Archive for September, 2012

The week starts off well with my history theory class going smoothly with little discussion and more of a lecture instead. Once we finished that we went on to starting our studio project for our classical courtyards, which we were all really worried about because none of us really know how to use the orders properly, so most of the rest of the day was spent working on that. On the way back to the dorms that night I was talking to Sofia and told her that I was planning on get drunk on the 21st. She asked why and I told her it would have been my anniversary then, and she told me that whatever thoughts I have I should write down to just kind of get them out of me. We’ll see if that actually happens or not though.

Today was an early morning for me since we had to go into town to meet up for our watercolor class. I went out early and grabbed some breakfast in town with a cappuccino and then sat down to start sketching one of the buildings in the main piazza. Though every couple minutes, more and more delivery trucks would park in the way, obscuring the bottom portion at first, which was alright, I could still work on the upper part. That was until a truck parked a foot in front of me and blocked the entire thing so I couldn’t sketch the thing at all from where I was. After a while I just moved and then gave up and waited for everyone to show up so we could head out to the mausoleum. Once we got to the mausoleum we did three hours of watercolors before we finally headed back into town for a quick lunch and then head back to the studio for our first Italian lesson. The lesson dragged on, and I don’t particularly like non-formal teaching for this kind of subject, it doesn’t stick very well. After that though, some of the people went to the travel agent to buy tickets for our trip to Venice next weekend that we are all apparently taking. I knew they were planning a trip, but I didn’t know if I was included because I usually work while listening to music, so I don’t hear most of their discussions. It was nice that they included me though, because I do want to go and do things. The night again descended into working on our courtyard projects before I called it a night at midnight here (first one to go to bed, I think that night) and headed back to relax and indulge my internet needs.

Not much happening stress wise so far this week, I’ve kept up with all of the readings that I’m supposed to be doing and I’ve been productive with my studio project. So I was kind of able to slowly work on my project and still finish early compared to everyone else right now. Though now John comes in and tells us we need to layout our shadow lines, but that only makes things more difficult for me because of the weird geometry of my building and the fictional sunlight. We are using a fake angle for the sun so we can cast interesting shadows, but most of my project will be in shadow save for the columns themselves.. We have our first official field trip starting tomorrow to the Veneto to study some architecture there for most of the weekend. I still need to figure out what media I’m going to use though, do I want to use my consistent felt pens or my new toy, the fountain pen? I’ve also been thinking about romance and relationships more recently, not so much my previous one, but future ones and the past of other ones instead. For the future ones I kind of muse over the ideas of an Italian fling, or a French relationship, but I don’t have much hope for those. And I just kind of fall back to thinking about my actions in the past to other people who cared about me and how that kind of burned the bridges with them. I don’t need those people in my life, but I would like to have some in my life at least a little bit, because they were good company and good conversation most of the time.

Early morning for all of us today, we had to get to the meeting spot for our trip to the Veneto so we could all catch the bus. Our first stop in the region was Verona, which was just one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. We started our tours of the city starting with the Arena which is beautiful just to see how much of it is left to see. After that we saw a few churches and then made it into a school building which had some wonderful frescos in it, though the tour was really long because they had some school official lead us through the entire school, which wasn’t architecturally relevant. The city was so alive during the day and then when we got the night to ourselves we were able to find a couple bars and gelaterias where we spent some time. The gelato place we went to had some really good stuff and a cute girl who worked there had an interesting tattoo on her hand of a musical score. After gelato we all sat around a bar and had a few drinks and talked about all of the things we had seen, but as the night progressed we started to just be more stupid and drunk (I was the first, but not the worst). The girls went off by themselves so we sent Matt with them to watch over them so they wouldn’t get raped or do anything too stupid, while the rest of us walked around the town. I had a pretty deep conversation with Camelo and the others about life and relationships and how I was dealing with things and how he had dealt with things and what he went through. It was all really good, also helped that we finished our deep conversation while lying on the banks of the river looking up at the stars. After that we all headed back to the hotel for the night, but Matt came back after a while and informed us that the girls had even more to drink after we all left, which I thought was just stupid. I knew I was already pretty drunk and they go and choose to drink more? Stupid.

