24 May 2009

Ah the country life. . .

Just trying to show you a few of the more amazing things about the country life. I feel that doing this will provide greater and more dramatic contrast with the pictures I hope to post from Italy here in just a few weeks. Enjoy: Yeah, I actually dress like that when I'm out with cattle. Well, minus the hat usually.
Just spending a little time with the neighbors' horses. . .

Me and my baby Lucky last summer. I miss him.
In two weeks I will be in Italy!!!

23 May 2009

Where's Kansas again?

I received in my e-mail inbox yesterday a message from the orientation team of my program in Italy. Attached was a list of all the tutors who will be orientating (yep, it's entirely possible that I just made that word up) with the week of June 8th. Their names, e-mails, and hometowns were included. Through this I discovered that a) there will be more American tutors than I'd expected, and b) I'm the only one from the Midwest. Unless Illinois or Texas count as the Midwest- which I firmly believe they do not. Illinois is Great Lakes region or something, and Texas is, well, Texas. Practically its own country.
The Italian kids are going to have no idea where Kansas is. Most of the American kids are probably going to be clueless as to its location as well. I'm thinking about playing it up with red sparkly heels and some blue gingham a la Dorothy Gale, or maybe just a cowboy hat. Either way, I'm betting that I get tagged as 'the girl from Kansas' or perhaps simply 'Kansas.' I'm cool with that. I mean, I'm listening to country at this very moment. I'm not sure what happened to me, but country music, and all the things that go along with it, are suddenly okay with me. (Except for chew. That's just gross, and bad for you.)
I joined the program's group on facebook, and looked through some of the pictures from summers past. Doing so made it clear that I'm going to need to pack carefully and be prepared for a lot of different settings/situations. Consider that past tutors have been housed with nuns! I don't know about you, but if there's a chance I'm going to be living with nuns, even if it's just for a week or two, I'm going to reevaluate my wardrobe selections.
So I went shopping this week (on multiple occasions). I'm feeling more prepared, but somewhat poorer. Totally worth it though.

21 May 2009


Less than two weeks until I leave. Madrid is so, so close, but right now I feel like I couldn't be in a more different place. I'm trying to make the most of it, though. Let me tell you about my last few days here in (semi?) rural Kansas:
Sunday: Dropped my mother off at the airport super early, then went with my sister Grace to spend the day with my grandparents on their farm. Took target practice with a bb gun for an hour or two off their back porch. Our targets? Cardboard boxes with squirrels/Hitler drawn on them with red Sharpie, and an orange juice jug which we hung from a tree. I have killer hand-eye coordination (literally, it turns out), so if you are a varmint or a fuhrer, you should probably watch your back. Or just run from me in a zig-zag pattern.
I don't know how that ever got old, but eventually we decided it was time to switch things up a little and go hang with some cattle. We grabbed sticks and headed out to the pastures. I thought it would be a good idea to walk along the creek banks, because we had some heavy rain last week and that sometimes unearths the things that people used to dump in the ditches back in the day (it was trash then, but it's like finding buried treasure now). Our treasure hunt yielded a broken tobacco canister, a bit of broken china, and some bones.
We walked the fences and found some that needed repair. Then we walked through the herd on our way to another field. Okay, I have always felt like these cattle are totally harmless for the most part, but they do have these massive horns coming out of their heads, and they can run pretty fast when they feel like it. Well, they thought we were leading them to a gate to let them into another pasture, but this was not really the case, and basically the whole thing ended with me throwing my hat over a barbed wire fence while simultaneously attempting to climb through it. It wasn't pretty, but I survived. My life is so exciting!
The rest of the day consisted of us fixing fences. It was a good time, but I really thought I would get a better tan out of it.
Monday: Laid out for a half hour. (The most annoying part of being in Spain last fall was being the palest person in every room I walked into, and I refuse to let the same thing happen in Italy.) Noticed vultures circling in the sky. I later realized, during a stroll through the backyard, that we had a dead fox decomposing on our property. One of the aforementioned vultures caught me inspecting the fox and apparently thought I was willing to fight him for it, sooooo he pretty much flew straight at my face. Somehow I made it out alive, and went running. All I will say about that is that jogging is just not the same on hilly, unpaved county roads.
Tuesday: Feared for my life and did not venture outside.
Wednesday: Went running once again. Had to stop regularly (whenever mini-convoys of SUVs and pickup trucks passed) to hold my shirt over my mouth and nose so as not to be suffocated by the massive amount of dust in the air. Chased a snake. . . for fun.
I feel like I'm packing a good amount of country-ness into the brief time I have here this summer.

13 May 2009

Three weeks to go. . .

So I've just done the math, and in exactly three weeks, I will in an airport (paranoia dictates that I not specify which airport), waiting for a flight to take me over an ocean (again, I can not specify the specific ocean) to a certain city in Europe (which city? Not telling). Still, that is some exciting stuff.
I'm finishing up school right now. Yesterday was my Latin final- I know, random. But I took Latin because a) even though it's only my junior year, I've nearly run out of classes to take, and b) it's the closest thing this school offers to Italian, and I was hoping to know a little before I left.
I learned a lot. I can recount plenty of the stories in Ovid's Metamorphoses, and I can translate sentences about giving worthy gifts to the gods and nymphs and satyrs and things of that nature. But do I really want to? Not so much. And because I already know Spanish, I don't think I learned anything that will help me with Italian.
Taking that class really made it clear that I have some horrible study habits, i.e. I don't study. I follow along in class, and I do the homework, but when we're supposed to read ahead and translate, I don't. Turns out I have an amazing new talent: sight-reading Latin. (*For any children reading this, I just want them to know that not studying is very, very bad, and will inevitably lead to me living in a box, eating at soup kitchens, and altogether failing at life.)
I think I'm going to make a great teacher.