Lucy and her toy from Sue
Lucy and her toy from Sue
A recent (and one I love) picture of my Mr. B
Tonight, we're headed to our favorite local restaurant, Magnolia Grill, to celebrate. Can't wait!
The arena fills up
Because we were in the cheap, we had to wait in a long line outside the entrance to our settore (if we’d gotten there earlier, we would have had “better” seats; people line up around 6:00p (the opera started at 9:00p!) to get in, get to their settore and claim the best seats).
Lines outside the arena
Outside the arena, vendors were hawking copies of the lirica for "Carmen" and cushions to blow up and sit on (this should have given me a hint, no?)
More of the outside scene
Once inside the arena, you climb up a series of steep steps (this took awhile what with the throngs of people) and finally get out into the open air. There are ushers to tell you where to sit; you tell them how many, they point out where to go and attempt to squeeze in. Squeeze in is an apt term, I felt like a sardine. This was definitely the downside to the experience (for me, anyway); no room to move or stretch, hard stone seats and no ability to get up and leave for the entire duration. The view we had of the stage was excellent meaning it was directly avanti (ahead) of us but far away. So without binocolo da teatro, very difficult to see much detail (of course you’re really there for the music so no matter). As it turned out, Ernst had binocolo da teatro with him (along with a sleeping bag to sit on) so it could have been worse.
Our great view of the stage!
Just call me spoiled but, at least WRT seats, I am used to my orchestra seats at Opera Pacific!
The production was wonderful. Music, of course, exhilarating. Costumes, scenes, props (live animals!); the voices, all excellent. Amazing how easy it was to hear, considering how far away we were.
The crowd. I was impressed that so many people were there. Italians are obviously cultured and it’s great the opera is affordable. Also, very well-behaved; quiet, no fracas. Amazing considering how close everyone was sitting. Vendors running around selling drinks, food. Poor guys, it looked like a difficult job hauling their boxes/ice chests stepping through the throngs of people sitting everywhere. “Coca, Fanta, Birra, Bibito!”
Very interesting to see the tradition here and how different they are from opera back home. Definitely in place to entertain the crowds that were stuck in place during the LONG intermissions (20-40 minutes; three of them). No champagne for me, I got to watch the “Gong Lady”! She comes out during the intermissions 3 times and bangs a gong. The 1st time she comes out she bangs it once, the 2nd time twice, etc. The third gong means the opera is about to begin again. She makes a big show of it, running the baton outside the gong a few times before she smacks it (once ,or twice, or 3 times, depending). She’s a very popular lady by the time she comes out the 3rd time!) You also know when the act is about to end because you can see two groups of stage hands coming along each side of the stage with screens. When the act is over, they put the screens in front of the stage. From our vantage, we could see the stage hands working to change the set.
The very experience of seeing an opera in such an old historic place is something I will never forget.
Being pestered (and therefore distracted) by Ernst.
My handwriting; can YOU read it?
It's been this way ever since I can remember; certainly, it was this way when I was a teenager corresponding with my 90+ year old great grandfather (it was a toss up as to whose writing was harder to read; I think I beat him out, though!)
My friend Kathleen told me she always has to read my handwritten letters/cards to her husband Don because he can't figure out what I'm saying.
And, in my prior life, the folks that worked for me used to compare notes I'd written them and place bets on what certain words were.
Of course, it was all in great fun and, eventually, people ARE able to figure out what I'm writing. I think. Or, maybe they just make up what they think I was saying? These guesses might be even more interesting than what I WAS saying!
But, I'll admit, even I will re-read something I wrote (say, in one of my journals), and say to myself, "What the you-know-what is THAT word?"
As for the hundreds of invitations I addressed last night, what can I say except I've never had anything returned to me by the post office. So, the postal workers, at least, and I, are on the same wave length.
What does THAT mean?
