Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Have you ever seen this movie and thought- holy cow! I wanna go there? Well if you have, because I thought the same thing, it is possible. The movie is filmed in the city of Cortona and I was lucky enough to spend the day there on Saturday. The morning started off early with lots of fog and an early train departure at 8 am. I know it doesn’t sound that early but I had to wake up at 6:30 to be ready to leave for the train station at 7…so still not miserably early but for a Saturday it is a lot earlier than I like! Allora, we had one layover in the most adorable tiny little city, I don't even know what the name was, but it was so cute. We walked down the street and caught a lot of attention. 10 pretty American girls walking down the street at 9 am on a Saturday morning all with backpacks on. Through multiple store windows I saw old men shaving other Italian men, they actually still had barber shops! It was wonderful. The café's were filled with many Italians just waking up to their morning coffee and croissant. We found a grocery store and bought many delicious treats for lunch and made it back just in time for our train to take us on our last leg to Cortona. We arrived at the bottom of Cortona about 10:51, only to miss the 10:55 bus to the actual city of Cortona that is about 3 km up a massive mountain from the train station. Since when does public transportation leave early in ITALY? Never. But wait, this one time it does of course. Just our luck. Our options were to either wait til 12, call 3 taxis for the 10 of us which would cost about 15 euro a taxi to take us up to the city, or walk. Hmm. We decided we would be adventurous and walk to the top. It definitely was a hike, but allowed for us to be right in the amazing scenery of Tuscany. As we made the winding hike along the small paved road to the ancient walled city we passed many locals gathering their olives in their groves. All of them waved and greeted us nicely as we continued on our journey up the hill. When we arrived I felt very proud that we made the massive trek. The view from the top was absolutely breathtaking and the colors of fall were spanning the countryside. We walked around the quite city and were serenaded by middle-aged Italian man playing his guitar and harmonica in the streets. Everything about the day screamed Italy and I tried my best to soak it all up. We ate lunch at a warm, cozy trattoria. We all got Pappa al Pomodoro--a tuscan soup with tomatoes, basil, garlic, and pieces of bread soaked in it. Even though I'm not much of a fan for tomatoes, it was pretty yummy with some olive oil and freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top. It was warm both in physical taste and soulful taste. Afterwards we went to an overlook behind the city, walked through the streets some more, and popped into some little shops. Before catching our bus back down to the train station (as much fun as it was to hike the 3 km up to the city we decided that a bus for the way down was a little more appealing….) we treated ourselves to some gelato. The price was low, the portion perfect, and the flavors delicious. When we got to the train station to head for Firenze for the night 4 minutes before our train was to arrive they made an announcement saying there was a 1 hour delay in arrival time. First our bus leaves early and now our train is an hour late. I think Italy is out to get us sometimes when it comes to planning out our transportation routes and schedules. As we anxiously awaited for the train to arrive we stood on the assigned platform (there were only two at this particular station, it was quite small) and entertained ourselves. Kendis, Alyssa, Lynzie, and I parted our hair down the middle like the 90's and laughed so hard we were crying. In the middle of this whole scenario we heard a train coming and excitedly thought it could be ours. We were wrong. Very wrong. It was a speeding cargo train that when it came flashing by us created such a wind current that I thought I might just be sucked into the train or thrown to the ground at any moment. Our hair was whipping around and as I looked around at the other girls I could see that they were laughing hysterically too in addition to the very stunned look on their faces. We were unable to hear each other over the loud train so it made the whole situation that much funnier, seeing but not hearing everyone's freak out moment. When it was over we were pretty much doubled over in laughter and all expressed the same feelings of shock we had just experienced. Our train eventually came for us and we were then on our way to Florence for the night to be able to attend District Conference on Sunday and spend one last afternoon in the city. The train ride was pretty much uneventful other than the girl that sat across from me with the strangest haircut I have ever seen. Unfortunately she got off the train before I could sneak a photo. Getting off the train was like walking into a whirlwind. The Santa Maria Novella Station in Florence is an absolute madhouse. There are endless platforms with trains coming and going and piles and piles of people and luggage racing from here and there all over the place. It was such a contrast to walk into that station after being in such a serene place all day. The rest of the weekend brought many startling as well as spiritual experiences but I will write about them in a separate entry, for they deserve to be separated from my lovely Saturday journey.
