There was a slight delay in getting these blogs from Jan, so we are going to catch you up all at once on what the last couple months of her time has looked like! You will definitely want to read and check out the pictures, because she is having a blast!
This month was special for many reasons. First off, I celebrated my 18th birthday on the twelfth and my host family threw me a surprise party! We danced all night—despite it being a Wednesday—ate yummy gelato and cake and it was the best birthday yet! Also this month, I went to an Italian school for a day in a small town called Spoleto and got to converse with the students about everything from their rigorous school work to Justin Bieber. In Italy, the majority of “high schools” are vocational schools and the school we visited was no exception to that. Talking to people my own age that already knew what they wanted to do for work as was intimidating at first, but turned out to be a great eye-opening experience.
Also with my school, I went to Cerveteri this month, which is an Ancient Etruscan city near Rome. We had an ancient history project where we went through the old ruins and burial tombs and created soap-operas imagining what life would be like if we lived over 2000 years ago. Somehow we pulled together, despite bad acting, and had a great time exploring the site.
I started a cooking class this month called “I Love Dolci” and we have learned how to make several chocolate cakes, fruit tortes, marmalade tortes, and most importantly Tiramisu. The class is at a bed and breakfast near my school and the women who teach the class always have a smile on their face and are so sweet, even despite our inability to keep their hands out of the dough of whatever we are cooking.
I visited Rome for a day for the first time this month—it was unbelievable. I went with a few friends and after promising to not speak English, we figured out the train, metro, archeological sites, and shopping—it was a great day. Later on this month, my mom came and visited! It was so fun showing her around and being able to be the translator between her and my host family, as well as catching up on life.
And here is November’s Post…
I can’t believe November has already passed—this semester is flying by! November has been so fun, but very busy! This was the first month I could take more than just day trips to Rome, but travel overnight, too! I spent the first weekend in Rome with some friends from school and had so much fun living in the city for two nights, but it was nice to come back to Viterbo on Sunday and be with my family for Sunday lunch! For the second week in November, my school took us through Northen Italy for 6 days and went to amazing cities such as Padova, Verona, Ravenna, Bologna, and Venice! With both ancient and art history lessons taught at each site, it was an amazing to see the beauty and treasures that each city revealed.
In Padova, I saw the Basilica of St. Anthony and the Equestrian Statue of Gattamelata.
In Verona, also known as “The City of Love,” I visited the balcony of Juliet from Shakespeare’s Romeo And Juliet and had the amphitheater L’Arena to ourselves as there were no tourists. In Ravenna, I was blown away by the hidden mosaics and even stumbled upon the tomb of Dante! Traveling then to Bologna, where I sampled some of the best cheese I think I’ve ever tasted! I also got to go in the University there and sit in the anatomy classroom—where they used to dissect and examine the human body. A gruesome process, nevertheless, both the most basic and complex ideal of the human body came from that room! In the grand finale, we journeyed to Venice. Taking a water taxi into the canalled city was so beautiful and Venezia is unlike any city I have ever visited. From trying to take notes in Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) for my art history class while simultaneously being attacked by pigeons, to sketching the under side of the Bridge of Sighs from the view of a gondola, Venice was truly magnificent.
With all this traveling, I arrived back in Viterbo exhausted and with loads of work, but all of that was offset by the warmth and care I felt the second I saw my host family again! Last Thursday my school hosted a quasi-Thanksgiving celebration. “Ringraziamente” in Italian, each host family brought food and with 60 students and host cousins, sisters, friends, and families: there were around 300 people there! Talk about a feast! Although we had lasagna over dressing, pumpkin risotto over pumpkin pie, and tiramisu over roll cake, there was turkey! We put on a play to explain the significance of Thanksgiving to the host families and ate and ate and ate.
I hope everyone had a nice break and I’m so excited for the football team to have made it to state for the second year in a row! Go tigers!