Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas Eve: 76 degrees F.
Today: 58 deg. F. (brr...today is abnormally cold!)

Another California Winter...
man, it's good to be home.

Happy Holidays!
Debs

Saturday, December 24, 2005

I MISS EVERYBODY!

hey kids,

i know i've been absolutely shit when it comes to posting on this blog, but here i go, trying to redeem myself.

it's christmas and i'm spending it eating pizza and getting shitfaced with my friend dejohn and hopefully other americans. he works at selfridges, which is THE major shopping center in the uk, and he tells me where all the sales are. woo!

oh, and everybody, this is my new job:

www.ibizaangels.com

i've told a couple of you about it already...if you want details ask me in an email...

going backwards here...haven't done any travelling, but i've been exploring all the nooks and crannies of london. having a job helps because it makes me feel like i live here instead of just touring.

also, i've decided to love art again! it feels amazing.

okay, that's about it. oh, and i sleep from like 2-9pm to accomodate my job.

i love you all!!!

p.s. brian i just watched fightclub for the first time and it was great. can we start one up in evanston?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Little Mexico- in Italy

Last night, my friends from the Boston University program and I brought Mexican food (or whatever was comparable to it) at our local supermarket and made a Mexican feast of Nachos and Beef Fajitas at our Irish friend Aoife's house. It was DELICIOUS and it was fun squishing into her small kitchen and cooking and drinking sangria together.

She showed us her model portfolio. Omg she is gorgeous. She has this slick black hair, striking blue eyes and is so statuesque. She would have been a great flapper in the 1920s. And her boyfriend is so nice and silly in a way that belies the pretentious Italian air he initially gives off.
Aoife (pronounced Ee-fa) met Niccolo in Ireland when he did Erasmus there (to study) and she came back to live with him in Italy and has been here for 2 years, modeling in Milan and Padova.

She showed us her demo (she also does Donna Summer covers!) and, after clearing our makeshift seating on the floor and stuffing ourselves silly, we danced to Beyonce's "Can You Keep UP Baby Boy" like 4 times. I felt a little pressure to deliver on the dance floor, because Ashley and Aoife were like overexaggerating and imitating my dance prowess to Niccolo´s Italian friend, Paolo...I felt a bit embarassed to see my moves come back to haunt me.

Paolo was cute and lord knows I could use a hook up but I wasn´t feeling him...maybe it was the air pelvic thrusts he made after seeing Aoife´´s portfolio. eeehhh...

I forgot to tell you guys how I met Aoife. Its funny- we were craving Mexican food and went to one of 2 options in Padova, and the food was AWFUL. It was obvious that the salsa was jarred and it was like the chips were left sitting out of the bag for 3 days. Here´s the worst part: NO TEQUILA. Is this what Italians thought Mexican food is like? We prayed not, so I asked the nearest table of girls what they thought:

"Scusa! Davvero ti piace la cucina?" I whispered to none other than Ms. Aoife, the irishwoman, who had heard me speaking english and responded:

"No! The other place, Posada, is MUCH better. What do you think?"

"It´s awful."

And from there, we struck a conversation and I went dancing with her international crew (1 Albanian, 1 Moroccan, 1 Croatian) to Limbo, what was supposed to be a karaoke club that ended up being a 70´s disco dance club with 40 year old men and a sea of argyle sweaters. Oh well, we all boogied and I could tell they were a good crew. Aoife and I have been hanging out ever since and I and all my American friends love her! She´s fun, down to earth and honest. I´ll have to post a link to pics of our Mexican night.

One more tally mark for "FRIENDS MADE IN PADOVA" list.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Home Sweet Home

27 with light snow. Thought you might want to know.

B

Monday, November 14, 2005

Coming to America

Have you guys ever seen that movie? I love eddie murphy as an African prince. Anyways, I wanted to update you guys on my happenings. I have named this post 'Coming to America' as this weekend was an interesting sample of the US of A. So it began on Thursday nite as I was procrastinating doing physics homework that I found from metromix, the 52nd annual Native American Chicago Pow Wow was starting this weekend. As I missed my chance to go to a pow wow this summer with my parents in Traverse City, MI, I knew I must. My companions on my travel included Bizzle "Rebecca" Nikodem, Taylor Fabulous McNutly and Leila (pronounced Lie la) She doesn't like it said any other way. After wandering through an empty, bad part of town according to the guy who eventually gave us a ride to the UIC Pavilion, we got there right in time for their pow wow. Veteran by veteran, all those of elderly age and who had once served in the army, etc. were introduced and led the dance procession after which the dancers competing that night came in and then after several Native American anthems, the audience was allowed to join in, which we did. Besides the dancing, amazing costumes, we delightfully tasted some fryebread with cherries and mozied around the vendors shops. Their crafts are so beautiful.
Alrite, so that capped and end to day 1. Day 2: komal rises and shine early: 2 pm in the afternoon, I don't know what happened. I was sleep deprived. I do homework, read and eat.
Sunday: Komal rises at 2:30 pm after studying til 6 in the morning. Kanye West concert begins at 7:30 pm. Hansa, my sister came to the concert with me and spent the nite. Getting to the concert remined me of the teenybopper hysteria. Throngs of people running to the next open bus to catch a ride to Welsh-Ryan, where the concert was. So Fantasia, apparently an American Idol winner, opened up. Wearing black hot pants, a silver belt, stilleto black boots and a white formal shirt, Fantasia looked like she had potential. She is one who screams alot. All I can say is that she was NOT triumphant. No victory for her that nite. As my sister told me, "today is the day the music died." In good spirit, however I stood and danced and screamed for even her. Then, Kanye begins his show. He looked really good in his white pants and suit jacket. He hit all the favorites, Jesus Walks, Workout plan and Gold digger. Kanye was fabulous...he had so much energy and rapped like none other. It was great, but in order to dodge the crowd, we left a little early as we were also hungry. So the shuttles were no where to be found, but this cab driver with a person already in the cab let us in and drove us to Clarke's where we had a late nite bite. That was my sister, Taylor and I. We came back and went to bed. It's 8:20 in the mornin' on Monday Nov. 14th....alrite, sorry for the detail of it all...but hope you guys are doing well. Love, the koms

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Trying to throw my arounds around the world...

Alrite, so it's a little tragic that on this blog, it has primarily been Debsta, Me, occasionally Yiran, maybe a Rob and Brian posting...where are the others? Please keep us updated, we miss each other...when you come back next year, you won't be able to remember all the stories from each day or each week, we'll here the spark notes version of your year, perhaps the vivid details and that's it. It doesn't matter to me if you have something that you think is boring to post, please post it. For example, my post right now is very bland and although most of you might not read it, maybe there is one who will even if that one is someone just checking out our blog. Later you guys, smile gone KOmi

Monday, November 07, 2005

Rainy days in Padova...

Ciao Amici (Hey Friends)!

I'm just starting to realize that I've been really nondescriptive about my classes and what I actually do in Padova. I guess I figured it wasn't as exciting as my trips on the weekend. I'm in the middle of midterms and swamped with reading. I'm getting a little frustrated that I can't speed read through my books. For example, I have 70 pages of art history reading to do before my exam tomorrow and what would normally take 3 hours may take 7. Well, it's 5:30 and I guess I'll be done at 12:30 am.!
Despite the frustration with the textbooks, I really like my classes. I'm taking Art of the Renaissance, History of the Veneto (the region where Padova and Venice are located), Italian Language and am taking this extra seminar (ie: I'm the only student, which can be a little intense) called History of the Jews in Italy.
My favorite class by far is my Art History course where I learn about all the major Italian Renaissance artists, sculptors and architects. To me, the usefulness of a class is really important, so you can imagine how psyched I am to have the teacher say things like:
"So this guy Andrea Mantegna was a key figure in the Renaissance. He was very important to the development of perspective. He was an innovator but also paid homage to Classic, Roman style. But why don't you check him out for yourself in the NEARBY town of Mantova where he painted the "Camera degli Sposi."
This course wouldn't be as interesting if I took it in the states. But here, I learn about an artist's technique and then my teacher tells me where to go see their work!!! It makes me wish I had some sort of craft or skill. I think it's amazing to be able to produce something, something tangible that you could hold on to or give to others. What kind of artist would you guys be?
Yiran, how are your art courses going???
I think I'd be a sculptor. Or work with mosaics. Like make my own tables and floors. I saw some mosaics in Rome of horses that were so lifelike (while only using stone squares!) that I was mesmerized for like 5 minutes. I know what you'd want to be Komal, you'd blow glass, so Venice is the place for you. They're famous for their Murano glass.
But when I'm not out and about, I am,sadly, at class.
I usually have class from 9 am./11 am. to 5:30 pm. with some breaks in between. I then go and do homework with my friends at local cafès, like the historical Cafè Pedrocci. At 8 pm. I eat dinner with Ashley and my family. They are so cute and Luisa, my host mom, is a good cook. After dinner, Ashley and I do some work. But back to the out and about part!:

On Wednesdays we go out around 11 or 12 (everything starts late here!) but I'm a night owl so I don't mind.

