End of an Era

Posted by Alex | | Posted On Sunday, 30 January 2011 at 15:27

I should really be packing right now, but hey-ho, ever the procrastinator! I'm into my last 24hours in Pavia, and I'm totes unprepared for all of this. It really is a move I'm not quite looking forward to much...

So, first piece of business: apologies to anyone (i.e. everyone) I didn't see before leaving. The plan for Safarà last night was pretty hastily thought up, not realising the Eurodinner probably killed most of you, and the fact that sitting alone for 45minutes really makes you want to go elsewhere. So, while a night out in that lovely little establishment would have been nice with y'all, I ended up in Malaika on Aperol Spritz con San Simone; followed by a Dominus Triple in the Black Bull. Same old, really.

There isn't really much to say in this blog without going overboard, so I'll just let it all go and say:

I'm actually going to miss Pavia, a lot. I guess I came here with no real expectations. I was told it was going to be a casino, which at first it was. I had the best journey down ever -- having crossed over rolling plains, cascading rivers, and high mountain passes -- only to end up in a little town that nobody had heard of. I wasn't in contact with any of the Erasmus folks here for about four days, but then, once I was, I met the most amazing people.
I'd already done the whole Spanish Society Executive last year, so I knew of the Erasmus lifestyle, but I didn't realise that it was a constant, world-over. I didn't think I'd come here and meet Argentinian, Costa Rican, Portuguese, Turkish, Irish, and American people and spark up friendships with them. Heck, I thought I was going to be the type to just cling to the Cardiff gang...which I guess I did at first, before spending more time just doing my own thing.
I've seen other Italian cities, and only Venice comes close to stealing the crown from Pavia. I wouldn't trade this place for anything in the world. I'm going to struggle to enjoy Lleida at first, just because it's not Pavia. It's not the place where I have so many friends and acquaintances from all over the world. It's not the place where I can wake up and spend €2,30 on a cappuccino and a brioche in a café where I am a semi-regular. It's not the place where I can stand at 8am on a sunny day and see the Alps. It's not the place where I can eat pizza at 3am on a Saturday night in good company.
In short: Pavia has made a huge impression on me. I was never interested in coming to Italy beforehand, because it always seemed a juxtaposition between the big cities like Milan and Turin, and the olive groves in the countryside. But, Pavia was the perfect mix. It was never really busy, but it was never the middle of nowhere. It was a nice second home. I will miss it.

And now for my regrets:
1. I never got to see Genoa. I kept promising myself I'd go, and then I got weighed down by exams. Quite the shame, but I guess it gives me an excuse to come back.
2. I never learnt how to make risotto alla milanese from scratch.
3. My glow-in-the-dark t-shirt only ever elicited the response of "Cool t-shirt, bro"
3b. Unlike 90% of Erasmus (I assume...) I didn't once act on any of my crushes, likes, or whatever you want to call them. So that leaves...er...three girls oblivious to it all. Je suis désolé.

But, this year isn't all about globe-trotting, gastronomy and getting it on, so what am I moaning about? I have met amazing people, stayed in a brilliant place, and I'm going to miss it a hell of a lot.

A tutti i Pavesi ed Erasmini: vi voglio bene, amici. Mi mancherete tanto!

Time is Running Out

Posted by Alex | | Posted On Sunday, 23 January 2011 at 13:53

You know me. You know I like to procrastinate in the face of oncoming pressures. That's exactly what I'm doing by writing this blog. I have an Art History exam on Wednesday, but I haven't looked at anything properly yet. Huzzah! Then again, this time last week I was moaning that I'd never pass my Italian Literature exam, and yet I aced it with an Ottimo (the highest band of marks you can get, for you non-Italians) from putting in very little work, and doing a lot of bullshitting around the point.

It's just over a week - like 8 days - until I pack up my troubles, hop on a flight, and trundle on slowly towards Lleida. I actually feel like I haven't got enough time left. I was given the good advice to do everything I haven't done yet, but with this exam, and going home, I have only 1 day to do anything and that's a Sunday, so it's highly unlikely that anything can be done! I guess it'll all work out in the end, right? Sure.

In other news, I'm kind of keeping up with my one resolution to keep up with New Music. It's just a shame that it's only January and the New Music isn't coming quite fast enough for me. Albums which I have checked out thus far and enjoyed include the new Decemberists album (The King is Dead) and the new Minks album (By the Hedge), which means I have liked one album a week since they have begun releases in 2011. Next on the list is Dolorean (The Unfazed), but I'm not too sure of it...

