A Travellerspoint blog

A day in the life of me

7:30 – awake due to the faithful start of hammering in the building next door (toss and turn for an hour and a half more)
8:30ish – get ready for the day and make breakfast (usually consisting of a nectarine, a boiled egg and piece of bread with spreadable cheese)
9:30 – head to the open-air market to buy more produce (only on a couple days a week) and to Conte’s small grocery
10:30 – go to school to check email, update pictures and/or blog
11:40-5:00 – history and archaeology classes (maybe eat a granola bar during one class)
5:10 – attempt to talk on skype
6:00 – I’m hungry! Head home to make dinner (spaghetti with green beans or broccoli, a piece of bread and a salad with oil and balsamic vinegar)
7-8:30 – in between talking with roommates, attempt to read or do homework, import photos to computer
9 or 10:00 – take a shower
10:30-11ish – write a blog entry
Midnite – go to sleep

This schedule is broken up by days filled with 8-hour field trips, afternoons swimming and lying on a sandy beach, nights out to local bars and time spent in Caffe Minerva, our favorite place to use free wifi. But this is why I told Andrew last week that I feel like I have a meaningless existence here. I don’t really do anything of importance.

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I guess what I'm trying to say is that I miss having a job, paying off student loans and going to awesome abs and water aerobics. All of those things help me to feel productive. It surprises me that I miss those things but I'll try to push that to the back of my mind and enjoy my time off because I know when I get back I'll be longing for the days when I didn't have to be so productive. In the meantime, I need to do some research for several projects due next week.

Posted by sarabee 02:42 Archived in Italy Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Another entry

(I couldn't come up with a suitable title)

I was hit by a car today. Don’t worry, I’m not hurt. I was walking down a very narrow street and I thought there was enough room for a car to drive past me. Evidently, I was incorrect. The car did drive past me but its right-hand mirror hit my arm as it passed. I went, “Ohhh!” and the driver stopped and everyone in the car had anguished faces. The driver said, “Prego!!” which usually means ‘you’re welcome’ or ‘how can I help you?’ In this case I suppose it meant ‘sorry!’ or possibly ‘are you ok?’ I repeated ‘it’s ok’ a couple of times and motioned that he can keep going. He was going so slow that it didn’t hurt at all. But then as he was driving in front of me, he had to slow down majorly to fit through an even more narrow part of the road (a parked truck was jetting out a bit). I could see that he wasn’t going to hit the truck and gave a thumbs up to the driver. The passengers turned back at me and smiled and gave thumbs up as well and the teenage boy inside kept staring at me and smiling. He probably wished the guy had knocked me out so they would have to bring me back to their home and nurse me back to health (kind of like in Back to the Future) or at least that’s what I like to think.

Today we visited a castle built around 400 BC. We got to walk the route that a group of invaders might take if they were attempting to capture the castle and conquer Siracusa. (I have some pictures of this.) We also toured through the Christian catacombs of San Giovanni. We walked through winding tunnels, which opened into Greek cisterns. It was quite interesting. But we couldn’t take pictures; I’m not exactly sure why but it may have to do with the algae that was growing in places where lights were. Also, I saw this humongous yellowish spider that was probably larger than a silver dollar. Geez, I really hope I don’t have nightmares of that tonight.

I’m getting excited about my weekend trip to mainland italy. Mallory (one of my roommates), our friends Dan and Erin and I are in the midst of planning a trip that involves taking a ferry to Naples and a train to Assisi where we’ll meet up with our personal tour guide, Monti. He’ll be driving us all around Tuscany, practically to wherever we choose! If all goes accordingly, we’ll leave either next Thursday night or Friday, which is really soon!

Posted by sarabee 02:32 Comments (0)

This town ain’t big enough for the both of us

The latest news: our apartment, which is barely large enough for four girls, now has a total of 7 females living within its walls. We have one bathroom. Our kitchen is, on estimate, no longer than 6 feet in any direction. This shouldn’t be happening. One of my roommates has one guest staying indefinitely in which I am hoping that ‘indefinitely’ actually means until early this week. Another roommate has two guests that are hopefully staying only until Wednesday. Up until the day before the two arrived, we thought that only one person was coming. And we also didn’t know (that is, the other roommate who has no guest staying and I) that these guests’ stays coincided. Also, can I point out how having any guest stay in our apartments is illegal by some Italian terrorist law? And plus, a scorpion was found on our floor just a few days ago and two girls have to sleep on the floor because we have no other place for them. It’s just a bad situation all around.

I’m really thankful to have my roommate Mallory here. We’re both upset about this invasion of our home. We’re not paying for this apartment so that everyone can come here and crash and use our limited utilities and take up our limited space. I got mad today when twice one of the guests knocked on the bathroom door while I was inside getting ready for the day. The second time she said, ‘oh I didn’t know if someone was in here’ and I wanted to reply, ‘if the door is completely shut, someone’s in here’. I know it sounds petty but I don’t like being rushed out of my own bathroom by someone who doesn’t even live there. She’s also the one who I’ve said hi to at various times only to receive a blank stare in return. And she’s also the one who ignored me three times when I asked where she was from. I’m finished being polite.

