NO MORE VACATION | JUNE 30, 2006
Living in Rome used to feel like one big vacation - even though I was taking classes and "studying." But it doesn't anymore - now I work, and have too much of a daily routine. I don't travel like I used to, because I do not have the time, or the money.
But... I am going to London in two weeks to visit my friend Mike, who is working for Norman Foster. I am going to visit his office and see all the museums and sites I did not have the chance to see when I was in London the last time. I am very much looking forward to this vacation and break from my routine. And when I return, it will only be a few weeks until I am back in the States...
HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!! | JUNE 29, 2006
Happy Fourth of July!!! No, I have not lost my mind (officially), but today is some sort of Roman Holiday, and I have the day off from work, so it is "my fourth of July."
Usually I spend the fourth with my family in Guttenberg, going to the beach, eating too much food, and acting crazy. I would give almost anything to do that today, it sounds a lot more relaxing than hanging out in my apartment (I am back!) sans AC.
UNRELIABILITY | JUNE 28, 2006
In my opinion, one of the worst qualities that a human can have is unreliability. If you say you are doing to do something, do it. If you say you are going to be somewhere, be there- on time!!! I have had so many bad experiences with unreliable people, especially since living in Rome, that I think it has permanently tainted my trust in mankind.
I have lived here since January, but it is hard to get used to the whole "looseness" of schedule thing. I am used to meeting someone at 9:00 when they say "meet at 9:00." I don't mind waiting until 9:15, but 9:30?! 9:45?! That is ridiculous! I meet Rixa at the shelter every night. She arrives at a different time every night. So, I sit there, and wait and wait... sometimes I arrive late on purpose... and she is usually still not there! I don't understand how I can manage to coordinate my schedule so that I can predict the time (accurately) that I will arrive, but she can't! And she has been doing this for 13 years!
Growing up, I had the kind of mother that was always late picking me up (and taking me to school) and would occasionally forget all together. This has made a huge impact on me. I usually arrive early now when I am picking up someone, not because I do not know how long it takes to get there, but because I know how bad it feels to wait for someone, wondering if they will ever come.
This is one of the things cell phones are actually good for - calling to figure out where someone is that was supposed to meet you. Sometimes I wish I had one here.
On Tuesday I did not have a key to the apartment I was staying in so I told the other person I would ring the bell between 6:30-7:00. They said that was fine and they would be there. Well, they weren't. I got there at 6:45 and waited and waited for about 30 minutes, hungry and cranky after work... I began to feel so frustrated and angry that I had to wait, even though I told her when I would be coming home. Then I started to worry and panic, etc. Turns out she was "running late from visiting someone."
When I know someone is depending on me, I try my hardest to follow through. I guess other people do not care that much. Messing up once or twice is understandable, but all the time? No.
INSOMNIA? | JUNE 27, 2006
For a night, probably at least two, I am kicked out of Anna Lena's apartment while she is back in Rome. So I am staying in another apartment that Rixa found for me, with a German friend of hers, very close to Stazione Trastevere.
The atmosphere is very different here. It is not quiet like the neighborhood that I normally sleep in. I am right next to the train station (I can see it from the balcony!) and major streets. I hear the cars zipping by and the trains coming and going. It is too hot to close the balcony.
Since I have already been having problems sleeping, I am not worried about all this noise. Who knows, maybe it will help me fall asleep!
Last night was really bad. It only took me about 45 minutes to fall asleep, but then I keep waking up, to use the restroom, or with awful dreams. I dreamt that one of my friends from highschool had her head fall off right in front of me because she froze to death! That is not the last thing you want on your mind before you wake up!
I wonder if my sleep problems classify as "insomnia." I rarely fell rested when I wake up, I have problems falling asleep and staying asleep, I have awful dreams, I toss and turn all night... or maybe it is just a bad phase? I have been sleeping like this for about a month. We'll see how tonight goes...
THEY ACT HOW I FEEL | JUNE 26, 2006
These cats are so hot that they look like they are dead!
