Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A beautiful step out of Reality

Well I think its time to update you all on whats been going on lately, which is summed up it one word, home. I know it has been awhile since I spoke to you last, I shall fix this by writing just a little to much about it. It took an entire day, three different flights and way to much time sitting in a position a human body does not willingly approve of, but in the end running into my mothers arms while I think screaming...or maybe it was just her, I cant remember I was crying to hard,  made the whole thing worth while. Of course that was almost two weeks ago and now most of what is coming out of my mouth is..."Damn I miss Duino" which most teenagers who have just moved away from their parents will completely understand. 

Home is amazing though, the warmth, being around wonderfully crazy people who know more about me than I had realized, the family who has not changed AT all and having people speak English everywhere! I missed this place so much. Its interesting though for me now because I know what its like to leave a place and return months or even years later, but this is different. The people have changed, but this time so have I and the change is good. I was prepared for the worst, not understanding the jokes, awkward silences and just plain not fitting in. I was not prepares for evenings filled with laughing so hard it hurt, weird noises, absolutely no talking due to the things I just mentioned and just the feeling of "I fit here". I have had so many bad homecomings but this one makes up for all of the others. I miss the college and my new family but what I am just now realizing is that we still have a long way to go to reach the levels of friendship that I have here. I really will miss this place when I go back to Duino and real life. 

                                                                                                Christmas has come and passed means that a new year approaches which scares me so much more than I would like it to. I think this has something to do with my silly stupid idea of just "looking" at colleges...gah I don't want to grow up, really I don't which you should be able to see from the flattering pictures I have been putting up. Christmas was a very small affair, Kalessin my sister had to leave two days before on work so we had dinner then and opened most presents then as well. I love my new and warm much, Duino I think I handle your cold now! I love Christmas not for those reasons, the presents and food, but because I get to be around people who I love, make evil treats and have an excuse to be corny watch Christmas specials. Now that its passed here I start to think of Duino and hows it going to be when I get back, what I've gotten for my rooma's and new stock for the famous tea party's. And now I shall post to many pictures of Christmas Eve dinner and some of my early Christmas to make up for my utter lack of interest in my blog this last month.
Fake box's are the best

Mom finally got a fridge for the boat!
My bone....
Yule Log my master piece :)

See, photo overload.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Welcome to UWC

Hello again, no new adventures to talk about so I decided to talk about life in the college a bit more. As the first term comes to an end and new applications are being filled out all over the world I look back to my first impressions of the college and how they have changed.
The first thing I believe people should know about this college is it is far from perfect. The food is horrible, my residence is falling apart, some teachers just don't care, the IB program does not make any sense, people steal your things, "Thats Italy" becomes a saying of defeat, internet sucks and you miss home to the point of pain. I know it is important to learn these things your self but it also important that people back home understand this as well, life here is far from what we ever imaged. It is even better.
The people I have met I love just as much and in some cases even more than my friends back home and I never want to imagine my life with out the evil asians, swearing Balkans, confusing Italians or my awesome co years and seconda. The view from my dinner is over looking the sea with a castle in the corner. Some of my teachers care so much about me and how I am doing in the class and even how I am doing on a personal level that they dont even feel like superiors or even teachers. My residence is one of the most amazing places with some of the most amazing people. I'm in ITALY, one of the most beautiful places of the world and its normal to go to Venice on long weekends with some of the coolest people of the world.

It is hard living here, harder than anything I think I will have to deal with in a really long time and harder than anything I have dealt with before. The thing is I am surrounded by 187 people who are feeling exactly what I feel right now. If anyone is reading this who feels like applying to the program do so, it will change your life and make you grow quicker than you want, but the ride is to amazing to give up.
I also say that UWC chooses the weirdos from every country in the world and slams them together to see what happens. It can get quite interesting.

P.S. 21 days till home!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Vertical Climb

Hello world, I can see you from up here! Finally took a camera on one of my hiking trips, which I then used as an excuse to go slower that normal and take way to many pictures of Jack (come on look at him he is so photogenic!). A few weeks ago my little hiking group went to Slovenia to a mountain called Občina Brda which is located in the mountain range along the Slovenia and Italian border. We have gone into Slovenia 3 times to walk up the mountains, and every time has been a different experience. The colours have changed from bright green, to yellow, to red, and now a glorious combination of all three are covering the mountains creating something I have never seen in my life, a warm rainbow. The changing of colours in the leaves is insane! There is such a thing called autumn! Thank you winter for slowing down and letting me experience this amazing change in seasons. 
And now for news from the college, life has been very busy but in a way that is hard to describe to the out side world. Visitors from Mostar college were here last week, co-years from the USA were among them. It was fun hearing about other experiences and about parts of my "home" that I don't know anything about (they were from Alaska and Ohio). And what do American teenagers do when they meet up in a random country far from home, they stuff into a car and drive to the American Navel base 2 hours away to buy large amounts of junk food. Nothing changes, once a teenager always a teenager. That was a culture shock for us all, being back around are own culture, I even forgot I could speak English when ordering food from the food court (They had a food court!) which was slightly embarrassing when the cashier answered my Italian in a very southern accent "Been away from home awhile, huh?". And after an afternoon back "home" we were all very glad to get back to Duino, real home. Its interesting the concept of home, how it differs from person to person and what is truly home, the place we come from or were we live at the moment. 
Other fun things at the college include EE show which is something you have to experience to understand. In a nut shell, EE stands for Extended Essay which is something our poor secondi have been doing since the end of last school year. Us first years then put on a congratulatory show to entertain them and showcase our talents, what ever they may be. It was a night of cultural dances, strange costumes and laughter. 
Right now at the college we are all in a vertical climb, whether its up a mountain in a strange country, up the mountain of homework pilling on all our desks or towards entering university. Whatever vertical climb it may be the view is ALWAYS worth it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I want to love you for the rest of my life