Meanwhile, the jazz bar across the street is currently playing Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun, only it is jazz remake of the song and a man in a mellow tone is singing it. It cracks me up. Instead of electric guitars, a piano plays smoothly in the background.

Finally I apologize to anyone who has written me an email and I have not responded. It’s hard because I don’t have a lot of time on the internet so I always have a long list of things I want to do on there in that short amount of time. I’ll try to be better about writing back. In the meantime, you should check out my photos to see what I’ve been up to!

Posted by sarabee 02:14 Comments (0)

Agrigento = Anciently Amazing

I flipped my lid tonight. As I was pulling the computer cord to plug into the outlet, a tiny fellow made his presence known to me. A little brown scorpion slithered out from underneath the desk to say hello. I looked at it and it stopped moving. I said, “What is tha – oh my gosh!!!” and I yelled desperately for my roommate to come kill it. By some miracle she knew exactly what to do at the present moment and what steps should be taken next. Apparently, scorpions mate for life and travel in pairs, so odds are (and I’m hoping the long shot happens) that another will appear soon. How am I supposed to sleep now?! I have to check my bedding and practically everything to make sure another one isn’t waiting in the shadows for me. How horrifying. And somewhat interesting.

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So today we went to The Valley of the Temples in Agrigento and it was incredible. I had no idea that Sicily was so ancient and that there were so many temples built. It’s an archaeological goldmine! Some I had to view from a distance, but others we were allowed to climb on and explore up close. I like to imagine I’m back to the time when the temple was still standing and what it would have looked like to walk along the colonnade and stand in the room that held the god’s statue. I haven't been able to actually do it, but I’m hoping eventually I’ll be able to paint the picture in my mind.
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Posted by sarabee 11:21 Comments (0)

Pantalica

(it's not a hybrid of Pantera and Metallica)

I’m pooped. I’m dog-tired. I’m wiped out. And I’m full of pizza. I had a strange kind tonight, with radicchio lettuce on it. But it was buonissimo!

Today I hiked for five hours. Yes, five hours at the hottest time of the day under a sky without a single cloud in any direction. I was under the impression that it would be a leisurely walk for maybe two hours. At 10 am on the bus, one of the professors guiding us said, “…and by my calculations, we should be back in Ortigia by 5 pm.” I turned to Holly and we looked at each other with a bit of surprise and regret. 5 pm?? At least I wasn’t the hung-over guy who wore flip flops and had no possessions other than a cell phone, wallet and water bottle.

The terrain was rocky but there were lots of shrubs and little trees scattered. And occasionally we’d have to weave through thorny stems that jetted out into our path. It reminded me a lot of the Golan Heights of Israel. Lots of rolling hills and grass that looked dead-yellow covered the region. We ate blackberries and one professor showed us oregano and sassafras plants and pistachio and fig trees.

We found out why gold is measured in karats; there is a tree that produces green bean-like pods. The beans inside the pods are called karats and they were used as a system of measuring weight. So 24-karat gold would be whatever amount of gold that was equal in weight to 24 individual karat seeds. How interesting.

About a third of the way through the hike, we reached a sweet-water spring. It was so cold that it took our breath away when we first got in it. The hung-over guy had forgotten to remove his cell phone and wallet before getting in and found his cell phone completely full of water. And some of his money may have dissolved too. It was kind of funny. But also bad because now he owes $150 for the phone. (Trust me, these 1998-looking Nokia phones are not worth $150 either.)

At some point, the ecosystems professor was speaking about something to do with plants and I was a little preoccupied with my 2-liter bottle of water. I drank some and attempted to put it back in my bag but somehow the bag swung around and the bottle fell out. We were nearly at the edge of a cliff and that was my only bottle of water so I spazzed out. It was right at a moment when he took a pause from talking and I yelled out, “No, no, no, my water!!” as it rolled towards the edge of the cliff. And I continued to yell, ‘Ahhhhhh no!! Water!” Meanwhile the bottle cap managed to be yanked off from the fall (even though I know I screwed it on) and when it landed just shy of the edge of the cliff, the water poured out onto the ground. I quickly grabbed it and apologized to the professor. But I wanted to laugh a whole lot. Besides your body, a water bottle is the last thing you want rolling off a cliff!

For the last couple of miles, my legs were like sand bags. They were fatigued and I really felt the arthritis in my knees. (I might be feeling that for a few days.) But it was a pretty day and really interesting and fun. We visited tombs dug out of the rocky hillside and I saw frescos painted by people in the Byzantine period dated from about the 10th century. We also saw the ruins of a house built about 3000 years ago. Pretty amazing stuff, probably you should look at the pictures here: http://picasaweb.google.com/skbaumgarten.

Posted by sarabee 02:18 Comments (0)

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