Saturday, November 22, 2008

L'autobus: the pros and cons

The bus. I never served in a bus city during the mission, and I've never really lived in a city in my whole life where the bus was my only means of transportation. As a missionary I was either on foot, on my bike, or in a car (which was a pretty scary experience. I don't recommend to anyone a crash corse 'no pun intended' of learning how to drive a stick in Italy. I think the Lord was just using baptism by fire as a way to get me out of my, what was then, paralyzing fear of driving. It worked...needless to say). I am now, with the bus as my only means of transportation. And it's taking an adjustment. So I'm trying to weigh the pros and cons....

It's cons:

1. I'm not a fan of the smells. Whether it's the people, the exhaust, the weird smells of the seats, or even the smells of the's never inviting. There's only once where I was on a bus and it smelt good....wait...nope...nevermind. That wasn't a bus.

2. Bus alla Roma. There's never a moment when I want to get close to anyone in a bus...and when you're smashed in like sardines, it only intensifies the smells, the chance for a pickpocket, and definitely a push and shove contest where most end up frustrated out of their minds and have to suck in and hold their breath until the next stop. The only times I want to be squished is a good hug from a girl. Without the need of a bus to facilitate the closeness. At least I feel like I can see in front of me...up parascope....but it's still tough when you can't get off or on, cause the bus is packed full. I think most feel my pain here in florence.

3. We live about 2o min. from the bus stop, so it's kind of demotivating to want to go anywhere, unless you're prepared to make the trek and have to wait for the bus once you get there...I usually don't leave the house unless I know I'm gonna be gone for at least a couple hours....the only exception is institute...where I feel like feeling the Spirit is a good enough reason.

4. Last but definitely not least, is a bus stop. Waiting isn't a problem. I'm a fairly patient person...but when everyone gets off and start puffing on those cigs, I want to die. Sometimes I've wanted to bring a fire estinguisher and just blow it on everyone that's puffing. It might get an angry reaction though. So I've yet to try. It's really annoying too when you think you've escaped the clouds of smoke, and then that all too familiar smell sneaks up your nostrils and you realize the guy or girl next to you has secretly started puffing and you didn't realize it. It's always a game of hide and seek in some respects...I always try to walk the furthest away possible.

I think if people are allowed to smoke...then farting loudly and offensively in public should be more than accepted....and it's much more natural. Do I condone such behavior? Certainly not. But it isn't much different when you think about it... They both stink horribly...and they're both public...but one happens with an, "excuse me," the other, without any consideration for others.


1.Like I said, I'm pretty patient, but I hate being late, and I'm definitely not a fan of traffic (not that I've ever met anyone who is). But being in a bus is nice cause you don't have to worry about merging or honking or saluting your fellow travelers with a number one (I try not to:)). YOu can just sit or stand and think about the day, and just kind of wind down. Or, if you're late, you can use the bus driver or traffic as the excuse, not your own bad driving...I kind of like it.

2. Carrying on a conversation. If you're in the bus, you can look at the person you're talking to, not one of those, "hey, i'm acknowledging you as we drive so I'll look at you a couple of times but I need to keep my eyes on the road" deals. I like being able to actually listen to the person, not look for the next exit or street sign, or incoming diesel truck

3. It's relatively cheap.... Before I left the states I was paying almost 4 bucks a gallon. Now I don't pay anything... really. I pay around 40 euro a month to take as many trips on the bus as I want. I had to pay more than 40 euro when I used to fill up in the states... and that's easily more than 3 times a month. It's very friendly to your wallet.
Well...that's my schpeal on busses. I think I prefer driving to busses still, but laying out the pros makes me feel at least a little better. But I still miss driving....and I still miss Voldemort, my black snake-eyed Lexus.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Really? A new post?

Yes. I am putting on a new post. I'm home on a saturday night, reading about Caravaggio's paintings, and I figured I'd say hi to the rest of the world...well, at least the world that cares to look my blog.
I'm amazed at cultural differences. I used to think that learning a language meant you just translated word for word, and "voila!" you had the language down pat...well, that was my thought pre-mission. I took more that 4 years of French, bombed the AP test, and then took a crack at Spanish for a year. Needless to say the french helped the spanish, but it was a mess of hyphens and question marks when I'd have to ask a question.
Then I went on my mission, and I learned missionary language, which consisted of lots of gospel conversation (so the gospel words were down-pat) and a pretty good idea of how to repeat the discussions (basically an introduction to some real italian with past remote, etc.). I learned some fun idiomatic phrases, but basically if I looked at a newspaper I might as well have been trying to read arabic (which in some ways would have been more satisfying, since their written language is much prettier).
In any case, you learn quickly that you haven't mastered didly squat when you get home and you have to read I promessi sposi or Verga or Primo Levi or Calvino and you realize that wasn't the language you learned on your mission....
So... my point is...the more I learn Italian the more I realize I know so little about the language. Language is not's words that relate to a culture. And the less you understand a culture, the less you're gonna speak a language. At least speak it without sounding like a total foreigner. So...there you go. I'm done now. That's my two cents on the subject......on that note, why is it a "penny for your thoughts," but you put your "two cents in?" ......Somebody's makin a penny.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Facebook, or blog?

I'm kind of at a loss... I mean. I want to stay in touch with the rest of the world, especially since I live on the other side...but now that I post pics on facebook, and go as far as to show art there as well, I mean.. do I really blog, or facebook?

It's so hard to make these life changing decisions. I think it's somewhat redudant to have

both of them... It's like having way too many email addresses, and deciding which one to use...

Sometimes I'm a little stressed with the thought that I have to use both, so I just sit in piazza's like this and wonder.... blog? facebook? blog? any case, for all of you that bother visiting my blog... you'll see a new post....for all of you that don't even read'll end up seeing my status on facebook....and for everyone else who happen upon either, you won't even know you're missing the other half. As for blog readers, if you had any sense at all, you would leave my utterly boring blog and check out the blog by Jon Hintze. Because his is actually worth reading. We can all just read his blogs and pee our pants in laughter...and feel much better about our life, and have a new, defining sense of self.... with wet pants....

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pallavolo - Volleyball

I've come to appreciate this sport a lot more after playing it almost daily at school at Middlebury. It's possible that since I was playing it in Italian instead of English, it took on a new, exotic aspect that I didn't normally get when I'd play it in America. It also helps though that now I understand the rules, and more importantly how to win. I think that's pretty much the case with most sports. If you know how to win, you probably like it. If you suck, then you don't want to play anymore. I could be wrong, but I think that's the case most of the time. This picture doesn't represent the whole "rule" thing very well, it was taken during practice, but I think it's cool. I try not to touch the net, but sometimes it just happens. And it's really embarrassing when you get all tangled up in the net, like a fish.