Wednesday, January 21, 2009

things are looking up-

today was a good day. i was very tired because i stayed up late last night with friends, but as a stranger in a strange land, it's a good reason to miss sleep. i am absolutely in love with school. the classes are incredibly interesting, relevant and challenging enough to keep me on my toes with a healthy sprinkling of epiphany and self satisfied understanding. the professors have a really broad range of experience and influence that i'm looking forward to absorbing (and hopefully capitalizing on) over the next year (and more for job opportunities).

i'm also finally making progress on resolving the last of my loan issues with sallie mae, aka, il diavolo, and securing full time internet access (yay skype availability!!). so, check back for further updates on those as well. i love and miss you all dear readers. drop me a line and let me know you're still here.

much love.

Monday, January 19, 2009


it's been kind of a tough weekend. i've been thinking about pete a lot and crying a lot (because i've been thinking about pete). it's easy to be so far away and to convince myself that i'm ok. clearly, i'm not ok. i'm functioning, doing well in school, making friends, blah blah blah. but my feelings have been a little wacko lately. i'm sure that he's the reason.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

i feel like i should write, but i don't really have that much to say at the moment. i was elected as one of the two reps for my class...that's pretty cool. i basically act as a liaison between the class and the administration and i think greet guest speakers and stuff. so, not bad. i'm looking forward to it.

otherwise, things are moving along. school is interesting but feeling a little slow to me at the moment. i'm sure that i won't feel that way a week from now. i still have a fair amount of free time and have been making some more friends, so that's good too. i'm waiting to see what the dynamics of the people in the program are really going to be like. i know that it took a while for people to feel comfortable enough to be themselves in the precourse and it seems the same here. the feeling each other out process is always a bit strange for me and this is no different.

all in all though, so far so good.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

"school" or "the most kick-ass master program on the face of the earth"

this past thursday, the first day of my program, was a full day of introductions. the director and our various course coordinators spoke to us about all the areas of the program that await us over the next year. i pretty much spent the entire day with a shit-eating grin on my face. i almost peed my pants i was so excited.

the program is composed of about six months of intensive course-work (basically like one year in a normally paced masters), then a solid month working on field projects, then half time seminars/classes and half time field project work. if you examine the calendar closely, my one year program is kind of like a super condensed two year program.

there are lots of great things about it, but probably the most fantastic thing of all is the field project. ten or eleven different companies pay a fee to the program for a consultancy regarding an upcoming need that the company has, e.g. new market entry, retail reformatting, etc. so basically the groups from my program take on these various projects, some of which involve travel, and produce results. the groups then present these results in front of the board of directors of the company. un-fucking-believable! when i heard that i almost passed out! i knew that this program would provide me with access, but i had absolutely no idea that it would be this kind of access. so, yeah...awesome, amazing, stupendous. this doesn't guarantee a job or anything, but at least it gives me an idea of what kind of connections this program has. totally and completely fantastic!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

my return to milan, my departure from milan, and my return again.

i keep on trying to sit down and blog about all of this stuff, but it's been really difficult to find time, energy and internet access all at the same time lately. get ready for a long one.

i returned to milan on saturday morning having not slept a wink on my redeye flight. i waited an eternity for my baggage which forced me to push back my meeting with my new landlord to take possession of my (adorable) studio. when i eventually figure out how to post photos in the blog, you'll see some. anyway, after a minor, annoying elevator adventure, i caught the train back to the city from malpensa.

i met with the landlord and got my place. by this time i was completely delirious, but i knew that i had to stay awake until it was time to go to sleep for the night. so, i went to the center of town, near the duomo, to look for some bed linens since saturday was the first day of the sales here. it was a madhouse and i didn't find anything anyway. i had seen some sheets at a store called upim which is in my neighborhood. it's kind of like a more upscale target, but smaller with a narrower selection, just clothes, home and a few cosmetics. i didn't buy them b/c i thought i might be able to find something "better" on sale in the center. note: i bought a deeply discounted set of 800 thread count sheets about a year ago which have completely ruined me. now i'm a total linen snob, which is really sad when you have no money.

