Journal 12: November 25, 2012
Last week was a great week. We had guests from Meredith College and they were wonderful. They were so sweet and they brought so much joy into the palazzo. Our guests were Pat Poe, Deborah Tippett, and Ellen Goode. It was interesting to find out that Pat Poe knew two of the students’ parents. The students also had the chance to meet a lady and her husband, who live in Arezzo. She went to Meredith College and she now lives in Italy. It makes me think about where I will be in a couple of years. I hope I will come back to Italy someday, but then again I did throw three coins into the Trevi Fountain. So I must be coming back, since the legend is if you throw money into the fountain you will return to Rome. I enjoyed meeting all the guests who came to the palazzo last week.
We celebrated Thanksgiving on Thursday with about fifty Italians. It was so nice to see the Italians enjoying the dinner that Meredith College hosted. Every student invited her host family, teachers, and friends. The students from our conversation class came as well. Everyone was excited to see what Thanksgiving was like. Most Italians have seen it on movies, but haven’t actually experienced it. I believe all the Italians enjoyed the dinner, especially when the two huge turkeys were brought out of the kitchen. All the Meredith College students performed a song together in honor of Thanksgiving and the Italians joined in the singing. Later in the evening, Rose Turchi and her music teacher, Stella, sang for us.
It was beautiful and very powerful. I had a wonderful Thanksgiving and I will never forget it.
I cannot believe three months have gone by. I thought I just got here four weeks ago. I don’t know where the time went. I have been thinking about what I want to do this week. It is so hard to fit everything in one week. I have met so many friends in Sansepolcro and I want to say goodbye to all of them. I will miss them so much.
I’ve had such a wonderful time in Italy. I have met so many people that I plan to keep in touch with. I am so thankful for this program. It has been a pleasure being here and when I will speak about it, only good things will come out of my mouth. I think that this program is important for Meredith College to have because it is not just for traveling. I have learned so much about myself while I have been here, things I would have never learned on campus. I would like to thank Betty Webb and John Rose for being such great parents while I have been here. I will miss Margherita’s cooking because it is the best food I have ever had. I will miss Sara and all my professors because they are so nice and they have taught me a lot. Last year I was given the forms and I didn’t fill them out because I didn’t think that I was going to get into this program, but I am so glad that I filled them out because this has been such an enriching experience.
Journal 11: 11/18/12
It is all coming to an end
Well it is official; I only have two more weeks in Sansepolcro. I cannot decide whether I am happy or sad. I am happy because I am going home for Christmas to see my wonderful family, but I am sad because I have to leave this small beautiful town. I have grown so close to it and it has become my second home. I have learned so much while I have been here.
I have learned that it is okay to travel by yourself because being women we should be confident and capable of doing anything on our own. I also learned that even when you are not exactly like other people it doesn’t mean that you have to separate yourself from them. The goal is to learn about them. Diversity makes the world better; it changes your perspective on life. I have also learned not to waste your time. Wasting your time on things that are not important is not going to benefit you later in life. We have to spend our time with meaning.
This week is Thanksgiving and I enjoy this holiday. The history of Thanksgiving is about people in England who did not enjoy being under the control of the King VIII. They wanted to freely practice their religion, so about 120 passengers set out on the ship called the Mayflower. So many people got sick on board and most people did not survive on the ship and in America. When they arrived in America at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts the conditions were harsh because they came in winter. Many of them could not deal with the conditions and died. The group was introduced to Indians, who helped them learn to grow food for their colony. In November 1621 they had a big feast that was organized by the governor William Bradford and the Wampanoag Chief Massasoit with his guests. They celebrated with many foods and they gave thanks for making the journey across the ocean alive and making new friends.
On Thursday, we will celebrate Thanksgiving here in Sansepolcro. I am very excited to eat pumpkin pie and turkey! We are going to invite our Italian teachers, our host families, and our friends whom we have met here. We are going to tell them how much they mean to us through a speech. The thing that I love the most about Thanksgiving is when people say what they are thankful for, and most of the time we do not hear that from people. On this holiday, I always think how grateful I am to be healthy, happy, and to have such good friends and family by my side. It is such a blessing!