 Due to problems with first attempt of posting about Florence that involved spending 20 minutes trying to arrange photos in an exact way and then accidentally deleting the entire post afterwards well haven't wanted to be around my little Plarium for some time now...
View from hill next to the river were the fake David is located

Duomo at way to early in the morning
I experienced an interesting phenomenon called long weekend a few weeks ago. Its a time in which many students have the ability to oh you know just take a train a go to different parts of the country or visit neighboring places like Croatia, Slovenia, Austria or France. WHAT IS THAT? How can I still say so casually that just for a weekend I went to Firenze, Italy? If anyone back home heard me they would slap me for how easily I can mention things like this, but it also leads to the thought that is this how all Europeans feel? Maybe thats why they know more about the world cause its easier for them to travel, a trip from one country to another is the same as an American going from one state to another. But then again I digress...

Oh Florence so many things to say about the city but man it is freaking huge! We arrived around 12:30 after a lovely train ride of fitful naps and random people bottoms in your face, got to love Italian trains. After going around in an actual circle we finally found the little hostel. More Italian quirks and then we were off into the city, first After grabbing the fixings of a good sandwich we heading towards the Duomo, a beautiful church located in the middle of the city. So many people, vendors trying to sell you souvenirs, beggars, locals who are above it all and the masses of tourists with camera's, funny accents that sound strangely like home. (Americans are EVERYWHERE!) Europe is different from the New World in the sense that Europe is old, and I mean grandfather who tells awesome stories about the good old days old. Everything you see has history that goes way back into the middle ages which is something we hear about in books or history class and to walk in buildings that saw the times first hand brings a scary thought, these places will not notice me, I am a mayfly in their existence something that is for a second and then is no more. History is seeped in everything in Florence something I am slightly used to from living in St. Augustine but nothing compared to walking down a busy street, turning a corner and seeing some random old church or building that has been around longer than St. Augustine itself. 

The group split up after the picnic but that was okay, it was nice just wandering around town with my neighbor Maja from Denmark. We spent 2 days walking around town, finding small alleyways and found this amazing park just out side the center were the leaves did something I have only seen in pictures and movies, they changed colour. There was red, orange and yellow leaves falling all around us as ducks and pigeons tried to steal our bread, it was so cliched it was magical. I did miss out on going into museums and seeing the real Michelangelo's David but after going to the Uffice Museum and spending 3 hours looking at naked people...well...enough is enough. Put a leaf on or something sheesh. But anyways it was magical walking around seeing things that locals see and watching people go about there lives. Its even more fun now that I slightly,kinda understand Italian so the gossip is interesting. The best part of those two days was the last night there, were Maja and I walked up to the hill overlooking the city just, just, just in time for the most amazing sunset ever. Then we met up with other UWC people from Maastrich and spent the night with them. I have a co-years from ST. Maartin and Barbados attending and hanging out with people from back home was so nice. We also got amazing Italian pizza and spaghetti, I hadn't had real Italian was amazing! Then after lovely conversation in which I talked way to fast, in a weird accent and about strange Caribbean things I went to bed at a decent time for once! 
Well the next day we went to Pisa AND Seine in the same day, but that is for the next post which will be soon I promise!!

Voglio amarti per tutta la mia vita.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dear Winter

Its getting cold and I mean proper even the Canadians are wearing jackets cold. The sound of waves crashing against the shore have been replaced by the whistling of wind through the trees, trees which colour's have turned from green to yellow, with tendrils of red starting to creep in. This sound is my constant companion, a hum that never goes away, even when indoors it drums in my head, keeping me crazy or keeping me sane? There is a lot of crazy here, crazy in love, with happiness, with stress or just plain old fashioned crazy. We all crack once and awhile, but that's what makes us human and what ultimately makes us sane in the end.

