May 27th – the day I became Bat Girl

batgirl

… yeah.. I got distracted and made a little batgirl..

I woke up to a group facebook message from the boys.

Geoff : There’s a dead bat .. on our floor

With a cell-phone picture of said bat.

So I got out of bed, made sure my shoulders and knees were covered (as we are living in a Monastery, and modesty is a cultural must within any kind of church or religious building), slipped into some flats, and headed down to breakfast.  I left the small corridor that contains three of our group’s bedrooms (the boys, my shared room with Sam & Christine, and another room of lovely lady companions), passed through our main classroom- where Derrick and Geoff sat, on their computers– up a small set of stairs, and through a larger hall with a better amount of natural light. Just sitting there in a little clump of fur was the bat.  Poor little guy- his fur was tousled and he sat still, looking somewhat mangey like he had a really rough night.
So I turned tail and veered right into the kitchen at the bottom of the stairs, before I reached the classroom.  I didn’t know whose they were, but there were plastic cups and plates, so I grabbed one of each.
I really didn’t think the bat was dead. It was the morning, and although he looked out of sorts- not so much so.
I used the cup to scoop the little guy onto the plate; a rude awakening for him.  Luckily he wasn’t in too much of a mood and settled down as I walked to the front desk.  I wasn’t sure how this particular receptionist’s english was, so I just said “excuse me” (one of the few things I can say in Italian) and questioned her, “English?”. She replied yes and so I brought the plate forward and told her it was a bat.  When she continued to look at me quizzically, with her brow furrowed, I told her, “it has wings, and flies at night” and I watched as her brow loosened and she understood what I was trying to tell her.  I told her that the students had found it and thought it dead, but it was just having a rough morning, and I didn’t want to leave it to a) get hurt or b) for someone to frighten it and it, in turn, bite them.

She told me, “Oh! I’ve caught two” previously. She continued to explain that there are bats that live in that part of the building, out in one of the courtyards, and that sometimes – especially on a cold night like the one before – they get inside.
Obviously feeling quite validated in my decision to rescue the bat, as she reached across the counter of the reception desk for it, I thanked her and promptly turned on my heels, heading towards the boys who thought I was just being a crazy country-person for going near it at all.

And of course Derrick’s first words to me were, “wash your hands!”.

–   –   –   –

As usual, after finishing class on-site (usually in a church or in a piazza) I returned to the Don Orione (the monastery) and asked for my room key at the reception desk, “Chinque chento quatro?”
She handed me my key as the receptionist from earlier in the day came out of the office and told me , “your bat” and made a flying motion with her hands.  I told her I was happy he was alright and thanked her for working with me, and she was smiling and said that it wasn’t a problem.  I think she enjoyed helping him as much as I did- especially since she had helped two before.

So yeah- that’s the story of how I saved the bat.

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May 21st, Burano

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A classmate of mine took a photo of me.. taking a photo. It’s photo-ception, guys. So the first image is that photo of me (hi!) and the second is the photo I was taking (for my capstone/documentary photography/photojournalism project).

On Wednesday (May 21) all of the students from our school studying abroad here in Venice took a trip out to the island of Burano.  It was a bit of a ride, about 40 minutes each way on the Vaporetto (it’s like Boston’s MBTA or NYC’s MTA, but with boats).  We played the game Heads Up to pass the time on our rides, with a growing crowd of entertained and confused European onlookers (we hold a cell phone to our forehead, a word is displayed on the screen and everyone gives that person clues so they can guess the word; if you get it right you dip your head down and back up to move to the next word, and if you’re stuck, you throw your head back and then return to normal head-positioning in order to skip.  we obviously looked quite silly).

The island of Burano is known for two things. 
   a) its incredibly colorful arrangement of buildings
   b) its lace
– As you could imagine, for a group of young adults studying Italian history and documentary photography, it was a field-day of sorts. Just running around with our cameras and looking through all of the lace (yes, even the men.. although it was mostly for gifts for their girlfriends and mothers).

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I was super tempted to pick one of these up for my mother’s lovely neighbor Val, who is expecting her daughter Maya this summer!
But then I realized that she wouldn’t be big enough to fit into one this season, and would probably have grown too much by next summer to fit into it either..

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Unfortunately I didn’t buy anything, due to the inflated prices of tourist-poaching shopkeepers and my wallet’s still being in shock over the unexpected expenses of this trip.  Had I found something that I really loved, though, I would have pushed myself to purchase it.  I’ve decided that I will do that, while I finish up my stay here in Italy, as a graduation gift to myself.
I mean come on- I graduated from a five-year top-rated institution with my sanity intact, magna cum laude.
I need to learn to give myself a break and reward my efforts once in a while.

 

All in all, I had a lot of fun wandering around the small island (and by small, I mean take a ten minute walk from one side to the other), taking photographs with my newly-apropriated friends.

May 21st, 2014

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So that happened.
I’m not completely sure of my Great Aunt’s intentions on this one, but the outcome was hilarious.

Forgive me for my lack of travel documentation/commentary.  I’ve honestly either been busy or dead-tired, with a side of slow internet (shared by all 32 Northeastern students studying abroad here).

I am having a wonderful time, though! It’s kind of a great fit for me to be studying here in Italy, as I am a huge culture/language/art/anthropology/etc buff, and this place as an amalgamation of it all.  It was completely entertaining to be walking around the Montemartini Museum and hear about all of the myths that went along with the carved stone representations of (perhaps)mythical figures and deities. That was back in Rome, somewhere around the time that this photo was taken.

Well, I hate to cut myself short yet again, but we have class in 40 minutes and I need to figure out some form of breakfast.  We’re supposed to get that meal included here at the Monastery but I literally cannot eat anything they provide.  I can have the orange juice, and hot water for tea. The coffee comes out of the machine pre-mixed with dairy too!
All of the baked goods smell nice though.

Alrighty, headed out!
– Kristen

May 14, 2014

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It’s just past 2am here in Rome, where we’ve been running around like crazy people with cameras for almost a week now.
Since we only have a week in the capitol city, we’ve had many tours and lectures and tours guided by lecturers..
Our legs and eyelids are heavy but our hearts are light – this is an amazing place and I, for one, am incredibly grateful for the experience.
Depicted in this photo (of mine, thank you) is a statue of Icarus from the Museo Centrale Montemartini (see here).  The actual building housing these pieces is a converted electric plant (factory? building?), creating a unique juxtaposition between the new and the old; an intermingling of materials from the ancient past and the recent present.
I’ve always loved to learn about history and myth, religion, and culture (basically cultural anthropology), and classical artwork is a blatant favorite of mine, so this museum (and much of this trip, I should think) was especially fun for me to visit.
We head to Venice on the 16th, where hopefully we’ll be able to rest a bit and feel less like herded sheep.
But for now, I need to get back to bed.  Luckily I napped from about 9-12pm, but I have yet another early and long day ahead of me tomorrow. Fortunately for me, I’ve found myself in great company.  That tends to make it all much more lovely.
I will write again soon (I think..)!

May 9, 2014

I am currently half-sitting on the floor of the International Airport in Munich, Germany.. deciding whether or not to grab a snack or wait it out until we’ve boarded our planes and I can get some sort of beverage to quell my stomach.  We have a short flight from here to Rome, Italy- where I’ll be staying for the next week.  Apparently we’ll be dropping our bags off at the hotel and then joining our professors for a “light lunch”, before a 3-4 hour walking tour.  

Mind you, it may be noon here, but my internal clock still says 6:00am.

( well, our plane is boarding, so I guess the decision has been made for me.  ’til next time! )