So in celebration for Thanksgiving, I would like to say that I am thankful for this program and this whole experience. It has changed the way I look at the world and the people in it. It showed me that there are so many opportunities out there that I need to start taking advantage of while I can. This program is so enriching to Meredith College students because it teaches us not only to be independent, but also that it is possible to make anything happen.
Journal 10: November 11, 2012
A good visit with some old friends
On this travel break, I went to a couple of places. First, I went to Roma and wondered around the streets to see so much history displayed. The second place, I went to Manchester, England. The two places have two different stories. This trip I made to these two places was all on my own. It was a different experience to be on your own. It is hard to trust people if you do not know them and you have to figure out what to do on your own.
Roma was a beautiful city, not only because it is very large, but because it is known for so much history. When I first arrived in Roma, I immediately bought a map because I did not want to get lost in such a huge city. I made my way to the Trevi Fountain. I was amazed when I arrived! The fountain was large and the water in it was so blue. The statues around the fountain were so real. I later found out that this fountain was built by Nicola Salvi and Pope Clement XII commissioned him. The fountain was finished in 1732 and is a representation of the moods in the sea. The next famous site that I visited next is called the Spanish Steps, but it is actually called Trinita Del Monte. It is called this because of the huge church that sits at the top of the stairs. Most people call them Spanish steps today because people associate them with the Spanish ambassador that lived there. The steps were built by a guy named Francesco De Sanctis and it was the French who had them built. The steps are vast and the crowds are present. It is a major site for people to see and meet with their friends.
The second trip was to Manchester, England. The purpose for the trip was to see my family friends, The Muirs that I have known since I was six years old. I used to live in England because both of my parents worked for the military for many years. I grew up next door to the people I had the chance to see this weekend. It has been about eight years since I have seen them. When I arrived in Manchester, my childhood friend Lewis and Liz, his mom were there to pick me up. I gave them huge hugs and we were all shocked. Lewis is now six foot one and I always used to be taller than him. I had a hard time understanding them at first because of their accent, but eventually I caught on. They took me to their house and I saw the rest of the family. Allan, who had taught me to ride my bike when I was younger and the baby of the family, Ethan were all there. I was so happy to be there. The second day, Lewis and I went to Liverpool. Liverpool is known for the Beatles because they started out there in a place called Cavern Club. We also walked around the Albert Dock, which has many attractions due to its waterfront. On top of all the attractions, Christmas decorations were displayed all around Liverpool. It was nice to see the Christmas cheer being displayed all around town. On the last day, I went to Tatton Park with Muirs and walked in the park.
Throughout the park there is red and fallow deer. All of the deer had huge antlers and they all looked like they were ready for Santa’s sleigh. A mansion is also home to the Tatton Park. The mansion was built in the 18th century for the Egerton family. The mansion was redecorated into a neo classical design and many functions are held there each year. After a nice walk in the park, they took me to the airport. We said our goodbyes and I went through security to get on my plane.
When I arrived in Roma, I had to figure out how to get to my hotel because it was eleven at night. I had to take a taxi with three random people. Two of them were Italian and the other was Greek. The Italian man in the front seat was arguing about the price with the driver. They were talking so fast and I could only catch some of the words they were saying. We finally arrived at the hotel and I let out a sigh of relief when I checked in. The next morning, I woke up and went to the Colosseum. Emperors used it for entertainment and games were held there. Gladiators and animals fought to the death and the competition usually went on for a day or more. The southern side of the Colosseum fell in 847 due to an earthquake. The view inside was astonishing and I was in there for a very long time. Finally, I had to catch my bus to get back to Sansepolcro. It was a great experience and I am so thankful for this program. I have learned how to travel on my own and be independent and not many people can say that.
