So I’m supposed to be reading for class, but I keep getting distracted and figured I would at least be productive with my journaling! Also Emily – I blame you for me being anti-social and hiding out in my room, I am now loving How I Met Your Mother and watch at least two episodes before dinner every day. Thankfully I just finished the season finale so maybe now I’ll finally meet a friend (just kidding!) and a little more productive Anyways, this past week we’ve gone to Bellinzona two more times than I was expecting this semester. I went there my second day here in Switzerland to tour the castles, and liked the town but thought that was the only time I would visit. This Monday we went back to tour the IRB, a biomedical research facility. Our Marketing Research professor knows someone who works there, and that person approached Dr. Nakamoto about our class doing some research for their company. We’ve broken down into our groups and have to give a presentation to the company next week. It’s crazy how quickly these classes go – our first class in MR was last Monday, and our final is next Thursday! Can’t say I’m going to miss this class though, it’s been such a bore reading this textbook and when your teacher warns you a class is going to be boring, you know it’s going to be boring. I’m not really sure how exactly we’re going to approach this presentation but I’m sure it will be something we can add to our resumes. It’s also nice that our groups we work in are our groups from our first class we took here (Consumer Behavior). Everyone’s gotten pretty comfortable with each other and our group has a really good dynamic. So Monday was an easy day of class - we just took the train out to Bellinzona, listened to a presentation and toured the facility, and then came back to Lugano with time before dinner.
Yesterday (Tuesday) was the last night of Bellinzona’s Carnivale, so we all went back out there for the celebration. The carnivales in Europe end on Fat Tuesday, I guess as a last hurrah before Lent. Bellinzona’s Carnivale is completely opposite of Venice’s Carnivale. In Venice it’s a lot of older people who dress up in very fancy costumes, and just walk around the piazzas. The most craziness I saw in Venice were some people drinking socially outside and little kids throwing confetti, but we didn’t see many drunk people. In Bellinzona, you arrive at the train station and it’s crowded with high schoolers. We were actually on the older end of people at Carnivale, there were some college aged people but most seemed a few years younger. Everyone in Bellinzona was also dressed up in costumes that you would wear for Halloween, while at Venice’s Carnivale people mostly stuck with the traditional masks and face painting. Four of us dressed up as cats aka we just wore black clothes and used eyeliner for the whiskers. I got a mask in Venice but didn’t feel like wearing it again, it’s pretty much impossible to look cute smiling in one of those. We arrived in Bellinzona around 10pm, and walked down the main street to get to the entrance of ‘Rabadan’, the title for the city’s carnivale. The entrance fee was 25 francs, which we thought was ridiculous and were able to find some people scalping tickets for 10 francs. Some nice guys gave us their tickets they weren’t using anymore for free, which helped persuade some people to come in who otherwise wouldn’t have if they had to pay for a ticket. While waiting for everyone to get a ticket, I saw three Italian girls dancing in a phone booth and wanted to join them. It was so fun because at first they didn’t know I was American, so we bopped to some Italian music and then some other Lugano girls joined us in the booth. They realized we spoke English and were so excited to put on Disturbia & Womanizer. The girls kept shouting “I love you! Have a good night!” so I guess they didn’t mind us crashing their dance party and I’ll just overlook that they were probably only 15 or 16. I think the fact that they were European just gives them a coolness factor that equals them being a 20 year old American. The best music of the night was inside the main tent. Right when we got into the tent, “Country Roads” the Italian techno version starts playing. The whole song was in Italian except the chorus, so when the chorus came on we could finally sing along. I’m not sure how Italians have heard of that song - I only know it from going to patrol camp in 6th grade. It was definitely a fun time to be able to finally dance, since most places we’ve gone out to are just bars without dance floors. This weekend we’re going to some discoteques (spelling?) in Paris which I’m hoping will have plenty of good dancing as well. Rabadan lasts until 5am on the last night, but party pooper me could only last until 2am. I was actually very impressed with myself that I could last that long, but it helps that we don’t have class until 1:30pm the next day. All in all I had two very different but both fun experiences at Carnivale this week. I’m glad I was able to be a part of this aspect of Italian/European culture, and now want to go to Mardi Gras to see how that stacks up. Anywhoo, I think I’ve procrastinated enough and guess I’ll get to reading. We’re going to Paris this weekend, but I’m more excited about Friday and Saturday. Friday a group of us are going to Disneyland Paris and Sunday we’re going to Luxemburg. I’ve done a lot of the touristy things in Paris already so I’m looking forward to doing some things around Paris I haven’t done before. Hope everyone has a great weekend!! Unbelievable it’s almost March!
Alsooo - I'll add pictures once our internet isn't spotty!