• Clawing for Connection

    by  • September 22, 2021 • One Year Program, Student Life, Undergraduate Physical Theatre, Undergraduate Programs • 0 Comments

    In this week’s blog, physical theatre students Maddie, Mickenzie and Zach talk all about their time at the villa so far and different ways they have each found a sense of community. Read on to hear all about it!

    Maddie Burk, Muhlenberg College

    Semester Physical Theatre Program

    I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately. Here’s some vignette-ish thoughts I’ve had over the past few weeks.

    A friend of mine called me this morning. I woke up around 8:30, late for me since coming here but ridiculously early for my schedule back home. I was scrambling a little to make sure I got to breakfast with enough time to go to the Teatrino and warm up before class, and then he called me. He’s living in Tennessee, so he’s 7 hours behind all of us here in Arezzo, so when he called, it was around 1:30 AM for him on a Monday night/Tuesday morning. I asked him why he’s not asleep, and he told me that he stayed up so he’d get a minute to talk to me once I woke up because it’s been a few weeks since we’ve had a call. 

    It was a bit of a haphazard conversation; while I was doing my skincare and brushing my teeth, so he told me about what’s going on in his life, and when I wasn’t doing those things, I told him about what’s been going on in mine. There wasn’t a lot of back and forth, just because he was sleepy and I was busy, but we did what we could. The call lasted about 15 minutes maybe, but it was time out of his sleep and time out of my morning routine that we were willing to sacrifice to talk with one another.

    I’ve been struggling to keep in contact with friends back home. Part of it is the time difference. Part of it is that my time here always seems to be filled (Side note: I can already tell that I’m going to be using the word “time” way too often and too repetitively in this. Please be warned, and try to forgive me). I don’t expect them to reach out to me all the time (see?) because they have their own lives to tend to, and they know I’m here doing this, so hopefully they won’t hold it against me too much. Still, it makes me sad. I miss my friend who still uses the crying laughing emoji in the year 2021. I miss my friend who sends voice memos instead of texts when she’s driving, and I send them back because I don’t want her to take her eyes off the road. I miss my friend who sends me songs that make her cry. I still talk to them all when I can, but it’s never enough. One of us always has to run somewhere or sleep, and it sucks a little bit. Nonetheless, we make do with little messages that don’t need immediate responses. Pictures, videos, “thinking of you”s followed by a little less-than-three.

    Relativity is weird, right? The progression of time over the course of the semester for me is always about the same. I spend the first five weeks saying every week, without fail, “Wow, we’re only on the [blank] week of the semester!! How wild is that??” Then, week six, I stop. I don’t really know why, that’s just always the point for me when time starts moving at a consistent pace. We’re on week four right now, and I can already feel time starting to speed up. The minutes feel long, but the days are starting to go blurry by nighttime. It makes me worry about how my memory will fade once I’m home and in the years to come.

    For that exact reason, I’ve been journaling as much as possible. I don’t think I’m particularly good at it. I’ve tried to journal before. It’s the kind of thing that I keep up with for about? A week? And then I fall off, lose the journal itself, and stumble on it years later and laugh about how foolish I was when I tried to start a journal again for the umpteenth time. I know that I can never follow through, but for some reason, I keep doing it anyway. I’ve been good so far here, though. The entries are dry because I’m trying to save space in my little lavender-colored Moleskine journal, but I get the basics of the day at the very least, and I try to include a few sentences about what I’m feeling if I think I have room. 

    Journaling takes up time for me, too. I like to stay up late a lot of the time, not for any particular reason, I suppose. Sometimes I have friends who are staying up and talking about life. Sometimes I really want to finish the book I’ve been reading. Sometimes I like the serenity of late night, and perhaps most often, sometimes I simply can’t get myself to fall asleep. On nights when I’ve stayed out too late or lost track of time, journaling can be harrowing. It’s often the one thing keeping me from rest because ooo ridiculous Maddy, need to preserve this experience for posterity and your future self or whatever. How silly. Still, I know that there will be so many things that I’ll forget, and I want to hold onto all of it that I can. All I can do is write as much as I can and hope that the journal itself doesn’t get lost down the line.

