Wandering and Wondering

Friday, February 23, 2007

Hooray for the weekend!

For my first couple of weeks in Florence I was diligently keeping my blog up to date with a new post every couple of days, so you may be wondering why this is the first post I’ve made for almost two weeks (although if you’ve been checking my Flickr website you’ll see that I’ve been uploading lots of photos). It certainly hasn’t been for lack of stuff to write about. On the contrary, I’ve been so busy that I simply haven’t had the time to write.

I know what you’re thinking: “You only have 12.5 contact hours per week for university, so you should have plenty of free time. Don’t you spend most of your time just lazing around in bars drinking coffee or strolling around admiring the beautiful buildings and artwork?” This is exactly what I was thinking it would be like before I left, but the reality is a little different. It had been 9 years since I was last at university, and I had forgotten how much time and effort is involved (reading, assignments, studying for tests, etc). Together with all of the extra-curricular activities and field trips that I am involved in, this means that I have very little free time. In fact, I haven’t had a “free” day where I’ve had nothing planned for quite a while, which is why I’m looking forward to this weekend.

To give you an idea of what I’ve been up to over the last couple of weeks, here is a day by day summary (with links to some photos on my Flickr website if you are interested in more details):

Sunday 4th February: In the afternoon I went for a walk around Piazza Michelangelo which has great views of Florence. In the evening we had our university welcome party at a disco called "Space Electronic". Some people stayed up to watch the Super Bowl afterwards, but having no interest in American Football I left fairly early.

The Duomo as viewd from Piazza Michelangelo


Monday: Italian class at midday, followed by an interview with Nicola Cocchi for a photojournalism assignment (see the earlier blog entry that I posted on this). In the evening we headed out to some sports fields to play soccer for a couple of hours in the freezing cold. I hate to admit it, but many of the girls I play with/against put me to shame. Fabrizio, the guy who organizes the Monday night sports, is an ex-professional soccer player.

Monday night soccer


Tuesday: Dance class, World Religions class and Photoshop class. Tuesday is my busiest day in terms of classes. For Photoshop class we got to create a composition using images of Angelina Jolie. In the evening I went to a Connecting Cultures workshop where we learned about some of the false impressions and stereotypes that people have about Italy (such as the stereotype that all Italians love soccer, as mentioned in one of my previous posts).

Wednesday: Italian class in the morning. Study in the afternoon.

Thursday: Photojournalism class in the morning. Initial meeting for the university newsletter in the evening. Over the course of the semester we’ll be publishing a total of 4 newsletters and a magazine.

Meeting to discuss the school newsletter


Friday: Visit to the Vasarian Corridor in the morning. Oltrano walking tour in the afternoon. Cleaning the house in preparation for Ben and Lucille’s visit.

Saturday: Ben and Lucille arrived and after catching up on what they’ve been doing on the rest of their honeymoon and what has been happening back in Australia we visited the Duomo and climbed the Cupolla. In the evening I cooked a roast tomato and spinach pasta.

Red tiled roofs of Florence as viewed from the top of the Duomo
Good food, good wine, good friends


Sunday: Visited Sienna with Ben and Lucille. Took lots of photos of Piazza del Campo for a photojournalism assignment.

Confetti hair. Piazza del Campo.


Monday: Italian class. Cooked some Cannelloni for Ben and Lucille.

Spinach and Ricotta Canneloni


Tuesday: Dance class, World Religions class and Photoshop class. In Photoshop class we began creating a postcard.

Wednesday: Italian class at midday. In the evening we watched a screening of the Italian film L’Ultimo Bacio to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Thursday: Photojournalism class in the morning, newsletter meeting in the evening. The first issue of the newsletter is now out, and contains two articles that I wrote: one about the Vasarian corridor, and one about Nicola Cocchi. You can now officially call me a (photo)journalist. You can read the newsletter here.

Friday: Invited my neighbor Nita over for dinner.

Saturday: Visited the Museo Nazionale Alinari della Fotografia (a photography musem) with Nita. They had an exhibition by photographer Walker Evans on the Great Depression in America.

Sunday: Field trip to Viareggio Carnivale. We got up early in the morning and took the 1.5 hour train ride from Florence to Viareggio. The museum that we had planned on visiting was closed, so we got our Carnivale tickets and watched them setting up some of the floats. By lunchtime the place was packed with people, and I had to wait in line for around 30 minutes to get my “fish and chips” (if you could call it that) for lunch. Despite this, it was a very fun and jovial atmosphere with kids and adults alike running around and spraying everyone with foam and confetti (myself and my camera included). The actual parade started at around 3pm, and the floats were enormous. For a similar type of parade in Australia you would expect barriers to hold people back. At Viareggio, however, everyone was dancing in the streets right alongside the floats. Once the parade finished we headed back to the train station for the ride home and there was absolute chaos as hundreds of people packed the platform. Half of our group got on the wrong train which was about the leave for Rome, but luckily they realised in time and we all made it home safely. For more details, check out my photos or the detailed report by bootsintheoven.

Foam Face. Viareggio Carnivale.


Monday: For this week’s photojournalism assignment we had to follow someone around for a day and create a mini documentary of their life. I chose my neighbor Nita. In the morning I followed her as she took out the trash, went to the Laundromat, did her grocery shopping and had a cappuccino. I then had to duck off to Italian class before meeting up with her again in the afternoon at the office of The Florentine newspaper where she is editor in chief. On Monday evening it was off to soccer again.

Tuesday: Dance class, World Religions class, Photoshop class.

Wednesday: Italian class at midday. In the evening I went to a famous (and expensive) restaurant in Florence called Sabatini with a couple of guys who are studying at Apicius (a cooking/culinary school). We were on an assignment to write a restaurant review for the university newsletter, and I was the official photographer.

Sabatini restaurant


Thursday: We had our photojournalism class in the morning as usual. In the evening we watched movie called Born into Brothels, which is about a group of kids in Calcutta, India, who were born into a brothel. A photographer from New York gives them each a camera and teaches them photography. Highly recommended viewing, especially if you are interested in photography.

Friday (today): This morning we had a catch-up Photoshop class because our teacher will be away next week. The new project we have started working on is to create a self portrait. We were shown some of the tips and tricks for touching up photos. Stay tuned for the final result.

So, as you can see, I’ve been keeping myself quite busy. Not that I’m complaining: it’s all in the name of fun!

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