There's this fun dance club "Fish Market" that has Erasmus Night on Wednesdays. (Erasmus is this yearly exchange program for European students) They play good Latino music and you can always spot the Spaniards jumping excitedly to Juanes' "La Camisa Negra." I love the Spaniards. The Italian style of dancing is so different. Much more electronic and impersonal. haha.
As you can tell, Wednesday is the best night to go out in Padova. Early in the night, our school program hold these wine and cheese test tastes. Each week is a different region and I feel so posh being able to swirl, smell and taste the wine "properly." we're given these sheets to write down what we think of each wine. I like to invent ridiculous descriptions to mess with our pretentious wine instructor, Mario. Last week, after drinking red wine, I paused and he looked at me for my reaction...silence..."This smells like...flowers...early on an April morning...in China. Wait! no no no, definitely Japan. and it feels like...like a baby's pinkie is gently stroking my tastebuds." Yeah, he never called on me again.
I love white wine. Padovans drink this orange drink called a Spritz that is made with Campari and quite sour. As the cold sets in, I miss seeing Italians flock to piazzas checkered with tables, drinking and chatting around sunset.

So November begins the month where Ashley and I are not going to travel much and form some ties to Padova and Padovans. Let's see how that goes. Twice, I've made friends with some crazy Irish people. Two irish guys invited me to stay with them in Dublin for St. paddy's- anyone in London want to meet me?!!!

I miss you guys and appreciate when you update. Please post a quick blog or mass email every once and awhile. We all appreciate it! I promise I'll post a comment.

Ciao for now,
Debs

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

where are you guys?

Hello...please don't leave me out alone on this blog. You're part of this circle, make yourselves known- komeleon

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

And the fortune teller said...

So Taylor (fellow isrc resident) posted the following fortune on my door, we actually taped it up together...it's in the blank circle on my door...the rest of the circle are filled with globes that symbolize other people's worlds...For exampls, Columbus' World has a compass, Elvis' World has a vinyl record, Armstrong's World (the astronaut) has a moon, and there was one world left that had nothing in it, but now the space is filled with the following message: Lucky #'s 05, 13, 16, 20, 27, 29 and says, "You may attend a party where strange customs prevail" Haha...although Taylor found the fortune, she gave it to me...this was following a discussion in which I told her I wanted to have a feast on a frozen lake in the dead of winter in which everyone attended in their winter garb, I think the image is precious. I am in a giddy mood at the moment; I just came back from my first capoeria class (Brazilian African dance fighting), it was amazing...I love it to bits, if any of you get a chance, please join, it's a lot of fun. I know the Yiran, Dena and Debbie are already on that bandwagon. In other news, I have to now write a paper and study for a midterm, so later alligators, Love Komi.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Italy: Gondolas and Aussies

Ok, so before I tell you about my trip to Rome 2 weeks ago, I want to share my ADVENTURE this weekend in Florence.

Why was I in Florence might you ask? It all starts with the 3 Australians I met in Venice:

Thursday:

During Yom Kippur, Ashley and I went to service at the Spanish (Sephardic) temple in Venice.
I was hungry. We were all very hungry, and it took several pep talks to keep members of our tribe from buying a coffee & pastry. Even a Catholic friend was fasting with us! Our friend Cristina, the Italian-American from New Jersey, wanted to experience the holiday as well. I was taken aback and impressed by her resolve.
At 3 pm., we were hanging around this bridge in the Jewish ghetto (no, we weren't roughing it in the HOOD- "ghetto" has a neutral connotation here) and Ashley and Rachel, our British friend) decided to go back to the all-day temple service. Dinner was at 7:30. I don't know about you, but I can't do 4 hours of service, so Cristina and I read fashion magazines by the bridge.

Lucy & Ethel:
Cristina then came up with a "scathingly BRILLIANT idea" (if you can guess what movie this is from, I will be quite impressed. We really wanted to take a gondola ride on one of the two boats docked next to us.
"Maybe he'll give us a free ride if we find him two tourists," proposed Cristina referring to a tall Gondalier.
She later said she was joking, but I tend to jump on these ideas that require a bit of hootzpah.
So I approach the Gondalier, Igor, a tall, lean brunette Italian with a small goatee, in a black and white striped sweater, a straw hat and aviators. He smiles and kindly refuses the offer. Then, we hang out there for another 30 minutes and there's no business.

He comes up to me and says: "Se volete un giro, aspettate dopo che chiudo alle sei."
(I would have understood him but he spoke kind of fast. I thought he agreed to my plan. Instead he said: "If you guys want to ride, wait until I close at 6.")
So I got up and started looking for two people, dressed in my black blazer (temple clothes) and asking those crossing the bridge if they spoke English.
They all spoke French or Dutch. Where were all those American & British tourists when you needed them?
We kept looking but couldn't find anyone. So we sat down disappointed by his gondola and talked to him about the gondola business. Did he own his own boat or was he part of a company? What kind of tests did he have to pass? Were there any women gondaliers?
We finally helped convince a French couple to go with him. And when he came back at 6, we weren't sure if he'd still let us ride. We had been waiting for 3 hours and with baited breath. He said:
"Come on."
!!!!!! I was sooooo excited!

The sun was setting as we glided through the narrow canals of Venice. The moon was becoming visible in the sky and the streets of Venice (as they do around 6 pm) become quiet, and map-yielding tourists are replaced with some locals striding home with their groceries.
Though it is illegal for a gondalier to sing (it's weird, but singing is trademarked by one company and people have to hire professional singers to ride with them), Igor sang a beautiful song about Gondolas in Venice. His voice was CD worthy and Cristina and I exchanged starry-eyed glances, both so ecstatic and in such disbelief that this was actually happening, that we should have had vaseline to alleviate the strain of our affixed grins.

Debbie and the Oar:
I told Igor that he had the best job in Venice. I told him that if I could, I'd gladly be the first female gondalier. He grinned and asked "Do you want to try?" WHAT?!!! Cristina translated that he wasn't joking, so I jumped up and walked across the narrow vessel to become probably one of the few, if only, tourists to get to steer a gondola!!! I was alright but dropped the oar at one point, which emitted a "MOMMA MIA!" from Igor. I returned back to my seat hahahah.
At the end of our ride, Cristina had the guts to ask Igor for his number and he told us to call him anytime we wanted to hang out. I'm sure he was amused by our excitement and our attempts at Italian (he is around foreigners all day).
Indeed, it was a magical experience in Venice. I wanted to kick myself for not bringing a camera.

So great that I didn't realize that my stomach was groaning and it was time to break fast. At Gam Gam, a kosher restaurant run by Israeli Lubovitch Jews, they offered a FREE, and very delicious, dinner to tourists. It was there that we met 3 Australians...


Nothing but the Clothes on My Back:
To sum it up, Ashley hit it off with them and they convinced her to meet them in Florence this weekend. Nobody jumped on the idea. We walked the streets of Venice with them after dinner but Cristina and I weren't exactly hitting it off.
The next day, 10 people from our program took the train to nearby Bologna for the day. On the train ride, Ashley got a text message from the Aussies that Florence was great and that we'd all have a great time. Somehow, I don't know how, Ashley convinced me to leave Bologna early, with nothing but the clothes on my back, to spend the weekend in Florence. I love my roommate.

We didn't have our passports so we spent 2 hours walking around Florence Friday night looking for a place to stay. I was sick from some gelato that I ate in Bologna and was seriously doubting the merit of the word "spontaneous." But we finally found a woman that would let us sleep at her one star hotel without a passport. It was €70 for double which is SO cheap in Florence this time of year (like $42 a person) and we found space in a cheaper hostel for the next night. The older woman felt bad for us and even gave us a ride to the pub where we met the Australians.
We went on a pub crawl, which is a guided tour of several dance clubs and pubs in the area. It was an awkward experience. Nobody could dance very well and Ashley was taking turns making out with 2 of the Aussies...yeah... The Brits were cocky so I hung out with some other Americans studying in Florence. They did not seem to be having the same kind of study abroad trip I was having. They mostly spoke English, dodged tourists on their way to class and lived in apartments with unfriendly Italian locals. I'm so glad I went to Padova!

