Follow Up: Photography Final

This might’ve been a long time in coming, but here we are! My photography final went very well and I thought you’d like to see the product. I’m only posting 5/8 photos here, though, since content of the last three might bother some people. Let me know if I should put them up anyway. It’s for your personal sensibilities that I don’t.

My theme was the “Sexy Paradox,” in the attractiveness has such a desperately wide spectrum that in one group of people, both extremes can be considered highly unattractive. That is, sexiness is entirely subjective. I know, not the most original topic, but I had a great time shooting and editing the photos with a bit of help from Daniel on some of them. Enjoy!

Christmas in Florence

Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Joyeux Noel, Buon Natale, etc everyone!!!

I’ve been pretty busy since our last update, getting everyone moved out of our Via Giusti apartment and moving into my new Borgo Oggnisanti apartment, traveling to various countries (or country as is the case), and making sure there’s food on sale during Christmas Eve day. You never know in a religious country like Italy. In any case, I’m spending Christmas away from the family here in Florence, but my cousin Danielle has come out for her winter break. We’re taking the country by storm (and eating more than our weight in delicious food of course). Before I get to Christmas celebrations, I should probably give you a run-down on everything that’s happened in the past few weeks.

The move-out of the fall semester Palazzo Ruccelai students was something of a nightmare. We had to get the apartment cleaned up, furniture returned to original rooms, and garbage removed in entirety. Nightmare. Not to mention the tension between housemates leading up to the actual date. I swear, girls are vicious. I realize that the last time I wrote about my roommates, I got in “trouble” with school administration (because heaven forbid I tell the truth on an obscure blog easily lost in the catacombs of the Internets), but I’m sincerely glad I’m not living in that environment anymore. Passive aggressive behavior pisses me off. Problems should be addressed promptly and with honesty, but apparently this is beyond certain persons. Never mind the fact that we’re unlikely to ever see each other again, some students not even attending the same universities as each other. Even the girls who attend ASU are unlikely to ever see me, unless they’re interested in 400-level English lit classes (which they aren’t) or have a sudden urge to grace Barrett with their presences.

It’s astonishing, the growth rate of maturity. As in, stagnation seems disgustingly prominent.

Anyway, with the leaving of my former roommates came the arrival of Danielle and our trip to Reit im Winkl. We were set up for our very first White Christmas in Pension Louise with Rudi, Kornelia, Alexandra, and Mikel. Behold the view from the second floor!

Very Winter-Wonderland isn’t it? This was my first time I’d been in snow, and man, was it cold! Of course, with the proper attire, there wasn’t much of a problem, but I don’t think my face has ever been quite so freezing. Wearing a ski mask all the time wasn’t exactly prudent. Not to mention it’s creepy.

Rudi and Kornelia stuffed us stupid. Italian food culture and German food culture are drastically different, the latter more like the American mentality of “eat a lot.” That being said, after eating relatively balanced meals here in Florence, going to Germany and gorging on heavy comfort foods like potatoes, goulasch, schnitzel, and hot wine probably dropped about ten pounds on every part of my body. I can’t even bring myself to step on a scale. Ugh, I’m looking at a new pants size, I know it.

You'd get fat if you ate stuff like this, too. This is Kaiserschmarrn.

Coming back to Florence meant getting ready for our meagre Christmas away from family and friends. We had no Christmas tree aside from the six-inch tall decoration sitting on our kitchen table, but luckily I’d made a reservation at a cute, Tuscan restaurant called “Acqua al 2″ for actual Christmas dinner. Unfortunately, we had to figure out what to do with ourselves on Christmas Eve. With the heating out in the apartment (and still not functioning btw), we were so cold that we didn’t even bother with a conventional dinner and just made soup from a packet. I slept hard that night. Travel in any form is tiring, and even though the flight from Germany only took a collective three hours, I was ready to sleep well into the next day.

Christmas Day was as satisfying as it could be. Sitting and opening presents by ourselves at noon couldn’t really compare to our home traditions. Apparently my brother woke up at 4AM raring to go and my parents finally obliged him at 7:30 before going to our neighbor’s place for Christmas breakfast. I missed that. I’m certainly not sorry to be here, but I’m glad for the advancement of technology. FaceTime has never been used for such a long period of time. I think my parents called me four times that day and Danielle and I definitely presided over whole-family-clan-Christmas-activities for nearly four hours. It was almost like being home again. This wasn’t my first time missing a big family gathering. I spent the Easter of my high school junior year in Japan, and I can say with certainty that I might miss a few more holidays in the coming years. Maybe Apple will invent hologram technology by then?