The next morning we had our trip to the Castelvecchio by Carlo Scarpa where we would spend about two hours observing, sketching, and photographing. Before we went off to the Castelvecchio though, I got to see how drunk the girls had gotten the night before by seeing their reactions to the morning sun, which was one of the best things of the day for me. The Castelvecchio was just an amazing place, and even with those two hours to sketch and photograph, it was not enough to fully take in the amount of thought that went into the building. The number of lines and levels that you will experience in just the front entrance is astounding to try and grasp. It is hard to put it all into words about the experiences that you go through in the spaces that Scarpa creates, but the best one that I can think of is to explain how he placed an image of Christ. Scarpa also designed the placement of all of the pieces in the building, so that the building would create an even greater experience for those pieces of art. Scarpa placed a sculpture of the crucifixion of Christ so that when the sun was first out in the morning, it cast light right across his face, bathing the religious figure in pure light. It was breath taking. After we finished at the Castelvecchio we went on to Vicenza where we again explored the city, but when we got there we couldn’t go into the Teatro Olimpico like we had planned so we instead started our tours early and explored the city. On the bus ride over to Vicenza I started to rethink how I thought about my life and where I was in my life, I always would say that I was already 20 years old and I haven’t done much with my life yet. Now though I’m starting to think more in the realm that I am only 20 years old, and that I have so much to look forward to in my life and this is just the tip of the iceberg for me. While we were in Vicenza we had some free time so we all managed to do some shopping; I was able to pick up a new shirt and a scarf while we were there. Afterwards we all had a nice dinner and then explored the town a bit more before we all went to sleep for the evening.

We started our next and final day of our field trip by going to Palladio’s Villa La Rotonda to sketch and document the building. The building is actually quite simple in respect to the geometry that was used to create it and even for the detail work that was used on it. I was able to manage a few sections and plans of the building to help me figure out the different proportions that he used. Afterwards we went back to Urbino and all worked on our summaries that we had due Monday.

Sunday I finished my summaries, but ended up going to sleep for the rest of the day to catch up on some of my sleep after the long trip. Wasn’t a very productive day, save for the summaries, but it was a nice and restful one.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Exile

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I had my first classes today, starting with my history and theory class for architecture. It was a fairly standard class, sit there, listen, and maybe talk about the material we had read the day before. The material was pretty interesting because we read older texts concerning architecture and the patterns and forms in it. On the readings focused on the idea of modules and construction of the orders, which was pretty interesting because it went into the stories behind why the orders were the way they were. After class we met up with Emily, one of the other American students who are studying here, and had lunch in the cafeteria. We mainly discussed the current green movement in Italy and why it came about here the way it has. We basically concluded that it came about due to the limited resources here and was out of necessity rather than desire to actually do it. After lunch we met up in the city to start our first studio project, an analysis of the orders using one of the buildings in town as an example of what the usual ideas behind them are and how they can change while still falling within the norms of the order. We were given a building that used the Doric order except that it didn’t have a base for its column. The building itself is actually not the detailed, and we were divided into groups so we could further divide up the drawings, making it so each of us only has to do one drawing and then trace the others from our group members. After we finished our analysis I hit up the grocery store as it opened and picked up a bottle of Disaronno and some snacks for the studio. The evening descended into working in the studio for a while and then a night of rough sleep on my bed.

