I didn't fall off the face of the earth. I just moved to the other side of it.
I had to take a few days and acclimated. Between jet lag, insomnia, a cold, and then general whirl wind of figuring what was needed immediately for the apartment, what could wait, what fees still needed paid (ha, that was an adventure in and of itself), topped with "where the hell is all my cash?" (No, it wasn't stolen. I just forgot how quickly one can burn through euros), "Why hasn't my loan disbursed the full amount?" and trying to remember where I left the pharmacy, grocery store, and book shop the last time I was here, it's been a little crazy.
I'm slowly picking up the pieces of the "me" side of my life--hobbies, enjoyments--and trying to fit them against the "them" side of my life--school, the new schedule. On the bright side, insomnia means I've written 10-15,000 words since we got here. I'll go to be around ten or eleven, toss and turn for an hour, get up, and then scribble my soul out. It's like I can't sleep until the words are on paper. Once they're down, I go back to bed and sleep, no problems.
The first day of classes was yesterday. In the morning, we were introduced to the conservation curriculum. In the afternoon, we put together smashed flower pots. This morning was the "graduate seminar," in which we debate some of the ethical issues of conservation (should a statue be left outside for all to see, where the weather can get to it, or shut up where no one can see it, but remain preserved for future generations?).
I haven't taken many pictures yet, just a few of the Arno, which is my favorite part of the city. A lot of people think I'm weird, because I don't spend all of my time in churches and museums, and would rather be outside walking around. The last time I was here, in 2008, I took a really demanding course that was made up almost entirely of field trips. During our 3 day trip to Rome, I happened to be next to a tour guide while waiting in a Queue. He asked to see our itinerary--he was ex-military, and showed American living on local Army bases the sites. His eyes almost fell out of his head. He handed back the sheet and said he'd plan that trip for a week, not a weekend. He didn't understand how we could possibly get through all of that in just a few days.
Honestly, neither do I. The experience left me a little burned out. I'll go to the churches and the museums for class, fine, but I want to spend my free time elsewhere. The only one I visit of my own free will is the costume museum at Palazzo Piti.
But anyway, that's beside the the point.
Up next is painting conservation. Not terribly eager about this one, but it's a requirement so I'll just have to slog through it. Then I'm going home to get a head start on some of these essays. I've got several due at midterm, and since everyone always puts them off to the last minute I'm going to try to get a leg up on things.