I spent the next day shopping and bought some cool stringy( wrap-around) leather( there is a LOT of leather goods in Florence) sandals for ALL the walking I was to do. I shopped and spent way too much time in Stefanel and on my way to Santa Croce Church found an Ecuadorian restaurant where I (FINALLY) found some chips.
That night, we ate at our favorite Florentine restaurant, "Zà Zà," and I ordered Florentine soup and split Roast beef in truffle sauce with Ashley (we could have licked the plate, it was SO good). The offer stands: I'll take whoever comes to visit me to Zà Zà.
On Sunday, Ashley and I went to an Italian version of "Barnes & Nobles" and mused on life, the Australian Jew (they exist!) she fell in love with, and I read a book about the way Tuscans view tourists.
Then we went home and I slept for what seemed like ages and woke up with a fever.

Ciao,
"Spontaneous in Italy"

P.S. Next trip: Siena (there is english on this site) and the super-popular CHOCOLATE festival in Perugia.

Monday, October 10, 2005

I'm not naked. I am nude.

Italian art has really taught me to embrace my body. With all its complexities...I am beautiful.
So I've included this photo of me nude in Rome:


Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Headed to Geneva

Bonjour tout le monde -

Like Michelle, I don't generally go in for the mass email approach, but I figured this was a little different. I've just finished a four-week "orientation period" in Aix-en-Provence and am getting ready to leave for Geneva tomorrow to start the l'annee scolaire. It's been nice here, and being surrounded by fifteen some-odd girls has worked out well so far. The program is through Smith college, so it's me, Shannon, a couple of other girls from other universities, and a mix of "Flag-burners and trannies" (their words, not mine - sort of).
Classes here meant four days a week learning French grammar and culture, and alternating afternoons with a little seminar on the European Union and what they've been up to for the past few years - given by a rigid but smart French lady dubbed "La Petite" when she can't hear - as well as a litterature class where we studied a book by a local author, Jean Giono. Quite a change of pace from Chemistry and a Comp. Lit./film class this summer.
I don't quite know exactly where everyone is or when the weather changes there, so my apologies in advance if I piss anyone off when I say it's been warm here for just about the whole month. Not warm with a lot of wind or hot in the day and freezing at night, just warm/hot/whatever. We had half a week of hard rain and that's it. I can't say much more in particular since they tell me it's ten degrees when I wake up and twenty-three in the afternoon, and I say, that's nice. But despite having to do a conversion every time a look at the forecast, no complaints so far.
Winter's going to be another story, but Geneva really looks like a great city. We landed there the first day and spent the night before coming to Provence. I got the chance to walk around some and see the building where I'll be living. Lot of old buildings, lot of flags, and a big fountain on the side - what more could you ask for? And I move in to the Centre Protestante - only not necessarily for Protestants - on Sunday. I'll be living with six other students - typically the international crowd ends up there since the students from the area live at home - with my own box to sleep in and a communal living area/kitchen/bathroom?
Got to mention my host family here too. I've been living with a retired Catholic mother who raised four boys and a girl in large part by herself and now rents the empty rooms out to students. So also wondering around the house have been a Swedish girl studying the language here, and two students who attend the Sciences Economiques faculty here - one from Ghana and another French. Nightly activities have ranged from cooing at the hedgehog that wonders around the fence or watching goofy French comics to impersonations - good or bad I don't really know yet - of goofy French figures, on the tele.
French politics hit home the other day too. The peuple decided to faire un greve (go on strike), and I had to walk around everywhere until they decided to stop. Not really a big inconvenience for me, but apparently no one hear likes the wave of privatisation and capitalism thats rocking their world at the moment.
Now it's off to the land of chocolate and watches, where everything opens and closes on time I hear. Hope everyone's going fine for everyone, and I'll try to keep this blogging somewhat regular in Geneva.

A bientot,
Rob

Friday, October 07, 2005

Calling all aboard!

Alrite you guys, we are not doing so good at this group bloggin as a team...we need to step it up a notch. I decided to update you all on what is happening in terms of our friends.

Debbie: our blog founder, is in Italy. So far she has visited Venice, Rome and she has some fabulous pics. Always the photographer, we all should look forward to some beautiful pics from Italia. Ya...she will be starting classes in October, I believe and is living with a fellow Los Angeles girl with the T-schini family. We spoke last Thursday by phone at 3 am in the morning...Debbie it meant a lot to me...i miss you neighbor.

Brian: a pillar of strength, sometimes I don't think Brian realizes how appreciated he is. Karen and I would like to tell you that you are the bomb and one of the best people to be friends with. So Brian is living up North, on Noyes and I recently was near his apartment visiting the gelato shop that just opened in Evanston. Brian was a trooper and came with Julia, me and this freshman living in ISRC named Taylor, to the new gelato shop where between the four of us we had 4 different gelato flavored ice creams: Swiss White Chocolate, Apple Berry, Pumpkin and Cinnamon. It's something you guys can look forward to on your return to Chicago. He helped fix my computer so that I can communicate via internet from my room...a savior. Sometimes we will reminisce just a little about the times.

Rob butler delaney: world traveler meets the swiss abyss: Yes folks, I have not heard much from Rob yet, but here's what he has to offer. He was in Provence, France until October 6th after which point he worked his way to Geneva, Switzerland. He started his journey with an orientation and took some language courses, lit courses and a European history course. His company: Smith college girls. We'll await future developments from Rob. He has promised to post on the blog. I'll keep bugging him about it.

Yiran Liu: artiste, ocean walker. From Chicago to China to DC to England, our friend has been hopping planes like no other. Yup, her China trip sounded fabulous, she said she saw some relatives, did some traveling and I believe at one point met a lama (the religious kind I think) who wanted to exchange postcards with her. (yiran correct me if I'm wrong, I was going to ask you to explain in detail this incident, but never had the chance.) Anyhow, she is in London now, living with her "flatmates" (how English!) and looks forward to the dinners with wine she has with them. In other news, she just began her classes/seminars last week...we will await her response.

Michelle Edelman: certified prankster: Michelley has landed on Oxford soil by now. She said she was looking forward to the "odd and interesting traditions." So far, all I know is that she is taking a Victorian Lit class and must wear robes to dinner, How Harry Potterish! Write more Michelley.

Justin Tackett: J-man and I keep missing the boat with each other. I e-mailed, then called, then he called...it's a long game, but as soon as I hear from him I will update all.

Jeffrey Katz: Spoke to the man today after a long time and he updated me on his summer in India. It was filled with many travel experiences, stopping at some of the many picturesque sites that India has to offer. He lived in a youth hostel and worked with a group reporting on Burmese refugees in India. In the future, he may have plans to continue the study abroad experience by perhaps hitting up areas of Latin America...I await details

Karen Chong: Chong Kong and I just had dinner at california pizza kitchen with Audreen last nite. She's doing great and is currently on a retreat in Wisconsin. She'll be back Sunday. Her cultural exchange-type trip to China this summer was fabulous, she had a great time visiting some of the smaller cities in China. Today she helped me make a grilled cheese sandwich in her sandwich maker. It was delicious; it was dinner.

Audreen Louis: Currently living with Karen in Allison, this little one is up to all kinds of things. Now a senior, Audreen spent the morning moving all her art supplies to her newly acquired studio space in Kresge. She helped finish making my grilled cheese sandwich and fed me a chocolate cookie and cucumbers when I visited her and watched her make a desconstruction art piece with black and white photos a friend gave her. It was looking good when I last left.

Allison Bruce: Our Allie is in London right now. She traveled there for the big Harry Potter midnite party although i haven't heard the details. I spent some time with her at Camp Kesem. She finds London fascinating and is overwhelmed by the amount of things to do there. I have to get back to her and then I will write more.

Julia Merryman: Julia, Julia. is the cutest and is my new ISRC neighbor. The lady is very busy and I look forward to getting to know her better this year. She recently was nominated for a post as ASG senator, exciting.

Dena Trugman: Dean Bean. the deanster and I met up randomly at the library. Her trip to South America sounds definitely like it was a winner. She did blog during that time, so you can check out the details of it on her blog. In other news, dean bean is currently working on trying to figure out how to start a capoeira class at Northwestern. Her new roomie's name is dilpreet and she really likes living with her.

ME: Alrite you guys, the hi-lite of me week has been receiving e-mails from some of you guys, thanks for the replies, going to the gelato shop with brian and julia, eating cpk pizza, watching U2 on Conan. We'll have to watch it as a team when you guys get back. They were great you guys, I was screaming in the Allison lounge where I watched the show with Audreen and Clare on my cell phone. I just declared myself a legal studies minor and am currently taking a class on wrongful convictions, it is so interesting. In addition, I am doing some research stuff with a pysch professor and have been planning events for international awareness with Globe. Other than that, I have been putzing around campus, doing random things and have met up with my family a couple times. Also, I have begun a project on forming a bowling team at Northwestern. Oh ya, for Debsta, eric and I have contacted each other, I might be going to his Harvest Feast, if and when he has one...I haven't seen him face-to-face yet, but will definitely give him our present when I do.

