Ciao! I hope this post finds you warmer than I am! It's now week three in Siena and I'm already needing warm clothes. This past Friday the weather took a drastic plunge, going from the 80s to the 60s and 50s in mere hours. It's amazing what a good hard rain can do!
Week two of our language intensive classes was, appropriately, more difficult than the first, but it was easier in many ways as well. Various skills have been mastered (for instance, my bus route, the tricky lock on the front door, etc) so there is less stress in my non-academic life and thus, more room in my brain to focus on the Italian itself. Throughout the week we attended presentations of all the other classes (which begin this coming Monday) to give us a better idea of what each one will be like. I am still set on my choices of creative writing and an education and linguistics course, but there were plenty of other choices that tempted me to change my mind!
But the highlight of last week was definitely my return to Sansepolcro this weekend. Classes end at 12 on Fridays, so I caught a 12:30 bus from Siena to Arezzo and then another from Arezzo to Sansepolcro. I got most of my homework done in the first 45 minutes of the bus trip and arrived in Arezzo around 1:50. After buying tickets (more than I meant to - I'm set for the next three or four trips!), I ran over to a nearby bar and bought an amazing chocolate ice cream bar (double chocolate to be precise) and then went over to the bus stop to wait for the bus. On the ride over to Sansepolcro I met a small group of Irish ladies traveling together, and get this - they were from Cork (which I had the pleasure of visiting last summer)! We had fun chit-chatting about Ireland and Italy together as the bus careened through the hills around hairpin turns and near many a perilous edge.
Arriving in Sansepolcro again felt like coming home to an old friend. I stepped off the bus, said goodbye to the Irish ladies and then took off for Sara and Patrizio's house with a skip in my step. It only takes five minutes or so to get there, so before long I was walking up to the house, looking for signs of life. I could tell it must be naptime because the whole place had a sense of quiet stillness about it, but as I walked through the gate I heard someone shifting things around in the garage. I called out "Ciao!" and was happily greeted with a "Ciao Bekah!" from Patrizio which was followed by a big hug.
We ran upstairs and found Sara in the living room with Veronica - Sara gave me a big bear hug and Veronica flashed a radiant smile at me. It was so funny ... Sara and I kept giggling like little girls because we were so excited to be together again! That afternoon it poured and poured, bringing in the long awaited cold, but inside we were all glowing - it felt so good to be back with them again!
Leonardo and Ginevra napped a while longer, so that gave me plenty of time to cuddle Veronica and catch Sara and Patrizio up on everything Siena (and them plenty of time to catch me up on the latest developments at home - like Veronica's newest dental additions and Leonardo's first week of school). After another hour or so Ginevra woke up from her nap and there I was. Her immediate reaction was completely uncharacteristic - silence. She just stared at me with those big brown eyes and looked around like she wasn't sure what she was supposed to do. It was so cute! But before long she was in my arms again, then pulling me around the house by my pinkie finger, pointing to things and talking in Ginevra-ese. It was "Battah" this and "Battah" that, and if I ever when out of eyesight, she immediately called out for me to make sure I hadn't disappeared again.
When Leonardo woke up he sneaked out to the living room doors and said, "How are you!" (note the punctuation there - it was not a question!). Then he hid and I had to go tackle him, and then, naturally, give him lots and lots of kisses (which, I am happy to report, were affectionately returned). We had a very sweet afternoon and evening together, and then that night Patrizio made us some killer pasta con pesto. It was magnifico ...
The rest of the weekend was really relaxed. It was fun to play with the kids again, talk with Sara, try to speak Italian with Patrizio, and walk around Sansepolcro again. Saturday I woke up around 6:30 (without an alarm! It's crazy ... my body just naturally wakes up early now) and got to feed Veronica her morning bottle. I love those quiet moments with her. Very sweet.
On Sunday Patrizio participated in a race in Citta di Castello - and came in 3rd! Then as we watched the award ceremony it began to pour again ... and I do mean POUR. We ran back to the car (with Sara, Leonardo and I sharing my very small umbrella) and took off for Sansepolcro and the delicious lunch waiting for us at Sara's parents' house. We arrived wet and hungry but happy to be there. Then after lunch it was time for me to head back to Arezzo to catch my bus back to Siena, so Sara, Patrizio and I all said "ciao for now!" and took off for the station.
I am planning to go back and see them again this weekend, but it was still sad to say goodbye! This week has been a bit long because it's our third week of language intensive classes, but I am still enjoying it very much. Next week will be fun though because all our new classes start - I can't wait, especially for the creative writing class.
Got to run - the school's closing soon and I need to gather my effects :) I tried to post pictures but blogger isn't behaving, but you should be able to view them on my picasa site - and some new videos of a couple of the kids too!
Ciao for now - love and baci.