62 QUESTION MEME | JUNE 25, 2006
Took this from Dave at blogography.com...
1. How old do you wish you were? Umm... 23? Then I would be done with school and married to Steven!
2. Where were you when 9/11 happened? I was in my AP English class, taking a test. It became very hard to concentrate.
3. What do you do when the vending machine steals your money? Shake and shake the machine until something comes out.
4. Do you consider yourself kind? Yes, kind and mostly compassionate.
5. If you had to get a tattoo, where and what would it be? It would be the zodiac sign for leo, on the small of my back (I have thought about it before!).
6. If you could be fluent in any other language, what would it be? Spanish and Italian - two languages I have spent time learning, and are very similar to one another.
7. Do you know your neighbors? In Rome, no. In Chicago, yes, but not well enough to hang out.
8. What do you consider a vacation? Leaving the town I live in with an overnight bag.
9. Do you follow your horoscope? Despite the answer for number 5, no! I think it is crazy and stressful.
10. Would you move for the person you love? If they lived in a different town that I loved as well, yes.
11. Are you touchy feely? No. But I am better at giving hugs now.
12. Do you believe that opposites attract? Yes.
13. Dream job? I could lie and say architect, but really... I would like to do any sort of design - graphic, interior, industrial...
14. Favorite channels? None - sometimes I watch the Food Network though.
15. Favorite place to go on a weekend? Guttenberg is nice.
16. Showers or bath? Showers in the morning, baths at night.
17. Do you paint your nails? I think that toenails should be painted if they are going to be exposed (if you are a woman), so, yes! And my fingernails... I love to have them a light pink color, but they always chip with all the work I do with my hands. So they are painted for as long as the paint stays on.
18. Do you trust people easily? Not at all.
19. What are your phobias? I don't think I have any.
20. Do you want kids? I don't think so.
21. Do you keep a handwritten journal? No, just this blog.
22. Where would you rather be right now? In Chicago, with Steven. Or at the river, with my family.
23. What makes you feel warm and safe? Mentally warm? I suppose I feel this way when I am at home with Steven. I always feel safe when I am with my father.
24. Heavy or light sleep? Lately - light sleep. Too light! I cannot stay asleep for more than three hours at a time.
25. Are you paranoid? No.
26. Are you impatient? Yes, but not at all as bad as I used to be!
27. Who can you relate to? Probably every human being - we are all human! But I suppose I relate best to people who are in the same situations as me.
28. How do you feel about interracial couples? The same I feel about all couples - interracial, gay, straight, large age gap... to each their own! It is not my business to judge, and everyone deserves to be happy!
29. Have you been burned by love? No.
30. What is your life motto? "It happens" As in, sh*t happens, so don't fuss over it!
31. What is your main ringtone on your mobile? Whatever the standard is for Verizon.
32. What were you doing at midnight last night? Riding on a tram from the center of Rome to Trastevere.
33. Who was your last text message from? Steven.
34. Who's bed did you sleep in last night? Anna Lena's - that is the name of the person whose apartment I stay in!
35. What color shirt are you wearing? White tank top.
36. Most recent movie you have watched? Pride & Prejudice.
37. Name five things you have on you at all times - umbrella, sunglasses, softlips chapstick, engagement ring and headache medicine.
38. What color are your bed sheets? White, but not by choice.
39. How much cash do you have on you right now? €15.40.
40. What is your favorite part of chicken? All of it - when it is free to move and not in some cage, waiting for death or popping out eggs.
41. What is your favorite town/city? Madrid? I am not sure. I love Chicago too.
42. I can't wait until... I am done with college and can being my life.
43. What got you to join MySpace? My sister - so I could leave comments on her site. Then, I quit because too many people were contacting me that I did not want to talk to. When I told my sister that I quit because so many people were finding me and contacting me, she said, "That is funny - that is why people join MySpace!"
44. What did you have for dinner last night? A wheat panino (bun) with mustard and lettuce and red pepper and tomato... yum!
