the beer to let me sit in the gondola for a minute. That shit costs like 80 euros. Why.

Christian Ledesma (who is Mexican) literally cried over the spicy was of this pizza he ordered in Venice. It was amazing. It had Tabasco sauce instead of real sauce and spicy peppers and pepperonis. Even smelling it caused me pain.

I got lost FOR THREE HOURS on Monday. We didn’t have class, so I was gonna meet my friends in this park which apparently HAS TWO ENTRANCES THAT ARE SEPARATED BY A MAJOR ROAD. My phone died almost as soon as I got there and I wandered in the rain trying to find them for ages. Eventually we all just went home. It was horrendous. Also forgot my bus pass and had to buy a ticket on the bus but did not have enough change, accidentally jacked someone’s 30 cents bc the machine said “30 cents credit” and I was like oh perf that’s how much I need this must be the world smiling down upon me. But NO the lady came back and was like hey you used my money whoops. I think she saw the tear tracks on my face and my overall harried expression and realized that I was about 30 cents away from total nuclear meltdown, because she said it was all okay.

I’ve lost all four of my earring backs since I’ve been here. I’ve now resorted to cutting off bits of erasers with my little Swiss Army knife and using those instead. So inventive.

There is a receipt in my pocket for two bags of cheese puffs. I discovered them in a shop in Venice and almost exploded in happiness. Fake cheese yayyyyyy. Not sarcasm.

When I returned from Venice I took a nap. No one was home, it was 5 pm, I’d been up til 6:30 the night before (rationale for that unclear), and I slept so hard I woke up in pain. My face hurt, my back hurt, I sincerely thought it was morning. My host mom was like, “I called you for dinner an hour ago but I don’t think you woke up.” It could’ve been 2015 and I would not have been surprised.

My lost-in-the-rain sesh have me calluses. I literally built entire new calluses in one afternoon. My feet were so wet my boots started to foam.

I just got off the bus and walked decisively in the wrong direction. My bad.

I bought y’all postcards like 3 weeks ago and still have not sent them. Don’t have stamps. Also my bad.

We just wrapped up a unit in Italian curse words. Vaffanculo heheh.

I nearly just stepped on a fat orange cat as I was emailing. Photo attached for evidence. (Jk sending from my phone can’t attach but take my word for it).

Alright I must away, miss you love you little punks.

Staz

Rome Wars Episode Six: That New One They Really Shouldn’t Be Making

I begin this post with an apology (Actually, I begin it with a title that doesn’t really make sense, but SHOULD, because they’re making a new Star Wars movie after a long hiatus, just as I am writing a new blog post after a conspicuously long absence, and like the imminent feature film, no one was really holding their breath). I am sorry for failing to update you all on my latest Rome escapades. I’ve actually been back from Rome for literally months (I returned in mid March, after a thrilling week-long tour of Europe with the charming Katie Hake, who wore the same pair of pants for the entire trip and I did not notice), so there should really be a lot to catch you up on, while in fact there are really only two more email updates, a photo of Katie and I with a man in a bear costume at Brandenburger Tor in Berlin, and a failed attempt at a travel diary logged during my train rides.

Image

BUT ALAS, you are here for a Rome update, and this you shall receive. Behold, the extremely delayed Overly Detailed Email Update Numero Sei:

My luck has changed, friends.

I have not waited for a bus for more than 4 minutes all week (I’m at the bus stop as I write this, probably jinxing it so hard). Apart from some unfortunate breakfast-lunch mushrooms Sunday when I didn’t drag my sorry ass out of bed until 12:30, I have been spared any previously-cooked-but-now-cold-and-squishy vegetables of nebulous variety. Last night for dinner, I had spaghetti Parmesan, chicken (meat!!!!!!!) and FRENCH FRIES BC MY LIFE IS AWESOME.

I went to Florence this weekend sans teachers, and we all went out with wild abandon, since we didn’t have to worry about taking night buses and getting stuck outside the Vatican at 4 am with a night bus driver named Dennis encouraging us to sit on the dashboard. Ahem.
Apparently I stole a black man’s earring and attempted to trade it for my own. I believe we talked about Pisa. I also later cried hysterically on poor Matt Barnes for like six hours on the street, and I’m not even sure why.

We also climbed to the top of the Duomo church the next day, which was like 82949194 stairs, but the view from the top was amazing.

I have now been waiting for the bus for like 9 minutes. The board says all of them are “in arrivo” and yet none of them are arriving.

I got my hair cut. Other than the words “we need a bigger sink,” I understood nothing of what happened and just made scissors with my fingers every time she asked me a question. She may have said something about selling my hair…

I have six thousand projects due this week, so that’s casual.

I made my first Animal House joke to an AD yesterday.

The bus is finally coming.

People actually say “mamma mia” here when they’re agitated, and I don’t think that will ever get old.

Image

Still haven’t found any SmartFood popcorn 😦 I did discover something called “chipsters” though, so i guess I’m assimilating nicely.

The bus has been within eyesight for 3 minutes and has not yet arrived. Yes Rome traffic.

In finally on the bus. I’m risking my life by not holding on with both hands. L’autobus waits for no man. I’m quite confident I will eat it spectacularly one of these days.

Pretty sure we were cursed by a gypsy panhandler in Florence.

Sarah Heyborne has not been responding to my snapchats, FB messages, or obnoxious wall comments. I begin to suspect she is angry with me, and it makes me very sad 😦

I fell asleep last night to the host-uncle’s vigorous bumping of Daft Punk. One more time?