upon my return from my unsuccessful shopping trip, i went to the grocery store and totally wacked out and bleary eyed bought cleaning products (for the apt that really needed them) and only the food that was easy to prepare. i ended up forgetting some totally essential food items, which made cooking the things i did buy virtually impossible. thank god for jet lag right?

while i was in the grocery store i got a call from francesca tosca, my old landlord/housemate. i went to collect the rest of my things at her apt, where they had been since i left in a hurry and ate dinner there (she made polenta...yum). her son alessandro, whom i had met previously happened to be in town so i spent the evening with them. at about eight o'clock i was so tired that i literally thought i was going to collapse, so right after i ate, i took a cab with my suitcases and bags back to my apartment. i put sheets on the bed, made a couple of phone calls and passed out, expecting to sleep through the night.

i was up at 3 in the morning.

i couldn't go back to sleep to save my life. so i cleaned and unpacked, which i had planned to do the next day. i finally went to sleep again around 8:30 in the morning and didn't wake up until 3:30. so now it's sunday. a good italian friend of mine was returning from london that night and we had made plans to get together. so since i had to kill some time i took a walk around.

sunday in milan is really a day of rest, because you have no other choice. everything is closed. you literally can't even shop for groceries because stores aren't open. so, you better have something already planned to do or else you will be seriously bored. the one sunday when things are open is the first sunday in january because of the sales. so i finally bought some bedsheets - those that i had seen in upim on my first examination, imagine that - and various other things for the house. took a walk up to the duomo and sat and drank coffee for a few hours and talked to the servers. my friend didn't end up getting home until super late so we didn't get together. i somehow ended up staying up until three in the morning. you might expect that i would have slept through the night at that point, but

i was up at five thirty.

at about seven thirty that morning i decided that i really wanted to get out of town. i had been thinking about pete and had started reading a book on grieving that bill bought for me. milan was dreary and none of my friends were here yet. the one who had arrived was departing for switzerland to be with her family. so, i decided to take the train to rome. oh, and i forgot to mention that my internet went out early sunday evening.

so, i went over to my friend isa's house (the one who left for switzerland) had coffee, used her internet and dropped off some uggs that i had brought back for her. i checked the train schedule for rome and basically dashed back to my house (a subway and a tram) and ran around my house getting ready for a totally unplanned, last minute trip to rome. let me also say that by this time, i was so tired and nuts that i was nauseous, hot and shivering. i basically kept telling myself just to stay awake for one more hour because then i could sleep on the train. and i did sleep, some.

when i arrived in rome, i realized that i had absolutely no idea what to do or where to go. i wasn't terribly worried, since after all, i speak italian. i went to an internet cafe, called bill to tell him where i was (not that it really made that much of a difference as rome and milan are both far far away from chicago) and to find a hostel. found one, and walked over there. i passed a couple of AMAZING shoe stores. i'm totally convinced that the shopping is better in rome than milan, at least for non-designer labels. hopefully i'll have more time and money sometime soon to test this theory.

i walked around rome that night, which is totally beautiful. i met up with a roman friend who drove me around for a little night time tour of the city which was lovely and then went back to the hostel to pass out around 1.

i was up at 5, again. now it's tuesday.

that day i went with some americans (adorable, nice, from wyoming) around the city. we had an amazing breakfast in campo dei fiori. i bought some unbelievable spices there for very little money.

i also went to piazza navona which is this very famous gorgeous place that was completely nuts. january 6th in italy is a huge holiday called epifania (epiphany). it's actually a catholic holiday celebrating the visit of the magi to the baby jesus, but there's no other place that celebrates like italy. in italy the children have a sock hung on the wall and a with named la befana comes to give them candy if they're good and coal if they're bad. la befana also symbolizes all the bad things that have happened and sweeps them away, which is why she's often associated with brooms. the piazza was full of vendors selling everything, food, balloons, etc.