We had our first watercolor class today outside of the studio. We did a fairly rigid wash on a transfer drawing we did the day before of a painting that a famous artist I had never heard of had painted. By the end of class I had a sunburn and kind of shitty piece of artwork to show for my three hours of class time. After we finished our class work we all went into town to look at our buildings for our studio projects and make sure that we had all of the details and measurements that we needed. Once we finished our analysis of the buildings we all seemed to go to the art store at the same time to go and look around, something I do not recommend people do if they ever come over here because I think they get mad when all of us go in and look around and then leave with nothing. We were trying to figure out the paper situation, but that didn’t get resolved so we’ll have to do that tomorrow or something. We went back to the studio after we had dinner and worked on our studio projects, I pretty much finished mine because our building isn’t that complicated in plan view, though the rest of the drawings are more detailed. While working on my drawing I opened up a bottle of wine and had some for the rest of the night. By the end of the night, I had basically had the entire bottle, so while working on my summaries I had to make very certain of what I was typing and how it related back to my work. I wasn’t drunk, just kind of tipsy by the time I left to go to bed for the evening. It was a pretty good day, a part from the sunburn.

We had an interesting discussion of previous projects in the history and theory class today, and I actually talked during this class, unlike the first one, so go me. After class we all went into town to figure out the paper situation and to actually get what we need so people can shut up about having the wrong things or using the wrong paper. Best part of the day though was while I was in the art store because I actually went ahead and bought my fountain pen that I wanted. It came with blue ink so I’ve been practicing with it and see what it is actually like to use one and to get used to the color. While we were in town we had lunch at a local place, at which we all got kebabs with picante sauce, which was just amazing. As we were walking out of town we also picked up a couple of lemon pastry things that were again, delicious. Before heading back to the studio, I went back to my dorm room to use the bathroom, and while there the maids knocked on my door and wanted to clean the room and change my sheets. Well I couldn’t exactly have a conversation with them saying to come back later, so I just told them not thank you. They left after that, which leaves me with the same sheets that I’ve had since I got here, which isn’t bad, but it would be nice to have some clean ones now. After all of our food we hit the studio hard and plowed through our drawings again, only to find that some of the measurements we took were wrong, so we had to go back into the city and take new measurements of the building which was time consuming and annoying. Annoying mainly because Cecilia kept saying “I told you” and “should have done it the way I said” and other crap that was just annoying. The main measurement that was wrong for the building was the repetitive brick pattern measurement we did. We measured one brick and thought that all the bricks were uniform and thus made the pattern easy to measure. Well, it turns out that the bricks are different sizes, but the overall pattern is uniform. It was just really annoying because she kept thinking that she knew what she was talking about, but she really didn’t when it came to the measurements, because even if we had measured one of the other bricks we still would have drawn it wrong because of the irregularity in the bricks. So that just got annoying, but the redo of the drawing was easy for me since I still had the plan view. The rest of the day was pretty normal, just some studio time and internet for the most part, I practiced with my new fountain pen some and updated my Tumblrs. We are meeting up in the morning tomorrow to finish our drawings and start the transfers so we can have a three day weekend and enjoy ourselves some more while we’re here, probably hitting the town some and go grape picking at a winery or something.

Well we all made it into the studio around 9:30am to get to work on our projects, only to have a few hours pass and all of us decide that we didn’t want to have class today and instead have studio on the right day. So Camelo called up John and told him about what we had all decided on, and then we all kind of relaxed for a bit and took things more slowly so we could enjoy our day. It was raining most of the day so we ended up not going out, which was kind of a bummer because I had wanted to see what all of the hype was about for Thursday nights here. We also went to the store today to pick up some snacks and to get some more wine (at least that was the main reason I went) and other liqueurs, but since it was raining, the dirt path we usually take to get to the store close by had turned into a mudslide. We all ended up with some form of mud stuck to our shoes and pants by the time we actually made it back to the studio. So instead we all ended up drinking some wine and watching movies and TV shows together. After that we all were tired and just kind of went off to bed. I’ve been keeping myself busy with Tumblr, drawing, and hanging out with everyone here, which I think has been good for the part. Whenever people go out to do or get anything, I go with them, which has been nice for the most part, but I’m kind of hoping that nothing actually happens this weekend so I can just kind of relax for a bit and maybe just explore town and eat some good food there. The first two weeks here have been really jam packed with things to do and see and eat, and I kind of want to keep looking through the town for all of the little food stores and shops. I also found a hat store in town! A legitimate store that sold only hats and things relating to hats. It looks really cool, and they have a bowler hat!!