Probably the highlight of my week was finding a roll if toilet paper above the mirror in my shoebox sized bathroom. I’d run out, but as I did not know the word for “toilet paper” in Italian and felt inexplicably embarrassed, I was totally just planning on peeing at school for the rest if my life.

That’s more or less all that’s new with me right now, other then that I’m prob going to be late to school for the first time this morning. Whoops. At least it’s given me time to email you wonderful people. Miss you all!

Staceface

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.

Image

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.

IMG_2149

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

Image

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.”

530630_3850010228610_1655438768_n

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).

Image

-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.

Rome Wars Episode 5: Revenge of the Myth

Friends, we’re nearing present day — only one email update to go! Since my last post, all that’s happened of note is that I ate gelato by myself in the rain, in a moment that was either a huge success for my independence and the feminist movement, or just really depressing. This email update was shockingly long, so I won’t add much more forced-witty intro, and will instead just attach a photo of the Colosseum (They didn’t actually feed Christians to the lions there, apparently. Whu knu. Also, it’s impossible for Nero to have fiddled while Rome burned, because the fiddle wasn’t invented yet. Get ready to foist that one on your pretentious, fake-literary neighbor the next time he tries to act all superior at the joint-hosted dinner party your wife makes you throw every year to “foster community”).

Image

Lions, yes. Martyred Christians, no.

Anyway, Overly-Detailed Email Update Numero Cinque, leggo:

 

Ugh.

I’m sure you miss hearing me say that ad nauseum (likely you don’t), but alas, there it is.

In my infinite wisdom of having been here nearly 2 weeks, I have realized several things:

Always be prepared for rain — I had to buy an umbrella from a street vendor on Friday. He spoke English THANK GOD, business interactions are still totally iffy for me in Italian. Case in point, the flea market I went to on Sunday.

As part of class, we also had to go out in pairs to interview random citizens. I, of course, fates, was paired with a football player — the less articulate one. It was marv. I had to approach people (bad) and talk to them (bad) in another language (bad) and understand what they answered well enough to write it down (impossible).

Another revelation: if I aggressively jaywalk instead of making my way to the carefully lighted and metered crossings, I can cut off like 3 minutes of my walk to the bus stop. Perhaps this is why I always now seem to arrive 38 seconds too late. Literally the bus was still at the stop on Thursday, but it had already closed its doors. It couldn’t get anywhere because of the traffic, but I still couldn’t get on. Such is my relationship with public transport here. If I’m not lost, then it is somehow failing me in another way.

Possibly the worst revelation: it is possible to get sick of carbs. Tonight, I had pasta for dinner, and actually had trouble shoving it into my face, because I realized I’ve been eating the same things for two weeks. I really just want some SmartFood. Or a milkshake. Or a fucking steak. There is so little meat here. I ordered fried fish chunks for lunch today. It’s that bad. I also think that I crave cheese. Or milk. Drinking wine with dinner has actually become the bane of my existence. Hidden and repurposed Coke-bottle-filled-with-water is now my secret weapon.

Classes suck balls. There’s a part of my mind that knows I’d be doing this much work, if not more, at Dartmouth, but also it is incredibly frustrating to just feel like an idiot while completing every single homework assignment. It takes me an hour to read like a page, and I’m not used to feeling stupid. Fortunately, there are still the football players.

I was horrendously homesick this weekend, especially because none of the people here wanted to go out and do anything. Their excuse was that a they hadn’t started the homework and needed to get working. But, shocker, today they still had not done any of the homework. Like, just get it out of the way and move on. They wallow in the amount of work we have. It’s obnoxious. They’re obnoxious. I miss hanging out with people I can ugly cry in front of or who tell me my boobs look saggy (never going to forget that one, Sarah >:| ).

We’re spending this weekend in Florence, so maybe that will actually be fun. If this were a lifetime movie, it’d be our opportunity to all bond as a group and then we’d all stop sucking to one another and become friends. More likely, I’ll either end up sitting next to Andrea Dutterman in the world’s most boring game of Kings, or will just go to bed at 9 to avoid them all.

I’m getting better at using the hand shower. The blast radius now extends only to just beyond the toilet (this means about six inches from the doorway, given the size of my bathroom).

My body is definitely changing, and I can’t tell if I’m getting skinnier or fatter. Worrisome.

Petted a cat today. It had literal inch long fangs and got dandruff all over me.

I’ve worn basically all of my clothes already. No laundry protocol has been made clear to me. You all know that this won’t become a problem for like 4 more weeks, but it still seemed of note.

Toured the catacombs. My face did not melt. Though the tour guide had a British accent and was pretty cute. Such a waste that he’s in training to be a priest.

Had the king of all awkward dinners with Doria’s son and nine year old grandson. Doria was not home. I had to try to explain both lacrosse and mock trial to them. My success was nebulous.

I’m attempting to arrange a haircut scenario here, overseas. Theoretically, I just want a trim, but given language barriers, if I come back with a fro-ey pixie cut, you’ll know what went wrong. Promise you’ll still hang out with me?

There are ambulance sirens at all hours. I have realized that not only is this because I live near the hospital, but also because cars just do not care to get out of the way when ambulances are behind them. Cars also drive on the train tracks. I saw a car pulled out horizontal to the flow of traffic today, just waiting. It’s anarchy over here.

I finally realized that I look like a homeless man in my big army jacket, but today I also fit an entire full water bottle in the pocket, so tradeoffs I guess.

Doria finally let me wash dishes for the first time yesterday. I broke nothing. Success.

I miss you all ferociously, hope the term is going well, and that Jingya wasn’t too intimidated to read this email.

Love you ALLLLLL can’t wait to get back,

Stacy