Thursday, January 22, 2009

10:35AM January 22

The weather has been quite dreary this week. I heard that it was supposed to rain a good bit until March, but even the Italians here don’t seem to be used to this much consistent rain. The climate’s been very similar to that of the Pacific Northwest, with the temperature sitting around 50 degrees, and a constant cover of clouds that occasionally breaks out into rain. I believe there’s only been one real day of sun since I got here.

I was fortunate enough to walk back to my apartment two of the last three days in a downpour. Each of those days I set out when it was just a calm drizzle, but halfway down the hill it started coming down much harder. The bus is inconsistent, expensive, and the stops lack shelter for waiting during rain, so I’ve opted to walk back and forth to school each day now. Fortunately my new waterproof jacket has been holding up great, and you can stay much drier here by walking up against the walls of the buildings (which we do most of the time anyways so as not to get hit by cars which drive so close to the narrow sidewalks.)

I did find a bar full of Americans to watch the Eagles’ game on Sunday night. It started at 9:00 PM here and ended a bit after midnight. What a disappointing loss? It’s only a shame that the officiating got in the way of the game (two crucial pass interference calls that weren’t called against the Cardinals and the botched kickoff return by the Eagles.) All in all, the defense had gotten them to the championship game, and the defense gave up far too many points in the first half to give them a chance at the Super Bowl. Well, at least we got one championship team this year, that’s better than the last twenty-five.

Classes began this week, and all of my teachers seem to be really excellent. Many of them travel in from Rome just to teach us. Some of them are Italians who speak pretty good English, some of them are American ex-patriots, and my European Politics teacher is a German who grew up next to the border with Switzerland and Austria, but decided to live in Florence and teach Americans. Politics is the only odd class that I’m taking here that I wouldn’t have done otherwise (it’s taught in the classroom pictured above.) All of my other classes are basic music requirements (i.e.: music theory, aural comprehension, private lesson) and Italian, which meets four days a week.

I also got to watch the inauguration, which happened to coincide with my European Politics class, so our teacher put the live feed on in the background, and we stopped to watch the actual ceremony. I found the speech a bit underwhelming, at least for Obama’s standards. I don’t believe anything drastic has happened in a while though, and his speech just rehashed the broad themes of the campaign. Obama is best at articulating a clear new message, as he did with the speech on race in Philadelphia last April, and I look forward to seeing what he can do now that he’s actually taken office. Only FDR, Lincoln, and Washington probably had as many hopes pinned on them by the American people, and let’s hope, for all of our sakes, that he does as brilliant a job as those presidents.

This Friday we have classes in order to make up for the Monday we get off for Easter later in the semester. Generally, there are no classes on Fridays though because they want to encourage people to travel and explore over the weekends, which I’m sure I’ll be doing much more of.

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