Dinner at Acqua al 2 was splendid. I’d only been there with my friend Daniel once before, but I’m glad we went again. Danielle and I indulged in three course meals, but we skipped dessert. I couldn’t find room anywhere to fit it! I don’t have any pictures for you. The lighting is kept low in the dining rooms, and taking photos with my camera at 1/2 second or even slower is incredibly difficult without a tripod. You’ll have to do with my description. I started with a carrot salad (just carrots), primi piatti was farfalline (bowtie) con zucca (pumpkin), which was to die for, primi secondi was fillet mignon with reduction of balsamic vinegar. Previously, I’d had fillet mignon with blueberry sauce, and I can’t make a comparison of the two. Both were absolutely delicious. I’ll just have to have them again. Oh well.

Danielle and I have also done a bit of post-Christmas shopping. We hit H&M with all the combined might of our credit cards (not really) and picked up a few things for New Years, which we’re spending in Venice this year. I bought a cute little black dress, a champagne scarf, and a new pair of high heels. I won’t be going shopping for a while. It’s so hard to resist, though! Fashion’s so accesible here.

Now that the Holiday craze is settling down a bit, we’re not doing much by means of site-seeing. We’ll hopefully be able to drag ourselves out of bed to climb the Duomo tomorrow. Hopefully. We haven’t been doing a good job of getting up early. I don’t have the best track record for being an early riser, but this is just ridiculous.

Hope you enjoy these Christmas lights! I definitely do.

Shooting in Florence

I’m not sure if anyone’s heard about this yet, considering it happened not even half-an-hour ago, but there was a fatal shooting here in Florence, not even fifteen minutes away from where I live. An elderly man, depressed and angry, shot two African merchants in the San Lorenzo marketplace before committing suicide near the Duomo Piazza. My friend Daniel was walking home around the time that this happened and he heard the gunshots, thinking they were fireworks. He made it home safely, thank God, but he’s understandably shaken.

It’s hard to believe that some place so picturesque and peaceful as Florence could be the site of something like this. I mean, racists taking a gun to the subject of their hate seems more of a tale for the Confederate South rather than the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. I’ve always felt safe here in Florence, and that’s not to say I don’t feel this way any longer. A few weeks ago, I had a run-in with an unsavory character while walking home from a party at 2AM. I dealt with him appropriately (aka throttled him) and got home safely, but thinking back on the incident, plenty could have gone wrong. I realize that isn’t anything like a shooting, but I reiterate that I’ve never felt unsafe here. Despite creepers in alleyways, I know I can take care of myself if things have to get dirty. But a gun?

Thinking that this is an isolated incident would be naïve. Granted, I don’t imagine this will be happening again in Florence any time soon, but I realize things like this happen all the time. It’s not pretty and it’s not okay, but we can’t say that it isn’t unusual, sadly. I’m glad that Daniel didn’t get caught up in it, though I imagine he’s not feeling very well at the moment, but it certainly puts things in perspective. People with guns in states of mind like this man don’t exactly discriminate.

No Mom, I won’t be going out tonight.

More information: http://uk.ibtimes.com/articles/266427/20111213/florence-shooting-neo-nazi-murdered-african-street.htm

Photography Final

It’s coming up to the end of the semester, and that means final projects and exams. I’m not worried overmuch about exams. My classes are all fairly simple to study for. That is, I won’t really be studying. Material is easy, delivered in a concise manner, and if absolutely necessary, I can look over my notes. I’m actually excited about the photography project that’s coming up, though I’m having a bit of trouble putting together a concept for my final (not many guidelines, which I was pleased with in the beginning but now…). In celebration of the ending of the semester, I thought I’d share the photos that I like most thus far. Enjoy!

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My Café

I know I never finished up talking about my fall break, but honestly I can’t be bothered right this instant to get it all together again. I’d love to show you pictures but I recently cleaned out my harddrive (because it fills up ridiculously fast), and in the purging, I got rid of most of my photos. I saved them all onto an external so they aren’t lost forever, and they’re also on Facebook so I’m sure some of you have seen them already. In any case, I’ll try to get around to talking about the rest of my break but I thought I’d pick up on something a little more recent.

My café. Yeah, I’ve got one. The barrista knows my name and what I want, even has it waiting for me when I come ’round (hot chocolate with whipped cream and a sugar doughnut). It’s not an every day thing. My fellow Fresco students and I started going to the place around the corner from our studio on Mondays and Wednesdays at the beginning of the semester, and it’s pretty easy to remember four American girls that rarely deviate from their orders. We’re pretty predictable.

I’m hoping that next semester I’ll be able to go more often than just two days a week. We have the time in Fresco because we need to let the plaster dry, but I’m not sure if that’ll be the case during Drawing and Oil Painting class. I mean, it’s not like we have much to wait for, unless our model wants a cappuccino for some reason… We’ll see.