45. How tall are you barefoot? 5'7".
46. Have you ever smoked crack? No, I have never smoked anything.
47. Do you own a gun? No, I will never own a gun.
48. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Water.
49. What is your secret weapon to lure in the opposite sex? Uh... to lure in Steven? Nothing, I hope by now I don't have to "lure."
50. Do you have A.D.D.? No, more anxiety than A.D.D.
51. What time did you wake up today? I woke up continuously throughout the night, but got out of bed at 10:00 am.
52. Current worry? That I will be this fat for the rest of my life.
53. Current hate? Public Transportation.
54. Favorite place to be? Outside in the sun, walking, preferably with Steven or family or friends.
55. Where would you like to travel? Egypt, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Washington D.C., Portugal, Scotland, Ireland... this list could never end.
56. Where do you think you will be in 10 years? Working somewhere on the East or West Coast, or maybe Europe. With Steven and Data of course.
57. What is the last thing you ate? Strawberries
58. What songs do you sing in the shower? None.
59. Last person that made you laugh? Rixa, making jokes at lunch.
60. Worst injury you have ever had? When a 200+ lbs. granite countertop fell on me and broke my wrist.
61. Does someone have a crush on you? I hope not. Weird men sometimes hit on me on the tram, but I think that is just an Italian thing.
62. What is your favorite candy? For a sugar fix - Dots, and for a chocolate fix - Baby Ruth!
IT'S SO DAMN HOT | JUNE 24, 2006
It's so hot in Rome right now. A week ago, I told Steven that there was no way I would ever be able to wear shorts in public - because of my big calves. Now, I have forgotten all about that. I am wearing as little as possible now, even to work. It is about 85°F-90°F here everyday, and it is incredibly humid.
It is not common to have air conditioners here. I hope that I get used to this soon, because I know it is only going to get warmer!
I AM NOT WELL | JUNE 23, 2006
I am not well. I am not happy. I have not been feeling "right" for at least a month. I am not taking very good care of myself. It is a vicious cycle - I am unhappy, I do not take care of myself, that makes me more unhappy and I do not take care of myself... etc.
No, it is not only from being alone ("lonely") in Italy. I have been unhappy for a long time. I was unhappy last year in Ames. I was unhappy last summer. I don't know, maybe I have always been unhappy.
I do not feel like this all the time. There are moments where I feel a lot of love and contentment. And I know at every moment that there are people who love me, care for me and are thinking of me. But there is some sort of inner demon inside of me that is making me feel anxious all the time.
My mind is always jumping with different thoughts. I can concentrate, but not for long. I always have some little thought in the back of my mind, not matter how hard I try to block it out.
I don't feel like doing anything, seeing anyone, or talking to anyone. I rarely find the energy to talk on the phone. I dread lunch hour at work. I am a mute at night when I work at the shelter. I just want to sleep, wake up and eat, then go back to bed. Maybe sometimes I want to read a book.
I feel like I have no one to talk to. I feel like all my conversations are superficial. I am worried about being judged. I feel shameful for feeling this way and for not being able to take care of myself.
I hate being unhappy. I hate the inner-monologue that torments me everyday. I hate my cravings and urges that I cannot control. How can I fix myself though? I have been feeling this way for a long time - out of control, out of my mind - for years.
No, no, no. It is not all the time, I know I am not doomed. And once again, it is not simply from being lonely. How can I feel lonely when I spend too much time thinking about how much I do not like myself?
Everyone says "take a break, you are doing too much!" I don't think I am. I think I am just unhappy all the time and that makes the things that I do seem more mundane and my life seem not as fun. I like my work. I like the people I work with. I like volunteering at the shelter. I just don't like me.
When will I finally grow up, learn to take care of myself, and become an adult? When, when, when?!
Why is everyday a struggle for me to take care of myself and be a good person?
(Later [June 24th], I realize how ironic this is after my "I'm okay, really!" post!)
CALCIO | JUNE 22, 2006
Today was the first time I have ever been let off work early to watch a soccer match. It was nice.
