Okay, so obviously I sometimes forget that I have a blog, and by sometimes I mean all the time, for months at a time. I had actually composed a post where I began to talk about Europe and how much it kicked my ass and how much I miss the trash-strewn streets of Italy (well, Rome anyway, Florence was mostly really clean) but then I got overwhelmed and I let it hang out in Drafts for a while and now I think it may have been deleted by the Blogger ghosts? I don't know. I didn't look hard enough because I don't really care.
But I do want to start blogging (every time I write that word I feel like I'm talking about how I want to pick my nose in public and then wipe in on my forehead, why is that word so gross?) if only because I read a lot of other people's blogs without ever commenting and I want to start commenting but I feel like I probably shouldn't without some reciprocal blogginess of my own. Because, I don't know, I feel like commenting sans one's own blog is a little scary stalker-like, even though I'm pretty much an open book in that if anyone asked about any part of my life ever I'd give you a long and detailed story that would have you wondering by the end if I had any friends at all and if so, where are they and why are you the one that is having to listen to me talk about my IBS for two hours?
So, okay. Europe was awesome and it kicked my ass in the good way and oh my God, I want to go back. I miss everything about it except for French people and also French food (although I am having an illicit and highly improper love affair with Nutella) and French trains and all the rain and the cold in London. Mostly I miss Italy and I want to go back right this second. I think I want to live there some day, albeit when I have learned more Italian than "prossima fermata" which, although that phrase is useful on the trains (it means "next stop") that's pretty much the only place it's useful. Unless I want to make my living giving piggy back rides around town to small Italian children, which I don't.
Everything we saw in Europe was about a billion times bigger and a billion times more beautiful than I had imagined it, except the Sistine Chapel. I was actually a little disappointed by the Sistine Chapel and I'm a little embarrassed to admit that because I feel like it makes me sound like an under-educated, over-expectant American. But really, after seeing all the other beautiful cathedrals we had seen (St. Paul's, Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, Santa Maria Maggiore, St. Peter's Basilica, Sainte-Chappelle), ol' Capella Sistina was almost a letdown. Don't get me wrong, it was totally beautiful and awesome and stuff because it was the Sistine Chapel, but it was kind of like the Mona Lisa in that way -- awesome because it's so famous and hyped, but not quite living up to the fame and the hype. I think I would have liked the Sistine Chapel a lot more if we hadn't had to spend two hours slugging through the Vatican Museum in a crowd of thousands of other people who got angry if you stopped to look at a painting because you were holding up the flow of traffic through the endless halls toward the Chapel. By the time we finally got there I was just tired and I wanted to sit down and have no one touching me. Plus even though I wasn't using flash the guard told me to stop taking pictures, which I did, until he walked away. One guard can only do so much against hundreds of people with cameras.
Other than that, though, I was not even moderately let down by anything. Westminster Abbey was beautiful and Big Ben was big and the Tower of London was awesome. Versailles was breathtaking and the Louvre was mind-bendingly large and the Eiffel Tower was way taller than I ever expected and Luxembourg was lovely. The Roman ruins were absolutely fascinating and so was the Collosseum. My heart aches for gelato and European chocolate, which all involves hazelnut in some form. TRL was being filmed two minutes from our campsite in Florence the entire time we were there and I couldn't help but laugh at that. Every time we got on a bus to go back to our campsite it was filled with excited Italian teenagers and I wanted to look at them all and say, seriously? You LIVE in FLORENCE and you are excited about TRL? THIS IS FLORENCE. AND YOU LIVE HERE. They don't even know.
So yeah, Europe. And I'll put pictures somewhere online whenever I finally get them all organized and stuff. There are over 1200, I think. I'm a little picture-crazy.
Speaking of pictures (segue! segue!) I'm going to a mental institution on Wednesday with my photography teacher. We're doing a project this semester involving several of the patients at the institution and my teacher has been there twice to work with them. She picked me and a guy from my class to go with her because she said we were the best in the class thus far (and the twelve-year-old in me mentally pumped the air with her fists and pelvic-thrusted) and she needs help talking to the kids because she can't handle all of them by herself. We're doing sort of a self-portrait project and so we're going to talk to the kids about how they want to do their self-portraits since they can't include their faces in them and to maybe help them take some pictures with our cameras since there's only so much you can do with a black-and-white disposable camera. I'm excited but a little nervous.