Monday night held the most magnificent FHE I have ever experienced. It included the following:
- 14 girls
- No-shame dancing
Having a dance party in the art room in the uppermost classroom of Dante Alighieri was such a blast. We played all our favorite songs, including some that have been labeled our "theme" songs. We had countless circles alternating who was in the center showing off their unique, original dance moves. Each girl brought their own spunkiness to the room and we had so much fun laughing and enjoying all the different styles of dance. We decided that it was a good way to celebrate our good times here in Italy and it definitely was.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Today brought a most wonderful trip to two beautiful Tuscan cities. The first stop was Volterra. Yes, all Twilight fans, this is where the Volturri live and where Edward threatens to reveal himself in the sunlight. The town was small and quite and there were many threatening rain clouds overhead. We walked through the small streets, surrounded by golden colored stone buildings. As we stood outside the old church it began to drizzle slightly, so we took cover in the baptistery for a few minutes so we could all situate our things and get out our umbrella's. Afterwards, we made a little journey to the opposite side of the town-which only took about 5 minutes- to see old ancient roman ruins. As we observed from above the ancient amphitheatre and the charming Tuscan countryside, massive dark rain clouds came rapidly rolling in and over us. As they reached to valley we were overlooking they automatically moved to fill in the space and it began to rain. The city was dark and cold fast. We decided to find a café and enjoy a nice delicious cup of hot chocolate together. After our yummy treat we explored the quaint boutiques and shops that filled the city. Volterra is know for its Alabaster so many places were filled with different items carved from the soft, white stone. After a lovely afternoon we were off to see our second destination of the day, San Gimignano. This ancient tuscan city was founded in the middle ages and has 17 remaining towers throughout the city. The main piazza was beautiful and picturesque. It radiated images of Tuscany and in the middle was a very large, very old well. We visited the church in the city and were able to see many magnificent and well preserved frescoes from the 1320's. My favorite was a fresco done in one of the private chapels by Ghirlandaio. I love his color palate of warm gold's and reds. After seeing the frescoes we had about and hour to explore the city. It turns out that San Gimignano is the home of the worlds most famous Gelateria so we of course had to try some, even though it was quite bleak and frigid outside. The gelato was delicious and did not disappoint. Afterwards we hurriedly walked down the main street and ducked in and out of shops. The last one I stopped in was the cutest little antique store filled with things that resemble Shabby Shic and endless amounts of old jewelry and household items I wish I would have been able to purchase everything and bring it home with me. I came away with a special treat that I cannot name because it is a gift for my mother. After my purchase the day was over and we all went to get back on the bus to head home to Siena. We were all crammed in to a little mini tourist bus and every seat was taken- even the lonely one that folds up next to the stairs in the front. Alessandro, our humanities teacher who accompanied us on the trip to give us tidbits of history along the way, was the lucky one who got to sit there. All the turns and bumps made a great majority of us sick the whole day, which was unfortunate cause it made enjoying the gorgeous scenes of the Tuscan countryside a lot harder to enjoy. Nevertheless, the day was a magnificent one and it just made me wish I could stay in Italy forever. Tuscany is a wonderful place with a somewhat slow and relaxed rhythm to it that I love. The rolling hills are patched with green pastures, fields of grey clay-like dirt, and now, golden yellow vineyards. My eyes drink up the warm scenery happily and I long to be surrounded by this beauty forever.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Have you ever been to the chocolate capitol of the world? Cause I have. Perugia, Italy!! Let me tell you about it--