PROOF THAT MY BROTHER IS MARRIED! | JUNE 19, 2006
My dad just sent me these pictures from Nick and Courtney's wedding! I love them! Courtney is wearing the necklace I gave her for her birthday (that I bought in Rome). I didn't feel like they were really married since I was not there to witness it, but now that I have seen the pictures, I am super excited about the reception (and I believe it, ha ha).
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY | JUNE 18, 2006
Happy Father's Day to all the fathers in my life that I can't see today, especially mine. I am missing you all very much and hoping you have a wonderful and relaxing day!
And an especially Happy Father's Day/Birthday/51st Wedding anniversary to my dad's dad. That is one big day to celebrate!
THE BIG DAY | JUNE 17, 2006
Today is the BIG DAY (No, I am not talking about the Italia vs. USA World Cup Soccer Match!). It is my older brother's wedding - Nicholas and Courtney are tying the knot today! There will be one more member in the Ilax family tonight!
I have been telling a lot of people - "Tomorrow is my brother's wedding!" or " My brother is getting married next weekend," etc. And they always have the same question - "and you are not able to go?!"
And I start by saying, "Well... it is not a traditional wedding..."
They are getting married on the top of a water slide in Waterloo, Iowa. Then they take "first plunge" down the slide as man and wife. Only a few of my family members will be there. They only decided to have this wedding last month when I was already in Rome. Although I am sad that I cannot be there, I am happy that they get to have their wedding today and do something so untraditional and fun!
They are having a big reception in August, so I will be able to go to that! I am excited for that party (even though Courtney told me she was not sure what the vegetarian entree would be, ha ha).
FOOD INTOLERANCES | JUNE 16, 2006
After you have been eating really healthy for awhile, you start to learn exactly how certain foods make you feel (good or bad).
For example, I do not do well with wheat and dairy. As soon as they enter my body, they want right back out. I immediately feel upset in my stomach and have indigestion. I read that more and more Americans are developing wheat and dairy intolerance because those are the foods that Americans eat the most!
So I know that to feel good, I need to not eat much wheat or dairy. And I need to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables - the foods that have a good impact on the way I feel.
But it is really hard to avoid these foods - I love chocolate and bread!
I LOVE THE SUN | JUNE 15, 2006
After living in Rome for only a short while during the warm months, I have become obsessed with the sun. I crave it! I anxiously await my one-hour lunch break so I can go outside and sit in the sun. On the weekends, I try to spend as much time outside as possible.
I think that being in the sun has healing qualities. It always lifts my mood and makes me have a better day. Sometimes, I even feel like I have more energy after being outside.
Of course, I lather on the sunscreen every morning before I leave the apartment, so there is no need to worry about skin cancer (too much).
I also love waking up when the sun is already up (as opposed to the dreaded winter months). It makes me want to get out of bed and enjoy my day.
However, despite all these "feel-good" words, I am aware that it becomes stiflingly hot here in July and August - upper 90s Fahrenheit. I hope my good attitude will last through that time.
LA LUCE | JUNE 14, 2006
This sign always seemed a bit odd to me. It is above a store that sells lamps and other types of lighting. What is with the weird graphic? They are even using it as their door handle! It is hard to tell from the second picture, because the right door is open, but check it out!
Why does that light bulb have breasts?!
RESTAURANT PORTION SIZES | JUNE 12, 2006
Now I am reading Don't Eat This Book, by Morgan Spurlock (you know, the guy who did the documentary "Super Size Me" - he even came and gave a speech at ISU). I know, I know, I am reading too many anti-fast food, health conscious books, blah blah blah. But when something interests you, you have to read about it.
And the American "Obesity Epidemic" is something that does interest me, because it affects me, and the people in my life. According to my BMI (Body Mass Index), I was considered obese until this morning when I stepped on the scale (now I am "overweight"). Only today am I a 29, rather than being in the 30+ range that classifies you as obese. Personally, I think that is a bunch of BS. Your BMI is calculated by your height and weight (get it calculated for free here), but does not take into consideration your body build, or your lifestyle. I am fat, but I was not obese.
