Delicious Ambiguity: One Week Until Siena

Mary Kelso
January 15, 2013

One week from now I will be taking my first steps through the streets of Siena, Italy! My emotions are a rollercoaster—one minute I’m so excited that I can’t sit still, the next minute I’m so nervous I want to cry, the next minute I’m wondering how I am going to fit everything in this week—packing, shopping, and saying goodbyes. Everywhere I go I am bombarded with questions. How long? Where are you living? Are you done packing (to this question I give an incredulous look—I’m just starting!!)?? Are you nervous? Are you excited? Are you CRAZY? It is exhausting.

So as I try to fit my life into one suitcase and one carry-on, I have to make decisions…one big journal or a couple small ones? How many sweaters? Does this pair of shoes go with enough outfits? In the middle of these questions that are so trivial (yet sometimes seem so big) I try to contemplate the more important questions: What are my long-term goals for this semester? How do I hope to grow? What do I want to get out of this experience and what will I do to accomplish that?

My life feels like one big question. One big question because I can’t even fathom what my life will be like one week from now. I don’t know the people who will share the next 4 months with me. I don’t know the language that will surround me. It reminds me of a quote by Gilda Radner: “Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. delicious ambiguity…”

A postcard I received from IES Siena!

Necessities: journals and clothes!


A friendly reminder as I nervously pack…
My friend got me this day-by-day calendar full of beautiful pictures of Italy!
My grandparents gave me this book about Italy…published in 1907!

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Mary Kelso

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Ciao! I&rsquo;m Mary and I&rsquo;m blessed to spend the semester in Siena, Italy. I&rsquo;m a junior double major in Psychology and English at Hope College in the charming West Michigan town of Holland. I grew up in the woods of Michigan&rsquo;s Upper Peninsula and love to go on adventures, have deep conversations, drink unnecessary amounts of chai tea, play the piano, become totally engrossed in books, and most of all&mdash;learn. I am very excited to be immersed in the Italian culture and beautiful language, learn to cook, and have the experience of a lifetime! I can&rsquo;t wait to share my journey with you!</span></p>

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