    I’ve noticed that a lot of us here make an effort to spend as much time together as possible. Between classes and meals, we go to the living room. Some people play guitar, some nap, some do homework or write, and some just sit and listen. Maybe it’s just because the living room is so much more central, and going to our rooms requires going all the way upstairs and then downstairs again for the next thing. Still, we choose to spend these little liminal moments with one another. 

    Sometimes, I remember that we’ve all only known each other for a few weeks, and it’s very hard to wrap my head around. We talk about important things. One of my friends here said about a week ago that they can count the number of surface-level fluffy conversations they’ve had so far here on one hand. We do get into more personal and/or “deep” conversations a lot. Part of it has to do with the depth and intimacy of the work we have to do together, I’m sure, but I think it also has a lot to do with the consciousness that our time here is so short. Being here, it feels infinite, but thinking of the future, it seems infinitesimal. Many of us may never see one another again after these three months, but right now, we’re all we’ve got, so we are clawing for connection. Maybe I shouldn’t say we. I’m not in everyone’s heads, so maybe it’s just me. So I suppose I’m clawing for connection. The rest of the cohort can speak for themselves when they write their blogs. I like to think they would agree, at least in some capacity.

    Time here feels very precious. I don’t think I could figure out all the reasons why if I tried, so I won’t, at least not right now on this page. I’m glad for it. I’m worried about how it will hurt once we’re gone, but I think I’ll still be glad for it then.

    A Silly Little Limerick About Time

    The time on the clock is a-tocking

    New days on the calendar knocking

    It stands still it seems

    In only my dreams

    So I get up and keep on a-walking

    Mickenzie Lee, Coastal Carolina University

    One Year Physical Theatre Program

    Something that I truly love about the ADA is that building community is such a vital part of the experience! As part of our time here, each week a different group of students plan an event for everyone to attend. It can be anything from a movie night, to a dance class, to rock painting, to playing cards!!! Whatever builds us up as an ensemble and creates closeness between us will satisfy the requirement.

    These events have been some of my most cherished memories so far, and they’ve  helped make the villa feel more like home! (-:

    Zach Foley, Coastal Carolina University

    One Year Physical Theatre Program

    The Odyssey

    This weekend could be described as being as glorious as Poseidon’s beard. This past weekend a group of ADA students took a well-deserved trip to the beaches of Viareggio. We began our trip racing to catch a train right after Italian class with our amazing teacher, Eleanora. We caught the train and made our way to Florence, where we would catch are next trains. We had a slight hiccup when we got to Viareggio due to our Air BnB canceling on us last minute. It was no matter though, because our favorite trip mom, Lillian, saved the day and found us another incredible Air BnB and the trip was saved. We got settled into our home for the weekend with some Italian Food Network and, the always reliable, Mickie D’s. The next day our group went to the grocery store and bought supplies for breakfast. We celebrated the start of a great day with banana pancakes, bacon, and the class favorite, Nutella. The next journey of the day was the beach. We took some taxi’s and made it to the beautiful “free beach” as the taxi driver said. We ran right in the water, and it was amazing, but cold, though not the coldest a lot of us had been in. The waves were coming fast and frequent almost as if Poseidon was testing us. We took on his challenge and fought those waves all day. We took breaks to drink some beers, eat some leftover pancakes, explore the beach, and play in the sand.

    Once we were tired and burned from a day of fun we made are way back to our place for a shower and break so that we could start our night on the town. Many people did many things that I shouldn’t share in this blog, don’t worry we were smart and safe as always, but I found myself at a little restaurant with an amazing group of people. We ordered a bottle of wine and some incredible mussels for our antipasti but what was about to come out for our main course will forever be in my dreams. The owner of the restaurant comes out of the front doors of the restaurant like an angel from heaven, holding a huge pot of seafood all in a beautiful tomato sauce.

    We devoured the squid, shrimp, fish, and mussels that came straight from the ocean we were swimming in! After an incredible meal we took our full tummies to our place, got in our jammies, and played some cards. After a long day we made are way to bed and slept a most wonderful slumber. We went many separate ways that morning, but me? I went home to study. You know why? Because I am a good student. Thanks, Poseidon, for giving me that strength and amazing beach weekend.


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