then i went through the coliseum and the ruins. i have never seen anything so beautiful and humbling in my entire life. i took a million pictures, but in truth they don't come close to doing it justice. everyone should see this place. to stand in a building that has existed for 2000 years is something that i simply have no words to explain.

i decided to leave rome that night on an overnight train for two reasons: it was about half the price, and the hostel that i was staying in was really gross and i didn't feel like sleeping there again or finding another one. so that night, after having an amazing dinner and conversation with an old friend of my father's and her husband, i went to the train station to leave. when i went to buy my ticket it said that there were no seats available so i figured the train was sold out. there were no seats available on any train that night. i, the most exhausted that i have ever been in my life, started to freak out. i went to the ticket counter and asked the woman sitting behind the desk about it. i was speaking english at this point because i was so tired i could barely remember my own name, let alone how to speak italian. she told me that i could buy a ticket, i just couldn't have a seat. i said, ok, fine, whatever, i'll hussle one up or something. now, let me also say, that i was flushed, shivering and my stomach was turning somersaults i was so tired. i got on the train and it was packed. there was not a single seat to be had. i got off a couple of times and ran up and down the train looking for seats. no such luck. in my travels i had met a nice family so i went back to their compartment to ask if i could store my things there, while i sat on a jump seat in the hallway for my eight hour train ride. they said ok.

i curled sitting on the floor in the aisle and prepared to go to sleep. just then one of the guys sitting in the compartment offered me his seat. he gave it to me for almost the entire train ride. i almost kissed him (sorry honey). he ended up wandering around and smoking cigarettes in between the cars all night. i talked to this totally hilarious family from mantua for most of the night. we parted ways, but they invited me to come to their house for dinner some sunday. i'm definitely going. when they got off the train in parma, at 5 am, i finally got to sleep.

we arrived in milan at 7:30 in the morning to five inches of snow of the ground, which is way more snow than is typical in one snow fall. it ground the city to a complete halt almost. i walked from my the duomo to my house, which took some time in the snow. i arrived home around 9:15 and basically slept for the rest of the day.

the next morning, today, was my first day of class. it was amazing and i have lots to say about it, but i think it's much much more than enough already for one day, so you'll just have to wait for the next installment.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

new years and beyond

i had a pretty good time on new years eve. malcolm, querida and i went to the bristol for dinner, which was delicious. they had a prix fixe menu of three courses, starters for the table to share, a choice of entree and then a dessert. as usual the cocktails were outstanding, and it was an all around lovely experience. I wore a new outfit that i really liked, which is particularly good b/c most of my clothing is in italy.

after dinner i went home and smoked some pot, watched some tv and put music on my computer. when bill got home we drank a bottle of laurent perrier, and around two went to a party. i got a good buzz, hung around with friends and my darling husband. all in all, not a bad night.

new years day was a lazy one, although we did get down to chinatown to eat dim sum which was delicious as always. bill had a pretty bad hangover, which seems to be morphing into some kind of flu (never good). i thought about pete a bit at the restaurant because the last time i was there it was with him. it's getting a little easier, but still very very shitty.

last night i felt like quite the little wifey, cleaning up the house and taking care of my sick husband. who knew?

thus far this morning i've been running errands and thankfully was able to complete my mental list in less than two hours. i had been shooting for one, but it seemed unlikely from the outset. i'm flying in less than five hours. i'm not ready to leave though in truth i don't think it's possible to be. i suppose now is as good a time as any.

this is the first year that i've ever really felt connected to the secular new year. in the past, the jewish new year has felt much more relevant to me spiritually. i'm starting school in a new place, with a new husband, with new people and newfound motivation to live my dreams. as some drunk asshole told me on new year's eve, may the highlights of 2008 be the downfalls of 2009.