Journal 9: November 5, 2012
Goodbye October and hello November
Last week we had the chance to host a Halloween Party for the children in Sansepolcro at the Palazzo. We decorated the palazzo at the last minute and hurried to put everything in place. We pulled it off and everyone sat at their stations. My station was about making necklaces with pasta and a lot of kids wanted to make them. It was interesting to see all of the little children dressed up in their costumes to celebrate a holiday that is not well known in Italy. I could tell that all of the children enjoyed eating candy and seeing all of their friends. I am glad that we had the chance to do that for them.
Today, I ran up to my teacher’s house to pick olives. The weather was nice today and the sun was shining. When I arrived at the house she gave us each a bag and we tied it around our waist. We started to pick olives and it was very relaxing. I found out that you can only pick olives when it is dry out. Italy is the second, after Spain, to have the most production of olive oil. Oil from unripe olives is strong and from ripe it is mild. Many people enjoy olive oil and it is very healthy to have in one’s diet.
I am excited for this upcoming weekend because I will be traveling to a place where I used to live when I was younger. I never wanted to leave England when I was ten years old, but unfortunately my mom’s time there was up. I still remember most of the places I went to when I was a child in Liverpool. I will arrive in Manchester on Friday afternoon and I will be picked up by my old neighbors. I am excited to see what everyone looks like now. I am ready to share all the stories that I have and I cannot wait to hear their stories. It has been such a long time.
Entry 8: October 27, 2012
I have just returned from Munich, Germany. I took my very first night train! It was an interesting experience, since I have never had a bed on a train before. The man who worked on the train took our passports and our tickets. He woke my friend Kasey and me, when we were about fifteen minutes from Munich. When we arrived, it was a different atmosphere. People were speaking a different language and our train was actually on time. Germany had a lot more American brands such as Subway, Burger King, Starbucks and Mexican food. I love Italian food, but when you eat it every day sometimes you start to crave other things.
Kasey and I immediately went to work searching for a tour for the concentration camp, Dachau. This was on our list of things to see while we were in Munich. We found a tourist office and booked our tour for it. I knew of Dachau because when I was eight years old I visited it when my parents took me there. It is a sad place, but it is good to know the history of such a place. We met our tour guide named Stefano and he took us to the concentration camp by trains and buses. When we arrived, he walked us through every single part of the camp and told us some things that were interesting. Before it was there, it was a place where artists lived in the country side. They were well known in that area for their beautiful art work, but when it became a concentration camp everyone started to disown the area because it was connected with such a bad memory. Many local residents to this day, have their children born in Munich or other places so they do not have to associate Dachau with their child’s birth place. Hitler made the camp in there, so that people wouldn’t find out. It was easier to build it in the countryside where there was not a lot going on. Stefano told us that the camp numbers started to rise in 1938. Starvation was a big problem because the camp contained so many people. Soldiers had to wear a badge that showed the soldiers who they were. Stefano told us that the Jews had the worst punishment. If a Jew and a Jehovah’s witness were standing in front of a guard, he would choose the Jew, who would be singled out by the star badge being worn. Adolf Hitler absolutely hated the Jews because he was jealous of them. They tended to be very successful and owned many of the banks at that time. At the end of the war, the camp contained around 32,000 people. They only had thirty two barracks for the prisoners to live in and a thousand people were forced to live in a barrack made for only about a hundred. The living conditions were atrocious because everyone was so close together, and food was scarce. Diseases spread very fast for the same reasons. We saw the gas chamber and the crematorium that was built in 1942. It made me sick in my stomach to see this. How could anyone do this to a human being? I am glad that this camp is open to people. It gives us a message to make sure that this never happens again.
