Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Sierra in Italy

Ciao Ragazzi! 

First let me start off with saying, If any of you know me, you know that going to Italy has always been important to me as I am an Italian American. Sadly, I can’t speak Italian and there are many things that have not been passed down by my family. Being able to come to Italy and study abroad has been such a wonderful opportunity for me! 
Of course it is always a bit stressful traveling to a new country on a different continent. I arrived with my father about a week earlier then my check in date. My biggest issue arriving here, and so far my only big issue, was that on the first night staying in Fiuggi, a very small and beautiful Italian town outside of Rome, I lost my Lloyd Dragon on the first night ….. (I’m sorry Dr. Muich!). I was not very happy, but at least I got a picture with him. Really, it wasn't as awful as it seemed, but I spent the next day soothing myself with my first gelato (It worked). 

Capri, Italy. The water is so blue. So beautiful there. 

Statue looking over the ruins of Pompeii 
Besides that, Everything else has been wonderful. Here is Firenze (Florence), I live with an Italian family, and it was probably one of the best choices I have ever made. They gave me such a warm welcome. Caterina, my host mommy, makes the best food I have had in Italy. She understands how much I love dolce (dessert). She is so warm, welcoming, and hilarious. She pushes me to learn and speak Italian, all while teaching me about all of the culture while I tell her about what it is like where I live (Which is not as exciting as Firenze of course). I also live with two other students which is very nice. One comes from Hawaii and the other from Taiwan! How Interesting! So I am also learning about their cultures as well! 

Sitting on the ancient steps in the Coliseum in Roma, Italia. 

Standing at the back side of the Ara Pacis
Yes, I have been eating as much food as I can. Mostly Gelato. If I hear any student comes to Italy and is on a diet, then we just can’t be friends. It’s impossible. I just can’t let it happen. But let me just say, sometimes I feel like I really was meant to be Italian. Why? I have a good example. Here in Italia, breakfast (La colazione) is usually sweet food. I always have sweet food for breakfast. I don’t care for bacon and eggs. Also … Nutella … Nutella everywhere … Is there any other place you can really call paradise? I think no. My sweet tooth is at a true paradise here.
Standing at the front side of the Ara Pacis! 

Selfie with The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli, in the Uffizi Gallery. I live 5 minutes from it. 
Besides the food, I’ve already traveled to Rome, Pisa, Pompeii, and Capri. I plan to see much more. It’s just so beautiful here, where ever I go. I’ve fallen in love with Capri. It’s so beautiful. The water is truly clear and a deep, rich blue. I got to swim in the water. Truly blessed. 
look at how beautiful this gelato is. Gelato -- 2.50euro, happiness -- priceless 

 First glass of wine in Italy, Right before I lost my dragon!
I live right beside the river here in Firenze, This is the gorgeous view from the bridge. 
It’s been so weird, yet so great, for me to all of a sudden stand in front of all of these important art pieces or historical Italian monuments that I would study in class in the United States. My freshman year at UNCG I took Dr. Muich’s course “Trojan War Narratives” (Great class, I recommend). Towards the end of the semester, I remember sitting in class learning about Augustus and the Ara Pacis (The Altar of Peace). Now here in Italy, I have already found myself standing in front of it, looking at it and walking up its steps. It’s so crazy! It had the same feeling when I saw the Coliseum, Statue of David, Pompeii, and all of the other places I’ve explored. 

My first Tiramisu in Italy, Not only did it look stunning, but it tasted stunning .. amazing 
If you consider coming to Italy, please do it. Not only is Nutella everywhere, but the people here are so kind and welcoming. At Lorenzo de Medici, I am required to learn Italian, and I always test my Italian when buying anything or talking to any Italian. They are so nice to someone who butchers their beautiful language. I have never been so happy with myself. I pushed myself so hard at UNCG, and now I get to be here and live like an Italian. I plan to see so much more .. (and buy more) in the next 2.5 months. I hope to come back to UNCG with more amazing stories to tell and more pictures to show. Right now all I can say is …. Io amo i gelati (i love gelato!) 

The side view of Michelangelo's David. You can see his rib cage! How flawless

Sierra Rufino
Lorenzo De Medici
Florence, Italy