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Almost always right
by Hannah Poindexter
by Carly Fromm
random student interview: away
Welcome to the Random Yes! Mine is CherlHorowitz
Student Interview, where Elle (main character in "Clueless"),
Woods is a globetrotting litigator obviously.
and you're stilllsifting through
your mom's chain e-mails.
So Hannah, we're talking about
study abroad inthis issue. Have
you ever studied abroad?
I haven't studied abroad.
I don't want to either. I like it
here and it seems really stressful to
study abroad during school. I want
to travel when I graduate instead.
Well I guess hypothetically, if
you could study abroad anywhere t
- real or fictional - where would .
Hmmm ... I'm really not sure. I
think maybe it would be umm..,
It could be a place in a book or a
movie or you know, Spain, which
isn't really real.
I have no idea. Maybe Italy? Or
Spain. Let's do that.
we go by jennifergustafson
It seems reallyharrowing
though. You hear the occasional
report of kids who get in trouble
Oh my god. I don't know what I
Like I'm dying ofmalaria, and
I don'tunderstand the language
and can'tjust call my mom.
I don't know how you could go
without your cell phone.
Exactly. I turnmy phone off a
lot to avoid talking to people. I
feellike that will really bite me in
the ass when I'min realtrouble.
What? I could never turn my
I get so overwhelmed by the
text messages and voicemails. It's
so unfoundedbut panic attacks
and cellphone usage have a real
positive correlation for me.
No offense but I hate when my
friends do that.
Well I guess Elle Woods.
That is perfect. Where do you
hink Elle would study abroad?
Probably somewhere fabulous.
But I could also see her in the
Great question. I see her ina
European country, somewhere with
lot of luxury.
I don't want to be cliche, but
SEVILLE, Spain -
'm usually, almost always right. The
phrase, now a long-forgotten joke with
friends, serves as my secret, overconfi-
I also firmly believe that my way is the
right way, and that's all there is to it. This
may stem from 5 years as an only child, my
streak of stereotypical American egocen-
trism or an overwatered seed of self-confi-
dence, but in my experience it's because in
fact, I'm usually almost always right.
I write this rambling piece sitting on my
rooftop terrace in Seville, Spain. I'm basking
in the sun, enjoying a view of orange trees
and wondering how, like everyone promises,
Seville can get even better in the spring.
And here I'll pause for a moment and let
you be jealous.
Now, as I'm enjoying tapas, I hear a faint
voice in the back of my head. It's getting
stronger as our pitcher of sangria steadily
disappears and it's whispering "What do you
think of your way now?"
This voice has a point. My way of life in
the States has never had the time or the
appropriate weather to include lounging on
a rooftop terrace. My way has never includ-
ed tapas. The reminders continue with the
beautiful architecture that surrounds me
and the romantic Spanish language I am
slowly re-learning. The sangria voice is
breaking down my precious "right way," as
it describes the buzz in the city when the
Sevilla Fdtbol Club is playing and the heav-
enly 3-hour period of each day known as
siesta when shops close and you're allowed,
even expected, to relax and do absolutely
As usual, I have a few rebuttal arguments.
Being constantly surrounded by a cloud of
secondhand cigarette smoke isn't exactly
pleasant and my blue eyes drawing stares
like a green shirt on Michigan game day isn't
my favorite either.
But I think the sangria voice has me beat
in this argument. It may be odd to eat lunch
at four and dinner at 1Obut that doesn't make
the Sevillan way wrong.
At home, I can reject any way I don'tagree
with. And this, my friends, is the real reason
I have been usually almost always right for
the last 20 years. But here, for the first time,
I have been forced to accept and learn a new
way without retreating comfortably back to
my own. Whether it fits in my old way or not,
I now have to usea 24-hour clock.
But, as it turns out, I happen to like it. I'll
happily discard my Michigan-bred habit of
carrying mittens, sunglasses and an umbrel-
la with me at all times thanks to the ever-
present southern Spanish sun.
Of course, no one likes being wrong, and
I'm definitely no exception, but in the short
month I've spent abroad, I've rather enjoyed
living this very not-my-way lifestyle. So I
have to say, though this is hard for me, I've
learned I'm not always right. And I'm prob-
ably not usually almost always right either,
even when it comes to the big stuff. e I never
gave another way a chance. Keeping an open
mind, I could have been napping every day
for years, or discovering the 2,000 delicious
uses for olive oil I know now.
You just read 800 words hoping to con-
vince you, yet again, that broadening your
horizons and life views is an essential part of
life. I'll probably always hold onto my secret
mantra, but discovering the merit of another
way might just demote me to: occasionally
almost always right.
Hannah is an LSA junior studying through
t was 2:20 p.m., and my class started
at 2 p.m. We were supposed to meet
in St. Peter's Square in front of the
Vatican, but amidst all of the other groups
of 15 or so people I couldn't find anyone.
that looked familiar. I panicked. I tried
calling my professor - no answer. I tried
calling two of my classmates - no answer.
I tried calling my host institution - no
help. So I continued running around St.
Peter's Square trying to find my class. This
episode of hysteria lasted until 2:45 p.m.,
when I finally gave up and came to terms
with the fact that I had just completely
missed my class.
After a big sigh, I panned the square
in front of me. How had I not noticed the
countless news crews stationed through-
out the area? I walked up to a nearby
newswoman and asked her, in very broken
Italian, what happened. She didn't speak
English, but she probably said something
along the lines of, "The Pope resigned. The
Pope resigned for the first time in almost
My first thought was, why? I asked
another reporter who spoke English. "The
official reason is health." Health ... that's
all? This answer left me with so many
looming questions, but when I asked my
professor and Italian classmates what they
thought, they seemed satisfied with the
simple explanation. Congress required
President Bill Clinton to testify about his
marital affair under oath. But the leader of
the Vatican state can resign his position by
This was not the first time that I was
confused by the conservatism I experi-
enced in Italy. Though the Vatican became
an official and separate state from Italy
through the Lateran Treaty of 1929, the
church still exerts immense influence
over the country, and Rome specifically. In
the first three weeks I have spent here in
Rome, I have become increasingly aware
of this conservative influence.
In my- Italian language course that
day, we learned how to say the names of a
number of different professions in Italian.
Almost all professions can be used with
both masculine and feminine articles,
excepta few: doctor, architect, and lawyer,
I raised my hand and asked my teacher
what would stop a woman from using the
feminine article? Had Italian women never
protested for this right? She explained
that there had been a movement for exact-
ly this, but it simply lost momentum due to
the Italian language's inherent conserva-
tism. She then continued on with the class,
seemingly unaware of how confusing this
was for her American students.
What seems paradoxical to me is that
every Italian I talk to lauds Americans for
their election of President Barack Obama.
They did not remark on the president's
specific policies, but on what he symboliz-
es: progressivism. From how I understand
it, Obama represents the future that many
Italians hope their country will end up
with amid the nation's political turmoil.
This weeks elections have yet to result
in a stable coalition. Will the status quo
change? I am here amidst not one, but two
selections of new leaders: Italy and the
Vatican state. Where will the course of
history steer next?
Carly Fromm is an LSA junior studying
through the University's Arcadia in Rome
Likethe high-school in"Clue- And Werner is somewhere in
less." I would study abroad there. a ditch.
(laughs) I love it.
Not that that's possible.
Isn't that in Beverly Hills,
though? Not really abroad...
It counts, it totally counts.
What if instead of studying
abroad somewhere you could
choose to study abroad as some-
one else.Who would it be?
Are these real questions?
Bruiser in a beret.
But I think we can agree that
phone calls arekind of dead.
I hate when people call me.
Hannah is an LSA junior.