Life has been going well here at the college, mainly surrounding school work which despite second years telling us to do the opposite and enjoy our time here before the real work comes, which oddly is not that comforting. Since I last filled you in I have spent most days here in Duino, curled up in some corner with fellow cold persons, exchanging stories of warmth back home, arguing who has the worst heat/humidity and just being silly. Life is good when you have people to share it with.

A strange thing did happen this last week, a phenomenon called...Suit Up Day, in which the majority of the college honored a favourite character in a TV show called How I Met Your Mother. So on the 13th of October mini business women and men wandered Duino's streets and the Italian guys finally were not the only ones in suits. Its interesting what happens when you put a suit on a person, how in the classes people sat that much straighter, talked with more confidence, and sometimes behave slightly classier than usual. How does one set of clothes do that to someone? Does that go to show that appearances do make a difference? Maybe Barney Stinson was on to something with his love of suits.

Well Mensa is calling, its that time of day when we all flock to line up for food, the internal clock is screaming "I WANT FOOD!" So I will leave you to go eat dinner, with high hopes of maybe getting something healthy to eat tonight and 2 to many layers on for mental comfort.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Pilgrimage to Padova

Basilica of Saint Anthony 

Hello all, got to ride the Knight Bus from Harry Potter yesterday! No joke, combine two layer bus, front seats on top layer and Italian driving…magic was defiantly used to get around corners. Oh and did I mention its not going to be above 20 degrees C anytime in the forecasted I feel cheated, you skipped the nice transition period called fall and I am not sure if I can commit to winter just yet! But I digress; Padova is what I wanted to talk about today.
The bus ride there was an adventure all to its self, from going through places no bus should ever fit in to the sight of the sun rising upon mountains, it was amazing. I don’t think I will ever get used to that sight, looking out my window and seeing something that majestic block my path. I understand people who climb Mt Everest to a degree; I do not see mountains as something I want to conquer but more like, I bet that view is amazing. Someday I will find a place close to the sky and sea and I’ll never leave.

Roman Chariot Race Track
Padova is an ancient Roman city in Northern Italy and is the pilgrimage city of Italy because of the Basilica of St. Anthony. So of course we get to go on a school culture visit, pay 5 euro’s for bus and admission and then get 10 euro’s for food because we were not at Mensa, love Italian politics sometime. Add on that Henry Thomas is our guide, and it is one of the best things in the world. Padua is the old district of Padova and that’s where we spent our day, it’s one of the most amazing cities I have ever been to. It has the element of tourism that I dislike, but it’s counterbalanced by the fact that real people live there, it’s a real environment to live in, there are local pubs in side alleys hidden parts that I could see myself actually enjoying living in, and it is so beautiful!
The people I was with also made the day enjoyable. It’s amazing the college, how it slams so many cultures together and within the confusion, you can just stick to one person and immediately have a connection. Who knew an American and a Slovene could have so much in common, or that hanging out with an Estonian always leads to trouble. The world is not as big as people make it out to be, I bet no one reading this blog is in the same country as me and yet they can still now my thoughts. Teenagers everywhere are the same, just like pizza (Hey I’m in Italy) we all have the same base but with different flavors. 
Latvian, Estonian,Slovene and I 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Hardcore Procrastination, Ninja’s and Sleepless Nights

Life at the college is just getting started and its feels like I have been here awhile, routines have fallen into place, people have become more than just faces and names, teachers know our names and riding to Monfalcone or Trieste is nothing.  Everyone has settled in, home is slowly becoming the crowded halls of residences and Mensa food is endured. School here is the same as home schooling except with classmates, teachers and homework but we finish early, do what we want for most of the day and the classes are often outside. It’s only been one month, I can only imagine what it will be like by the end of the year, but hey, that’s awhile away.
School is starting to live up to its scary expectations, actual work is being done which means my favorite past time is starting, procrastination. One of the many unofficial things taught at the college is how to truly procrastinate; sorry Facebook but you’re a thing of the past. Every were you look, there is something to do, so why do homework when I can be swimming in porto, walking Rilke Path with friends, having a tea party or just sitting and having a good conversation, be it about politics or whether Grom really is better than Zamboni when it comes to gelato.
The campus is getting cold, and its affecting us in a very strange way. Now that Peace One Day is behind us we can move on to more interesting things, like ninja, a game in which the whole school has to dress up as a ninja, and try and kill as many victims as possible. Very UWC I know. Now people have gone to the extreme of holding spoons up in Mensa, so as to see behind them for possible attackers. Soon we are going to have poison tasters, looking out for the deadly almond extract slipped into their food.
 There is always night time to do homework, hence the sleepless nights. Sleeping before 12:00 is hard, before 11:00 impossible. There are not enough hours in the day to sleep and do what you want in this place. I used to have to have at least 8-10 hours to sleep, now I make do with 6 or 5, thank god for free blocks in which power naps are suggested.  Speaking of I should probably sleep as I have Hiking tomorrow and a class first thing in the morning. Good night all.