T-minus two days...

Julia Szeto
September 4, 2015

The countdown has come to its last, crucial moments!

My plane for Siena, Italy takes off in less than 48 hours, and even the little procrastinator in me admits that it's time to seriously start packing. I don’t pack light naturally, so I’ll have to pare down the pile in my suitcase again and again in order to stay under the weight limit. I’ve decided that all items in my suitcase must fill two requirements. They must be 1. Versatile! Mix and match friendly, so to speak; and 2. Light and easily dried, since I hear Italy’s all about hang drying. I’m making sure to pack clothes that are appropriate for visiting historical sites like the Vatican, and I’m bringing layers, since temperatures will continue to drop throughout the fall in Italy. I’m also hoping to visit Switzerland and Scotland to the north, and winds blow chillier there, so I’ll throw a down jacket in my bag too.

Outside of packing, I think I’m pretty ready to go. It has been a beautiful, hot summer in Portland, Oregon, but I’m ready for new landscapes and I’m ready to learn a new language. To be honest, I’m most nervous about feeling my way around Siena and learning the ins and outs of train travel without much knowledge of the Italian language, but I think that the language classes in Siena will be an amazing help. I’m sure my tiny Italian dictionary and phrase book will come in handy as well. (As of now, I know that “scusi” is an informal way of saying, “excuse me,” while “permesso” is the more formal way. Scusi is such a cute word that I think I’ll be saying it any chance I get.) If all else fails, I’m pretty good at Pictionary.

Lastly, I’ve been keeping up with the most recent news involving the massive numbers of Syrian refugees moving into Eastern and Central Europe. I feel very fortunate to be able to study abroad in Siena this fall, and I hope to take advantage of my proximity to the refugee crisis by staying aware of current news and receiving as many different perspectives on the crisis as possible. Sharing that with you is one of my goals this semester.

In several days, I’ll be sure to have a riveting account of my travels – fingers crossed for no delays – and my arrival in Siena. Ciao!


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Julia Szeto

<p>I am a junior at Bates College, where I study English, Creative Writing, and Chemistry. Though I left the beautiful forests of Portland, Oregon for snowier seasons in Maine, I&#39;ve discovered that there are valuable stories to be heard and told in ever corner, or coast, of the world. I am interested in people and the words they have to say, and I am thrilled to be in a city as rich with history as Siena. I hope to explore new perspectives of culture and life in Siena through words and photographs. Outside of story-telling, I am a varsity coxswain on the Bates rowing team, and I enjoy hiking, trail running, singing loudly in the car, and getting hopelessly lost in a good book.</p>

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