Friday, January 22, 2010



Didn't get a chance to write yesterday. Classes don't start until Monday, but we've had orientation the last two days. Yesterday morning we all had a meeting with the professors, and then afterwards the dance and theatre students split up. The theatre students had a meeting with Claudia (she's our movement and acrobatics teacher). She's from Germany and trained with the circus. I knew the minute I saw her that she was going to be incredible. Classes with her are going to be intense. After the meeting, we got a tour of the Villa that we are living in. All of our classes take place inside this villa, so it's huge - way bigger than I thought it was initially. Apparently, our home used to be the home of the Bishop Angelo Ricasoli. Later it became the home of Bishop Gentile dei Becchi, (tutor to the Medici children) so the Medici children came here to study - - pretty incredible.

Here it is:

Beautiful, huh?

Also, this is part of my bedroom, as well as the view outside my bedroom window (which happens to be my favorite part of the entire room.) I think you'll understand why:

Good news: My luggage came yesterday! :)
We had another meeting later in the afternoon with Monica, who is from Arezzo but works with the Accademia. She has lived here her whole life, so she knows everything about the town and how Italy works in general. She explained to us the main cultural differences, as well as some important things to know such as, there is no tipping in Italy. Even if bartenders/waiters try to get you to tip, she says don't. It's actually looked at as being sort of rude: these people have jobs, they make money, if you tip them it's basically saying to them, "Here have my change, I don't need it." Also, if you want a pepperoni pizza, you have to ask for salami. Pepperoni here = a vegetable! Don't order just a latte. Latte = milk and you will get nothing but a glass of milk. She also warned us about safety issues and things like that. There is no translatable word in Italian for the word "Privacy". Tells you a thing or two about their culture...

We walked to this grocery store, Pam. I bought laundry detergent and soap for our bathroom - and a Milka chocolate bar because I haven't had one since I was in France and European chocolate is TO. DIE. FOR.

Last night, we all went out to an Italian bar. On the way we passed all these soccer fields - - - -- - nothing more to say about that :) Anway, it was such a fun night- the bartender knows the Accademia well and so he was very welcoming to us, being the new students. Because Arezzo isn't touristy, all the people in there were Italian so we met quite a few of them. It was nice - I learned quite a few phrases from them and they were very happy to help. They said, "I learned fast". :) I'm hoping to be able to go into Arezzo a lot, because I really want to get better at the language. After one night it was clear: the more you immerse yourself and are not afraid to talk to people, the better you will be.

This morning, we had a meeting with Michael about "Core Duties". We are each assigned a group, and a few times a week we have to help out at the Accademia, by taking out certain garbages, making sure rooms are setup for classes, keeping the Mensa (kitchen/cafeteria) clean, stuff like that. Then we all walked into Arezzo with Monica and got a quick tour of the city. We walked into this one church - - man, something about old churches like that gets me every time. So beautiful. The town itself is gorgeous - - everything in your head you have about Italy (small curving streets, laundry out the window, gelato everywhere) is true - and the people have such high fashion. I'm just enjoying seeing what people are wearing.
Part of the movie "La Bella Vita" was filmed here, so there are certain historic locations marked with movie posters. I'm looking forward to exploring Arezzo more this weekend. There is so much to see! A bunch of us bought cell phones with prepaid minutes for emergency situations. Now we are just back at the Villa, hanging out here for the night.

I'm not going to lie, I'm happy that all the orientation stuff is over. Don't get me wrong, I love all the people here, but walking around in a big group has made me feel like I'm in a high school foreign exchange program again. I'm looking forward to branching out and trying to blend in more. They spoke to us, actually, at the intial meeting about how because we are living on top of this huge hill, it's easy to become isolated but they encourage us to go out and meet Italians as much as possible. Kadie and I already agreed that when we have free time we are going into the city. Look at where we live - - it's impossible to resist.
A Demani...


  1. Dude. Super beautiful. It looks so perfect.

  2. Mmm, envy. That last pic takes the cake, I think. All my poor cake, gone. #sigh