The second day, we went on a tour to see two castles that were both owned ultimately by King Ludwig the second. The first we had the chance to see was called Linderhof castle. It was not as large as the second we saw, but it was completely finished. The rooms were extravagant, every inch covered in gold and decorated to the finest detail. The plans were said to have been made around 1864. The most interesting thing that I found out about it was the secret door that led to the back. The second castle we saw was called Neuschwanstein. It was built in 1867. It was never finished; and the building process took place over seventy years until the King died, when it came to a stop. King Ludwig died at a young age in 1886. No one really knows what he died from, so it remains a mystery to this day. Some say that he drowned himself in the lake near the castle and others that he was murdered. I remembered this castle from my childhood because my parents took me here when I was eight. I remember walking through a huge room and I was excited to see it again. As a child, I remember wanting to live here and thinking it was going to my home. It is such a beautiful castle! It contained some outstanding things like the spring water that was in his bedroom. It came down from the mountain into his bedroom and went out of the castle to the spring that continues down the mountain. He also had a humidifier that was in the shape of a swan, made out of porcelain. The symbols that were used a lot in the castle were swans because they were the King’s favorite animal.
We also had the chance to visit the English Gardens in Munich. They were huge and had many things located in them. There we saw the “Nude Beach”, but don’t worry we didn’t see any naked people because it was snowing. We walked by the surfer wave, which no one was surfing on because it was too cold. Overall, Munich was a great place to travel to and I will never forget the things I saw, even if I saw for a second time. I think the second time around was more memorable because I am older now and I appreciate it more.
Entry 7: October 15, 2012
A unique city
This past weekend my friends and I went to Venice. Venice is a unique place because the entire city was built with loosely spaced wood piles in the Adriatic Sea. There are a hundred islands that make up Venice. A famous lover named Giacomo Casanova and a famous explorer named Marco Polo were born in Venice. When we arrived it was raining, but it cleared up as the day went on. When I stepped out of the train station, I took a look around and was in awe. Everything was surrounded by water and boats. It was a beautiful view. The first day, we walked around and got lost because it was the recommended thing to do. I enjoyed walking through the streets and over little bridges to travel to other streets. We took a lot of pictures and we decided to take one on the steps of the canal. When my friends were taking a picture of me I slipped and almost fell in the canal. I believe that was the funniest part of my trip. We all enjoyed roaming around and seeing the different boats and little shops. In almost every window we saw masks. The masks are so beautiful and I wanted to wear one to a masquerade, but I did not purchase one sadly.
We all stayed at a hostel named Camping Jolly. It was better than what I expected. It was a popular hostel located about fifteen minutes from the center of Venice. We stayed in a little mobile home and it was very cute. That night we arrived we went to a masquerade that fifty Australians were throwing. It was so much fun. Everyone had either a mask on or a gondolier outfit. They had a DJ playing all of the latest songs from America and the United Kingdom. We now have many friends from Australia that we will keep in touch with for the rest of our lives.
The second day in Venice, the weather was not as great as the first day. It was raining and the temperature was quite cold. We headed out in the morning to catch a boat to an island called Murano. Murano is very famous for their glass. It was neat to see all of the glass figures and jewelry that the island made. After walking around the island for a bit, we decided to travel to Burano. Burano was a little farther away that Murano was from Venice, but it was worth the trip. When we arrived, we looked around to find bright colored houses in the front of our faces. We found every color on a house in Burano. It is an interesting place and we are glad that we had the chance to go. Burano is known for their lace making, so everywhere we went we looked at the many things that were made out of lace. After Burano, we traveled on a boat to San Marco Piazza. The piazza was full of people even though it was raining. We could tell that this was a site to see. The architecture on the building was beautiful. We have never seen anything like it. Overall, the trip was successful and I would go back to Venice any day.
Entry 6: October 7, 2012
It never gets old
This past week has been full of studying. When most people think of the word study abroad, people assume that you are going to have some work and travel a lot. The Meredith College students in Sansepolcro are hard workers. We study a lot and work hard to get the best grades. We have many assignments that we have to complete each week that are challenging. Not only do we learn to travel individually, but we also learn to manage our time. I am learning to have fun, but at the same time to really buckle down on some hard work.
