song of the day: Oxygen - Willy Mason
I am in Italy. I am in Italy. I am in Italy! My days always begin with a run, in efforts to rid myself of the fantastically delicious yet unhealthy food Rita makes me. I may or may not venture into the city to explore an ancient city. They day may be hot, but it is relaxing. The bus ride home is always anticipated because I know when I walk in the door I am so much closer to eating dinner. Always after dinner we walk, again in hopes the food we previously ate does not kill us. I read, I go to sleep. The days are lovely. I love Italy. I am happy to be in love again with this fabulous country.
I love the country; I hate the mosquitoes. I love the cornfields; I hate the smelly road kill. I love the bus, but I hate the bus. I love the people you meet; I hate my lack of communication. I love the houses, oh I love the houses. Imagine a house tucked away in the hills, olive trees stretch for acres. The yellow stucco glimmers in the setting sun as the residents close their screens and shutters to prevent heat and mosquitoes. The vines crawl around the walls and roof and the gardens never looked more beautiful. I am currently living a Tuscan dream.
Sunday June twenty ninth has been a favorite. Attending church, whether or not I am able to understand everything, always makes me feel that much better. You know you are in the right place when you feel the same things you have or would feel at home. I attend a branch with five to ten attending members. They are so strong, grateful, helpful, and happy. Every member has their own story, and I am grateful to learn from them and their fede (faith).
This week marks a very important week in Sienese tradition. Wednesday is an event that brings out the pride of every individual. An event catered to the locals, not tourists, is something they call the Palio. I have been witnessing the intense preparations. Dirt from outside the city is brought to il Campo to create a dirt track for horses to run on. The city divides itself into seventeen contradas (or teams) and each contrada races one bareback horse and rider around the track in hopes of winning. The wining horse is then praised for quite some time until the next year brings a new victor. The locals wear bandanas and carry flags pompously to tell everyone whom they support. I support the porcupines, because this is whom my host family supports. I regret that I saw a porcupine as road kill and only imagine that to be an omen. The Palio only comes once a year, and my parents think me crazy for not wanting to stand in a mob of crazy Italians. I plan to watch the thirty-second race from a distance.
Photographs to come...