Anyone heard from Mariell-O? It might be difficult for her to e-mail and such, i understand.

That's all folks, keep in touch, please post!!!
Love, komi!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Seen and Heard in Italy (I)

Seen and heard in Italy (most of these are food-oriented):


“You are different than most Americans I meet. They are usually rude. One time, this man said one of my purses looked like a ‘butt!’ Yes, a butt. Who says stuff like that? I kicked him out.”
-said to me by a Romanian saleswoman at a leather purse store in Florence

“Well, normally I would sell this scarf for €15 but since you are Italian I’ll give it to you for €14.”
-said to me in Italian by a vendor in an open market in Florence. While I was excited that my mumbled phrases passed me for a shy Italian, I also realized that not THAT many perks come with being a local. €1? Throw me a freakin’ bone!

Cristina, an Italian-American: “God never met a Italian woman that didn’t like to cook. Our host mom freezes store-bought bread and then microwaves it!”
*Gasps* emit from the group to the high heavens.

Seen: Many Italian women maneuvering stilettos smoothly through the cobblestone streets. How do they do it?!!! I keep getting stuck between stones.
************************************************************
My size-1 Italian teacher, Laura, and I are eating lunch at a cafè. I bring my cappuccino to the table and she pokes fun at me for drinking this “heavy” drink for lunch. Oh, I forgot to mention, Italians have these routines and an unspoken code to which they closely adhere. For example, they’ll have a cappuccino for breakfast or late afternoon, but not at any other time.
“Oh, then you’d be surprised by how many Venti cappuccinos Starbucks sells throughout the day,” I kid with Laura.
Shocked, she cries “But they are sooooo fattening!”
Having become well-versed with the calorie counter at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and Starbucks, I reply, “Not really, milk is good for you and Italian capp.s are, like, only 4 oz. anyways (I can finish one in 2-3 sips)”
Then 3 girls at the table spent the next 5 minutes trying to convince me that the chemicals in cappuccino milk release MORE FAT than when the milk is cold...WHAT? They couldn’t understand why I was laughing for the whole of my 2 sips of coffee. Too funny.

My friend Kiera was too shy to go up to this 20-something girl in front of Cafè Pedrocchi to ask where she bought her plaid capris (I think capris are as much a fashion faux paux as scrunchies, but hey that’s just me). So I go up to the girl and ask her “Dove hai comprato i tuoi pantiloni?” She proceeds to explain to me and then shrugs and says “Let me show you!” and she takes me by the arm and chats with me for the distance of 2 piazzas while my friends trail behind. I got a good vibe from her, so, before I leave, I tell her we should hang out some time and exchanged names (hers is Claudia) & numbers. I hung out with Claudia and her boyfriend this Sunday and they took me to what they claimed was the best gelateria in town (I find that everyone has a different opinion to which gelateria seduces their loyalty). They were quite patient with my broken Italian and at the end of our “giro” or “walk” they drove away in their scooter. Che Italiano! (“So Italian”)

***************************************************************************
Ashley: “Hey, Debbie, you want to get some gelato?”
Me: “I had gelato earlier today.”
Ashley: “C’MON!”
Me: “A girl once said, ‘My heart is saying ‘yes’ but my head is saying ‘no’.”
Ashley: “Who was that?”
Me: “Sadly, I just quoted Christina Aguilera.”
******************************

Greetings from Italy!

Greetings from Italy! (Installment II)

First, I’m sorry if I haven’t been on top of my game in keeping in touch. I swear I’ve spent at least 3 hours and $30 writing postcards and buying postage. I’m trying! Writing e-mails is tough since there’s 26 of us competing for 6 computers. Thank you for writing me. I get so comforted by your e-mails and thanks for letting me know I’m missed.

I’ve taken lots of pictures from where I’ve visited so that I can bring you closer to what Italy is like. I still don’t think they are 100% true to Italy’s form. (Copy and paste the links into your browser screen. THEN, to the right of the album, click on "View as Slideshow") Then send me your feedback!

Florence (home of the Renaissance!):
http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8AZOWzls1ctmLr&notag=1
Venice (the sinking city):
http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8AZOWzls1ctmLY&notag=1
Arqua & Colli Eugani (home of the poet Petrarch and wine vineyards):
http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8AZOWzls1ctmKN
Ferrara (cute town in region of Emilia-Romagna) & Verona (home to Romeo & Juliet):
http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8AZOWzls1ctmLJ&notag=1

Padova is beginning to feel more like home. There is a myriad of art and culture to check out but night life is centered around the piazzas. I heard there are good dance clubs but those are slow in September. Supposedly, Padova is like Evanston, a University town that comes alive when the 70,000 students arrive in October. My friends and I have tried to meet Italians but the locals could care less about Americans. So, until October...

I've become friends with my housemate Ashley ( a fellow Los Angelena). I also hang out with Cristina, Kiera and Allison but they can usually find something to complain about here. I have no tolerance for being jaded in Italy- sometimes I do my own thing. I've made a couple of Italian friends.

I am continually awed by my surroundings. I’m getting used to the idea of living here for the year... I wish my friends and family back home were here- I miss you all!

(click the following links for a map of the Veneto region and of Italy to understand below)
I’ve been doing a lot of traveling with Ashley and friends. I’ve visited Florence, Verona, Venice (for the film festival) and Ferrara. Florence was amazing, but it was a bit hard to have “a plan” with 7 girls. I walked with my friend Andy in Verona along the BEAUTIFUL Adige river at sunset and took pictures in front of the old stone bridge and castle. In Ferrara, everyone rides bikes in a town where bikes outnumber people 2:1. They reenacted this medieval procession in front of the town castle. I love walked Venice and I especially love it when the streets clear out at sunset and the water reflects the orange light. (See pics below)

I’ve seen more art and images of Jesus Christ and Mary in the past 3 weeks than I have in my entire life. But seriously, Catholicism has been lucky to have had the passion of such talented artists behind its depiction. I was left speechless as I craned my head to survey Padova’s Scrovegni Chapel (painted from floor to ceiling by Giotto). Padova's Basilica di Santo Antonio brings many Catholics to visit St. Anthony's tomb. I sat in on their mass on Saturday and it was beautiful. Italy houses the work of a plethora of skilled artists, architects, sculptors and designers- I can’t believe how fortunate they are! I HAVE to take an art history course here.

My intensive italian classes are coming to an end and it’s time for me to choose my academic classes. I think I’m going to take: “Veneto Art, History and Culture” and “Italian Art History: From Giotto to Tiepolo.” Though I’ve been encouraged by my mother and others in the Jew crew to take “Jews in Italy.” People, we’re talking about a country that is 96 % Catholic, how much history can their be? I’ll go talk to the professor and see what he covers...

This weekend, I will finally visit ROME, a city that I have heard has brought tears to people's eyes. I doubt I'll cry, but I may gawk. Of course, I'll tell you all about my trip and send pictures next week.

Ciao for now,
Debbie

Sunday, September 18, 2005

another year

Tucked away in a northern corner of Chicago, lies our university Northwestern. Yes folks, school is about to start and I am returning tomorrow, a day before classes begin. I am currently in the middle of packing and am not excited to be doing so. I am stalling at the moment...Will you guys please post on the blog....I want to read your stories because at the moment my life is a little bland...help!!! Komster

Monday, September 05, 2005

debbie, i figured this one out for you

Hey everyone, it's the koms. Hope all of you are doing well! I am just excited to finally post on a a blog for the first time and my internet is working. Bye everyone! Komal

Friday, August 26, 2005

Trip to Italy Called Off.

All because of a boy named Francesco.

I received a notice of my housing arrangement in Italy. I am required to live in a homestay, a concept my parents were uncomfortable with from the start. The program director coaxed them into letting me go last April.

NOW, I found out I got set up with a family with a 19-year-old boy named Francesco. Doesn't sound that bad to me. He might be nosy and invade my privacy but I don't plan on being around much.