Anyway. I was reading this book yesterday and I come across a section talking about how portion sizes at restaurants have increased over the last thirty years. And I immediately thought of the friends and other Americans that I have heard (or overheard) complain about the "small" portions served in Italy.
Funny - in the next paragraph, Spurlock mentioned a quote from a New York restaurant reviewer, saying people are always complaining to him about the small portions sizes in Italy, France and Japan - nations that have the world's healthy and slimmest people (except for all that smoking in Europe!).
Although I have not been to a restaurant in Italy for over a month (I have the occasional piece of pizza bianca), I can remember thinking that the portions were a lot smaller. Not that I was feeling hungry when I was done eating, but surprised, that when I ordered a plate of pasta, the pasta was not heaping over the sides of the dish.
You can get the humongous portions here - if you search for them. They are usually at the places boasting a "tourist menu."
The bad part is that a portion size here is probably bigger than an actually serving size. A serving of pasta, containing 110 calories, is 1/2 cup. Most restaurants in the US serve at least 6 servings on a plate - not including the sauce! I think that here it is about 2-3 servings.
Here is the nutrition info on the Fettuccine Alfredo at The Olive Garden. They don't even provide this information on their site! I found it at calorieking.com! I chose this because I think it is a dish that a lot of people buy - including me. I did not choose something off of their "Garden Fare" menu, because I doubt a lot of people get those things.
Look at all the cholesterol and fat - and the amount of calories! Wow, that is a lot! And with this being a typical size meal, no wonder Americans do not like it when they do not get the big portions they are used to receiving! There are 850 calories in this "serving" and a standard serving size is only 110! And you know that the meal comes with fatty bread sticks and a dressing smothered salad.
Yum, Fettuccine Alfredo. Drool... fatty bread sticks...
I have checked at every restaurant I have been in throughout Italy - and no place serves a dish like this - they do not use a lot of creamy, fatty sauces here. Almost all the sauces are fresh herbs and vegetables.
I am not critiquing anyone for eating this. I love dishes like this. I just wish that the portions were not so big! There have been many studies done that show people will eat more if you give them more. It is hard not to! I do it! And I eat too fast too. I am trying to learn to slow down and enjoy my food, and it is a lot easier when I have a smaller portion to ration out!
I know that restaurants are not going to change anytime soon. I just hope that I am!
THE NAME MEME | JUNE 11, 2006
Stolen from Nicole Ashley at (insert blog name here).
1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME (first pet and current street name): Kitty Rafaelle Battistini.
2. YOUR MOVIE STAR NAME (grandfather/grandmother on your mom's side, favorite candy): Yvonne Dots.
3. YOUR "FLY GIRL/GUY" NAME (first initial of first name, first two or three initials of middle name): K. Ma.
4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME (favorite color, favorite animal): Kitty Orange.
5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME (middle name, hometown): Marie Evansdale.
6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME (first three letters of last name, first three letters of mother's maiden name, first three letters of your pet's name): Ilarob Dat.
7. JEDI NAME: (middle name spelled backwards, mom's maiden name spelled backwards): Eiram Strebor.
8. PORN STAR NAME (middle name, street you grew up on): Marie Sixth.
9. SUPERHERO NAME ("The," your favorite color, the automobile you want/drive): The Orange Corvette.
My favorite is Yvonne Dots!
FAST FOOD NATION | JUNE 10, 2006
I just finished reading Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation (I know, I am a bit behind on my reading list - it was published in January of 2001!). It is not a health book about fast food, but a study of the development of the fast food industry and its consequences on the United States and its citizens.
It's a good read - full of shocking statistics and information. Schlosser begins by telling the stories of the first fast food restaurants, and explains how they came to be what they are now. He examines the farms and slaughterhouses that produce and prepare the food. He investigates the work conditions at the factories and in the restaurants. He focuses on the restaurant industry's attempts to keep unskilled, low-paid workers. He especially focuses on the marketing of young children by the industry.
