Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ciao from Venice

Too many epic adventures to put into words!

Will update tomorrow when I get back to Firenze... Venice is fabulousss.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Adventures in Florence Continue...

Ok, New year’s resolution: write on this more (don't pull a Matt Doyle, to who this blog's URL is an homage)

SOOO Orientation Week is over and classes have begun. The schedule: Monday: Holy People Holy Place 1:30-4-15p, Tuesday: Principles of Financial Accounting, 3:00-5:45 p, Wednesday: Intro to Marketing, 9:00-11:45 a, and Intensive Elementary Italian, 6:00-7:15 p on MTW and R. Good times. It’s nice having class only once a week but the 2 hour and 45 minute thing can be mucho grande grueling and since there’s such a huge gap between classes, the homework like to pile up. But bringing my lap top to class helps (for example, I am in Accounting class now)

Florence is a gorgeous city. It’s been gross and rainy the past few days but the sun finally decided to push its head through the clouds today. Florentine sunsets are absolutely gorgeous… about 5 different colors spew from the horizon as the city is painted red-orange. The shudders on the window in my classroom refuse to close, and the sunlight is pouring through the crack down the middle. It’s absolutely breathtaking.

A little over a week ago we did a bit of touring through the city. It’s hard to walk more than 10 feet without smelling newly cooked waffles, waiting for nutella to be spread across them. Most of the little gelato shops on the side of the streets sell them, with gelato as topping. The gelato melts on the warm waffle, looking and smelling like absolute torture to anyone walking past. We haven’t had to opportunity to try it, but we certainly will before we leave.

The main street by Florence with all the stores has lots of cute Italian stores, but also plays home to a lot of familiar names too, such as United Colors, The Disney Store, and H&M. I am on a desperate quest for a peacoat (I lost my coat at the Paris airport) and have yet to succeed.

(Sidenote: the sidebar of Facebook is offering me a chance to win a trip to Italy)

Silly story: we were walking down the street and outside a cafĂ©, a cute guy was standing outside and looking at us. He smiled and said hello. We eventually walked around and ended up outside his store, and he smiled and said hello again. We walked away again, got gelato, and then walked back,,, he was still standing outside. He smiled at me and said, “Does that taste good?” and winked. YEE YEE. We walked away from his store and, as I turned back, he was still looking at us. He waved, I giggled and waved back; he saw my wave and hand gestured us over. Super stoked. So we walk over and say hello. He points to me and Jess and ask “Are you two brother and sister?” That’s a question that makes sense with Jess and Marianne… not me and Jess. Silly. Anyways, lies—he was TOTALLY into her. He was glaring into her eyes and fawning over here, much like a baby deer. In her words:

italian man that is still of relative gorgeousness upon closer viewing: "what are your names?"
ryan: "ryan."
italian man: "ah, bryan. and yours?"
jess: "jessica."

It was then I realized that my gaydar would be out of order throughout the duration of my stay in Europe.

Also in our first week we had a lovely night out. We went to a bar sort of place and ordered drinks called invisibles, which comprised of 5 shots, one from like 5 different clear liquids, topped off with a little fragola. It was… well, it was quite silly. The color alteration effects on my face are documented on Facebook. After we went to a Discotecha (hehehe). Italians dance quite differently here… first it is not sexual; they mainly dance to themselves, flailing their arms and- gasp!- moving to the rhythm. The place we went to blasted crazy techno music that was in sync with seizure ending lights. It constantly felt like my head was going to split in two.

This past weekend, a group of us took a day trip to Lucca. It was cold, freezing… absolutely miserable. I believe Jess and I captured the general feeling of the group when we groaned, “This is the absolute worst day of my entire life.” It was a very pretty city; the food was good, and I had a white chocolate pistachio hot chocolate that was so rich I had to eat it with a spoon… but the rain, cold, emptiness of the city, and mildly psycho tour guide (“This is a starture. It represents a man.” Silence)

Accounting just ended. To be continued.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Buon Giorno.... continued.