My mom said if they didn't put me in a new arrangement, I'm enrolling at NU this fall. I'm sure there is something I can do...I hope. I won't know until Monday.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

marielley

i hope y'all get this. debstah you're hawaii vaca sounds amazing, and i totally think you should live the dream and work for a newspaper in hawaii, that would be more chill than my monastery business, and def more glamorous.. anyways i just got back from traveling to austria, prague and northern italy with the fam. billy joel was so right when he said, " slow down you crazy child, when will you realize vienna waits for you?" yah, i know i'm lame for quoting billy, but he just lays it out on the table. it was really good because i could spend quality time with the folks during the day and go out with the crazy twin at night. in prague i realized that i actually do, upon occasion, enjoy beer- pillsner dark draft, who knew?also, in prague liz and i thought we were going to a discotheque (these peeps we met from spain asked the bartender for directions to a club "with dancing", big mistake), and we ended up stumbling into a stripper joint which boasted a "marquis de sade" theme. someone needs to work on their czech. if y'all don't recognize his name, he's the perv from the 18th century who i think could really relate to john mellencamp's heart felt sentiment " come on baby, make it hurt so good" wowie, let me tell yah. i also had a lot of good, clean fun in the alps, checking out where the sound of music was filmed and what not- bellisimo! alright, later gaters, i got to go meet my uncle pete for lunch. best of luck, everyone is doing such exciting things this year. all my love, marielleyyyy

Bri-Bri's Back

after the friendly encouragement from debbie, i've taken the 240 seconds it takes to post a blog. the only thing i've learned this summer is that one should never shop at radioshack unless you're either lazy or indeed need a cell phone. for the people in the back who haven't heard what i've been doing this summer, i spend my days as a hot-tempered sales associate at the shack and my nights as a free-loading server at the allen center on campus. it's nice to have something to constantly do since most people are just as busy or not even here. it is awful to think that i now work as much as i used to nap. *tear*

the shack, which gets its name from the cabinet on a boat where the radio is housed, seemed liked the best fit for me seeing how i'm a geek to the nth degree. i now realize i should've just joined the geek squad. i'm paid on commission which is annoying and stressful. to not be guaranteed pay (well i am guaranteed $6.50 an hour) and to feel like i have to pressure people to buy more in order to make more is very stressful. it's funny cuz my manager has the same qualms with suggestive selling yet can easily justify it by saying he's making sure they get the best experience from what we're selling. it's not so easy for me to agree with him considering my mom is one of the many people who in the 90s spent twice as much as what they had. i'm most likely going to quit at the end of september cuz it'll be too much work to have during school.

the allen center is a wonderful job to have during school. we do so little and hopefully i'll be able to be bartending during the year which will be fun. who wants a cocktail? it's also very nice not having to worry about eating that night cuz they feed me. how wonderful. not the best food but free food for me is always welcomed. finally the feed-a-lineman foundation has found a benefactor. a bit late but still it's going to use.

speaking of jobs i was contacted about a co-op job for spring/summer at northrop grumman. to all those who don't know what that is, it's a defense contractor for the military that has a location out in rolling meadows, il. there used to be a kid, phil, in isrc who worked there a few years ago for co-op and actually got a job there after he graduated. i'm hoping i get the job but you never know. i would need a car to get out there everyday considering it's a 40 minute drive. at the allen center, i used to work with a kid whose brother works for them in maryland. he was telling me about the different levels of security clearance and how his brother is working on some highly-classified projects that even he can know some of the aspects of. that'd be fun but kinda weird at the same time. either way it'll be good to get my first co-op job. then i'd feel like i was getting somewhere with that.

i haven't been working the entire summer. in the middle of july julia came to visit and i went last week. when she was here we just bummed around evanston. we saw batman begins and so should all of you even if you've seen it already. we hung out with merina but sadly not marielle. damn you and your salsa parties, marielle. oh well. when i went out to ohio, we headed up to sandusky for a few days and camped out. haven't done that in almost 10 years. i again remembered why i hadn't: too many bugs. fuck 'em all. we went to cedar point. their rides are a lot of fun. a much more exciting atmosphere than six flags which is all i'm used to. they had more than one song playing throughout the park. we didn't get on the top thrill dragster which goes 120 mph and up 400 or so feet but we did go on millennium force which is over 300 feet high. it was a hoot.

flying to ohio made me miss being able to travel but luckily i get to visit my brother out in california. oh yeah my brother's out in california. he moved out there at the end of june and actually got a job within a month of being out there. he's staying with my uncle in sacramento so hopefully at thanksgiving i'll be able to fly out there. i found some flights for under $200 but it would require me missing 4 days of school. hehe. either way i think julia and i are gonna go out there. i don't think i'll be backpacking in italy for christmas depsite how much fun that sounds but london is almost a certainty. i can't believe the taxes for an international flight are over $200. oh well. i found out a friend from home is gonna be in london all spring semester so it'll be nice to see him.

so much money but thankfully i can afford this which is awesome. i also was able to afford a new video card for my computer. i turned it off one day and it never came back on. thankfully my brother gave me three of his so i wasn't without one but a couple of weeks ago i finally had the time to look at it and decided to buy a video card that can also capture tv like tivo. hehe. i really shouldn't have given more reason for me to stay on my computer but it actually lets me get away from it a bit more. nice. alright i'm a geek we know that already. well i'll let all that sink in or let you all ignore it. whichever. but i hope you're all having a good ending to your summers.

brian

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Komzilla attacks Los Angeles!

sat aug 13
-Kommi arrives
-u2 is our car soundtrack home
-Kommi presents ceremonial gift of nuts. Debbie bows and eats.
-cat-nap.
-Tofuzilla: we visit the tofu festival in Little Tokyo
-we gaze into each other's eyes under a tofu-lit night and cheesy festival jazz

sun aug 14
-SIX FLAGS magic mountain! with Debbie's posse (see pics)
-kommi's face= green
-Debbie gets perterbed by boyfriend's cuddling in 95 degree heat.
Too close for comfort. Kommi was amused.
-D & K konk out in car while boys blast heavy metal.
-D's mom comes upon D making out with boy toy. Mortification ensues.

mon aug 15
-6 am. Debbie sneaks out undetected by unconscious K-dawg
-11 am. Kommi awakes from slumber. Debbie returns with passport.
-Debbie dumps Komal at local mall and D interns. Ugh.
-Universal Citywalk! mexican food, a sock store, a carrot-top Californian with whom we discuss hair bleaching and "bling bling" Jesus. Debbie buys fuschia hair dye....correction: "New Rose."
-we watch movie "Angie," a free-spirited Geena Davis who gets knocked up. "Dump the kid, travel the world!" -Debetella
"Pleasantly entertaining." -K-meister

tues aug 16
-Kommi wakes up late...again. Will we make it to the beach before the crowds descend like a pack of seagulls?! Only time can tell. Tune in soon...

Check out our images.

Monday, July 25, 2005

I got Maui-ed

To those of you that care, it may seem like I've fallen off the face of the earth for the past 10 days.

Have no fear, I was in Maui on what turned out to be the BEST vacation of my life!

I went with my mom and our older family friend, Donna. We stayed in Maalaea (pronounced Ma-ah-lie-ah) which is a harbor in the middle of Maui with FANTASTIC, unobstructed ocean-front views. Day and night, our life merged with the rhythm of the surf.

Speaking of surf, I went on a snorkel/boating expedition, surfing (it put LA surfing to shame), biked down Haleakala volcano (3rd tallest in the world!), going to a luau and swimming! Of course, it wouldn't be a vacation without relaxation, and I did plenty of that, playing the card game Uno with Donna and my mom (I'm a veteran Uno player), making smoothies and walking along the aquamarine water 10 feet from our door.

The pictures can only capture what my eyes experienced. I wish you guys could have been there with me. I seriously began to make inquiries about working at The Maui News and where I'd live there...

Though Maui is known as one of the least developed and most beautiful of the islands, it sadly has become more developed over the past several years. On an optimistic note, the Maui government is working to impede development along its shores, restricting building to inland and up the mountains.

I hope theres' room for me in 2 years.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Komal Sighting in Chicago

So I was walking into the Tarry Building on NU's Chicago campus, and who should be walking out of the bathroom but the one and only

KOMAL SAWLANI!!

Everybody, she's even better in real life than she is in the pictures. We talked for, like, half an hour. It was incredible.

Updates on the Komster:
-Internship at a Northwestern laboratory
-Job at radiology clinic
-MCAT classes
-possibly will embark upon mosaic-making

People, the woman has been busy, and I was lucky enough to run into her in Chicago. For more details, call me. $5.00/minute.

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Deadly Seven

Do you know your seven deadly sins? Every year, it's Chantal's favorite subject to teach.

"Memorize them, you slothful children!" She used to wear man-killing stiletto boots too, but I think she's softened up a bit. "The deadly seven will put you in HELL!" She means well.

Star Sighting in Los Angeles

Yesterday, I was sitting across from my best friend at La Bottega Marino, an Italian restaurant in Largemont, a hip bohemian boutique district.

Right as we were about to order a scruffy-haired guy with sunglasses and a scarf walked past and sat at the table next to me. Even in his attempt to look incognito, I immediately recognized this man, with distinct, delicate features, as none other than The Lord of the Rings star. Can you guess who?

He sat diagonally from me. I could have stretched out my hand a bit and been able to touch him, that's how close he was. I knew myself too well, and would likely talk to him, so I quickly averted my eyes down to my menu.