We all met up in the studio early Friday so we could keep working on our drawings and readings, until John showed up for class and we all started to do our ink washes. They went well for the most part, but we all really didn’t enjoy defacing our wonderful drawings with our subpar watercolor skills. Afterwards we all went to dinner and then went back to the studio and watched movies. And when I say we in this case, I mean everyone but me. I just didn’t feel like sitting around watching a movie, so instead I stayed in the other room doing my usual things, drinking wine and cruising the internet for interesting things. After a while I went back to my room and just kind of relaxed before going to sleep for the night.

Today we explored the town of Urbino and the markets that were going on to see if we could find anything really cool or interesting to get. While exploring some of the guys got scarves for their girlfriends, which I tend to avoid all conversation about or leaning towards out of the fact that I still don’t enjoy other people being happy yet. I’m getting better on the whole being alone thing though, still not past that undeniable fear of truly being alone, but still making progress. Back to the city though! We went around the walls of the city and ended up outside the walls a couple times, which confused us because we had been on top of the walls the whole time, but we got some great photos and had a really good time. We also encountered this old woman who we think was trying to tell us she was a professor of Italian and English at the university, which we didn’t really buy because she never said a word of English to us. We went to get kebabs again at the place we went before, and then got some gelato to help finish off our lunch. The we all made it back to the studio again to keep working on our summaries for Monday and generally try to get some actual work done.

Today was a very special day, we went out with Eugenia and Mirko around the Marche region of Italy and see all of the sights that we could for a day. We went to the coast and looked at the water and the cities along there and got lunch at a great bar that over looked the water from a cliff side. After lunch we explored a castle for a while, but only Mirko yelled at the ticket lady for not letting us in for free because we were architecture students. She wouldn’t do it because it didn’t say architecture on our student IDs, which we all thought was stupid, I mean who goes up to you and says (translated correctly) “We are students of architecture and would like admission”? It was really annoying. So after we explored the castle we went and looked at some birds and actually practiced some Falconry! I asked Eugenia if I could after Camelo had asked, I’m getting better about this trying things and being more open-minded I think. Once we finished with the Falconry we all went back to Urbino to keep working on our summaries. While driving around the country though, I got to experience Mirko’s driving and how people drive in Italy in general. It was really cool, and I would like to correct what I tell people about why I don’t like having other people drive. I don’t like riding with bad drivers. Mirko knew what he was doing and knew exactly what his car could do, it was actually pretty relaxing, he turned on the radio and we all just talked about what we saw and what we thought. The rest of the day was devoted to summaries and killing zombies to chill before leaving the studio to sleep and indulge my internet needs.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Exile

It has begun, my journey has started. It began when I first started with the plane rides with my professor over to Rome where we met up with the rest of the students. When we first got there we had to wait for another plane to come in with them on it, so John (my professor, he asked us to call him John) and I went and had a cappuccino at the bar (bars are different here). It was the most glorious thing I have ever tasted, the milk was steamed properly, and the coffee was just beautiful. They really do have a totally different culture here when it comes to coffee, I have been experiencing it every day since I got here. After a while the plane came in and we all grouped together to get our train ticket to go to the bus depot where we would then catch the four hour bus to Urbino. During the trip I told the story of my relationship to Cecilia and we had a nice conversation about what laid before everyone and how it was going to help and change us all. Once we made it to Urbino, we went to the university where we got dinner and our dorm rooms. The room is alright, it has the essentials: bed, desk, chair, shower, and toilet. We all ended up in the studio after everything so we could all use the internet and contact our loved ones and family. Well part way through Camelo plugged something in wrong and basically blew up the internet. I’m not kidding, there was a loud pop when he plugged it in and it just killed the whole socket he tried and the internet, all in one go. So after that we all started to fade and drift off back to our rooms to sleep for the night.