The morning began with a jump start when I glanced at the clock and read 10:27. What, 10:27? I jumped out of bed and frantically threw off my pajamas and put on the first pair of jeans I could reach. Why was I in such a hurry you may be wondering... Well my bus was to arrive at the top of my street, Porta Pispini, at 10:40. I proceeded to toss the essentials into my purse, twist my hair in a bun on the top of my head, not even taking the time to make it look cute with my bangs pulled back first or anything. I found a clean shirt in my drawer, grabbed my sweater in case it was cold and made a mad dash for the kitchen. The usual croissant, bread, jam, and juice was awaiting me at the table. I hurried and dumped some jam onto a slice of bread, tossed a croissant for later in my bag, and didn't even bother to clean up like I usually do. In fact, I noticed at last minute that I dripped a little bit of marmalade on the kitchen table cloth but I didn't have time to clean it up--don’t worry, the table cloth was gone when I went down for some water later that evening. Anyways, at this point I am so stressed that I would miss the bus that I grabbed my purse in my hand (to prevent any obstruction while running, leading to unnecessary slowing…) and sprinted up the massive hill. I thought I might die. I don't remember that hill ever being so long but the thought of not making it on that bus kept me going. I reached the bus stop with 3 whole minutes to spare. Record time right there. The rest of the day was a nice one spent in the beautiful city of Perugia, surrounded by massive amounts of chocolate. Lunch was a delicious pita sandwich with freshly grilled zucchini and ham. We were even lucky enough to split a side of fries with ketchup!! It was a great day to say the least. The first stop was at the Milka booth--we all got a purple cow-spot painted on our cheek and a cardboard headband complete with cow horns. Needless to say we were looking quite sexy all day long! We watched a game of chess played with huge knee-high chocolate chess pieces and we even rode on a carousel. The scenery was magnificent, the chocolate divine, and the bus ride there and back filled with philosophical discussion.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
1)Finocchi-this definitely lands the spot of #1. The best way for me to describe it is an onion on steroids with celery-like shoots coming off the top of it. What about that sounds appetizing? It is one of Fiorella's favorite vegetables to include in dishes, she even makes entire appetizers containing finocchi and only finocchi. One gem of a dish was a finocchi lasagne--baked finocchi and a cheese sauce. The cheese sauce was actually pretty good, the finocchi on the other hand was not.
2)Tomatoes. This particular confused red fruit/vegetable lurks in everything I eat here. I even ate it on bread and didn't gag. Mother-you would be so proud. They are starting to grow on me, to the point of tolerance not quite to the point of like, but I am afraid this won't carry on to my taste back home in the states.
3)Beets. Yes, beets. As in the magenta-bleeding vegetable. Not half bad with oil and pepper on top. Definitely wouldn't choose to eat it ever, but I can force myself to eat it to please Fiorella.
4)Cheese of every sort. Italian cheese will change your life. Enough said.
5)Fruit. The fruit in Italy is of the highest quality. Peaches are wonderful, clementines tangy with the perfect amount of sweetness, and apples crisp and delightful. Dinner is accompanied by a piece of fruit almost every night. The only let down is the fact that "seedless" doesn't seem to exist. Who knew grapes had such large seeds? They can create a huge inconvenience, but the fruit is still always juicy and divine.
6)Roasted chesnuts. They have the texture and taste similar to that of mashed potatoes, surprisingly. When they are hot and fresh of the fire it is the best. I actually ate them by choice the other night and got seconds. Yes, grandma, I know you are in shock right now. I was too.
7)Pumpkin. Apparently this orange member of the squash category has more uses than being carved into a scary Halloween face or being added into yummy holiday treats. We have pumpkin risotto frequently (typical rice dish that has variations of added vegetables…Fiorella prefers pumpkin in hers). We even had a dish of olive oil and pumpkin heated on the stove in a pan. I never imagined dishing up spoonfuls of plain pumpkin- it was a little strange if I must say.
8)Raw meat. Like I mentioned before, we have the wonderful blessing of having a meat slicer in our kitchen. Fiorella finds it very useful and our table is quite often blessed with thinly sliced raw meat options.
9)Gelato. Magnificent. Delectable. Creamy. Smooth. Rich. Delicious. End of story.
10)Foccacia. I am not one to just eat a slice of bread when hungry, but man- italians know how to do foccacia well. My favorite was pesto topped foccacia in Cinque Terre--so satisfying.
11)Normal every day bread. Hard as rock on the outside and completely flavorless on the inside. I do feel that my jaw has grown stronger from all the gnawing. Bread and my gums are not friends.