"What's wrong with you?" said Alexis, who caught notice of my stiffness.

"Oh.....nothing...."as I darted a quick glance from her face to his, my heart blooming with excitement. I had to be careful that my behavior not become too outlandish for ORLANDO!

That's right- I was sitting across the hotness himself, Orlando Bloom. I'd like to testify to the fact that he is every bit as hot as he is on screen. Definitely not a man to blend in with the crowd.

He soon moved because he felt cramped among the tables outside (they were very cramped) and I'm glad, otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to enjoy my meal with his distraction.

Of course, my mom and Alexis got a bird's eye view of Bloom at the window their whole meal. No wonder they pushed so hard to order dessert. He wet their appetites or maybe they wanted more time to stare at him.

My mom must've known I was going to ask for his picture because she started a diatribe against the paparazzi and their invasion of privacy. Just because I wanted his picture does not make me a candidate for Globe or Star. I normally don't care about celebs so much, it's just Bloom was exceedingly cute.

Friday, July 08, 2005

One more for the weekend

im doing very well and really starting to enjoy brasil and salvador a
lot. i love the city, feel very safe, and find the poeople to be very
friendly. i havent yet gotten to go to the beach bc it s been raining
a lot.

i decided not to take the culture class that is an additional 6 hours
per week. i~d rather spend my time exploring the city.

yesterday after class i took a 3 hour nap and then went back to school
for another amazing baina dance lesson. i really enjoyed it. for an
hour and a half we learned typical dances of the carnaval blocos afoxe
group type stuff. not sure exactly but it was all sambaish and reggae
stuff. theres a huge band here called olodum that started the samba
reggae movement trend in music. they place in the historic area called
pelourinho on tuesday nights. the trombone player from the band was
the guy that my friend margaret (the brazilian music instructor -22,
fsu) danced with at the dois do julho celebration on tuesday.

after dance class, we had a light dinner and hung out at acbeu until
it was time for our capoeira class. margaret and i headed over to the
academia mandinga for our first real capoeira lesson here in bahia.
margaret has been practicing capoiera in talahassee for a while but
they made her start in the beginning class. it was really hard and
great fun. i prefer capoeira to tae kwon do becuase there is music
throughoout the class and you get to feel the rhythm and also the
moves are much more applicable. at the end of every class we form a
hora in which four capoeiristas play the berimbau, a long sick-like
instrument with a string and a large gourd attached ot the bottom,
that creates a sort of hollow sound, and one caller chants the songs
while playing his instrument and a large drum. then a pair of
jogadores (players) begin to fight (but they only say play) in the
middle of the hora (circle). one by one people take over for the
players so that you are continuously playing a new person. it~s great
to watch and learn and apply the moves youve just learned and also get
to participate. also, a lot of women play capoeira. i think a
majority, but about half at our school. with the music, rhythm, and
energy of the hora, it~s a much more satisfying ending to a class.
during the demonstration two days ago, i took a lot of video, which my
friend jen put on cd for me so i~m very happy to have it. i~m also
looking forward to making friends with the capoeiristas, who are all
young, and uising it as a way to meet brazilians. they~re all very
nice and relaxed people.

today we found out a little bit about the trip to rio. july 21-24 and
then i~ll stay until the 27 for the conference. it should be great and
very cheap. the hotels will cost US$100 and the flight only US$225. it
should be great to get to tour the city and familiarize myself before
attending the conference.

tonight i~m going to the one synagogue in salvador for services. my
neighbor is jewish and a fascinating woman of 71 years, very freilich.
it sort of became clear why i~m having trouble with my host mom, and i
htink it~s just her personality. i have no trouble talking ot other
people in portuguese. i htink we live very different lifestyles and
its hard for us to find things to talk about. she seems to be a sort
of uptight rich old lady and also sort of bitter and sad about losing
her husband a year ago and doesnt do much or go out or have too many
friends and isnt too intellectual. my neighbor on the other hand, is
the complete opposite. she talked to us for 2 or more hours the other
night and could have gone on forever. i really understood her, too.
for some reason, my host mom uses the most unfamilar vocab of anyone i
know. great. but my host sister is 21 and very sweet. she wants to
take me to the beach, the movies, the clubs. she~s also about as
gorgeous as they come here in brazil. the guys in the program are just
drooling from my description of her. anyway, back to my neighbor. she
was so friendly and talked to me about everything. her religion - her
dad was jewish, mother catholic baiana - and her personal mysticism
and love of theology and how she hates the rabbi (which i can see why
already not even talking to him - he seems very strange - wanting me
to call to tell him all the personal information just to go to
services and also telling her that her sons and grandkids arent jewish
and couldnt have bar mitzvahs) - and she talked about politics, and
business, and globalization and america. fascinating. i really liked
her and want to go tlak to her a lot more. she offered to drive me
over to the synagogue tonight for services even though she doesnt
really like to go any more bc of the rabbi. i told her that i was in
the same situation at school where i began to hate judaism bc of
hillel (we both agreed that our religion and been taken from us
^tirado de nos^). so my host mom said she~d like to go too and jen is
also going to come.

now i have to go home for lunch and then go get a $3 pedicure so i can
go to the beach with ~unhas aceitaveis~ (respectable nails).

tchao and grades beijous,

dena

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Bally's Success Story

Would it be lame to appear in a Bally Total Fitness commercial in exchange for money, a month of free training and supplements?

Due date: July 15.

-Debs

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

I~m here I~m here but I can~t find the apostrophe button!

By Dena

Heyyo,

Thanks for posting my email, Debbie. Like I said, there~s a limited supply of computers here and time to use them. Our group has 17 students from across the country (I~m studying abroad with the University of Iowa) and the other large group here is from UCLA, they have 40 kids, all from UCLA.

Brazil is amazing. Naturally. I~m starting to really appreciate it after getting over the initial awkwardness of being so easily spotted as a foreigner. 80% of this city (Salvador) is black or of African descent. My beaming white skin and occasional Northwestern t-shirt don~t often help in not standing out. But so I here, this place is relatively tame in terms of stares and cat calls and danger. Perhaps it~s partly because I live in the richest area of town, but I don~t feel at all uncomfortable here anymore walking on the streets. I~ve learned to ignore the stares, and they~re really not too bad. One big difference is that people on buses here stare like it~s their job. You~ll often get a head turn out the window as well.

I~ve been taking pictures but but can~t put them on the computer unfortunately.

This week, I~ve gotten Baiana dance lessons, cooking lessons (not really, but we ate some acaraje, fried bean and veggie patties), and today we have a capoeira lesson/demonstration (Brazilian dance fighting).

I have to run but the big news of the day is that the group trip to Rio de Janiero is on July 20-24 and my conference is July 24-7 so everything works out perfectly. I~ll get to tour Rio and then attend the International AIDS Society Conference and be in Rio for a week!!

Tchao belezas,

Dena

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

I'd like to extend a shoutout to our founding fathers and mothers for making July have such a fabulous holiday.

I've gotten to party, go to more BBQs than I'd care to mention, and chillax.

Friday was low-key, I went to the gym and watched a movie.

On Saturday, I got up early and in the spirit of carpe diem, dragged my parents out to Santa Monica beach and had breakfast. I then found great finds at a $15 or less shopping store. Nothing quickens my heart beat like finding a great piece of clothing at a bargain price.
From there, I went back to Glendale, up to the park by my house in scorching heat and wished my best guy friend David bon voyage at his good buy party, as he carves a new life for himself in Rochester, NY. I hope he isn't miserable in what is sure to be a drastic change of scenery for the social butterfly of Glendale. Without David, I'm going to have to make party connections in this region by myself.

But Alexis is helping with that. Her boyfriend Mikey has this group of friends that I've gotten close with. A bunch of Glendale folk drove down for what was supposed to be a block party in Manhattan Beach. Coastal parties are awesome except you've got to gamble distance for quality and those parties never have any parking. Decent people, but NOT a block party. Seems the party started at 2 pm, so by the time we got there (10 pm.) it was considerably smaller.

Nonetheless, we enjoyed the kickback, and at one point, my Glendale group of friends and Mikey's group of friends connected over near-death experiences with my infamous driving. So I used to speed a little. It warms my heart when people can connect by mocking me.

I had met one of the guys there at a New Years Eve party and he seemed like the biggest pothead. So you can imagine my surprise when he said he's training to be a police officer. Then he starts blatantly hitting on my in a group setting- awkward- so I change the subject and engage him a test of social barriers. I tell him to give me a question to ask the most guarded, stand-offish person at the party. He points to this pretty brunette in a green sweater, standing next to her boyfriend, arms and eyebrows both crossed. I am sure I can get the question answered...

