Muscle Memory

The rain finally came, and with it some sort of deadweight in my body that urges me to stay in bed instead of walking to school armed with my umbrella and rain boots.  I foresee many months of this ahead.  Although it rains every day during the rainy season in Cameroon, there isn’t the same darkness and chill.  I forgot what it’s like to have to give myself pep talks in order to coax myself out of bed in the morning.  I didn’t pack slippers, and will definitely need them in the coming months.  We only have tile floors, and I’m sure we’ll be trying to use radiators in each room as sparingly as possible.   Despite the rain the late-night bar-goers at the end of the block have not been deterred, safely sitting beneath the covered sidewalk and drinking until 2am.  My new way of trying to drown them out is listening to old episodes of This American Life on NPR.  I didn’t really discover it until now.  Falling asleep to it is almost like having a parent tell you bedtime stories.   The only danger is that the episode is so interesting that I just listen instead of drifting off.  At the moment though, I prefer it it earplugs, which are just a sort of dead silence and feel like they’re stoppering up thoughts in my head.

umbrella time!

umbrella time!

I sincerely forgot what it was like to be in school, not being able to sleep and only living through reading, prepping for tests, and writing papers.  By the end of the day, you’ve absorbed so much information that you’re like a zombie-sponge, lying awake in your bed, trying not to think about something you couldn’t figure out before you quit for the nigh, or about what you have to do the next day that you’re afraid you can’t get done in time.  Fun, fun.

I don’t really understand how it’s already September 17th and I’m almost finished with the third week of preterm.  We’re having our microeconomics midterm this Saturday (as if they aren’t torturing us enough by having a complex class condensed into a month), closely followed by the final exam on the 29th.  Today, I really gave into the intense studying, isolating myself in an empty classroom and listening to high-powered, high volume indie electronic music on my ipod while plodding through chapters and chapters and chapter and lecture note and problem sets in order to make my study guide.  The first three hours were exhilarating and I was feeling like I was back in senior year of college, during which I was essentially a studying machine.  After the third hour, I lost most of my momentum and focus.  I’m not used to this anymore.  Studying is a muscle that I’ve neglected to stretch.  Even though I can’t wait for preterm to end and real classes to start, I’m also glad for the opportunity to remind myself of the kind of commitment it takes to do well in school.  God knows I spent most of freshman year figuring that out.  Here, that kind of ignorance or lack of commitment is not an option if you want to succeed.  Welcome to serious time.

Ick.  Enough of that.  Moving away from serious time (especially because it seems like it might be the trend for awhile), last weekend we decided to rent a car and visit the Chianti region for some wine tasting, beautiful views, and medieval cities.  Raquel (my Spanish flat mate) drove with Fabio (Brazilian) as the navigator and myself, Jamie (another American), and Eleanor (my Scottish flate mate), chatting away in the back and being really no help at all as we lost ourselves on the winding roads of Chianti.  As luck would have it, there was a wine tasting festival in Greve in Chianti, where one could purchase a lovely crystal wine glass with the event information etched on it and then wonder around and taste 8 different wines.  Of course, flirting with or generally being friendly to the wine stewards increased our chances of not having our little wine cards punched and getting more than eight (large) tastes in the end.  Somehow, during the day we also managed to come across a woman offering free tours of the region, including transportation.  So, in the midst of the merrymaking of the wine festival, we decided to take a break and visit a medieval church, a Tuscan count’s family winery, and a classic Tuscan butchery.  Of course, while at the butchery I accidentally ate a piece of bread thickly spread with herbed lard, and didn’t quite feel right for the rest of the day.  The next day we went to San Gimignano, a medieval city with well-preserved towers, apparently somewhat of an anomaly for the region because of the frequent wars between city-states.  In the city we met some of the members of the Bologna professional basketball team- Americans who have lived in Italy for five years and still don’t speak a word of Italian.  Supposedly the fact that the Bologna team has American members means that its good- and that it has money.

Square in San Gimignano

Square in San Gimignano

Before we left San Gimignano we bought provisions for a picnic and drove to a hill in the country, overlooking a vineyard and shaded by trees.  Wonderful relaxation and something most likely found in either novels aimed at women or spiritual balance, but for good reason.  The last thing we did before we drove back to Bologna was visit a winery and do just a leeeetle more wine tasting.  When in Rome… I say again.

Even though there was traffic on the way back, we made it home in about 2 hours.  Everything is so close, and there is so much to do.  However, with the midterm this weekend and the final coming up, I think my traveling is plans will be rather constricted.  Just for now, inchallah.

Also- I know that you may not have money for a myriad of reasons, I know that you may be busy with work, I know that you may already have visited Italy.  However, let these reasons not deter you from visiting me.  I miss you guys and being home for two months wasn’t enough.  Please?  Italy is much closer than Cameroon.

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~ by Emilie on September 17, 2009.

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