Wednesday, March 4, 2009

On Weather, Dustin Hoffman, and More

I’ve started to see people around Siena that resemble famous people. I’ve seen an Italian Bono, an Italian Mickey Rourke, and an Italian Uma Thurman. The owner of the small grocery stand down the road from me looks like Dustin Hoffman – if Dustin Hoffman were an old, short woman. To be fair, not all of my comparisons are of famous people: I actually have seen many in Siena who look like people I know from Vanderbilt. One guy I saw looks like Benton, another like Brian. I even saw a Dunbar look-a-like. I haven’t seen someone who looks like Guy, yet, though…I don’t know why…

Actually, my Vandy friends are now soaking in some sun and enjoying the sights in beautiful Miami for Spring Break. With upper-70-degree weather, partly cloudy outlook, and thousands of fun-loving kids also undoubtedly in the city as well, what else would they do? Play World of Warcraft on their computers in the hotel room, most likely. I kid, I kid! Okay, maybe a little. Anyway, make sure you guys take lots of pictures, I want to hear about your fun times!

Speaking of weather, this week has been warmer. It’s hit sixty degrees each day this week, which is a welcome switch from the mid-40s we had been experiencing. It’s made walking around town a lot more enjoyable. Unfortunately, the last two days or so have also been filled with long rainstorms, which not only cool the air and make it harder to see, but make the roads more slippery (curse you, Via dell’Abbadia, and your slanted stature!).

A few days ago, it happened. I thought it'd happen sooner, but I held out. I had my first yearning for American food. We were at a party, and there was a group of guys standing in the corner. Someone said something about 'look at those five guys over there', and it happened. I wanted Five Guys so badly. I still do. I love those little burgers and those exquisitely made fries. I should stop talking about it, come to think of it -- the pain of being without is too much.

Speaking of American food, I've given it up for Lent. I know what you're thinking: "Charlie, geez, you're in Italy, going without hot dogs should be easy." That part is easy -- I love Italian food and I love cooking it. At the same time, I'm also giving up American snack foods, like potato chips, M&M's, Coca-Cola, and other things, which is harder for me to give up. But, hey, I only have 30 more days or so to keep it up -- I can make it. Though I'll probably inhale an entire bag of M&M's on midnight of Easter.

Now that all of us students have settled into the rhythm of things like classes, meals, and the time it takes to get around the city, we've all started planning trips and excursions to other parts of Europe. I should rephrase: I'm starting, everyone else has been planning already. I'm not sure where I'd like to go, but I have a few ideas: France, Germany, London, maybe Prague. I have to start making trips and schedules, and so it's pretty good that I got a three-day weekend here.

I find I'm starting to miss things from home more often -- though not the things I'd expect. I miss my family, yes, but they call me and send emails, so there's still communication. On the other hand, my dogs, sadly, can't call me. I don't blame them -- with four of them, it'd be pretty expensive for all of them to talk to me. I'm also missing Vanderbilt a bit, but there's plenty of time for me to get absorbed back into the Vandy culture when I get back.

Finally, for Mike who wanted to know, here are the (rough estimate of the) swim times I had for the swim meet: 1:10.36 for the 100 Freestyle and 41.40 for the 50 Breaststroke.

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