Anyhow, kids and kidettes. I'd best get myself into gear and start learning, eh? May as well get a decent grading for this half of the year!


Posted by Alex | | Posted On Saturday, 15 January 2011 at 12:42

I feel like I’ve been a bit of a letdown on the blogging front lately. I really haven’t had the time to get around to it. That’s a total lie, considering my studying has gone to pot already. I just guess I haven’t thought of anything interesting to say. So, what I say now is just stuff pulled out of the ether in order to make some coherent blog post!

Since I posted last, not a lot has happened really. I’ve passed two linguistics exams – though only one counts towards my degree – and I’ve failed miserably at reading all the novels I have to for my Literature exam on Thursday. I have time, though. I keep telling myself that; maybe I should start telling myself I have no time for messing around instead.

I’ve worked out that I don’t have much time left in Pavia. 16 days and I’m gone. It’s not a good feeling. I suppose I have to thank Jen for trying to put a positive spin on it all, when all I could think was “Lleida won’t be Pavia” – I’m trying to save all my “I love this place so much” points for my pre-leaving blog, but it’s quite difficult to do when you know you’re ultimately going to a strange place, with a language you’re not overly confident with, and have to start over again just because the University says you have to. I’d much rather have taken on a Spanish course here in Pavia, and done a full year here…but I digress from the awesomesauce that has been the last 7 days.

There has been many a pizza session and many attempts at ‘study’ with the gang, – that is Rebecca, Roxy and Brandon – and thankfully, last night evolved from a quiet drink at the Black Bull (man, have I missed drinking Weißbier!), into seeing people I haven’t seen in a long time because I’ve been a shit, indoor Erasmus. Follow that up with finding out that Irish people find the use of the word “hair lacquer” to be strange, 2am conversations with Jen, 3am Tiramisù with Roxy and Rebecca, and waking up to the Castello Visconti covered in fog, and I can say it was one of the best nights of the year thus far. Heck, the only downside was walking to the bus stop in the clothes I wore last night, making me look way overdressed for 12.30 on a Saturday – Chelsea boots, paisley shirt, floral tie, burgundy sweater; I really went ‘all out’ on dressing myself up. Still, this is Italy; they probably just thought I was trying to be like mio papà…

Beyond everything in the past, there is only what I have to look forward to: I need to book a flight to Lleida, or at the least Barcelona. I need to contact Joan Carles about getting myself booked into a hostel so I can house hunt while I’m there. I need to finish reading Jacopo Ortis, and Dante, and get my head around Parini and Petrarca by Thursday. Oh, so much to do, so little time to enjoy my last days in this gem of a city. *SIGH*

Manic Panic

Posted by Alex | | Posted On Friday, 7 January 2011 at 23:31

It seems as though I haven't written a blog in a long time. I think it must have been at least two weeks by now. I keep meaning to write one, just to prove I'm still alive, but it seems that not a lot has happened since the last one. The usual antics happened at home, so you don't need a list of drinks I drank and food I ate. I also managed to waste a whopping 12 days playing Fallout: New Vegas, and I think I'm now a convert to the Fallout universe. So addictive.

Anyhow, I'm back in Pavia, and it's very cold. It was barely 2ºC when I landed on Wednesday afternoon. I have no idea what it is now, but it's very cold! Epiphany was two days ago (as it's now Saturday), but I gave that a miss by catching up on my sleep. I have three full days until my written exam for Linguistics, and then another two til my oral. The others, thankfully, are a bit later in the month, but I really need to knuckle down and start learning stuff or be prepared to fail through failing to prepare.

If I get some time, I'd like to get one last trip somewhere in. I keep on about going to Novara, to see the Basilica  built by Antonielli, the same man who designed the synagogue (now cinema museum) in Turin. So, perhaps I'll go there after my art history exam if I have the time. It'd be a nice way to test out my swanky new camera before going to Spain -- that's a hassle in itself that probably deserves a blog once I've splashed out the cash on getting myself there, and half of my junk sent back home! Such a pain; some days I wish I could just stay in Italy and do a Spanish course here for my credits back home.

Anyhow, with much revision to be doing over the next three days, and 4 books to read and analyse in 12 days, I think I've got my work cut out for me. And that doesn't even bring in my Art History exam in 18 days. Oh well, wish me luck! I'm sure as hell going to need it!