Sunday, March 28, 2010

I'm back from Italy and my so called, "writer's block".

Well, I have something to say to all you folks now.

Writer's block sucks.

I came back from my very first trip to my homeland (Italy) last Monday, and gee whiz, it's Sunday now, and the only things I achieved in my last week of Spring Break are, huh, look at that, NOTHING. No-thing.

I talked with my friends on the phone so that counts. The only problem is that me and one of my best-est friends, Dani, have the same conversations over and over again. (Example: "Onions are so good!!!" "I know!! And on top of hot dogs!?!?" "Oh my GOSH yes!!! They're amazing!!") We seriously have this conversation on every one of our phone calls, but onions are really good, so it doesn't really matter.

I still haven't uploaded pictures from my trip, unpacked my carry on, or finished my little tid-bit of Latin homework. And the 4th quarter of school starts TOMORROW.

The reason I haven't been blogging here though is because I am working on my debut novel. The chances of me finishing it? 1 to a million. But I'm having fun with it.

Moving on... Instead of telling you what I did during my trip in chronological order I'll tell you what I learned about my family and Italy.
  1. Roman women dress with purpose and all-the-time glamour. You're probably tired of hearing this, but every woman in Rome dressed with style and dressed up, believe it or not, not down. No sweats, tee shirts, or sneakers. Instead they bore classic red lips, stilettos, pencil skirts... That's why Roma is now my favorite city.
  2. My family goes back to the 12th century. I always thought my family tree stopped at Elis Island, or somewhere in the Atlantic ocean, who knows. Instead, I have this huge branch, only a branch, of my family living happily-ever-after in a little village in Umbria since the eleven hundreds. In medieval times to the Renaissance, my family were the royal rulers of all those hills behind the picture of the church above. That church has been our family church since the very beginning. Inside is so cool!! I got this picture online because I still didn't upload my pictures, but we talked about that already... Anyway, my family is really nice. Silvia, my somehow-related cousin led Frankie, my mom and me through the village and down the hill with her adorable little daughters, Rebecca and... (well, I can't really spell the other one's name but she was still adorable) to the little church of San Felice (above). Supposedly, Saint Felice slayed a dragon there in Umbria. His tomb is inside. Silvia kissed the stone casket with her fingers, so we awkwardly did the same, because she only spoke Italian and we only speak English and we couldn't ask her what was what. (Imagine me, my mom, and Silvia flapping our arms and pointing at things and saying one-syllable words... that's not your imagination.) None of them spoke English either, but luckily enough my dad speaks a little Italian and we hired a driver for the day, Roberto, who translated for us. If you look carefully, below the circle window on the church you can see the little picture of Saint Felice slaying the dragon.
  3. Mealtime takes a lifetime. During the last leg of our trip, we went up to Torino (2006 Winter Olympics, ring a bell?) to vist another branch of my family. My dad had been emailing his second cousin Giovanna all the past year for our family to reconnect again. When we were there in the beautiful city, Giovanna dedicated herself to becoming our personal tour guide. She showed us all her favorite high-end shops (Burberry, Hogan, Gucci... those are her favorites), brought us to the Egyptian Museum, and invited us to an amazing home dinner at her mom's house with her mom and her live in nurse, Alessandra. Alessandra is an amazing, beyond amazing cook. I think I cried a little when she brought out these amazing cheese filled twisted dough things... But anyway, she poured out course after course after course of amazing pasta, cakes, you name it. We left at midnight.

That's enough for now. Having all these cousins in Italy is amazing. But what's more amazing is that they were always there; we just needed to connect.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Shopping Wishes Fufilled!!!

So, I kind of have this romance going on with old-looking jewelry. Old looking jewelry might not love me back, but so what.
And I feel like I've been neglecting the "style" feature of this here blog (on the subtitle it says "style". I'm neglecting style!!! Oh no what a sinner I am.) so I decided to do a post on these super cool earrings I got.
A couple weeks ago I went to an antique show with my mom and my brother. Everything was so so, who cares until I saw a display bearing what I had been looking for: those cool pendents with female faces. Come on, it's so cool!! But like at most antique shows, everything is real and antique (hence the give-away name) so the price tag wasn't so attractive to my eyes. Pity.
I spent forever at that display trying to make the moment last until I remembered I brought my camera with me. Once I took the picture I backed away slowly... knowing I would never see earrings like those in the flesh again... it was a sad moment in my history, I'll tell you that.
So fast-forward a week. My mom and I were at an uber-chic vintage-ish shop on the coast in my town, shopping for small little mementos for my Italian cousins whom I am about to meet on my trip there. And low and behold, earrings!! Earrings that looked just like the ones at the antique show. Which I had to own. Because I'm just obsessive like that.

No these aren't the earrings. These are just another pair of super cool/cultural earrings I got at a shop in New Haven a couple years back.

And VOLIA the fabulous earrings!! They remind me of Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson in Sense and Sensibility.

Me. With tons of hair in my face.

Me again. With more hair on my face.

Do you guys have any fashion obsessions? Jane Austen obsessions? Speak!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Irrelvance of Numbers

I'm at my mom's office now in the city, and she needs to use the computer in a couple of minutes... oh she just screamed. She's playing Brickbreaker on her Blackberry and must have just lost a life... yeah, Mom, you don't have this office all to yourself.