12)Chocolate. The chocolate here is life changing- I think it’s a European thing. Hershey's will never again be completely satisfying. Dang.
13)Pasta. Pasta is life. The pici is wonderful and only found in Tuscany--a thick spaghetti type noodle.
14)Pesto. Who knew that a green creamy sauce made from pine nuts and olive oil could be so delicious?
15)Olive oil. They put it in everything- and I mean EVERYTHING. If something doesn’t taste quite right, just add some oil!
Well I feel as though the above 15 will be good for now, but I will continue to add more as I experience new things. Like I said before, this is just a list of the most memorable, there are a ton of other potential candidates, but if I were to include all of them I might as well write a novel.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Once upon a day 11 girls were shuttled by their Professor to the Tuscan countryside to a village by the name of Celssa. The winding roads, sometimes paved and sometimes not, took careful maneuvering of the Professor, but was done so nonchalantly with the window rolled halfway down and the aroma of fall enveloping all inside for the ride. Thick woods and medieval rock walls lined the path to the ancient house awaiting it's anticipated guests. Upon arriving to the villa the smell of mexican style food welcomed deprived senses and triggered instant hunger. Cozy, comfy couches in the living room provided the temporary feeling of "home" and allowed for complete and utter relaxation. Lunch was served on the outside patio and all enjoyed the colorful taste of familiarity. Afterwards, with filled stomachs and satisfied souls, the group set out on an adventure. They followed a path through thickets, pastures, and trees to discover ancient structures scattered throughout the hills. They passed a cemetery, long since abandoned, where Italian bodies lay resting. A castle visible on the neighboring hilltop sparked playful fantasies of princes and royalty. A manor with a long gravel pathway and acres of gardens and groomed woods provoked stories linking to wealth, fame, ritz and glamour. Rest was found at a well outside an old Pope's residence where he banished his unrighteous brother to years of repentance. Eventually the feet of the girls' found their way back to where they delightfully found warm rice pudding waiting on the table just outside the front door of the house. The sweet cinnamon taste complimented the view of the rich fall leaves and the smell of Italian October blowing in the breeze. Reluctantly, with lingering desires to stay in the Tuscan fantasy they all found themselves wrapped in, Professor piled them in the car group by group and once again embarked on the winding journey back to reality.
Yesterday brought a wonderful day of Italian sight-seeing. Half of our group traveled with Peter to the ancient town of Assisi to visit some old churches (which is pretty much a given seeing as how that is the vast majority of what we always travel to see…churches and the artwork inside them). The main attraction is the church of San Francesco. He is a Saint of the Catholic church, and in his lifetime during the late 1100's to early 1200's lived a life of humility and servitude. The church that was constructed for him just shortly after his death consists of two levels, the lower level is filled with magnificent frescoes by Giotto and Simone Martini. The upstairs cathedral is also lined with frescoes depicting many different ancient biblical stories and other scenes from the lives of generous saints. In the crypt deep underneath the church we were able to see the tomb of San Francesco as well as various other Friars that have the privilege to be buried with him there. It was very fascinating to go to Assisi because the main group of site seers consists of devout Catholics who feel a deep spiritual connection to San Francesco and the things he taught. The only equivalent that comes to mind (and I don't think that it even really comes that close to the actual relationship) is Temple Square for LDS members. The town was all constructed in a much lighter stone that contrasts the color of Siena drastically. We walked up and down the steep streets wandering in and out of cute boutiques and kitschy souvenir shops, stopping for some lunch that unfortunately turned out to be the saltiest thing I have ever eaten. It tasted as though the dough was soaked in the Mediterranean, topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella then baked in a brick oven. However ,the view of Tuscany from the village was unbelievable as we just sat and relaxed along the city wall and attempted to soak it all in. We all attempted to take photos and capture the moment, but somewhere between the closing shutter of the camera and the picture displayed on the screen all emotion was drained and the simple beauty was drained from the images.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
1) Each person in art and drawing is to purchase 7 cloves of garlic
2)Complete 4 compositions a week from now until the end of the program of the purchased garlic's
3)Each composition must be on high quality soft paper purchased from the art supply store in town, and not done in your sketch book that is already handy
4)The paper must be torn down to size and might be in the shape of a golden rectangle or a perfect square, whichever you prefer to draw in (no smaller than 16.1x18.0 cm)
5)The compositions might be placed anywhere in the square or also have a separate border drawn inside the sheet to provide extra structure to the piece. (one must keep in mind that presentation of the 'artwork' is taken into consideration when grading…)
So needless to say, my room will smell of garlic for the next 5 weeks and I pray that it doesn't permeate to everything else I own. I believe I will be quite the garlic drawing expert by the end of this and according to Peter I might even be able to draw them in my sleep! Who would have thought that I would leave Provo a useless artist and come home a garlic expert?! Well watch out Provo cause you have some real masterpieces coming your way!