I am sitting here an hour before I am due at school. This is where I met Eva yesterday. I’m wearing the same stinky clothes. This R&R Hall of Fame tee-shirt is getting a lot of mileage. I am wearing my Tommy Hilfiger blue jean shorts, too. They are probably not appropriate for school, l but I have nothing else. I refuse to wear my sweatpants and swelter to death.
Italians are a bit aloof. I stand out like a sore thumb and they notice and look down at me. Of course, they can’t know this isn’t how I intended to appear!
No one looks into windows as they walk past. I’ve sat at my window for hours last night, watching. Eyes straight ahead, no glancing up, down, left, right.
I can’t believe how noisy it is at my apartment at all hours. Street noise. Cars passing, people walking by talking, etc. Except this morning it was quiet. Funny.
It’s real humid here. In addition to making me a sweaty, icky mess, it’s rendered my appetite to next to nothing. If anything, with this situation and all the walking (Eva said I should rent a bike), I should manage to stay in good shape.
I used the "carta telefonica" (phone card) this morning to call the airline regarding my bag. It worked, amazingly enough. Too bad it hasn’t been so easy to get my bag returned to me.
It only took me 15 minutes (or less) to walk here. Good to know. Why take the bus (except to learn, I guess)?
Later, 8:45p -- Caffe Colonial (near Ponte Nuovo)
Woo-hoo, my suitcase showed up this morning! During the afternoon break, I ran back to my apartment and was able to change clothes! Glorious! Now I feel a bit more “at home” and able to relax.
And school was fine; but when they say “Total Immersion”, that is exactly what they mean! The staff and teachers try not to speak any English. Yikes! I ended up (I think) in a very basic class. I’ll know for sure tomorrow.
The street the school was on (right side)
The good news is, everyone is very nice, including most of the other students. The bad news is, I comprehend about ½ of what is being said. Ok, more like ¼!
Idea Verona (the school)
There was a 2 hour lecture this afternoon on the city of Verona, ancient cities in general, arenas, gladiators, etc. The instructor, Andrea, (a man), speaks very fast Italian, says “va bene” a lot and reminds me of my friend Cesar from Spain. Luckily, he also throws in some English, so you can somewhat follow what he’s saying. He also gave a 2 hour walking tour of Verona after school which was good to get oriented. I think I understand, basically, how to get a bus ticket and where they go; also, where to buy groceries (there may be a store closer to my apartment but I haven’t found it yet) and what the best wines in Verona are. He also told us a lot about the Arena di Verona. Maybe I will see if some of the other students would like to see an opera.
I left the tour when we got close to my place. I said, “Parto abito (and the word for “over there”, which I know I can’t spell, sounds like “la jew”).Basically, this meant, "I'm leaving as I live over there".
I went home and unpacked/got organized. Now I’m out having dinner (pizza and a beer, I figure I deserve the beer). I’m not too worried about drinking too much over here, it’s too hot to get drunk.
Yes, it’s steamy, steamy, steamy qua (here). I’ve never sweated so much in my life. I need to buy a fan for my room.
Tomorrow I have to buy a notebook. They haven’t provided me one. My notes are all over the place.
I hope now that school has begun, I will start doing things in the evening with other people. I didn’t come here to hang out by myself. I’ve made myself go to restaurants, etc., by myself and it’s ok, but, other than Eva, I’ve yet to see any other “single” women.
I would also like to find the gym, but we’ll see. I need to get the Internet thing figured but soon, too.
And, I need to remember that I am here to learn and grow. Who knows what direction this will take?
(Not-Yet) Mrs. B
Lobby of the apartment building; my apartment was to the left of the elevator around the corner
My little bed in my little bedroom; note candle on night stand to make it "homey"!
The very small and bizarre bathroom
The "kitchen" (such as it was)
This was a 2nd bedroom, but, I used it to lay out and dry laundry (which I washed in the bathroom sink!)
My silly dancing hamster; he kept a smile on my face when I was homesick, though!