Last fall I went on a camping trip with my grade in New Hampshire. We were assigned to little groups to tackle different types of nature-related active activities, ones that made you think. In one of them, we had to cross wooden "stepping stones" without jumping or touching the ground. Sounds impossible, right? But we were given wooden planks to use as bridges.

The thing about these wooden planks were that one person would have to stand on each end so it wouldn't tip. We tried (or at least the other kids tried because I'm not much of a group-problem solving person) to compare people's weights to determine who should hold the plank and when. Our counselor told us that an eight year old and his father crossed with the wooden planks and that it had nothing to do with weight, but nobody listened. At once everyone interrogated me for my weight, but I told the truth: I don't weigh myself.

I'm tall for my age, as seen in that one picture of me in the last post. I'm also pretty lean. I used to be really insecure about my body because I had baby fat and a round face, but I've grown out of that in the past year and a half. Now my face is long; heck, my whole body is long. When people see pictures of me back then they don't even recognize me. (I'm a little worried about my passport picture for this reason- it was taken in those days)

But anyway, I was really insecure. I hated my weight. I hated my body.

At the camping trip, though I was lean like I am now, but I don't know my weigh for a couple of reasons:

Weighing yourself makes you insecure, like I was. My mom wouldn't let me weigh myself in the days of my round face for that reason. Yeah, when you're an adult, go out and weigh yourself if you're trying to switch to a healthier lifestyle. But when you're a kid or a teenager like me, weighing yourself is a waste of time and stress.

Your doctor is there to weigh you and tell you if you need to lose weight. My doctor told me I was right on mark and I was healthy, even in those days, so now I don't weigh myself. What really matters is how you look and how you feel.

Being healthy means that your bones are strong, you keep good care of yourself, etc. Being healthy does not mean a certain weight, because every one's healthy weight is different based on your height, width, etc.

And also, when kids have those conversations about weight, swapping weights, etc, I don't take part. Not because I'm insecure, but because your weight is your beeswax. If you're in the stage of adapting a healthier lifestyle and don't want to share your weight, don't feel like you have to.

Being healthy means having a healthy lifestyle. "Losing weight" means that you're becoming healthy; you're exercising, eating the right foods, etc. That's what healthy is.

Don't waste your youth worrying about your weight. Weight is just a number. Health is not.

P.S. Can you guys pretty pretty please with a cherry on top vote on the poll I have up there? It's right under the blog title.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Q: How do you master a sport in five afternoons?

A: You make your little brother teach it to you.

So it just so happens that my brother Frankie is a ping pong wizard. (Get it, like the song Pinball Wizard, by The Who?) I mean, when my whole gigantic crazy crazy family and I went on a cruise this summer, my brother entered a ping pong tournament and got second place after an adult. So he's pretty good; like, amazing.

And it also just so happens that next Friday, the middle school is having this huge party at school and which also just so happens to have ping pong tables, which will be used for a ping pong tournament. When the dean of the middle school announced this, all the boys went crazy. Well the ping pong loving boys did.

So I had this thought: wouldn't it be awesome if I entered the ping pong tournament? I'm good at ping pong; I have a chance.

We have a ping pong table in our basement and my dad and brother use it all the time. (I know because whenever I'm trying to read upstairs all I hear is pong! and ping! and ping, pong Ohhhhh I so OWNED YOU!!!) I used to like it too, but when they both started to beat me I gave up.

As soon as I got home from chorus practice I begged my brother to teach me the art so I would be prepared for Friday. The responsible little boy he is said, "noooo I have homework" until I convinced him to. So we played some ping pong.

But when we got downstairs my little brother changed. Instead of being a little brother, he became a sport instructor, the type of guy who's been playing for years and people pay him to teach them. He taught me all about spin, the "right way" to hold the paddle, the whole enchilada I tell you! Man, I am so lucky to have him, because there is so much I thought I knew but I didn't.

But I guess being a "ping pong master" means you have to talk like Yoda. "Serve the ball back you will!" and "Nice rebound that was!" were only a couple of his retorts. I tried the whole Luke Skywalker thing back but trust me, it didn't work out.

He was the "wise old master" and I was the "humble young student". But I don't mine because he's seriously helping me learn the sport. And he's pretty funny.

Have you guys ever had strange sibling bonding moments? Have you ever have a younger sibling act like the older one with dignity?

Moving on to an even more pressing topic...

We went hiking Saturday, so I asked my parents to take a picture of my back for the blog. Sounds strange, I know, but this is the only picture you're going to get.
Okay I'm going to take a better picture next time... But yeah, that's a picture of me. It was warm out so I took my coat off.

And that's Frankie's back. If you read his blog you would understand why he always wears a tweed cap. Further up you can also see our dog Lucky.

I'm so sorry this post is late, I was going to write yesterday (in fact, I wrote two really cruddy posts) but I didn't have any good inspiration and I, the kind person I am, didn't want to waste your time.
EDIT: I just noticed, while looking at my archives, that I have written 10 more posts in January than February. New vow: I'll try to post every other day or every three days.