Milan treasures

August 5, 2019

We typically fly in and out of Milan when we visit Italy, because there are direct flights from both JFK and Miami. The return flight, however, is early in the morning, which means we always have to spend at least our final evening in Milan.

The good thing about this, however, is that it has allowed us to make friends and find favorite places. And that was particularly helpful to me on my final night in Italy after my summer adventure.

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Mission accomplished: Siena

August 5, 2019

When I first planned this trip to Siena, I had two main goals in mind: kickstart my learning of Italian, and experience living in Tuscany in a way that previous visits never allowed.

I accomplished both of those things, and so much more, in my five weeks there.

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Dogs of Siena

August 4, 2019

Okay, so this is silly, and admittedly a little bit creepy… but I’ve been delighted by how dog friendly Siena is. Every day, I’ve seen people walking their dogs around town, even taking them into stores and cafes with them.

So naturally, I started sneaking photos.

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The importance of a good teacher

August 3, 2019

Having now wrapped up my four week program at Scuola Leonardo di Vinci, I have a few parting thoughts about the experience.

First and foremost, you have an extraordinary instructor working with your team, and she’s inspired me to be a better instructor when I get home. Read the rest of this entry »


Drago museum

July 31, 2019

One particularly memorable part of this five-week adventure in Siena was my private tour of the museum of the Contrada del Drago, which was actually one of the first things I did in town… but somehow I haven’t blogged about it yet.

It was awesome, in the most pure sense of the word.

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Four weeks later…

July 27, 2019

I woke up today to a startling realization: I’ve lived in Siena for four weeks, as of yesterday. And even more startling: this is my final Sunday evening here.

I’m already starting to get a little teary just thinking about it.

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Contrada fountains

July 25, 2019

I’ve mentioned the seventeen contrade of Siena before, but just in case: these are neighborhoods within the city, but the people of Siena are tied to the contrada of their birth, and have an extended family in the contrada regardless of where they live. Well, each year the contrada baptizes new members who were born into the contrada since the previous year’s baptisms, or who as adults have chosen to join the contrada. They do this in an outdoor fountain, and every contrada has its own designated one.

Over the past week, I set out with a friend from school to find all seventeen fountains. We succeeded, and saw damned near the whole city in the process… and it almost killed me.

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Routines, and the need to sometimes break them

July 22, 2019

I’m now starting week 4 of 5 here. This means that I’ve had one week of vacation and two weeks of class, and am over the halfway mark in this adventure.

On the one hand, this is incredible, because it’s by far the longest trip that I’ve ever taken. But on the other, it feels like I’ve only just arrived, and I have so little time left. I’m finally starting to build routines, damn it!

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Grocery shopping in Siena

July 20, 2019

One of the biggest changes in this 5-week trip in one place, versus previous week-long trips spanning multiple places, is that I have to actually buy groceries and make food. (I certainly can’t afford to eat every meal at restaurants for more than a month.)

I knew this coming in, and in fact made a trip to the grocery store as one of my first excursions in town. And yet, despite having gone several times, I still find myself amazed every visit.

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Netflix movies in Italian

July 15, 2019

I’ve been worrying that I haven’t been getting enough true immersion in Italian here. A few hours of class in the morning, sure, but then I’ve been spending most afternoons and evenings in my apartment, working (in English).

How fantastic, then, that I’ve discovered that Netflix’s collection of American movies and television shows in Italian is far bigger than I realized!

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