I go up to her and after several minutes find out she's a Northwestern Communications alum! So I was leading up to the awkward moment, of asking her "Are you a ...?" but then the guy who challenged me, walked up and made this face like "don't worry about it." It would have been awkward, and I liked to talking to what became the girl's group of emo-mod-crowd of black, chunky, side-parted hair and ties, group. You guys know that look, right?

So yesterday, I postponed early morning surfing with Jeremy and decided to sleep in...until 12!!! and tanned, watched a Czech film, Zelary, and went to this party in Pasadena thrown by Mikey's friend. Flip cup, Egyptian Ratscrew, guitars and sing-alongs- made this party your quintissential kickback. Towards the end of the night I met this guy that made the party anything but mediocre. He walked me to my car. We exchanged numbers. A potential summer fling?

Mr. Potential Summer Fling called yesterday to go out to a BBQ in Redondo Beach. But I wanted to reunite with my middle school friends at their apartment in Westwood by UCLA. It was a tad awkward for some reason.
Mr. P.S. Fling will have to wait until next weekend for my attentions ;)

They don't call me debbiecoqueta for nothing,
Deberino

p.s. where's Komal? I talked to her on the phone several times. Does she have no internet?
Bom dia meus amores,

so things have finally settled down and we just started classes yesterday.

actually, the irony is i have to run home for lunch and beback in an hour or so i don~t have too much time right now to write. I just wanted to let you know that i~m doing ok and enjoying myself but finding a lot of the aspects of traveling in latin america a lot more difficult than i expected. so there are a lot less computers here than students so i dont know how often i~ll get to update the blog.

This has been such an eye-opening experience already, as tired as thatmay sound. I feel like i~ve been here a month but it~s only been aweek. it~s funny that our first week was just an intro to brazil and chilling out and so i guess we only have 5 weeks of class.

Basically, the progrma does its best to keep us extremely sheltered.they dont take us to any of the bad areas of town, and we live in the richest part of salvador, the 3rd or 4th biggest city in brazil. It's a great place, once you get used the staring and feeling like an awkward foreigner. Actually, as far as my companheiros have told me,this is relatively mild in terms of negative attention for latin america. I really havent gotten many cat calls, but i have been picking up guys like mosquitos!

My host family situation is pretty bad/awkward. Not the worst, but its just me and my 50 yo mom and 2 maids who she makes do everything. I hate it. She even has a bell. its terrible and she treats them likedogs really. The sweetest part is that i live in a penthouse with my own pool so i can escape there sort of and every night i enjoy a breath-taking view of the city.

Although its sort of dangerous to go out at night by yourself that's the only way i can enjoy the city and so i went out last night to this park near my place the very famous praca dois do julho for the bahainaindependence celebration. The park is beautiful and there were a tonof people out - the weather is gorgeous, esp at night - and theere wasa live big band playing a mix of brazilian dances and american pop/jazz -= i will survive in portuguese and english! These high school guys started dancing with me so it was a good time and luckily we had learned the dances that afternoon at school.

I think if I can start to meet the kids here then i~ll be able to see more of the city.i dont have any host siblings so that kind of sucks. But yeah last weekend we went to this beautiful island called morro desao paulo and it was pretty cute. I enjoyed the beach and the clubs at night, banana and chocolate crepes on the street, though i~m not a big fan of the cachassa which is what the national drink, caipirinha, is made of.

Everyone's always impressed when we whip out the respective aikido, capoeira a nd tae kwon too. Yeah def too much to write here but i/ll try to get some of it down onto the blog. mostly i~/m just going to have a huge journal though with all my thoughts and observations.

It's pretty crazy. For the first few days i couldnt get over the discrepancy btw rich and poor. im still trying to figure it out and make some conclusions about it. i dont know quite what to do with myself.

Write back and let me know how things are going. debbie, can you send me the link again to the savvy traveler^? please write me at gmail because I can t really check nu account.

Lots of love and can't wait to hear from you!!!
dena
(day-na)

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Party like it's 1776!

I Love 4th of July Weekend! (more to come on parties and chillaxin')

-Debetella

Saturday, July 02, 2005

"Bicycle! Bicycle! I want to ride my..." -Queen

Do people read when I post comments to other people's entries? If not, then I'll just make them new blogs.hmm, this might clutter the main page...

My thoughts on Bi- Drama:
omg. poor diego. he probably speaks english, but la mia bicicleta should have been clear as crystal. What the hell is up with that policeman? he squeezed his neck? What- is the "Force" getting tough on minors now? I cover the police beat for the News-Press and man, do I hear about some harassment from the "force." I'm sure it's a tough job but we're all people.oh yeah, I'm glad you got your bike back. Between you and Marielle, I don't think I can handle the drama behind owning a bike.

Friday, July 01, 2005

I stole my bicycle back.

And felt kind of bad about it. Let me explain.

As my mom and I were pulling into Birch Manor (our apartment complex) I spotted my Huffy Kathy Ireland bike, being ridden by a boy. Several weeks ago this bike was taken from outside my bedroom window, presumably by someone who lives in Birch Manor. I had been devastated, so you can imagine my surprise when I saw it again. I opened the door before my mom stopped the car and confronted the boy.

"Excuse me, that's my bicycle. Those are even my handlebars--I know because when I changed them--"

"No hablo ingles." Smaller and shorter than me, he looked like one of my seventh graders.

"Uh...Es bicycleta mia? Um. Shit. Are you sure you don't speak English?"

And then my mom, angrily stalking out of the car-- "I call the police!"

"Wait ma--"

"No hablo ingles."

"You give me bicycle or I call police!" My mom was outraged. Great. Neither of my mom nor the bikenapper could speak English.

Through my rudimentary Spanish, I learned that the boy--Diego--had bought my bike for 30 dolares from his "primo". When I managed to make him give it back to me, the police had showed up. The officer stepped out of the car--he had jaggedy tattoos on bicepy arms--he called Diego to his car and squeezed the boy's neck with his big knuckley hands.

"You don't speak English?"

No answer.

"Why the hell not? You're in AMERICA. Speak ENGLISH."

Diego just looked to the ground. It was as if he was used to this, and it killed me.

The policeman continued to bark, "Where do you live?" Diego pointed East, and the policeman pushed him that way. "Then GO that way. VAMOS! I'll kick your ass in any language!"

Diego turned and walked down that road. He had probably lied to me about buying my bike for thirty dollars, he had probably stolen it himself, and he had the nerve to ride it in front of my house. But as I stood there gripping my handlebars--the ones I'd gotten changed when the gears stopped working--I couldn't help calling, "I'm sorry!", and it was the least, the very least I could do.

Being vegan ain't so bad.

Although I've slacked (or snacked!) lately. Today I was offered a gingerbread man cookie and took one, and then I was offered some goldfish and took some. Then I felt kind of guilty, but then contemplated if I was actually opposed to animal products in the first place, and if so, why the hell would I care anyway. But whatever. Being vegan has been fun because I get to come up with cool new recipes. For example, the other day I made chocolate cookies with coconut milk instead of eggs and butter. Try it--they're delish. Or use carob instead of chocolate if you want to be hardcore. And I've also made a totally vegan cheesecake with tofu and almond butter, and it turned out really well. I'm not into the Tofutti, garden-burger, monterrey-jack-style-soy-cheese, hydrogenated soy sour cream crap. I just enjoy exploring my natural plant options as a plant-appreciation sort of project, if you will. So don't worry Debbie, we won't be eating raw celery sticks and dried biscuits for dinner our senior year.

hey friends

yay debbie for starting a group blog :)
since i'm tech-illiterate, this is very exciting, also it gives me something to do when i'm putz-ing around at work, eating licorice, and transcribing interviews of middle school students from south side chi-town, it's devastatingly exciting, i'll tell yah. currently my boss is MIA. that's aiight, i'm getting the g's, and that's all that counts so then I can pay for more putzing (or meditating if you will) in India- woot woot. speaking of India, yesterday I went on this long bike ride to Glenview to get immunizations shots for typhoid and craziness, but i ended up on this highway, where there was no bike path. i must have looked like this sweaty mad woman with no-helmet and no destination to all the passerbys. so then i decided to ditch the highway and opt for this bike path along a nature reserve, but that didn't get me any closer to the travel medicine clinic. so....after an hour of this i decided to bike home, and console myself by viewing the whole expedition as a really good workout. but then...alas! about 3/4 of the way back by bike got stuck on a tree branch ( a la nature reserve) and it broke, just like that. haha. now this seems funny but at the time i was wicked pissah. so i walked a bit, and got a cab ride from old orchard. ah well, i think i'm gonna have to go to the evanston hospital for the immunizations and malaria medication. nothing much else is up. tonight i'm leaving brian's apartment- he has been very kind to offer a halfway house for me and the rob-meister (who is currently living at park evanston in an apartment overlooking the lake/sailboats/bahai temple- roberto is so full of surprises :) . this weekend: fireworks, a proud to be an american party hosted by mon amour monsieur hetrick, and some taste of chicago sweet sweet goodness. love y'all, good luck with the internships and jobs and what not, :) marielle-y

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Watch out for them Maenads!

