This week’s ADALife Bloggers think back on some good times they’ve had so far! We hear from Elysia Hempel, Rose Shue, and Jack Wagner!
Elysia Hempel, Furman University
This past Tuesday evening, ADA students celebrated Halloween at the villa by dressing up in elaborate costumes and trick or treating the offices! Students enjoyed eating candy while watching Halloween movies and enjoying each others company. The day after Halloween was a national holiday, so students spent most of their time rehearsing for performances like the upcoming cabaret on November 16, and studying for various classes, quizzes, tests or midterms!
FUN FACT- Did you know that the movie title “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” was named “É Il Grande Cocomero, Charlie Brown” when translated into Italian? When directly translated back into English, it’s named, “It’s the great watermelon, Charlie Brown.” What a twist that would have put on the movie…
Rose Shue, Furman University
As of today, we have exactly one month left here in Italy. I am already beginning to think about how difficult it is going to be leave this beautiful place and about all of the wonderful memories I’ll take with me when I go! For this blog, I want to share one of the many special moments that come to mind when I think back on the past two months.
One of our first weekends in Italy, we took a trip to Cinque Terre. As we climbed the steps out of the train station, we were greeted with the widest expanse of ocean I’ve ever seen. I felt as though I was standing before a giant slice of the earth: the turquoise water stretched in a perfect arc across the horizon, a perfect crease separating the sea from the sky.
I know now what it means to be breathless. I stood looking out over the ocean with my insides tumbling over themselves and felt the air leave me. I’m not usually a crier but I found a corner of the wall to lean against and cried, not out of sadness or joy but out of an overwhelming sense of the scope of this world. Watching the water tumble over two rocks below me, I felt all at once the magnitude of knowing that somehow hurt and grace fall over each other and make the world what it is– and that I am glad to be a part of that journey.
The next day, we visited one of the other cities, Monterosso. I don’t think I’ve ever seen water such a perfect color! We walked along the shore and popped into a coffee shop, then went souvenir hunting.
As we made our way through the city, we noticed people on a path near the end of one of the surrounding hills. We decided to investigate and eventually discovered a trail leading from Monterosso to Vernazza (the next of the five cities.) It sounded like a good adventure, so we pulled our backpacks on tighter and headed up!
By the time we reached the top of the hill (mountain?) our legs were shaking from all of the climbing. The hike took an hour and half, but every step brought a new gorgeous view. When we arrived in Vernazza, we found a place to enjoy some of Cinque Terre’s famous pesto sauce (with delicious pasta, of course) and rest our legs. We had just enough time to dip our feet in the water before we got on the train back to Arezzo.
Now, almost two months later, I’m still clinging onto that moment when I first looked across the ocean and inhaled the beauty of it all: bright and giddy at the wonder of this world. I know that feeling will stay with me even when I return to the United States.
Jack Wagner, Furman University
Since it’s absolutely whack that I only have 700 hours left here in beautiful Arezzo, I decided to make a list of things I’m going to miss when I have to say goodbye to my Italian semester…
Wine. Trying the local wine wherever I’ve travelled will definitely be a dearly missed experience. This semester has taught me how important meals (and in turn wine) are to certain societies. I want to try hard to incorporate this into my normal rat-race life back in the States. But it will be sorely missed as I won’t be able to walk down town and have some local Tuscan wine every day soon.
History. As a total History geek, getting the chance to live around and visit so many great places of history has been such an incredible experience. Since the United States is such a young country, we don’t really have the opportunity to experience hundred and thousand year old cities or buildings.
Accademia. I had some friends visit this weekend and there were in absolute awe of what a beautiful place the Accademia is. It’s so easy to get complacent in a place and forget about the beauty surrounding you. From the breath-taking view and the Villa itself, I’ll definitely miss living in such a surreal place.
Cooking. One of the only things that make Mondays (and really everyday) bearable is the food at the Mensa. I’ve have not left one meal that I thought, “you know what, they tried, but it was alright.” Honestly, everything the amazing Mensa cooks whip-up is fantastic. Not only that, but they are so funny and make meals a hoot.
Kindred spirits. I know, this sounds really cliché, but to live in a community of other artists exploring more deeply what their personal art is, is truly inspiring. While going into this semester I thought being around theater majors was going to be too much to handle, I’ve been (pleasantly) surprised at the impact they’ve had on me. They’ve shown me how to passionately pursue your personal art to the maximum; whether or not others understand.