Thursday, October 19, 2006

Southern Italy, weddings, chinotto...

This past weekend, immediately upon arriving back from the States, I went to a wedding south of Bari. Bari is in the heel of the boot, and according to my other half (who lived in Egypt for a number of years), is exactly like Africa except with churches instead of mosques. The architecture was definitely different, and the style of driving from Rome on southward was distinctly more hairraising than in the north (which is saying a lot, since I find Italian driving rather hairraising on the best of occasions).

The wedding was lovely - tasteful, with good food, a nice atmosphere, and everything a good wedding should have.

The highlight of the trip, however, must have been the new Fanta flavors I discovered in a gas station and had to try. The first, blood orange, was quite delightful. The second, chinotto was quite the opposite.

Chinotto, it turns out, is a popular Italian soft drink, made from some citrus fruit that is highly bitter and comprises the bitter ingredient of Campari. Now I like Campari just fine, but this is terrible. The Fanta tasted remarkably like a fizzy, non-alcoholic version of Hungarian Unicum. For those of you unfortunate enough to have tasted Hungary's most disgusting export, you can imagine what this was like. For those who haven't, imagine fizzy, non-alcoholic cough syrup.

So that's the news on my front. I'm disgustingly happy. Life is good. And I'm getting into full swing on my research for my various papers.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Whirlwind tour

So my whirlwind tour of the States comes to an end. I departed Firenze on Sunday for New York, spent two days interviewing for jobs, flew to DC on Tuesday night, had two interviews today, and tomorrow fly back to Firenze.

I can't wait to get back.

While the trip was very successful, I definitely improved my interviewing skills considerably, and managed to see numerous friends, it was exhausting. Moreover, I missed my life in Firenze to no end. Brief phone calls just don't do the trick - and this early into such an amazing relationship, it was particularly painful for both of us to be apart from each other, especially keeping in mind that I was gone for most of last week as well.

I will refrain from making any comments about jobs and job interviews on my blog, in the interest of discretion. Suffice it to say that I had a pleasant experience overall, both last week and this week. Whatever heartache I suffered was not due to the interviews, but due to missing my other half.

Friday morning, assuming everything goes well with the connecting flight in Charles de Gaulle airport (that's a big assumption), I should be back home...I'm counting the minutes.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

London - a breath of fresh air

So I arrived in London late this afternoon. I have a job interview tomorrow.

After one month in Italy, London is a breath of fresh air. Gone is the chaotic driving, the complete inability to follow roadsigns, rules, and regulations. It was so pleasant that it took me 10 minutes in the cab to realize that we were, of course, driving on the wrong side of the road. I've missed order, cleanliness, and space. The streets don't smell like urine, either.

Of course there is a downside to London - it's the first time since I fell in love two and a half weeks ago that I've been away from my man for longer than a couple of hours. I miss him tremendously already. Luckily, there's text messaging, but it's no substitute.

There is another downside to London (and the UK in general). Outlets. Why can't the British use European outlets? Does anyone else in the world use these strangely archaic gigantic plugs? I don't know - but luckily for me, the hotel provides adaptors.

I already had my moment of victory - a suit-clad Englishman asked me for directions to Fleet Street as I was standing having a smoke outside the hotel. I was able to give him directions. Not even here for 2 hours, and I'm like a native (ok, so he asked for the ONE street I could tell him directions to - it's down the street from the street that I'm on...still, makes me feel good about myself).

Back home in Firenze, nothing is new, and everything is wonderful. I can't wait to get back. Love has a way of changing everything...