Journal entry March 29th 2009:

Ciao Ragazzi! Come state? Io sto bene, ma oggi é una brutta giornata. Il tempo é freddo, piove c’é anche la nebbia. Terribile. Ammalato un po’, mal di gola e anche mal di testa. Ho pensato che il tempo é il problema.

Allora, ieri mi sono divertito molto, particolarmente a casa di Frank e gli amici di Valeria.

Ma la cosa piú importante ieri e che sono andato a Monza con un donna molto bella. La piccola ragazza mi ha mostrato la città di Monza. Prima siamo andati al centro di Monza, al parco, al mercatino e anche alla chiesa nel centro di Monza. La chiesa é una piccola versione del Duomo. É molto bella, e indentro tutto sono senza voce. Il parco e un po lontano del centro di Monza. La regis ha usato il parco per i giardini personale. É grande con molti alberi. Dopo un pieno giorno con la bella donna, io sono andato ai navigli. A navigli ho mangiato apertivi e dopo sono andato a casa di frank, beve con miei amici e sono ritornato a Navigli a beve a una barca con amici e anche la bella donna. É più divertente.

Hello friends! I hope this note reaches out and finds you well. The weather today is disastrous. Rain, fog, and brutal cold, so much for spring. However despite the terrible weather I’m still having fun. Besides, it’s Sunday the day for relaxing and eating with friends. Tonight we’re having guests for dinner, Mimo, Leo, Nico, Kim, Pino, Michele, and another from Bari will all sit down and end up eating … not sure what will be cooked as of now but I’m excited it should turn out pretty well. I mean Italian cooks, from southern Italy, can a man ask for better food. I doubt it. In the south life is organized in the following pyramid. First and foremost, strongest and most important is food. Second is drinking and cheese, third is family and the sun, fourth and least important is work and being trapped by any idea of scheduling or plans. As such, I’m sure I’ll be fed well.

Primo importante di piú e la conversazione. Miei amici pensavo che io sono un po’ stranerò perché io mangia patate crudo, aglio crudo e anche é possibile per me a scrivere alle computer senza vedere.

It ends up being quite entertaining in the long run. I am finding it harder and harder to type everything in English as my mind is switching in commonly used Italian words for English words, especially since I’m holding a conversation and watching them cook while listening to Italian music and writing. I am literally multi-tasking, writing while listening and thinking in two separate processes at the same time. It’s very difficult and I find myself alternating between parallel processing and multi-tasking… rough for sure but at least spell checker is there to help me out. On the English side at least. I’ve yet to find the Microsoft office 2003 language proofing tools. Microsoft no longer sells them and I can’t find a legit download. What to do when pressed into such a corner.

On a more personal note, I had an absolutely lovely day on Saturday despite the rain and cold wind. A beautiful, intelligent young woman took me on a tour of her home town. I had a best. We went through the center of the city, visited the farmers market on Saturday and even got to visit a few of the churches. After we had lunch in a small ristorante vicino the statue commemorating the loss of Italian soldiers in WWII from the town. We left the center of the city and went on a drive through the park. The park itself was a part of the king’s former residence. With mansions built within it the preserve was open to the public with driving areas, pedestrian path’s and a course which holds the Italian grand prix! What a trip, to see so much green after spending so long in Milan was a welcome relief and with the rain the smells of the park were overwhelming. After leaving the park we went to the commercial center (mall) and saw Push. I was sorely disappointed as I felt that it dragged and that although parts of it were definitely cool… it did not live up to my American expectations of sex, violence, Minimal plot (there was only a very simple plot with bad background work) and destruction… I mean it was rated R after all.

In the end I think we should have seen Inkheart. Regardless seeing a film in Italian is a trip and I’d 100% suggest it. The mixture of imagery with a foreign language and how you can summarily understand the story is an interesting insight into how the human mind works.

On to the evening, she drove me back to a metro station within the urban limit and I headed off to find an apertivi with my colleagues. We decided to meet up at the McDonalds in Piazza 24 di maggio. I arrived a little late but off we went. Annamaria, Fabrizia, Paul and I went to a little bar on the Navigli and started the apertivi. We had some great food. French fries, house fries, grilled eggplant and red/yellow/green peppers, pasta, spaghetti, penne, sausage, pepperoni, multiple types of salamis, hot dog’s with sauerkraut, and a myriad of cheeses. To finish it off there were plates filled with bread slathered in nutella. All for the cost of 1 drink (8 Euro earns the right for all you can eat access). Finishing the appertivo we headed out, down the wet street to Porta Genoa. After Porta Genoa we took the metro to Cadorna, switched lines and headed to pagano. At Pagano we headed to Frank’s house, a friend of Valeria and an all around good guy. He’s very laid back and a wonderful host. We had a little party there and then headed out once again. We ended up back in the Navigli (Milan’s eastern pub district) and finished our night enjoying drinks on a barge parked in the canals (Navigli is Italian for canals). A beautiful young woman took me home and after some fun trying to get tom tom to give us the correct directions I arrived back at my doorstep.