Monday, October 13, 2008
this is the view from the top of an ancient wall in siena overlooking the campo and main clock tower.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
I have an admirer. I don't know his name but he frequents visits to the fountain to talk to Autumn and I in broken conversations between english and italian. The other night as I was sitting at the fountain just before dinner he came out a few times to see how I was doing and just take a break from running his little grocery store that he has just a little bit up the street. We often see him in the morning spreading rose pedals outside his doorway which is just a funny little quirk about him that shows just what a sweet and sentimental guy he is. Anyway- he told me to come into the store before I left and he would give me something. Hesitantly I peeped my head in to say "buonasera". He kindly asked if I wanted something to eat but I told him no, so he gave me a pink rose instead and sent me out with a ciao bella! and a blow-kiss goodbye. I laughed all the way home and quickly put it in water on my desk. The whole experience was so italian.
Monday, October 6, 2008
The next 2 hours we were able to watch a live stream of the first session of Conference. In the opening talk given by Pres. Monson it was announced that there will be 5 more temples built, one of which will be in Rome, Italy. The italian members were across the hall watching a translated version of Conference and were ahead of our english session by about 45 seconds. When the announcement was made the quite Senor Fertelli began shouting exclamations of joy and running up and down the halls of the chapel. My ears are not attuned to the emotional outbursts of Italian's yet so I had a hard time deciphering what the racket in the hall was about- at first I thought it sounded like screams of pain or horror, then sadness, then possibly happiness. However, when I heard the announcement in english that there would be a temple built in Italy I instantly knew what was behind the hollers in the hallway. The joy and Spirit that filled the building was unlike anything I have ever experienced. The tears that came instantly to my eyes were from the Spirit overwhelming me and my heart was filled with such a great happiness for the members here. Never before have I had any comprehension of how hard members, outside of strong ward units and mormon communities, sacrifice in order to be faithful church members. The closest temple to the members here is in Switzerland, which from Siena means an expensive travel by a ten hour train ride or some other form of transportation to the neighboring country. I am so excited for the wonderful blessing this will be for all the members here in Italy. I have fallen in love with the people here and know how much the Lord must love them as well. Having a temple here will bring so much happiness to the members here and I am so glad they get to receive this blessing. I take for granted that I live in such close proximity to not only one temple, but to countless temples in my area. This conference experience will be one that I hopefully will never forget. The feelings I experienced today were so rich and special. I am so grateful for the Spirit of the Lord and how wonderfully it communicates to each of us personally. I look forward to the next three sessions we will watch on Sunday and for the words inspired by the Lord, being taught through his servants.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
After we left the museum the true fun began!
