Sunday, November 10, 2013

Day of Monet

I think that any teacher could tell you that work is never over. 

Harris and I on the train
You can get as far ahead as you want, but there is always going to be something you could be working on. With Parent/Teacher Conferences coming up on Wednesday (AHHHHH!), I've gotten too wrapped up in the stress of it all to remember what I've seen my parents do my whole life. As business owners, they are never truly done working, but help each other to realize it's alright to give themselves time for themselves. On Friday some of my lovely coworkers and friends did the same for me, helping me to realize that while I could keep up the vicious cycle of working and stressing and working and stressing, I need to give myself a break. If you don't, you'll burn out! I'm also starting to realize that that really is a part of my stress: being in Italy and not taking advantage of being here was killing me! So, this weekend I went with a group of girls to Pavia, a town not far from Opera that I've been hearing many of the other newbies rave about. 

 First of all, taking a train feels so fancy!

Cutest little stands on a random road
Is that lame? Hehe, well, even if it is, I love the idea of hopping on a train to go on a day trip! Pavia was beautiful, and was my ideal type of place to live; it was somewhere between quaint town and small, bustling city. Opera is fine and is appealing in its own way, but it's a pretty sleepy place to live and there isn't much going on. Pavia was a lot more like I had pictured Italian towns; it actually reminded me a lot of Granada with its cobblestones, castles, and narrow roads full of shops, restaurants, and bars. It wasn't anywhere near as big or busy as Milan, but had more charm.

Why yes, I DID spend my Saturday at an exhibit for an amazing artist in a

I went in earlier in the day with three other girls. 

We met up with three more later, but we wanted to go early to see a Monet exhibit (!!!) in the basement of a castle (!!!!!!) called Castello Visconteo. Italian castles are interesting. There aren't turrets and towers, but look more like fortresses, and from the few I've seen are huge, and square with a large courtyard in the center. The most awe-inspiring part to me is walking across a bridge and looking down to see where the moat had been. A moat! That's just nuts! It makes me absolutely giddy thinking about the fact that someone (or many someones) lived there at one point;  what we see as a tourist destination to stare at in wonder was once a home. I love imagining the lives that were lived behind those walls, and as soon as I have time to read for fun again, I'll definitely be picking up some Milan historical fiction!

The exhibit was beautiful and very strange. 

While the paintings were amazing to see, there was also this weird "sensory" piece where each room had a different smell. There were also videos playing in different rooms that I believe were supposed to be about the lives of different people who were important in Monet's life. It could have been very interesting, but unfortunately all I could tell about that part was that there was an endless loop of different faces in black and white staring and blinking into the camera, and a voice in Italian monotone explaining something or other... Hmm... The paintings themselves were beautiful, including Monet's paintings and the work of some of his influences and stepdaughter/daughter-in-law's (interesting concept... her paintings were gorgeous though! A lot like his, but a little brighter, more feminine, and with more definition than his), and some of his old letters and photos. None of the paintings I knew were there, but they were all really just so beautiful. 

Got caught taking pictures before I could get one of a Monet... Dammit!
This one is still beautiful though :)

There's a line in Clueless where Cher calls a girl a "Full on Monet," explaining that, "From far away, it's OK, but up close it's a big old mess." 

I completely disagree. It was unbelievable to stand close enough to the paintings to see every detail; to see every brush stroke and how the colors blended together. From far away the colors look muted, but if you're standing right up close it's so vibrant! Ahhhh I cant believe I saw those!


After the exhibit we explored the town a little, stopping at a pastry shop to try the beautiful and delicious desserts before dinner. 

Dinner was at a cute, outdoor cafe and afterwards we met up with three more of the girls to have a few drinks. The first bar we went to was an Irish Pub, and afterwards to this aperitivo bar called Minerva Bar & Lounge, which was maybe my favorite bar or restaurant I've been to in Italy so far. The town must have had some connection to the goddess because there was a humongous statue of her reaching for the sky in the middle of town. Not that there is anything wrong with Opera, but the bars are... not the most exciting. This one was amazing! And the aperitivo was great too... 6 or 7 euro for a Strawberry Daiquiri and access to a delicious, full buffet of snacks and appetizers? Sounds good to me! We stayed for a few drinks, got on the train, and headed back to Opera for a trip to American Bar. All in all, an awesome Saturday :)

It was such a necessary day. 

I just need to tell myself this a little more often!
I've been feeling so out of the loop with these friends, and I'm thinking I need to give myself the time to get together with these friends rather than focusing every thought I have at all hours of the day to work. Friday, I was such a nervous wreck and so stressed out, and now, even though I didn't work at all yesterday and had the same work to do, I feel way more capable and in control of the work. Woohooo!

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