This weekend I rode a horse in the country side of Tuscany. Meredith Shehdan, a student who is also studying abroad, was well-acquainted with the owner of these stables because she works there two times a week. She asked the owner if all the Meredith College girls could ride and she kindly agreed. When we arrived, the owner introduced herself and was very kind to all of us. She spoke English, so it was helpful and she brought out the horses. She assigned us our horses and I happened to get a beautiful white horse named Signor Lord. He was very kind, but I think he did not want me on his back. I can be a bit of a burden sometimes. The staff who worked at the stable gave me a helmet and a stepping stool to get on the horse.
The horse walked around the stable a few times just so we could get comfortable before setting out on a trail ride. We started our trail ride and learned to help the horse along when going uphill and downhill. We had to lean forward when going uphill and to lean back when going downhill. After our trail ride, we took some ponies out to the field to eat. I had the chance to interact with a cute little pony named Princess. I wanted to take her home, but we have no room at the Palazzo Alberti for her. It was an enjoyable experience that I hope to repeat before I leave Sansepolcro.
Last night, I had the chance to meet many people in town. I went to a local place called La Appennino, which is located right underneath our Palazzo. So many people go there as well as the other place across the street called Carpe Diem. My friend Kasey and I were able to see our friend from Florence last night that we have not seen in a while. He is a funny character and he always makes us laugh. He introduced us to a girl he knows from England, who is very good at English.
This week, I will start my service learning at a local high school. I will be helping students to improve their English. At the end of the week, I will be heading off to an exciting place called Venice. I am excited about both of these new experiences and I cannot wait to tell you all about them.
Entry 5: September 30, 2012
I am sitting in the train, slowly making my way back to Sansepolcro. I had a wonderful weekend in Florence. Florence is a wonderful place filled with history. It is a town full of tourists, but it is nice to see all of the different people. I had the chance to visit many museums for free because it was a special weekend. I got to visit the Uffizi Gallery, La Specola museum, Pitti Palace, the baptistery doors, and the Duomo of Santa Maria Fiore. I was able to see all of these over the course of two days.
The Uffizi Gallery was outstanding. So many famous paintings are displayed in the gallery and millions of people visit it each week. My favorite painting in the gallery had to be The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli. I waited a long time to get in this museum, but it was worth it because there is so much to see. It is full of paintings, sculptures, and frescoes. I had to experience it once and it was an experience I will always remember.
My favorite museum had to be La Specola. It is not well known, but it is a science museum that is full of history. It has every kind of insect on display for you to see. It was interesting to know that there are beetles that are about the size of a hand. The museum also had a display of animals, ranging from lions to birds. The most intriguing part of the museum had to be the figures of bodies that were displayed dating back to the 1700s. Supposedly people looked at these figures and studied them to learn about the body. It was interesting to see, since I hope to become a physician’s assistant someday.
Close to our hotel was a palace called the Pitti Palace. It was owned by Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici. It was built in the 15th century by Filippo Brunclleschi and it was made for Luca Pitti, but he died before it was finished. In the palace, I had the chance to see the royal apartments in which the Duke lived in and paintings that were left placed where they were found. Some furniture was left in the house for everyone to see, but the main attraction was the paintings. The gardens behind the palace are enormous and they go on for miles.
The Duomo of Santa Maria Fiore towered over the whole city. My friend and I climbed up the billion steps to reach the top. It was a workout, but when we reached the top it was all worth it. The view was incredible and I would definitely climb up those stairs again just to sit up at the top and look out over Florence. The painting on the interior of the dome was a depiction of heaven and hell. Hell started lower on the dome and as the dome went to the top heaven was shown.
I met so many people in Florence. I met people from England, New Zealand, Australia, China and Germany. The most interesting people that I met were from Germany. I went to the Ponto Vecchio Bridge at night to listen to some music and ended up asking three young boys where they were from who were sitting close to my friend and me. They told us that they were hitch hikers and that they caught a ride all the way from northern Germany. They said that they did not know any Italian and that it was a difficult journey because they had to wait for about five hours sometimes to get a ride. They all traveled separately and decided to meet up in Florence. I thought I had it bad because I did not know any Italian and I felt out of place. Now, I think differently. These boys are proof that you can survive on very little. It was truly an adventurous weekend that I will never forget. Hopefully, I will be able to tell my grandchildren one day.