Kendis, Alyssa, Lynzie, and I have made it our personal mission to find the best hot chocolate in Siena so we picked Café Fiorella to be our first taste. It was fabulous! They don't mix theirs with milk here it is basically straight chocolate heated up…so yummy. Since the day was a bit chilly outside enjoying our cup of rich goodness was oober enjoyable. After our little treat we wrapped up in our scarves and went in search of a park. We found one :) complete with ducks, swans, and even a carousel. The four of us had a blast feeding the ducks, snapping photos, and making mini films together. Everything was documented in b&w which added a fun theme to the day. We had a fun time in a hat shop trying on some priceless italian hats and even slipped in a few emails by pit stopping at the irish pub for a few moments. So much happened that in a way can't be put into words based on the fact that they weren't things that were tangible, more just moments that fill my soul with happiness. It is days like this when I get to have a little brain pushing combined with rich, sweet memories of Italy and friends that make me appreciate why I am here.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
i spent all day on saturday sept. 20th in a little tuscan city named lucca. absolute heaven. first we sifted through endless amounts of antiques at a market that filled half the city--i wish i had some way to transport things home without cutting my head off to pay for it. i fell in love with an old black iron bed...wonderful. i was able to grab an amazing antique necklace that satisfied my antique shopping needs. afterwards we stopped at a little cafe for some delicious gnocchi and a rest from the walking. we then made our way back to a super sweet bike shop we had passed and spent the next hour blissfully riding our bikes on the ancient city wall that surrounds lucca. words cannot describe how incredible that hour was. the breeze was the perfect temperature and smells of italian cooking and fall leaves filled the air. it was an experience that seemed too good to be true- yet was very much happening. italy surpasses all my expectations again and again. the feelings that i have here are so undescribable and all the 'amazing, wonderful, delightful' etc. words i have to use to describe them seem monotonous and lose their meaning from the repitition, but they are the only words that i know to use in order to touch on the thoughts i am having. the train transportation stories of how we got to and from lucca will have to wait for another post because i am losing my internet connection in 2 minutes...but i will work on describing them at home and post soon. ciao!
Friday, September 19, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Dinner's have been pretty interesting the past couple nights with Autumn and I slipping into the shadows as N (the Swiss girl whose name I cannot remember or pronounce in the first place) carries on lovely conversation in Italian with F and G. We do occasionally get asked to eat more or get to slip a few words of english in to N, but other than that are quite invisible to the heart of conversation. It is somewhat nice however to be able to look to N if we are asked a more complicated question so she can translate for us. I think I will have her ask about us doing laundry in the sink while I have her around. For the meantime the sun is out and the rain is gone, so tomorrow while I have the day off from class I think I will attempt to get some laundry done. Overall everything is going well in the Taddei household and life is continuing to fly by as normal.
I thought that Florence itself might possibly just burst at the seams with the amount of skooters, tourists, cars, statues, paintings, and locals that it contained but it seemed to stay connected, at least for the time that we were there. The weather was absolutely beautiful with a nice cool breeze to keep us from sweating to death and a stark blue sky with perfect white clouds to contrast. As we walked into the piazza that takes you into the baptistery and the duomo I literally had my breath taken away. The duomo in Florence is hands down the most magnificent church I have seen in all of Europe. The stone used is all shades of green, pink, and white and its massiveness is non-comprehendible. We went inside and it was surprisingly plain in comparison to other cathedral's we have been inside of. The marble floor had intricate designs to match the outside of the church and the dome artwork was incredible. It was nice to be able to appreciate the beauty that they had inside without being so overwhelmed with options that they all mix together into one huge intricate artwork.
I also had the opportunity to see the David…the actual one. This is funny because there is a piazza near the Uffizi that is filled with marble statues, half real and half replicas. Well, there is always a massive congregation of tourists standing around the statue of "david" taking pictures…I am not sure if they know that the statue they are taking pictures of is by no means the actual one or if they are aware and just too cheap to pay to see the real one. For those that really don't know that it isn't real I find it quite hilarious. Do they really think that the real David would just be put into a huge public square to be exposed to weather, people, pigeons and who knows what else? Hmm. I think not. But the actual statue is quite, shall we say, massive? As I walked around a corner in the gallery my attention was on all the other half finished carvings they have that are quite interesting (it was very wondrous to see how they take a huge cube of marble and catch a vision of a person inside and make it reality…) and all of the sudden I looked up and in front of me and bam! there is the David! Holy cow. After all the many school years of learning about it in art classes you think they would have mentioned that he is about 4 times actual life size. Even as just a side note somewhere…nevertheless he was striking. Although not perfect, I enjoyed him very much. His imperfections (like the size of his right hand in proportion to his body) make him even better. I was having this topic of discussion with one of the other girls in our group when two old (like 75+ years) walk up from behind us and are admiring the statue like us and the other 200 people around. At one point in their similar conversation about the hand one of them quiets the tone of her voice, always a sign of an awkward comment in this type of setting, and whispers into the ear of her friend "although, he does have a rather small p _ _ _ _!" Probably the funniest museum moment I have yet experienced. Priceless.