The next day consisted of a lot of tours around the actual city of Urbino, guided by John and Eugenia (one of the providers) and her husband Mirko. This introduced us to the hill we would be going up and down most of the time we wanted to do anything in town. It is a steep, slick hill that does not lend itself to high heels, and gets really annoying after the first billion times you have to go up it. We looked at the art store in town first so we would know where we could get supplies and stuff for our classes to come. They took us around the city to see what all there was to do and what the city had to offer us. For lunch they took us out to a local restaurant where they served wine and pasta and just so many amazing dishes for us to enjoy while we talked amongst ourselves. After dinner we continued touring the city and finding out so much about it and seeing all of the different amazing buildings that the Duke was a part of. Once we finished our tours and everything, we were left to our own devices. We ended up having gelato in the main piazza, which is just beautiful might I add. The day ended with us having dinner together in the cafeteria and going to the studio to once again mess with the internet. It’s interesting to see how much we all depend on it, and it is a little depressing that we depend on it so much now.

The next day we went on more tours (we were starting to get tired of tours at this point, and because our feet hurt so much) of the city except with a woman who may be giving us Italian lessons later on so that we can better understand and talk to people. We took a break in one of the bars to have a cappuccino, though I had an espresso to help keep me going. There was a woman working in the bar who wanted to practice her English and basically told us about when people go out in the city, which is Thursday here, and how they would love to see us there again.

Well we actually went out on Friday because we had been too tired the previous day. This was my first time actually going out and drinking socially with friends, and to go out with drinking at all with people, so it was an interesting experience. We started off at the bar in which we encountered the woman who told us about going out during the week. I started with a nice glass of scotch, but after that we had what they told us was “Tequila Boom Boom”. This was basically just a bit of a mix of tequila with something else to lessen the strength. It was also my first time doing tequila shots, but it went well for the most part. Once we finished up at that bar went looking around for another and ended up in one that was just across the piazza. I tried to order a scotch and soda, but they just couldn’t get and I couldn’t help them, so I caved and just got a gin and tonic. After a bit I started to loosen up and talk more to people about things that I was thinking and feeling. I ended up telling Sofia that I wouldn’t mind getting to know Britta more, but that I figured I didn’t have a chance for two reasons: one being that she was twenty-seven, and two being because she was vibing up another guy in the group. Once the night was basically over we started to head back to the dorms, but on the way there I just instantly sobered up and became really self-conscious about everything I had said and done while out with everyone. So I hung back for a bit and then just walked at the end of the group not saying much until we reached the dorms.

Now we come to the weekend! John took us to Pesaro and basically just stuck around long enough to show us the beach and how to get on the train if we needed to or wanted to so we could travel. After that he helped us figure out hotels so we could get that taken care of before we went off to the beach. So once John parted ways with us we all grabbed a bite to each at a local café, this time it was a café, though it did seem pretty close to a bar. We had an amazing meal there of some sort of penino or something, which had uncooked ham, cheese, and tomatoes on it. Afterwards we walked along the beach until we found the free section of it and set up camp for the day and play in the water. It was so beautiful there and so much fun. The water was perfect, the sand felt amazing, and everyone was having a blast. There were parts, though, where I just kind of sat and thought about life and where I was going and where I had been. I was a lot quieter than I had been the previous night because I was still self-conscious about it all. I decided to stay the night with a few people that were staying, which was an alright choice. The next day we went shopping in the market they set up each weekend in towns to sell things. Here markets are different, they sell EVERYTHING, from socks, to vacuums, to cars. We wandered around while a couple of people went to the beach. We ended up not getting much of anything, though I did get the most amazing donut thing ever created by human beings, it had a lemon taste to it and was covered in sugar. It was so delicious. After a while Sofia, Cecilia and I headed back to the bus depot to grab a bus back to Urbino so we could relax, have lunch, and start on our homework for the first day of class (which confuses me, but whatever). The end day descended into my usual indulgences, a warm shower, and dinner with everyone in the cafeteria. I finished up my summary homework right after dinner, and rewarded myself with some well-deserved internet time.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Exile

