Ciao! This week I have no tales of great travels, but stories of my life in Siena. It was nice to spend a weekend here, relaxing, writing papers, and spending time with my American friends and Italian family. Life is back to “normal” (whatever that is) after a crazy spring break, and my days have been filled with classes, field trips, time at the soup kitchen, language exchange meetings, evening walks around the fortress, many shots of espresso, nights out with friends, huge meals with family, reflection time on my balcony. I take a break from writing a paper on Elizabeth Barrett Browning to write this blog…the sun sets out my window and delicious smells waft under my bedroom door.
Yesterday I learned how to make real pizza from my italian nonna! We made 4 pizzas (and used a crazy amount of olive oil) to feed the 10 people who were here for dinner. Paired with my family’s favorite Italian beer from Sardinia and a singing competition TV show (apparently they are friends/former neighbors with a famous Italian singer who guest starred last night…and no, unfortunately it isn’t Andrea Bocelli), it was quite a night! Evenings like this when we spend many hours with our family, learning new things, asking questions we couldn’t begin to formulate weeks ago and actually comprehending at least half of the answers, getting big hugs and dancing to commercials…make me so thankful that I landed right here, right now, with these people.
This afternoon I also attended a soccer (calcio) game with some friends. If you know anything about Italy, you know how much they love soccer, and IES partially subsidized tickets so that we could go to a game of Siena’s professional team! I walk by the huge stadium every day but this was the first time I got to be in it. Siena tied with Parma, O – O. Not the most exciting of games, but it was fun to watch the soccer, and even more fun to people watch the intense Italian soccer fans! Today is also my host brother’s 4th birthday (last night when he kissed us goodnight he said in Italian, “goodnight. tomorrow is my birthday.”). Sadly, he is not feeling well so we didn’t really have a big celebration.
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<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’m Mary and I’m blessed to spend the semester in Siena, Italy. I’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’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—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’t wait to share my journey with you!</span></p>