Poccina meglio…

A little update… the past few days of “recovery” have been pretty uneventful… lots of sleeping and resting, a lot of episodes of Friends, and even more episodes of Sex and the City, and definitely my share of chick flicks (my roommates came better prepared than I did). Anyway, this morning I went back to the doctor and the pneumonia is gone, as in, no more fluid in my lungs, but I still have two more days of bedrest and then I get to go back to school! I’ve never in my life looked forward to going back to classes. I did miss the field trip to Montefalco and Deruta and that is certainly unfortunate, but! I’m almost glad because when I got back from the doctor today, I put my PJs back on, crawled into bed, and looked out the window– and– SNOW! We got a few inches that stuck for a little while but eventually turned into slush on the street. However, the rooftops and balcony railings and trees are white, smoke is coming out of chimneys… it’s really beautiful. I know I’m sick, but I couldn’t resist bundling up and walking up the street to our “secret garden,” this beautiful medieval garden up the street. It’s walled in and has a gate, and these huge, twisty, windy trees with vines and a few benches… it looks a bit neglected but in the snow, it was truly a little monochromatic wonderland– perfect for my black and white photography assignment this weekend… hope they turn out. When it gets warmer out, I will absolutely be spending afternoons up there. After that, my roommate Sarah and I walked up a bit further to this precious wine shop that seems somewhat hidden here in Perugia… it is against the city wall, meaning it is just barely inside the citta centrale (city center). So, anyway, it is called Il Tempio. We actually just ducked inside for a second because I was switching out my film and melting snow kept dripping on my camera (don’t worry dad, it’s fine) so we just ducked under the eaves. Well, the adorable little old man shuffled us inside his store– a beautiful wine store with mahogany shelves against the old stone walls, gourmet bags of pasta, beautifully packaged sauces, spices… the store was empty except for us and the little old man, and an attractive woman who spoke decent English (but tried to get us to speak Italian as much as possible). They insisted we go upstairs, and as we climbed, we discovered tables and chairs, the champagne section of the store, and some wonderful bruschetta that the little old man insisted we eat (“Mangiare! Mangiare!”). It was so good… bruschetta in Italy is a bit different than it is in the states– every time I’ve had it since being here, it is toasted chunks of bread soaked in olive oil, served room temperature, not warm. Sometimes it has been merely rubbed with fresh tomatoes, but definitely doesn’t have tomatoes on it, or cheese. This time it was just in a bowl with some basil on it. Italians keep food simple. And believe me, it’s better this way. Gosh it was good. (“Bene? Bene?” asks the little old man. “Si! Si! Perfetto!” I say, and he laughs and pats me on the head. Adorable.) Just goes to show… there’s always something new to discover here in Perugia. And everywhere in Italy, really. On the way out, we bought a bottle of rose wine (like blush wine but more rossa than bianca). There was a bowl of candy by the door and I took one and as we paid for the wine, I realized it had hot peppers in it… this is not unusual here. It was interesting. Anyway, as we paid, the old man asked if we were American, and we said yes we were, and he opened up an envelope and handed us a page from the latest National Geographic Traveler, and there it was– a picture of the lady in their shop, and a little article about overlooked, bella Umbria (“The Green Heart of Italy,” every publication always says about it… every one, so named for the Carducci Gardens in Perugia). So he gave me a copy of it, which was sweet, and asked that we return and of course we said we would be back soon. They were so darling. Anyway, now we’re back, and now I’m watching Sex and the City again. It’s too cold to go anywhere and I’m not supposed to anyway! We’re working on finishing our plans for Carnivale in Venice, and also working on sprink break plans– hopefully Nice and Monaco, or just generally the French Riviera. We are also prioritizing Capri, Pompeii, Naples, Palermo, Positano, Genoa (they have the second largest aquarium in the WORLD…), Verona, Bologna, Florence of course, Pisa, Siena, Assisi, Cortona… the list goes on and on to be honest… I don’t know how we’re going to do it all. And somehow, I still have to go to class, do photography projects, an internship, speak Italian, and concentrate on not getting fat because let me tell you, there is certainly no food shortage here. I’m looking forward to the once-a-month and not-to-be-missed organic foods market next week though. The problem is, even store-bought food is good, unless you buy American brands, and even then, they still only have really good ones. I’m a bit pasta-ed out, but how can you really get THAT sick of pasta? Anyway, I’m rambling because I have nothing better to do, so I apologize… but I miss you guys, and I miss home… being sick far away from home is not easy, but I guess that’s part of growing up. Anyway. I sure do miss home. Little things about America that we take for granted. In fact, it’s odd, we have a very different opinion of what convenience is… some things here I consider to be very convenient that we could use at home, but then I realize that their conveniences make sense for them here, whereas our conveniences are, well, convenient to us there. But just little things like speaking the same language, you know, are helpful. It makes me have a lot more sympathy for people brave enough to come live in America if English is not their first language. Anyway, I’m off… love you guys!!! Buona notte!

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