Hi there. First I have to admit that while I was looking forward to writing the blog all day, right now it's going to be a little harder than I thought. Our beloved family dog, Humphrey, died last night unexpectedly. He was only about 9 years old, but he got an infection in his blood that is apparently very uncommon, in the end, he couldn't be cured. He was such a good little boy, and we are going to miss him a lot.
Losing him makes me realize how important it is to enjoy everything while you can, so in that spirit, I will continue to recount all the funny things that are happening to me here.
Today got off to a rather rocky start. I woke up to discover that I had no hot water, and it was a particular problem, since I hadn't had hot water yesterday either, and had forgone my morning shower because of it. Yesterday I called down to the front desk, and was very pleased with myself for understanding the italian of the clerk who explained to me that they were working on the boiler until one o'clock. I did my best without a shower and went about my day. But this morning, when I had no hot water again, I was a little annoyed. I kept replaying this memory in my mind of the time I went to the hair salon where they are kind of nazis about not washing your hair every day so that it will be healthier, and one of the girls with really amazing hair explained to me that she only washed it once a week! Intrigued, I asked my friend and colorist about this girl and her hair and he said "GOD - it totally disgusts me that she does that. It's unhygenic, and by the way, it totally stinks after like the 4th day." It was only the second day for me, but I was kind of hoping to be beautiful and exotic and foreign in Italy, not smelly and dirty.
So anyway, I called the front desk again this morning and she said she'd send somebody up. The maid buzzed my door almost immediately and explained to me that actually, I had a boiler in my room, and this switch outside the bathroom controlled it. When it was switched to 1 it was on, and 0 it was off. I realized in that instant that in fact they had not been "working on the boiler until one" yesterday as I thought I had so brilliantly interpreted, but that she had actually said "you have your own boiler and you need to make sure the switch is turned to 1". This is especially embarassing since that means the only words I actually understood in her sentence the day before were "boiler" and "one". You might be thinking - "well, boiler - that's a pretty hard word!" Except in italian, boiler is "boiler". So there you go. I'm practically fluent. I must have switched the 1 to 0 when I was fiddling with all the light switches trying to figure out what turned what one, since none of them actually light something in the room they are in, and I gave myself no hot water. I had also inadvertently turned of my refridgerator at one point and after I noticed my milk had spoiled, I called an complained about my "frigorifero che non funtione." Very bright, I now realize. They're going to start thinking I'm a real dummy soon at this hotel.
I got up so late and the whole explanation and realization took so long that I had no choice but to attend rehearsals today sans shower for day two. So much for my glamorous american self.
The rest of the day was a lot more watching other people sing, which I'm kind of getting used to. I did have an exciting experience with the coffee machine however. The coffee that comes out of the machine in the break room is really delicious to me, although I'm not a coffee drinker. If the machine coffee tastes that good, I fear I might get hooked on the cafe coffee while I'm hear. I noticed that all the staff has keys to the coffee machine that they insert and choose their type - long shot, cappuccino, with sugar, etc, and out it comes in a plastic cup with a perfect little matching stirrer. I love their keys because I imagine some union representative arguing for their salaries and crying "and they must have the right to free coffee at all times!" It just seems like a very Italian requirement.
Some other good things that happened today were that I heard a rumor that the second cast will start working with the conductor on Monday, so somebody will actually finally hear me sing. Also, I really did speak a lot of Italian today - my colleagues finally started talking to me probably because I seemed to have more confidence in my ability to speak and didn't look like a scared little bird like I probably did on my first day. The singers are all incredibly nice, and I have to say I feel much more comfortable here than I did trying to speak french in France. Not sure why, but it's just the case, and I know a lot more french than I do Italian.
I have to go to bed now because I have a fitting at 10 AM tomorrow. It was supposed to be today, but I begged to have it be tomorrow because they didn't tell me about it until half way through the day today, and I couldn't possibly disrobe in my smelly unwashed state. I tried to say " I can't have a fitting because I'm all dirty" but I think I might have said "I'm all rotten" which would explain the stage manager's look of concern. Oh, and now I know the assistant stage manager's name, but I don't know the actual stage manager's name, and when we rescheduled my fitting for tomorrow, and I asked him how to find the costume shop, he said "just have me paged when you arrive at the security booth and I'll meet you there and show you." I couldn't say "and what is your name again?" So I walked around the theater after rehearsal and found the costume shop on my own. The theater may be confusing, but I'm not going to let the stage manager know that I don't know his name yet! After I had rescheduled the fitting, one of the other singers joked "just make sure you're clean tomorrow!" At least I think she as joking....