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.

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My First Day in Fukuoka

GlobaLinks Learning Abroad asked me to complete a survey about my study abroad experience.  Once of the questions was to tell your most memorable experience.  This, in short, is one of mine:

My first day in Fukuoka all of the students met up with their host families for the first time and were sent home to spend the day with them.  Another student, who spoke no Japanese, was going to be living with my host father’s brother, so she came home with us until her host father got out of work,  When we got to my host father’s house I got to meet the rest of my family- three little girls and my host mother.  One of the girls was really shy and wouldn’t talk or do much when we (the foreign students) were around.  After dinner my host father and I dropped the other student off to her host family.  When we got back home I went to my room to change and unpack.  While unpacking I left my door open, and my youngest sister came in and sat on my bed.  I began to talk with her and one of her other sisters came in, hopped on the bed, and joined us.  After a few minutes the oldest, and most shy of the three came in, sat on the bed, and when I talked to her she opened up and we all had a fun time.  They taught me games, had me pick them up and flip them onto the bed, and played hide-and-seek with me until it was their bedtime.  It was just amazing to have people, especially this child who wouldn’t even speak in front of foreigners (at first), accept me into their home and family in such a way.  I had a wonderful time with my host family and still talk to them regularly- including talking about when I will come back!

rice-planting in Omura

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We planted a rice paddy!
In socks!
Haha- there was so much mud that it made a sucking noise when you took a step, it was great.
And it wasn’t just people from the program that brought me to Japan- we were with a group of kids from two (I think) schools.  It was so much fun.