February 14-16, 2017: Protests Continue

This semester, I have so much more time during the day now since my classes are pretty much done in the morning. We go to Trattoria Rosso every week for lunch, twice a week. It’s our spot. You can’t beat their 10 euro lunch menu. We’re regulars. We found a place we like and we keep coming back, who needs to try new restaurants? With the warmer weather outside, we can just relax at the cafes. The streets are lively in the daytime. I didn’t even know because until now, I’d never really just spent time during the day in the city. That’s my goal this semester, to take day trips and see more of Bologna.

What you should know about Italy is that they’re really into protests. And they’re quite good at it. They have signs, flares, and the whole shebang. The police are prepared. They know about them in advanced because they are registered protests. They close off the streets in sections as the demonstration moves. The protest this week? There were two big ones. The more basic one was over the politicization of student government. I don’t know what they expected student government to be, but they literally just protest everything. Don’t believe me? The other protest was over new turnstiles at the library. Apparently, the library opens late now, so they installed turnstiles. Which wouldn’t be a problem because all you have to do is scan in, but apparently, some non-students use the library too (late at night?) and wouldn’t be able to get in anymore. Though I imagine they could show any form of ID during normal operating hours, or maybe they really just shouldn’t be there? Anyways, they had a sit-in, they destroyed the turnstiles, and overturned all the garbage cans in Piazza Verdi, including the glass recycling bell-shaped receptacles, which are gross and heavy. It made Bologna even dirtier than normal. SAIS should organize a protest one day over something real.

I was a little slow taking the picture. I should’ve heard them coming.

They were showing Moonlight at the theater on my street in English, but when we showed up they told us they were having technical difficulties, so they’d be showing it in Italian instead. So we went to good ole Lumiere. The Italian subtitles were horrible at conveying black slang. Dawg is not bello. I can only imagine how bad the dub must’ve been. I appreciate that there was a decent amount of people there though. The lessons to take away from Moonlight could certainly be learned in Italy.

Moonlight: http://tylerstakes.blogspot.it/2017/02/moonlight-2016.html

There is a new Chinese restaurant in Bologna called Gusto Chengdu! The Western Chinese cuisine is one I’m not really familiar with. It is much spicier than anything else in this city or any Chinese food I’m really used to. I guess it is kind of similar to Szechuan. Their food is pretty good. All of the Chinese people in Bologna go here. I wonder where they’ve been the last six months? They all came out of hiding to go to this place. How did they all know when it opened? I only knew because I walked past it, but really, it’s astonishing how many Chinese people were there.

Lastly, I got an email and a phone call with JHU. Long story short, they want to exploit me. They’re using me as an example to send to all the alumni to ask for donations. Specifically they are interested in my experience at Cannes and my general success in school. I did get a scholarship to go to Cannes, so I guess I can pay it forward. I wasn’t sure what they were referring to, but I realized the Dean’s office had read my application for the scholarship. They made some edits and sent it to me for approval. They totally butchered my writing. All of the sophistication was stripped away. And the grammar was totally messed up. So I kind of rewrote the whole thing. The Dean’s office is really slow though. This whole process took about two months. And they didn’t even write anything. I did the writing. They were just really slow to respond. In the end, they sent it out to everyone. Minhi sent me a snap of my letter. She graduated last year. I even got an email from an alum whose son participated in a workshop at Cannes years ago and was particularly moved by my letter. I emailed with him back and forth for a bit. I have a retiree pen pal now.



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