Thursday, October 20, 2011

Not voted off the island this week

I survived!  With almost no tears! Aren't you proud of me?

Ok. I'm not being entirely honest. One test was postponed. Now let's get something straight, I had prepared to take 3 lengthy midterm exams today. Not even kidding. One for Italian High Renaissance (51 slides, for 2 comparisons and and essay), Gaga (2 comparisons and an essay), and Philosophy (choice of essay). I was ready for all of them with only the allotment of time to review some things before I actually took the test! Girl Scouts' honor.

So I arrive in plenty of time to my first class of the day, and begin looking over the dates of the slides that I had just learned last night, and after about what should have been ten minutes into class (note, this is not unusual for JCU or for my professor in general. She is often a few minutes late and frantically trying to turn on the projector and usually talking about how her cat is still sick.) a woman from the front office comes in and says that Professor Smyth is going to be late and that the midterm is postponed until next week. How late? About an hour.

The reactions of my class are as followed:
Furious 50%
Relieved 49%
Laughing 1%

I am the 1%.

I just laughed. Seriously, what kind of day could this possibly be? My first test had been postponed, the class would start late, and I just couldn't stop laughing.

For many of you this is not a surprising reaction. Eventually, when you don't sleep enough, or the stress levels just get to you, laughter is the only real response to have. So the other 99% of my class hadn't reached that point and were absolutely no fun what so ever. Boo.

So I spent the next hour sitting by myself dancing to Britney Spears and studying Gaga... (well that's a strange sentence).  Professor Smyth (no, I'm not spelling that incorrectly) showed up, WITH HER CAT. Go ahead. Read that sentence again. I'll wait. Ok, yeah, so the sick cat came to school. Not that I'm complaining, I want to bring my cat to school all the time, but apparently with a flooding kitchen, and a sick cat, and being an art history prof, things just got out of hand and we were just going to go to the library instead.

The library across town.

Granted, it's supposed to be a fantastic resource for our projects, and we wouldn't have any idea how to a) get there, b) get books, or c) what do do with them once we found where they were (which is a process, believe me). So we trooped and tram-ed over to Piazza Venezia to find this specialized Art History international library. Good idea? Yes. Different from a midterm? Very much so.

This library can best be compared to a labyrinth. For example, it has many rooms. But not just any silly old rooms, these look like the Beast's library in Beauty and the Beast.  You know, filled to the brim with books? Floor to ceiling, covering every wall with steps and a platform to go up to the second level of books. There are maybe 5 of these such rooms, folded in on each other and stacked carefully. The tricky thing is not just figuring out how to get to the upper level of the shelves (there's only one way up, and that means it's only in one room and you have to wander your way around the edges until you get to that one corner of that one room where your book should be).  The other tricky part is that not every book is somewhere that you have access to. That means that you have to go through the process of actually finding your book (read: find title and author of book that maybe useful for your research, go outside the library to another room where the card catalogue is, riffle through cards in little bitty baby drawers, (my prof described this process as 'sensuous' but I'm not sure that's the same word I would come up with) find call number, attempt to figure out whether it is somewhere you can get to it, ask librarian who only speaks broken English, they say that you have to fill out a request form) then going to find the place/forms to make your request. Whewf. By the time we got to that part of the tour, my professor was adding extensive editorial remarks about the process which included that idea that once you made your request that little elves, who you never see, wearing funny hats scamper off to find your book and bring it back to you in 30 minutes.

So instead of taking a test, we learned about the Italian Librarian version of Santa's little helpers. Good work.

After that little excursion, I caught pizza with Kate, studied for my next test, rocked it, then decided that anyone with two tests in a day deserves a Nutella Crepe. So I got one of those before looking over my Philosophy notes. Otherwise known as looking at random pictures of Moua that I hide in my wallet. What? That's strange. Oh well.

Back to the apartment where I had the lovely pleasure of skyping dear dear Chloe. We plan on making this a regular occurrence, you know, after she finishes reading the news paper.

And that was my test of survival in Rome. Tomorrow's task? Water obstacle.

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