So... where was I?

I got breakfast in the kitchen or food room or whatever its called here. Most adorable meal ever. Croissants, hard boiled eggs, coffee and hot milk, and endless fruit. How European.

More orientation, then off into the city! After a short hike down Via Bolognese (the street my campus is on), we walked through the city toward the Duomo, that huge famous Dome in the middle of the city. It was so amazing looking around and just taking everything in... it's such a gorgeous freaking city. Its hard to explain in words everything I saw and everything I felt... its just so surreal thinking that this is the city I'm going to call home for the next 3 and a half months.

View at Sunrise from my bedroom

Completely irrelevant.... Final 2008 Oscar Nomination Predictions

6 days 'til nominations. Here we go.

Best Picture
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Slumdog Millionaire
Alternates: Doubt, Wall-E

Best Director
David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight
Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon
Gus Van Sant, Milk
Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
Alternates: Stephen Daldry, The Reader, Darren Aronofsky, The Wrestler

Best Actor in a Leading Role
Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn, Milk
Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
Alternates: Leonardo DiCaprio, Revolutionary Road, Richard Jenkins, The Visitor

Best Actress in a Leading Role
Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky
Angelina Jolie, Changeling
Meryl Streep, Doubt
Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road
Alternates: Melissa Leo, Frozen River, Kristin Scott Thomas, I’ve Loved You So Long

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Josh Brolin, Milk
Robert Downey, Jr., Tropic Thunder
James Franco, Milk
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Alternates: Ralph Fiennes, The Duchess, Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire (Worst category fraud EVER)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams, Doubt
Penelope Cruz, Vicky Christina Barcelona
Viola Davis, Doubt
Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler
Kate Winslet, The Reader
Alternates: Rosemarie DeWitt, Rachel Getting Married, Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons

Best Original Screenplay
Happy- Go-Lucky, Mike Leigh
Milk, Dustin Lance Black
Rachel Getting Married, Jenny Lumet
Vicky Christina Barcelona, Woody Allen
Wall-E, Andrew Stanton
Alternates: Frozen River, Courtney Hunt, The Wrestler, Robert D. Siegel

Best Adapted Screenplay
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Eric Roth
Doubt, John Patrick Shanley
Frost/Nixon, Peter Morgan
The Reader, David Hare
Slumdog Millionaire, Simon Beaufoy
Alternates: The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan, Revolutionary Road, Justin Haythe

Best Animated Feature
Waltz with Bashir
Alternates: Horton Hears a Who, Kung Fu Panda

Best Cinematography
The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons
The Dark Knight
The Reader
Revolutionary Road
Slumdog Millionaire
Alternates: Defiance, Milk

Best Art/Set Direction
The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons
The Dark Knight
The Reader
Revolutionary Road
Alternates: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Synecdoche New York

Best Costume Design
The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons
The Duchess
Revolutionary Road
Alternates: The Dark Knight, Milk, The Reader

Best Make Up
The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons
Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Tropic Thunder
Alternates: The Dark Knight, The Reader

Best Film Editing
The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons
The Dark Knight
Slumdog Millionaire
Alternates: Defiance, Revolutionary Road

Best Original Song
“Down to Earth,” Wall-E
“I Thought I Lost You,” Bolt
“Gran Torino,” Gran Torino
“Jai Ho,” Slumdog Millionaire
“The Wrestler,” The Wrestler
Alternates: “The Call,” The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, “O… Saya,” Slumdog Millionaire

Best Original Score
The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons, Alexandre Desplat
The Dark Knight, James Newton Howard, Hans Zimmer
Defiance, James Newton Howard
Slumdog Millionaire, A.H. Rahman
Wall-E, Thomas Newman
Alternates: Changeling, Clint Eastwood, Revolutionary Road, Thomas Newman

Best Visual Effects
The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons
The Dark Knight
Iron Man
Alternates: Australia, Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Best Sound
The Dark Knight
Iron Man
Slumdog Millionaire
Alternates: Australia, The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons

Best Sound Editing
The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons
The Dark Knight
Iron Man
Alternates: Cloverfield, Waltz with Bashir

Buon Giorno

It's my third full day in Florence and it really hasn't sunk in yet.