It is a lot of information to digest and re-analyze. It basically makes you not want to eat fast food, restaurant food or processed food anymore. Of course, that is impossible. But I think the book is a real eye-opener that everyone should read.
GUESS WHAT TODAY IS...? | JUNE 9, 2006
To celebrate her birthday, I think my mom is doing something really fun - like helping my grandparents rebuild their boat dock at the cabin (sarcasm warning). But that is my mom, always helping other people, even on her special day.
NO MORE INTERNET ADDICTION | JUNE 8, 2006
I think that not having easy or local internet access has finally kicked me off my internet addiction (how ironic to say, as I use the internet to update my own website).
Last semester, I looked forward to using the internet all the time - to talk to people, write emails, screw around... basically avoid doing school work. But now that I do not have that luxury, I only enjoy it to keep in touch and do other necessities. And now I have found the time to do other things I enjoy, like read books, go on walks, take myself to the movies, explore Rome...
Of course, I am still computer obsessed. I love to work on the graphic programs on my computer, and listen to music. So maybe I have only learned that my computer has other use besides the internet!
THE NEW GUY | JUNE 7, 2006
There have been a few new people entering the office this week - one into our room (Sala Plastici) on Monday as well as one into the drawing department. There is another coming tomorrow or Friday, and two people leaving our room on Friday.
Today I found out that the new guy to the drawing department is from the States. I was excited to feel like I had an "ally" (the new guy to Sala Plastici is from Canada, but that is not the same). So I went to talk to him, introduce myself, blah blah blah... and he seemed so... lost! Maybe he was even scared.
He came here on a whim, has never been to Italy before, and speaks no Italian. When I heard that, I knew he was going to have it rough. In the Sala Plastici room, people will speak English to you, but in the drawing department, they take it as an insult if you don't speak Italian. And he is there to do AutoCAD - which he hasn't used in fifteen years.
He seemed lonely - desperate for someone to talk to and connect with. I hope I can help him feel more at home. And I also hope that I did not seem that lost when I started.
MY DAILY INNER MONOLOGUE | JUNE 6, 2006
Everyday, I have to ask myself - "How motivated are you? What do you really want? Where is your self-control?!"
And of course, I am talking about my eating habits and "attempt" towards a healthier life style. Everyday is a struggle for me. Some days are better than others. Sometimes I just want to eat everything in site (namely bread products, why, why, WHY?!), and sometimes I think "no thanks!" Sometimes I go to bed feeling happy, knowing I will be hungry for breakfast in the morning, and sometimes I go to bed feeling disappointed, with a sick stomach - knowing I will have to get up in the night to use the bathroom.
Why is it so hard for me? Deep inside me, I know that I really want to be healthy and slimmer. I look at myself everyday and am thankful for my progress so far, but tell myself - "you can do better!"
I do everything I can to remove temptations away from myself - no sweets in the house, etc. But I still get cravings. I still want to go out and eat an unhealthy lunch with coworkers, even when I brought my own healthy one. I still want to eat a sweet that someone offers me, even though I am not hungry (I usually turn it down, but crave it the rest of the day).
I know that my thinking and behavior is not uncommon. I know that other people have problems with self-control and motivation too, but I don't want to anymore! I wish I could just wake up one day, and have all my bad habits been removed during my sleep. Right now, I am beating them out - but only by a little. I worry that I will slip back into an "unhealthy" lifestyle any day.
But I am determined not to (at least right now, anyway).
GARNIER FRUCTIS | JUNE 5, 2006
This morning I used some Garnier Fructis hair spray (or gel or something) and the smell of it immediately made me feel like I was on Spring Break with my family again.
My mom came to Rome without hair gel, so we bought her some Garnier Fructis. All the girls ended up using it. I did not notice the smell then, but now, it instantly reminds me of my family.
They should come back here.
I'M OK, REALLY! | JUNE 4, 2006
Is there some trait about me that makes people worry about my well-being? Am I too quiet? Do I not smile enough (believe me, I try to!)?