Entry 4: September 24, 2012
A new way of traveling
The time is flying by and I want it to slow down, just a little bit. I am getting used to the culture now and I am trying my best to dress like the Italians. This past weekend, I was able to visit Arezzo and Anghiari: two towns that are close to Sansepolcro. I learned how to buy a bus ticket and how to figure out a bus schedule in Italian. This program is teaching me to plan ahead and how to travel smart.
I loved the trip that I took this past weekend. The other students and I went first to Anghiari, with John Rose and Betty Webb. We got there early and we wandered around for about an hour or two. The view from the town was outstanding. We all stopped at a coffee shop to sit down and enjoy the view, and most of the girls in this program know where they want to get married now! The view from the coffee shop was beautiful and the scenery around it was perfect.
After Anghiari, we got on a bus to travel to Arezzo. When we arrived, John Rose and Betty Webb took us to the information center to get our maps and then they let us go. I was in a group with three others girls and we decided to take a look at the market since it was closing soon. We went to it and walked around to find so many things from watches, purses, clothes, food, etc. It was neat to see and bargain with people. The highlight there was when a boy started yelling at my friend Kasey and telling her that she was beautiful and that he loved her. All of the people in the market were laughing at the guy who was yelling at my friend Kasey. It was a hilarious sight to see, as she joined the laughter.
I also went to a church called San Domenico. It is a beautiful church filled with magnificent pieces of artwork. This church was not full of tourists, but it was nice to see something different from the main tourist sites. After the church, I headed over to Casa Vasari where Giorgio Vasari lived in the 16th century. His house is now a museum for artwork and every room has a beautiful painted fresco on the ceiling. It was a great to see the house and to be in a house where a painter lived centuries ago.
After all of our sight-seeing, we had to get back home by ourselves. I was nervous at first about missing a bus or not getting off at the wrong stop, but everything went exceptionally well. I was pleased with our traveling experience and I am sure that we will learn more things about traveling soon. This Friday, we are leaving for Florence. We will stay there for two nights and we will get to see more beautiful sights. I am excited at the thought of seeing the dome made by Brunelleschi that is located in the main cathedral. It is said that you just have to experience it, kind of like Cornhuskin’!
Journal 3: 17 September 2012
My schedule has been full this past week. I am constantly running around and I feel like a chicken with its head cut off. We had a group of Tuscan intensives arrive on Thursday, so we have had a full house. It is nice to have more people in the palazzo. It feels like one big family under one huge roof. The Tuscan intensives and the Meredith College students all went to Spoleto together on Saturday. It was a lovely town, which was full of beautiful views and old churches. I learned a lot about architecture in Spoleto because everything was ancient and full of detail.
I remember walking down the street and then turning my head to the left and seeing a beautiful structure called the cathedral of Santa Maria. The cathedral was built over ruins of a preexisting church that was destroyed by Frederick Barbarossa. The construction was said to have started in 1175. It was a remarkable sight to see. Our group also went up to the top of a mountain, where the castle of Spoleto is located. We had to take an elevator up to the castle. It was quite exciting to see the view from the mountain and to see inside the castle. The court yards were huge and there were lots of rooms. Our trip to Spoleto was successful and it is a place that I would recommend to anyone.
This past Sunday, a couple of Meredith College students and I went to a soccer game with John Rose. We thought it would be fun to see a game in Sansepolcro and to see how the people reacted. We got there just in time and we rushed to get our seats. We all sat down and tried to cheer, but it was mostly John Rose in our group who did the cheering. The soccer game was similar to a football game back home, except Italians do a little more yelling. Arezzo, a town close to Sansepolcro, was our opponent in the soccer match. Everyone had a serious look on their face, they wanted Sansepolcro to win. All the Italian men were screaming at the top of their lungs and were making us hyped up. In the end, Sansepolcro beat Arezzo and we were all happy. I learned two things at the soccer game that day: never get in the way of a man watching Italian soccer and soccer is called calcio, not football.