YiRan, you got to watch your back for them Maenads! Poor Orpheus...I guess he shouldn't have watched his back when coming out of the tunnel though...

So how are your little runts? I hope your small children are well.

When did you become vegan?! this is going to make home cooking tough senior year. I hope you at least become vegetarian by then.

That party planning for the Wedding photography service sounds so snazzy! Let me know how it goes and send pictures if you can. Big extravagant weddings are fun to attend, but they seem awful to plan. I'd just have a small get together on the beach. My dress would be bright red to throw people off. Debbie the harlot of a bride haha.

I'm now answering phones at my joke of an internship in downtown LA. The one at the Glendale News Press is 100x better. Maybe I should just quit this one.When they said I was going to work in all departments of their company, I didn't think they meant answering phones and paperwork in ALL departments.

someone's already asked me for a mocha latte. I looked them straight in the eye and said "I'm not That kind of intern."

-Debbie

Hi everybody,

In Chicago, it hasn't rained for about 2 weeks. Global warming is so real.

Two days ago I took my mom to an angiogram and she's fine, which is cool.

My small children have been analyzing myths about greek gods and goddesses. My favorite story is Orpheus and Eurydice. Salman Rushdie rewrote it and called it The Ground Beneath Her Feet.

At Ockenphotography, we've been organizing a party for our past clients and prospective brides. There are going to be 25 different vendors, including the woman I was telling Debbie about. The whole subculture of the wedding business is very odd and somewhat frightening.

Otherwise, home is fine and I've been cooking lots of good vegan food.

I miss you all, of course.

I'm back in high school. except I work.

By Debbie

My first internship is going great but the second one, which I started today is a bit boring. Tedious paperwork and all that. But today was the day we go out to publish, so I'm not going to set a concrete opinion until tomorrow.

I wasn't able to drive for the first 2 weeks and man was that hell. Any family tensions were exacerbated by the fact that I was home all the time. I started driving last Thursday and things are looking up.

My brother the punk just had his tonsels out- ouch. he is in pain and can't swallow. My other brother just graduated from high school and is always out recording with his band. I'm starting as an online consignment seller (ie. I sell her 100s of cookbooks on ebay) for my mom so I can earn money on the side b/c internships sure as hell don't pay.

I miss school and it now parallels the home I have here.

I've got a life here but I don't have the fun conversations and quirky moments I had with my dormmates. When people wish for any super power, I often wish to be able to transport myself anywhere. Then I could visit my friends in a "Days of the Week" flexibility that matched my moods.

I wonder if "Instant Transport" would take the novelty out of travel...

Fashion has been my latest hobby: I've been searching for great deals on ebay, designing clothing and I finished a skirt for my mom yesterday. Next is a aqua tweed suit for myself.

As for this weekend, I haven't really planned anything. My best friend Alexis is going to be with her bf, Mikey. She spends ALL her time with him. She said if that falls through, then she'd like to do something with me. Forget being 2nd runner-up, I'm making plans with my friends in Orange County.On Saturday, I'm going to a BBQ thrown for my friend David.

It's a Bon Voyage party as he is moving to New York to start a new life there. He used to drug deal but now...just kidding.He's just been drifting in and out of community college classes and he's a really social guy that knows 50% of the young crowd in Glendale and Burbank. I can't imagine him in Rochester, NY.

First, I'm forcing him to get an MRI at the LA county hospital tomorrow. I'm driving him there b/c he doesn't drive. He's been suffering headaches since last weekend when a large fight in his friend's club erupted. He got hit in the temple and was unconscious for several minutes. Next thing he knew, he was on the way to emergency. His friends are the type to seek revenge, but in this case, the aggressor is a red-neck cage fighter from Tujunga. Definitely, a No-go.

So, I'm about to watch an international film. This infatuation with intl. movies has been going on for months now. Some nice blue blockbuster cases are perched next to me: "Girl From Paris" and "Zelary." I'll let you know if they're any good. Until then, ciao.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Public Media's Double Standard

By Cherney

There's something that always bothered me about liberals and conservatives (but mostly liberals) who claim that the media is no longer doing its job in questioning authority and uncovering the truth. The media's job in a free society is to perpetuate the "marketplace of ideas," to find out whether our elected officials are telling the truth, etc. These critics, for example, point to Bush's fiasco with his claim of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and say the media failed to properly investigate these claims. At their job, these media critics say, journalists have failed.

Work today elucidated why I dislike these media critics.

I'm working on a story about city parks, specifically that young adults congregate in public parks at night and smoke, do drugs, fight, and make it uncomfortable for others. Apparently its gotten to a point where neighbors refuse to go there at night. I believe this is an issue worth reporting. Wilkes-Barre has had problems with its parks in the past ($26,000 in repairs for city parks recently). Residents are scared or uncomfortable to use their parks. Whether or not you think these neighbors are warranted in their complaints, they are still complaining, and people -- and city officials -- have the right to know. And myself, as a journalist, have an obligation to report this problem for public consumption.

In a story like this I think of myself as doing a public service. Maybe an article in the paper will change things. Maybe the city will further increase police patrols (they already have increased it), hire security guards, or do something.

But as I interviewed neighbors this afternoon at one city park, it was very difficult for me to get people to give me their names for publication. It's common in journalism not to use anonymous sources, and very few papers do it -- and if they do, its usually, you know, a big deal. Basically if I can't get any neighbors saying on record that it is a problem, there's no story. If there's no story, there's no public awareness of the problem, and if there's no awareness, there's no change. I understand that some people were afraid of vandalism or retribution if they complained on record about these problem young adults. But the fact of the matter is I can't do my job if people are not willing to talk to me.

At times it even got personally insulting. You know, I stand there talking to some resident for 5 or 10 minutes. They refuse to give me their name for publication. Fine. So I ask them for their first name, just to say thank you, just to relate to them on a personal level like any other human being with who they interact. And most of them won't even give me their first name. They think I'm going to burn them and put them in the paper. It's mildly insulting because in any other social interaction you tell people your name first thing. Its insulting secondly because they think I'm lying to them when I say I'm not going to publish their names.

Which brings me back to my first point. Citizens, public officials, politicians, just about everyone on many occassions refuse to cooperate with the media. Without cooperation the media cannot do its job. And then these same people -- citizens, public officials, politicians -- turn around and criticize the media for not doing its job. With this popular conception of journalists as cheats, liars, and solicitors, no wonder jouranlists have a hard time doing their job.

Apparently there's a police chief in a town around here who refuses to release crime reports to the press. How are journalists suppose to do their job in this kind of work atmosphere? I know jouranlism is a thankless profession, and I can operate without thanks. But its another thing to weather this hippocritical doublespeak.

Maybe its time some of these media critics reevaluate the circumstances in which journalists operate. And instead of constant criticism (some of course, is healthy), why don't they use their energy to change the way the public interacts with journalists in a way that is beneficial for both reporters and citizens. That's what I try to do every day on the job.

And if we're talking about creating an atmosphere in which its impossible for the media to do its job, here's an article that should make your spine tingle:

Court Orders 4 Reporters to Reveal Sources in Lee Case.

Just some insights from a full-time reporter in Wilkes-Barre, P.A.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Welcome

This blog exists for the purpose of communication between Northwestern students who have ties to the 2007 ISRC gang. Many of us will be studying abroad during the 2005-06 school year and this space will act as our forum.

You can decide to do whatever you like with your entry. But you can't be lazy and just enter a link to your own personal blog. The way this will work is if you try to do the following:

- everytime you post on your personal blog, post the same entry here as well
- post at least once every 2-3 weeks. More than a month and we may assume you've died and may hold an online eulogy.
- enter a LINK to an online photo gallery rather than pasting photos into your entry.
- RESPOND to other people's entries. Otherwise it's more of a compilation of diaries instead of a forum. Communication = dialogue
- remember your audience. Don't make your blogs too long. Most of us will have limited access to computers so don't include drafts of a travel novel here.
- BUT do be descriptive and anecdotal. Take us with you on your travels. Take the poor NU students back in Evanston with you through your entries.
- don't forget to write your name. we're all using the same user name.

Why "The Savvy Traveler"? Because that's what we hope to become as we embark on our study abroad experience. We will be not tourists, but travelers!

Write whatever you feel, think, see, experience. So begins an amazing journey for all of us!

- Debbie