Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Triangles, Time, Tea, Tiredness.

Life in Rome is progressing rapidly while, as rumours tell, back home is like Arendelle in "deep, deep, deep, deep snow"*. My desk is already a colorful, chaotic heap of trace, paints, cups of water, teabags, pens, tape - you name it. A tin Babar pencil case is functioning as my palette because the local art store is sold out of the palettes we were supposed to buy. I am perpetually tired but would rather be busy than bored.

I'm sitting here at my desk looking at the extremely rough beginnings of a parti and realized I am staring at something essentially like this:
The Deathly Villas
...and it probably makes no sense.

You could argue I've just been looking at this too long.
Switching gears before time gets too far ahead of me, I wanted to briefly list a few of my post-Christmas break thoughts in addition to what I wrote the other day.
  1. I have an even greater appreciation for Rome after experiencing its influence in other countries. Whether I was at the Roman bath in Bath, England or the Brompton Oratory in London it was clear that hundreds of miles are no match for Rome's reach. 
  2. Always travel by train when possible. You miss less that way and don't have to deal with security and possibly checking bags. 
  3. People are the same everywhere. 
  4. A good umbrella and map are invaluable. 
  5. You're not going to see everything so appreciate what you do and don't stress too much about missing the rest. 
  6. If there's something you really want to see and means a lot to you it is worth the time and money.
  7. Always have a book with you but don't read it unless there's nothing to look at in your surroundings.
  8. Realize that things can go unexpectedly wrong.  
  9. Coffee shops and free WiFi are not only your friend but your lifeline. 
  10. Don't take anything for granted. I'm pretty sure I am the most fortunate person alive.
So, there you go. Stay warm and safe if outdoors is predominantly buried in white fluffiness where you are. I've been in Italy so long that it's almost shocking to me that there could be snow affecting all of my friends and family. Then again, it's still a strange thought to think that there is an ocean and the whole of France, Spain, and Portugal between America and me. Hm. But it's also strange that there are only about 3.5 months left until I come home. Eesh. Where's the time going?

*Frozen discussion, references, and songs abound in my studio as of a few days ago. It's all stuck in my head so you'll have to excuse me. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Moving Forward

I dug down into my bag to put away my sketchbook and micron and pulled out my umbrella in their place. Walking over the slick cobblestones I remembered that coldness seeps through a sweater and peacoat when one stands outside for three hours in the January rain in Rome. Our awesomely quirky and intellectual history teacher prattled on with stories and historical tidbits but, as it was nearing noon and I have what feel like a hundred responsibilities weighing on me, my mind drifted off and focused on one thought: hot chocolate. Hot chocolate has become inseparable from rainy days in Rome for me and right now I would love nothing more than to curl up with a mug and read to my heart's content.

The reality of this week, however, is more accurately an image of me drinking cup after cup of tea and staring into space struggling to focus, not to mention stay awake.

Martin Freeman is not quite a coincidence here. I empathized with Bilbo consistently throughout Christmas break when I was off on my own adventures (though they did not include dwarves, dragons, or wizards). If anyone can officially claim that they have backpacked solo across Europe I suppose I now can. Yes, excluding the few occasions when I met up with friends/studiomates I was alone. I went to Belgium, France, and England which totals to a small number of countries compared to my comrades but I saw many cities in each. First came the charm of Brussels, Bruges, and Ghent then followed by Amiens, Beauvais, and Paris. I took the Chunnel train to London and a few days later ventured to Cambridge, Oxford, Bath, Salisbury, and Canterbury.

There are pros and cons to travelling alone which I quickly figured out. At one point as I was rereading Jane Eyre I smiled out loud at a passage that I could identify with word for word.

"It is a very strange sensation to inexperienceed youth to fell itself quite alone in the world, cut adrift from every connection, uncertain whether the port to which it is bound can be reached, and prevented by many impediments from returning to that it has quitted. The charm of adventure sweetens that sensations, the glow of pride warms it; but then the throb of fear disturbs it; and fear with me became predominant when half-an-hour elapsed and still I was alone. I bethought myself to ring the bell."
Charlotte Bronte

I could try recounting every thing I saw, building I touched, cuisine I tasted, person I met, or issue I encountered but I don't have time and that would sooner or later bore you. What I can hint at is my dumbstruck gratitude. I'm not really sure how to describe riding on a train through Flanders and realizing just how literally wonder full the world is from the dirt to the clouds. Salisbury may have articulated this best but if you want to know that story I would be more than happy to sit down over a cup of coffee in May and tell you. There's an impersonal touch to blogging that isn't suitable for the depth of these situations.

Anyways, I'm sure at some point all my stories will slip out in natural conversation. Right now having classes straight from 9:00-6:00 three days in a row is proving to be brutal on my body and brain so you'll have to forgive the pathetic nature of this update. I can't wait to get to the design portion of this project and a cup of Earl Grey because this fruity tea bag I acquired is pretty gross.