Entry 2: 10 September 2012
I have had another lovely week in Sansepolcro. The more time I spend, the more I get to know the people and little places I did not notice before. I am learning how to get to certain places and how to fix the mistakes that I am making, in every aspect of my life. This program is a perfect opportunity to find out who you are and how you react when you are in new surroundings.
The other day, I had some wonderful food. I went exploring with two other girls to find a place to eat and we found a restaurant that looked inviting. We sat down and I picked a dish off the menu that I did not know anything about. When the dish arrived, my eyes got big. The smell was amazing and I just wanted to dive into the food and eat like a pig, but I calmed myself down and savored the taste of the clams and spaghetti that was in front of me. I will probably end up going back one weekend to eat it again because it was that good!
I have made a few errors, but they help you to understand what you did wrong and what you need to learn. For instance, I could not remember how to get to La Pam, which is a grocery store, and Kasey and I lost track of where we were, and we had to ask the locals in Italian for directions. It was a little difficult, but we made it and it was a good learning experience for us both.
As for the festivities of the town, I am pretty sure I could qualify as a drummer in the local band because I have watched them play over and over again! The flag show that we all watched was unique and it is an event that everyone in the town seems to enjoy watching. The celebration dinner that took place in a local church was lots of fun. It included shows such as belly dancing, juggling, and a fire act. After all of the shows, the men got together and sang American songs. Macho man and YMCA are favorites among the Sansepolcro men and it is amusing to watch them dance to these songs. It was a good experience for the Meredith College girls to experience the Italian culture.
The classes here are going very well. I am learning a routine and waking up early is not a problem anymore, it is a habit. I am learning a lot about Sansepolcro and how to speak in Italian a little better, which is very helpful around here. I cannot wait to see what I will learn next. This weekend is our first outing, which will be with one of our professors, Dr. Banker. We will be traveling to Spoleto. It should be interesting to see what people outside Sansepolcro are like.
Entry 1: September 9, 2012
Sansepolcro, a small town that is located in a valley, has become my home in the past week. As I sit here thinking about how to explain my experience here so far, I hear bells chiming out loud, the smell of handmade pasta of the Italian restaurants below, and the voices of local teens talking in their Italian language about how their day has been. A change, you could say from the average lifestyle of a college student in the United States. I feel so lucky to be here, as I get to embrace the Italian culture by talking with Italians, eating their food, and observing how they act. Sometimes I feel the need to pinch myself to see if I will wake up.
The people whom I live with are outstanding. Dr. Webb, the director of international programs, is such a wonderful and humorous lady, who always jokes around with her husband, John Rose. They always go back and forth about whose country is better, considering John Rose is from England. John Rose is a funny character, he likes to pick on us girls and he tells us the right way to do things, “The British way”. The girls I live with are kind, respectful, and are unique in their own ways and we are getting to know each other better by every minute we spend together. I do not find myself getting bored because there is so much to do and see in Sansepolcro. It is a place that is full with history. In my classes for example, I am learning about a famous painter, who was born here in Sansepolcro, named Piero della Francesca. According to my readings, a British soldier got orders to fire at the Germans that were invading the town, but because Piero della Francesca created this beautiful painting and it was well known, the soldier did not want to risk ruining his beautiful artwork called the resurrection. The artwork, which is still located in the town, saved Sansepolcro from destruction and it is very important to the people here.
A festival called Palio della Balestra is going to take place this Sunday and because of the millennium of Sansepolcro, the town has been “celebrating” a little more than usual. Yesterday, the Meredith students here in Sansepolcro got to participate in a traditional annual parade. We got to wear costumes that were based off the Renaissance period and gowns that were portrayed in Piero della Francesca paintings. It was such a rich experience, and it will be in my mind forever. Once again, I must say I am so blessed to be here and so lucky to live in such a traditional town as Sansepolcro.