Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Italy is Wonderful but Confusing.

As of today, I have been in Italy for two weeks and two days! Hooray!

Since this is my first real international trip (I went to Canada one day about a year ago), of course I freaked out.
On a large scale, things are the same. There are still toilets, showers, restaurants, schools, roads, cars, and all of that everyday stuff.
But on a small scale, everything--EVERYTHING--is different.

Here are a few things that have confused, and occasionally, downright bewildered me:

1) Light switches. Instead of your typical up-and-down switch, these switches come in sets of 3, and usually there is a trick switch or two that doesn't move. And the switches are black.

This is the least confusing thing.

2) Bathrooms. There are mixed-gender bathrooms. When you walk in the bathroom, there is a men's stall, and a women's stall. Five-year-old me would describe it, "You can hear boys tinkle and poopy! Hee hee hee!" And then everyone shares sinks, mirrors, and hand-dryers. (But the stalls are more private. The doors and walls go from floor to ceiling, so there's no awkward view of other people's feet, thank goodness.)

3) Elevator buttons. I'm used to having two buttons: an up button and a down button, and you push the direction you want to go. But here, there's just a button that basically says in Italian, "take elevator." And then two little up and down lights beside the button (that look deceptively like buttons) turn on when the elevator is moving.
Of course, on my first day, I stood there and pushed on the up light repeatedly, thinking, "This doesn't feel very buttony."
Then a security guard came and rescued me.

4) Our washing machine. It's all in Italian, so that's a bit confusing, but it's also decrepit. I think it confuses me more with its decrepitness than its foreignness, because it's a pretty basic washing machine. From probably the 70s. (This really has nothing to do with Italian ways of life. I just hate our washing machine. One day it kept spinning my laundry on and off for three hours until I unplugged it and tugged the door open. I hate it.)

5) Automatic doors and gates. Sometimes, to go through an automatic door, you have to push a button before the door will open. I won't admit how many times I've stood in front of a door waiting for it to open. I also won't admit how long I've waited sometimes.

But today's bit of automatic door/gate confusion was the most embarrassing. I went to the grocery store and picked up a basket. There's a little gate that lets you into the grocery area. I thought if I just kept walking it would swing open and swing back into place. But instead, I smashed into it and it didn't budge an inch.

Right in front of a bunch of old ladies doing their shopping.

Then I backed up and looked around for a button to open it. There was no button. Then it opened automatically. I think one of the grocery store clerks controls the gate. I didn't look to see if that's true, because I'm tired of Italians looking at me like I'm completely stupid.

But I do love it here, and in my next post I will let you know how much, but for now, I thought I'd explain how confused I've been the last couple weeks. Culture shock is an expansive experience. But it's getting better. I'm having fewer moronic moments every day, and it feels nice.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Guess What!?! (also, some dogs)

I chopped all my hair off (again)!

But more importantly:
On September 15, I'm going to jump in a plane or three and fly to Milan, Italy! Awesome, right? I get to go study abroad this fall semester.

So while I'm there, this blog may change around a bit and be more normal than... well, normal. It'll be like most people's travel blogs, where I'm all



Be prepared for some touristy ravings.

But then again, I may have some interesting adventures that are silly-illustration-worthy.

For example, what if a crazy old Italian man waves an eel in front of my face on a train?

Or something like that.
We'll see.

On a completely unrelated note, I've been living with two little dogs all summer, Max and Buddy.

Max is a Chihuahua-Daschund mix. He looks like a big chihuahua with slightly floppy ears.

He likes to throw up on my bed.

Buddy is a little pomeranian or something. He reminds me of this guy. He's very old and entirely senile. He can't remember who or what he is anymore, so he sits, stares at me, and whines.

That's all for now.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Driving Under the Influence

But not much else.
Don't drive under the influence of other things or you will die or accidentally kill other people. Or both.
But chocolate milkshakes are okay.

Friday, March 8, 2013


I have a button collection. It isn't very big. In fact, all my buttons fit in one mason jar.

Lately, I've been thinking about learning to use a sewing machine so I can make bizarre stuffed creatures (maybe even a bearnicorn).

Anyway, I started thinking about eyes for my creatures and this led me to my button collection.

Today, I sorted my buttons into categories.

There are plain old normal buttons (the kind you probably think of when I say "button") that are round with two or four holes. Most of my buttons are happy, normal, well-adjusted buttons.

I would say that roughly three quarters of my buttons are normal. Most of the other fourth of them consists of those buttons with the loop-like holes on the back that you can't see. I call these "ninja buttons" because at first glance, you're like, "What is that circle thing on that person's shirt?" but then a moment later you say, "Oh, it's a button! What? Who would've thought it, a button on a shirt!"

Of course, ninjas don't wear ninja buttons. That would be weird.

Even though they can be sneaky and confusing, ninja buttons are still pretty normal. Therefore, almost all my buttons are normal buttons.

But as I sorted through my buttons, I found a few weirdos.

These buttons have only one hole. The one on the right may have been broken at some point, but the one on the left definitely has no idea how to properly be a button.

I mean, in the attachment process, after the thread goes through the single hole, where does it go?

And then, I found buttons with neither holes nor ninja loops on the backs. Basically, they are little plastic circles.

What? Are they even buttons?


Impostors! Entirely non-functional buttons! I suppose you could glue them, but they'd just fall off after being washed, so what's the point?