When I came back to Rome, it took me awhile to get back into the swing of things. I had to re-adjust to the time zone, get used to working late at the shelter then getting up early for work, and I had to figure out the buses, tram, locations of market, etc. I was tired. I felt exhausted. And it showed.
So now, everyone who talked to me during that week is always asking, "How are you doing? Are you okay?" or "You look better this week!" (No one wants to know that someone thought they looked bad the week before!)
I had a conversation with a friend the other day. She asked how work was going for me, and when I replied "great!" she responds with, "Really?!"
Yes, dammit! Nothing is wrong with me! I like my work, I like living in Rome, I am just tired sometimes - it is a natural human trait! If you did as much as I do on a daily basis, you would be this tired too!
I appreciate other people's concern, I really do. But there is nothing wrong with me. I am just tired sometimes! And I will be honest, I get frustrated and even lonely sometimes, but there is nothing wrong with that. I feel like people are really worrying about me, because I have had so many ask me if things are "okay." Yes, they are "okay!"
I would understand it if they were worried about how Tom's death affected me - I felt devastated. But I did not talk to anyone about it, and I did not act any different. I tried to keep it inside and keep on living.
SANTA MARIA DELLA CONCEZIONE | JUNE 3, 2006
I finally had the time (i.e. was brave enough) to visit Santa Maria della Concezione today. It is a church that was founded in 1626 by a Capuchin friar, and has a crypt below it that is decorated with the bones of dead friars.
The crypt is just a long, cramped hallway with five vaulted chapels. Each chapel uses bones to make patterns on the ceilings and walls. Over 4,000 skeletons have been used to decorate it, and it took over 100 years to create.
It is a big contrast from the warmth and sun outside! When I got there, there was a line of people waiting to get in, so I became stuck in there. Although it was neat to see how the bones were used, it was extremely disturbing. My family went there without me when they were in Rome, and I think it would have been nicer to go with someone!
VADO VIA DA ROMA | JUNE 2, 2006
What if you came to work and found an article like this in the newspaper? Yes, I know you cannot read it because it is in Italian. It is an interview of the architect I work for. The title says, "I am leaving Rome. It is too insecure of a city."
Everyone was a bit surprised when they found it in the paper (yesterday), because he had not mentioned plans to close his Rome office to anyone. The article basically says that he is not happy with Rome and wants to move his office to Paris, Frankfurt, or some other major European city. He says, "Lo studio di Roma chiude, scompare, 60 persone perdono il lavoro" - the Rome studio will close, and leave 60 people out of work. He explains that ever since all of the computers in his office were stolen, he has not been too happy with Rome (this happened the month before I started work).
I don't know what to think. No one in my office is taking it too seriously, there were actually people making fun of it. I think it is messed up that we all had to read about this in the newspaper though. I am just going to play it by ear now, and keep going to work until someone tells me to stop.
MEMORIES OF TOM | JUNE 1, 2006
Yesterday morning, at work, my coworkers were playing some music that sounded like Jamaican artists. It instantly made me think of Tom. I am not sure if he would have liked the music, but he visited Jamaica at least once a year.
It reminded me of this funny story Tom told me about his friend in Jamaica. He told me that a lot of things we take for granted are really expensive and hard to find there - things like toothpaste, toys, and even things like... condoms.
Tom liked to bring some of these things with him when he went to Jamaica. He was a nice guy like that - always giving to others. He would ask people what they wanted him to bring for them, then bring it the next time he returned.
So he brings some condoms with him to Jamaica. He gives four of them to his friend and says, "Okay, I have four condoms for you. That means you can use one every three months until I come back next year."
The next day he sees his friend and asks how was his night. "It was great," he replies, "but I have a problem with the condoms - I already used all four of them!"
I know this is not as funny when I repeat the story, but I can remember exactly when Tom was telling it to me. He was in Ames and took me to lunch at the Pizza Pit, and I was eating pizza when he told me, and I had to stop because I started laughing so hard. I loved it when he told me those funny stories.
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