Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It is what it is: a day simply FILLED with laughter.

I went to bed so very early last night (12:15) and I was proud of myself! Plus, this morning we got to sleep in until our meeting at 10 am. Let me just tell you- it was blissful! BLISS. FUL. We got up and had our meeting over a wonderful Italian hot breakfast and left for the Villa.

When we got there, we sat in on the HUF students humanities class which today consisted of an interview between Dr. Shock and Jay Russell, an esteemed film director for movies such as "My Dog Skip," "Tuck Everlasting," "Ladder 49" and "The Water Horse." He has also produced a few movies and wrote "The End of the Line." When Dr. Shock was done asking questions, it was our turn. We just sat around, picking this man's brain- his 'go-to' actor is Kevin Bacon.

Also visiting the Villa were a lot of highly esteemed people in Italian culture, including people of the Italian Consulate. They were invited by HUF director Robbie Shackleford for the 30th anniversary of HUF itself. We listened to a guest sing opera and I got an audio clip of it. It was so beautiful to hear that in Italian!

Then we had a wonderful lunch at the Villa. I'm going to miss this food so much when I go home... which is in 3 days! I can't believe that it's Wednesday already. We free travel on Friday and then Saturday we are headed back to the good ol' United States. Tomorrow will also fly by because we're going to all the different museums all day. I feel like I haven't even got to see anything that IS Italy yet... there is no way you can just spend 10 days here and see everything. I also really wish I could go to Venice and Sicily, where my ancestors are from. I guess that just means I'll have to come back. And I AM coming back, because at the Piggy Market the other day I touched the pig's nose. The superstition is that if you rub the nose of the bronze swine outside the market you will return to Italy. I was not taking that risk: I practically wanted to run to that pig and rub away.

After lunch I went upstairs and worked on my story for the day: the little differences no one tells you between Italy and America. It was actually really interesting! And I must say, I was interested in this story and had the idea because many (if not all) happened to me or I didn't know about.

After we worked and hung out for awhile, we went out to dinner with the HUF group and a intercultural exchange program from Albania who was studying in Italy as welll.

After a delicious dinner and much laughter, we went to the Florence Church of Christ for some Albanian dancing. I must say, dancing with them was a lot of fun!! There was so much laughter on the walk to the church, at the church and on the way back to the college. So many new inside jokes. Gabrielle was in tears and my abs were in so much pain from the constant laughter.

It kind of hit us that tonight is WEDNESDAY night and our free day is Friday, and then we're headed back the United States. GAH! I just want to experience all that is Italy-- breathe it, soak it all in... I'm definitely not ready to go back to Broadcast Performance and Life of Christ on Monday. Sitting in a classroom, reading and learning about life is definitely not the same as being out here experiencing it. It is such a blessing to have this opportunity to be here, doing what our life one day might be... and I think about that every morning when I get up. I wake up in Italy every day. Can you believe that? Because I definitely can't! I am so honored to be on this trip and to have the faith of my professors and those around me.

We finally started to get comfortable with going out and saying "here's what we're doing today" instead of asking if it was okay. We're adults. We're going to go out and do our job, come back and produce something real- whether that be something informative, funny or emotional. I am so glad I get to bring those elements of people who usually don't get interviewed.. who don't have a chance to tell their story. We are bringing voice to the voiceless. That is what is so appealing to me about being a journalist.

Unfortunately, we're coming home soon. We started calling this college home. I will take this experience to heart and remember the lessons I've learned along the way, like staying up to 3:30 am multiple days in a row makes me want to smash tables or flip them over when the internet dies or the computer freezes. However, I did also learn that around that time of night there is a lot of laughter and you hear the most ridiculous things you might have ever hear anyone say, ever. Period.

Case-in-point: Shower caps. Pruitt smash. Voting off islands. Terra-sooey. Discos. Paisley ties. Crosswalks. Japanese. The Liasons. Etccccc. Times 2384237423423. That might just be beginning extent of the craziness.

I came here with a bunch of people I knew, but not too well. I knew a few pretty well. I'm leaving with people I feel so close to, who make me laugh every second I'm around them, with interesting stories that we have reported and created ourselves.

I am being cultured.

Sadly I am almost done being cultured. For this trip anyway. I still have Australia coming up in the fall!

Mission tomorrow: Medici Chapel, the Bargello, the David at the Galleria dell' Accademia and the Piazza del Michelangelo before we head back to work on some stories. Then a jazz concert as our last "hoorah" (I did not coin this term, the HUF staff did for the record...) Then off to Rome on Friday! Then the long flight home.... to class Monday.

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