By the end of the day I felt like I had run a marathon from all the walking and brain pushing I had been exposed to and the bus ride home was a nice refresher. It would have been prime if not for the massive potholes in the road that we hit, oh about every 25.3 seconds that was always accompanied by a slamming, banging overhead luggage rack- without fail. The Tuscan countryside was so wonderful. The sun was setting casting a glorious shade of orange over all the scenery of rolling hills and Tuscan trees and fields creating scenes that seem only to exist in movies and photo-shopped snap shots on overpriced postcards.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I love Siena. I spent some time alone today in the Piazza on Via dei Pispini doing some sketching. I feel so blessed to be able to sit in a little square in Italy with just me and my thoughts. I get to take a step out of the monotony of my normal life and be placed in a situation where pretty much everything I do is a new experience. My brain feels like it is pushing against my skull trying to expand to a suitable size to fit all these new experiences and information--but it’s a good push. This is something that many people dream of experiencing, and here I am. I love walking through the streets and seeing the little shops filled with Italian leather, fresh fruit, bread, cheese, shoes, etc. They are all so amazing and the overall feeling here in the city is overwhelmingly wonderful. The cobblestone sidewalk gives your feet a constant balance check that corresponds with the surroundings on your brain. On the walk home you can see the beautiful Tuscan country side peaking through the trees. The weather is amazing at night when it cools down a bit and there is a slight breeze. I love the fall and love life in Siena. It is definitely an adjustment being away from home and away from the conveniences I am used to having at my fingertips. For example I take it for granted that I can pretty much connect to the internet whenever I want--here things work a little differently and things are much more difficult. Its good to be in a situation that helps me to realize just how lucky I am to live in a country like the U.S.
Fiorella has developed a habit of yelling strange things. Like this afternoon for example- she arrived home at 7:00 pm and began shouting something that sounded similar to the english word "people". However, Autumn and I were not quite clear if that is for us, the cat's name, or something else totally unrelated. We decided to stay quite and guessed that if she needs us she would come knock right? We also came home to find notes- scribbled in italian- left on our bedroom window sill and on top of the dresser. We assume that the one on the sill was due to the fact that we forgot to shut the window today, and we also discovered that they have this shade device that can be lowered over the window as well. I'll take that as lesson #1 when living with the Tadei family. Note #2 might possibly have something to do with the door? But I really have no idea considering the handwriting is barely legible, let alone understandable. We will have to take them with us to school tomorrow and have them translated.
Right now I am experiencing quite a funny moment I feel must be documented. Giuseppe is hollering up the stairs for us…"lyman!" haha oh boy. Apparently they had been calling for us for a couple minutes--they could just walk up the stairs and get us…but no. I guess they just call us until we come. Oh and tonight at dinner we found out that the dog's name is Pipo--hence the yelling when Fiorella gets home. They absolutely love that thing.
Dinner tonight consisted of a very spicy (or as Autumn referred to it at dinner tonight "picante??") spaghetti for the first course and the second was another fun mystery veggie! It was called finocchi and pretty much tasted like an onion. I tried to stomach it by putting it on top of my bread with some fresh mozzarella cheese--it worked pretty well and I was able to eat enough to satisfy Fiorella. After dinner she brought out some fruit and I had yet a very delicious white peach…so so good. I'm really loving the fresh fruit here in italy. I feel like I am being spoiled and I don't know what I will do when I get back home! During dinner they tried to communicate something about eating on a future date but neither of us was able to figure out what it all meant. Hopefully its nothing that’s super important. Well now that I have showered and rinsed the day off I am ready for bed. Class starts at 8:30 in the a.m.! Peter will be the death of me I swear. Class was originally at 8 but luckily the school doesn't open until 8:30 so he was forced to push it back, thank goodness. Ciao!