Monday, June 2, 2014

“Come si dice ‘Lost’”

Flying independently to a foreign country knowing nothing about the language or the culture was a bit intimidating I have to admit, but traveling to Italy has always been a dream of mine, so there I went. As I boarded the nine-hour flight from Dallas to Amsterdam, to say I was excited is an understatement. I was elated, ecstatic, pumped, stoked. From watching the Lizzie Maguire Movie to reading about the history and significance of each town, I have been captivated by Italy ever since high school.

My euphoric view of Italy was shattered when I got off the plane from Amsterdam to Florence and wandered around the little looking for the rest of my group that I was supposed to join. After completely embarrassing myself and frustrating the workers at the tourist desk, and frustrating poor Ian trying to help me find my way, I realized I was in the wrong city. I was in Florence, and my group had flown to Rome. Solid. I was in a foreign country, speaking not a lick of Italian and had to navigate my way to get to Castiglion Fiorentino. Thanks to the great and patient Dr. Lombardini, I went to the city bus to get to the train station in Florence, and then took a train to Castiglion Fiorentino where I was picked up and taken to Santa Chiara—our school. Although getting on the train was a little rough, as I sat in my seat, wide-awake for fear of missing my stop I might add, I noticed the true beauty and tranquility of Italy. It took my breath away. The rolling hills and the rays of sun that snuck through the holes in the leaves of the trees was the most beautiful scenery I have ever had the privilege of seeing.

                                   My view from the train. I crossed my fingers it was the right one!

Spending a week in this small town and visiting bigger cities like Arezzo and Florence, I have learned to love not only the Italian culture in general, but specifically the love they have for their land. We learned when our class went to the local market on Friday that Italians take great pride in the fruits and vegetables they grow. I bought peaches (pesche) and strawberries (fragole) that were the freshest and most flavorful things I have ever put in my mouth. We have gone on nature walks, visited cathedrals, eaten a ton of gelato, but the most striking thing I have seen that is so different from Dallas is the emphasis on buying local fruits and vegetables.

As I write this, I am sitting out in the courtyard of Santa Chiara looking over the valley, and may I just say it is the best cure for writer’s block.

                                                                                                            -Piper W

The Santa Chiara courtyard

The local market! Molto Delizioso!

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