By the time this post is posted I will be in Italy, but not only that, I will have been there for a day already. If you hadn’t noticed it yet, all of the posts were posted two days after they actually happened. This post is mainly to explain my final feelings before actually leaving the country. With this journey ahead of me, I will be taking the role of The Exile so that I may better understand not only architecture, but the world as a whole. The person separated from everything and can see things from an unbiased point of view.

The journey will take me from the shell that I am now, to the full being I will become at journey’s end. I will explore myself as an individual in a new world, myself with respect to other people, other people in respect to me, and to explore everything else that comes to mind. I will be making new friends while I am abroad and creating new bonds. Hopefully through everything that I will experience I will grow to be the person I want and need to be for the future, because I think I’m going back to karma, fate, and maybe a little luck for what happens to me.

To everyone who has been with me through all of this, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and hope you will stay by me because I have a feeling the future has a few twists and turns left for me.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Exile

Today was crunch day for me. I had to get everything together, pack it all up, and make sure that I didn’t miss anything. This whole thing is driving me crazy. I’m getting really anxious about everything that is about to happen to me. And I’m still obsessing about the past and all of that. I really want this to be a new, fresh start for me so I could move on with my life. All I want is some happiness for myself, is that so much to ask for?

I’m going crazy. Crazy. Of course now I start thinking about the first season of How I Met Your Mother and how I kind of want to be that version of Ted Mosby, struggling architect with starry eyed dreams of romance and a future. Maybe I live too much in my fantasy worlds. Maybe I need to get back in touch with reality some more.

God, I leave in the morning and then everything changes, whether I want it to or not. It’s going to be so amazing while I’m there, but so weird. I want to meet the woman in red; I want to see if I can get a date with the hot grad student, I want life to move on for me. After this semester I will be moving on, I’ll be living in San Antonio with my friends there, I’ll be working on school work that I love. Everything is going to be different when I get back. We’ll see what all happens.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Architect

Again I avoided packing and instead indulge my Batman addiction with a marathon of Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and Under the Red Hood. So with my marathon of movies came good coffee and getting media files ready for Italy. Besides that I organized a last IHOP trip with guys for when I finish dinner with family I could see them one last time.

After dinner with my parents we watched the new Doctor Who before I went out to meet my friends at IHOP. It was a good IHOP trip, had some good conversations with the guys and shared some good stories before we all had to go our separate ways. It was kind of a sad moment getting back into my car and driving off because the next day I would leaving and starting the next big journey in my life. After all of this and everything I’ve been through emotionally and everything I’ve pushed myself to do physically, I think I’m ready for a real fresh start when I get over there. Though having that woman in red would be a nice to have in this new fresh start, but we’ll see what I can manage with things.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Architect

My dad and I went out and bought me a suitcase for my trip because we found out that the other one I was going to take was broken. So we hit the luggage and leather store and picked me up a good sized suit case.

After that I watched TV for a while and avoided packing for Italy. I’m really excited for it all, but I’m also really nervous about it as well. I’m excited for all of the new experiences, and people, and projects, and sights, and sounds and just so much more. But I’m also so nervous about everything I will be doing, will it be good enough, will I piss people off, will I survive, will I make new friends, will I further other relations? I’m worried about my trip to France at the end. That part really scares me because I’ll be by myself for the whole thing, which again makes me scared and have to look at my being alone issues.

Finally managed to start packing and figuring out what all is going where though which was good. My room is a mess again because of this though. I wonder if I’ll ever have a clean room for longer than two days.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Architect