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Published: March 19th 2009
Playing with Emanuela's Carnivale costume
I’m still recovering a little from my impromptu but wonderful trip to America a few weeks ago. It was wonderful to visit home and see family and friends, and although I’m happy to be back in Italy, I’m really missing everyone very much.
Here’s a brief rundown of my trip: basically, the program director was in the States visiting colleges but unfortunately got pretty severely ill and couldn’t finish, so the program flew me over to finish the last week of her visits. I flew into Washington D.C. and had a very tearful reunion with Mom and Dad (I heard a woman standing near us watching say to her friend ‘I want to hug them too!’). We must have looked pretty happy. I had an excellent first dinner consisting of an enormous bison cheeseburger, French fries, and ginger ale (a nice diversion from my typical heaps of pasta). Sarah drove to meet me in D.C. and on Sunday we drove to Richmond where we stayed for the night with a friend. I was supposed to visit Randolph College on Monday, but because of the snow I wasn’t able (we even lost power in the evening and had to light candles all
over the apartment!). While I was frustrated with the snow, it was also a very lucky thing as I got to spend the entire day not working and instead spending time with Sarah! On Monday evening I flew to Boston. Well, I tried to fly for a long time and finally succeeded. My flight was supposed to leave at 6, but instead got delayed until almost midnight. I had some nice quality airport time, drinking mochas, spying on frustrated and angry people (airports are ideal people-watching havens), and relishing being able to call people so easily on my American cell phone. I finally arrived in Boston and met up with Ben. We had fun catching up, and throughout the week Ben took me to some great restaurants to eat so many of the foods that I have been missing (we had excellent Thai and Mexican). Around Boston I visited, gave presentations, and met students at Wellesley, Brandeis, and Wheaton. Then on Thursday I rented a car from the airport (ok, so, never having rented a car before, I was more than a little nervous to do this. I got to the airport to rent the car and an abrasive woman
with brittle blonde hair that was black at the roots threw a bunch of paperwork at me, rattling off all this stuff about insurance and waivers, then, cracking her gum with a mouth like a horse, pointed to 6 places I was supposed to sign. I made her wait while I sat down for about 10 or 15 minutes to carefully read everything, asking her a list of questions about my rights as a renter before I finally agreed to sign). I drove to visit Mt. Holyoke, Amherst, and Williams, and then spent the evening at a small motel in Williamstown, MA (I had an unfortunate incident with the toilet in my room, as I inadvertently flushed the paper seal that was around the toilet seat down the toilet, causing some clogging and diminished functioning of the toilet, but otherwise it was fine) before driving to visit Marlboro college in VT on Friday. I was lucky to have a GPS, otherwise I never would have been able to navigate around alone. It was nice having another voice in the car and we had some really profound conversations. I finally arrived back in Boston on Friday evening, where I met up
with Ben and my parents, who were visiting Ben for Junior Parents’ Weekend (we couldn’t believe the fortunate timing of the trip!). I spent a very relaxing weekend with them in Boston before travelling to New York, where I stayed overnight with Steph. On Monday I returned to Harrisburg, where I had the most important visit of the trip- with Libby! We had some much needed snuggle and play time. Syd and Liz were both in Harrisburg, and my friend Tate drove down from Rochester to visit, which was wonderful, and we all just spent a lot of time hanging around, eating huge meals and enjoying being together! After a whirlwind ten days, I flew on Wednesday evening back to Italy, from Dulles to Paris, then Paris to Rome, then I took a bus from Rome to Siena. The flights were uneventful (on the flight to Paris, I was so exhausted from travelling so much that I fell asleep before we even took off, when everyone was still getting settled in, and I woke up when we had already been in the air for some time. That was a little disorienting). I must have looked slightly more suspicious than usual,
The streets in Bologna were just beautiful.
though, because both times when I went through security, both in D.C. and in Paris, they pulled me aside and made me wait in this little glass room for extra searching. That’s never happened to me before. On the flight from Paris to Rome, I had to sit sandwiched between these two chubby Sicilian guys who wanted to chat with me. I politely tried to ignore them (it’s surprising how difficult it is to politely ignore). At the end of the flight, they wanted to exchange numbers so that I could come to visit them in Sicily. I really had trouble thinking of a worse idea. Then something happened that made me feel incredible lucky. We were all standing around waiting for our luggage, I was deliriously exhausted and was trying my hardest to politely avoid the husky Sicilians, and….my luggage was the FIRST to come out onto the luggage conveyer thing! I could feel the gods of travel fortune smiling at me. So, after a great trip, I was warmly welcomed back to Siena. I called my roommate from the bus to tell her when I would be home, and she was screaming ‘My love, my love, my love
is coming home!’ She had a delicious dinner of sausage stuffed zucchini ready for my arrival. I love Italy. And the girls at school had made me a really cute welcome back card that they had all signed and written me messages in.
I was back in Siena for only one day because on Saturday we left for a weekend excursion to a farm near Rome. We had perfect weather for all of the activities- we visited the Sant’Antimo monastery, wine-tasted at a place called Castello Banfi, relaxed at our farm-hotel, where they had a hot tub and sauna looking out over the countryside, ate mammoth meals with food made fresh on the farm, and then went hiking along the coast in a national park. It was strange and very disorienting to go so quickly from America to Italy, then to travel again from Siena, and I think I’m sort of still recovering from all of the travel….but I have to get ready because I’m leaving for another trip tomorrow! One of the students, Samantha, and I are taking a long weekend trip to Southern Italy to visit Salerno, Naples, Capri, Pompeii, and the Amalfi Coast! (These are all places
Adorable child dressed up for Carnivale.
that I’ve been dreaming about visiting since I came to Italy two years ago, but haven’t visited yet). I will definitely post pictures of this trip when I get back!
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