Friday, November 12, 2010

Mary Hunter - Siena, Italy

Mary Hunter is a Senior at the U studying Film and History. She participated in the Intensive Italian Language summer program in Siena, Italy. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Soccer and The Beatles: The Two Universals
The whole world loves soccer, a fact that I knew, but I never really understood until I came here. I love that I am here in Italy during the World Cup. Being here has made me love soccer, and love how it brings the world together. Last night I went to an Italian pub to watch the Italy v. Uruguay match, because even more exciting than the match is the Italian reactions to the game. Even though they tied, it was amazing. Italian men shouting, pounding fists on the table, and completely freaking out when they scored their goal. Completely amazing, something I will remember forever.
Another thing loved throughout the world: The Beatles. The Beatles are kind of defining my trip here in Italy. Not only have I been going through a Beatles phase of my own, but I hear the Beatles everywhere here. There was a street performer playing "Here, There and Everywhere" in Lucca, "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" in the Streets of Arezzo, a Beatles jam party in the Hostel in Cinque Terre, and a song was playing in Piazza San Marco in Venice, but I can't remember what exactly. Anyway, I love that they are wherever I go, it makes me feel like even though I'm in this entirely different place, it's just a different part of this beautiful world in which I live.
As I am sitting here watching the soccer coverage, listening to Sgt. Peppers, I felt this was a relevant topic.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Just a Few Things about Italy
Here are a few sweet things that I think could only happen in Italy. I mean, could happen elsewhere, perhaps in the U.S., but I digress. These happened to me in Italy.
-Getting yelled at in another language
So, it wasn't me who was getting yelled at in Italian, but I was there to witness my friend's landlady yelling at them, and I didn't understand any of it, and it was scary. Truly an experience.
-Strolling in the Campo with some Gelato
My favorite thing to do is get some Gelato and walk down to the Campo to eat it. It's fun to do alone, it's fun to do with others, it's all around just the best thing to do anytime of day. Gelato is so cheap here, and sooooooo good (to be expected, I know.) I get gelato at least every other day, sometimes in a cup, sometimes in a cone, doesn't matter because it is always delicious. Best combos so far-coco (coconut) and cioccolato (chocolate) or fragola (strawberry) and arnacia rosso (red orange, or blood orange)

-Window conversations
I can talk to people on the street through my second story window. People can tell me they have arrived at my apartment through my window. I love Italy.
-Making pasta from scratch
SOOOOOOOOOOOO good, and very very fun. At my cooking class last night we learned how to make pasta fresca. Yum Yum Yum. I fully plan on becoming a pasta maker when I come home, which I don't think my mother will like, because it was pretty messy, but totally worth it.
-The Birds
There are freaking pigeons everywhere. In the morning they all fly around with their screeching noises, which they do at night too. In the afternoon they hang out in the Campo and walk dangerously close to you. I have seen pigeons fight, I have seen brown pigeons, pigeons that are missing toes, and there is this big fat pigeon who hangs out on this ledge on the building across from me most nights.
Siena=walking city. Something that is 30 minutes walking distance is suddenly something that I consider fairly close. Also, every street is a hill. It may be long and sloping gradually, or short and quite steep. Anyway, I walk everywhere, and if I am not super toned by the time I get home I will be super mad.

Where do I even begin with Italian food? The pasta here is sooooo amazing. I haven't been disappointed with anything. The pasta is so amazing, the pizza, just sooo good. I could go on for hours about how amazing everything is, but in short, I want to eat myself to death here.
-Woken up by church bells
Church bells here don't ring like 5 times, they keep ringing and ringing. While yes, it is amazing, it is also quite loud. Not nice to be woken by them, but I guess it is better than an alarm. Since this only happens on Sundays, it's really not that big of a deal.
-Cinema Italiano
Saw Prince of Persia dubbed in Italian last night. All across Europe they have their movies with subtitles, except Italy. Italy has all their movies dubbed. So, the movie wasn't good, but I went for the experience, which was really cool. The theater was really old, and very awesome. Pretty sure they still had the movie on reels of film, and yes, overall very cool.
-Learning the Italian definition of a personal pizza
When you ask the waiter how big the pizzas are, and they say they are personal sized, they mean personal sized for a 200 lb Italian man. A personal pizza here is the same size as a pizza to feed four in the US. But, since the pizza is so much better you don't want to share anyway, even if you don't finish it.
-Alley with various animals
I have to walk up an alley everyday to school, and while it is perhaps the steepest hill in the city and I cannot breath by the time I reach the top, it is so quintessentially Italian because a) it's so cute and little with clothes hanging out the window and b) there are always just random animals hanging out there. To date I have see a black cat, a black and white cat, a grey tabby cat (who always is sleeping on a car) and a cute dog. I'm pretty sure they all belong to the same little old Italian lady too.
-Street Performers
Other street performers ain't got nothin' on Italy. Every day there is this guy who paints himself gold and stands on the street in a gold suit and "films" everything with a gold movie camera. This becomes less impressive when you see him setting up for his act and he's got his gold face, sans gold suit and top hat, but I digress. Street musicians are also way better here. I've seen people playing the accordion on the side of the streets=totally awesome. As we were eating on the Piazza in Arezzo a guy came up and just started playing beautiful guitar, making my lunch of Eggplant ravioli mega delicious.
-Anything to do with the Palio
For those of y'all who don't know about the Palio, it is a horse race between the 17 Contradas (districts) of Siena, which is run every July and August. Oh my gosh, Siena is all about the Palio. This is the only thing I have ever seen that makes men weep freely in the streets. They love their contradas so much, and I love how much Siena loves the Palio. On Sunday they chose the 10 Contradas racing in July, and it was of the so amazing, and this is just the beginning of the Palio.

Sunday, May 30, 2010
Italian TV
This post is dedicated completely to how awesome Italian TV is. In the past few days I've discovered TV. Basically there are channels in Italian, English, French, and German. They have South Park in German, which is scarier than scary. There is a channel that only shows old Italian movies, one that only shows what I assume are Spaghetti Westerns. There was a game show that was just people breaking Guinness World Records, a game show today where all these guys were wearing foam hand suits jumping on each other, and a channel that is always just some sort of musical program. Every once in a while there is some cool show on Siena or the Palio or something.  In short, so different from TV at home.

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