First and foremost, getting here was terrible. Awful. Miserable. I cam to the airport a solid 3 hours early, checked in, called the insurance company abotu the Santa Clara car crash fiasco, then ate lunch with my mom. Thank god that when my mom dropped me off at Security she didn't cry, because I was on the verge and if she had cried I definitely would have, and I really do hate bawling at the airport.

Our initial plane to Paris, set to take off at 3:35 pm California time. We boarded on time and sat for an hour. We were surrounded by 16 other study abroad students going to Florence through Syracuse (the girl next to me was from USC!) After an hour of sitting, the pilot announced that the plane was missing a part. (Like, WTF? Do the pilots land and then go, Oh whoops, feels like we've been flying without a part... Mah 'B. Really? Like, really?) Therefore, it didn't take off for Paris until 8:30 pm California time. The positive: Me and Jessgot $15 food vouchers for anywhere in the airport. So naturally, we got $15 worth of food even if we weren't hungry. SUCCESS. Can you say Cappucchino, diet Coke, biscotti, chocolate chip cookie, and bagel with cream cheese? Because I can. Yessss. After mucho hours of waiting, we finally boarded and took off.

After a 10 hour and 30 minute flight (I was asleep most of the time) we got to Partis around 6:00 pm, Paris time. Of course, we missed our connecting flight. Air Paris gave us two options: either to stay in Paris for a night and catch a flight to Florence the next morning, or to fly to Pisa. We uninimously opted for the latter. After another 2 and a half hoursof just chilling in the Paris airport, we took a connecting flight to Pisa (as in Leaning tower of...) around 8:30 pm, Italy time, and landed in Pisa at 10:30 pm. After picking up our bags, the bus driving the other study abroad kids brought us all into Florence, arriving at their hotel at 1 am. Finally, Jess and I took a cab from that hotel to the NYU campus, with me finally getting into my dorm at 1:30 am.

I unpacked and then realized I didn't buy an electrical converter, because I'm a fucking genius. My incredibly kind roommate let me borrow his, so I got internet access for the first time in 24 hours... which is a big deal, actually. I unpacked all my stuff and crawled into bed around 2:30 am, finding it pretty hard to sleep due to jetlag and all the sleeping on the plane and such.

In other news, I finally finished Goblet of Fire. Great successes abound.

I spent the entire night waking up and falling asleep and waking up and falling asleep again, finally giving up at 6 am. Got up, got dressed... finally saw the campus in day light, HOLY SHIT. Gorgeous much? Why yes. Did the orientation thing starting at 10:30.... at about 2:30 time difference took its toll, and I stumbled home, crawled into bed, and was knocked out. I woke up at 11:00 pm to pitch black. Shit, I wasted the day! Haha. I decided that I didn;t want to go out into the city by myself (good choice), and took a Vikoden (sp?) to lull back to sleep...

...Just to wake up at 5:30 am. Damn. Deciding I wasn;t going back to sleep, I crawled out of bed and stumbled to the Villa Natalia (my building's) common room. I finished my final Oscar predictions (I would, wouldn't I?) and kept reading Order of the Phoenix (I would, wouldn't I?). Shower, breakfast, more orientation.

To be continued.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The First Post

I have 3 primary reasons for starting this blog:

1. Apparently this is what people do when they go abroad.
2. People have been asking me "how's Italy?" and it seems this is the only way I can provide a legitimate answer without leaving anything out.
3. I have been instructed to "journal," and since I don't write things out this is how we're gon' do it.
3.5. Oscar shit.

Sound good? Here we go.