Finishing week 1 in Siena

Today marks day 7 here, and what a week it’s been… The first few days were all-Palio-all-the-time, and the next couple of days seemed like weaning off of the big race (although there was a freaking parade last night at midnight, two days after?!) as things start slowly approaching normal here in Siena.

What’s really frightening, though, is the onslaught of “normalcy” that starts after this weekend.Beginning Monday, I start four weeks of an Italian language immersion program. I’ll spend four hours every morning burying myself in Italian classes, then coming “home” to my apartment and getting some work done. Yes, even on this amazing adventure, I still have a few hours of work that I’ll do most days, between teaching, grading, and consulting.

I have to admit, I’m really anxious about the classes. I’m technically starting in week 2 of the program, as they do the “absolute beginner” week every other week, and I didn’t want to give up my Palio week to classes. I’m feeling intimidated because I’m not entirely sure that I’m to the point in my Italian proficiency that I should be. But, there’s not much to be done about it now, so I just have to hope for the best and be prepared to study my ass off to catch up, if necessary.

Next week is also when I’ll dig into more of a local inhabitant vibe. This past week I’ve been kind of in vacation mode, and have been enjoying the sights, the sounds, and especially the food that Siena has to offer… but I certainly can’t do as much of this ongoing, as I can’t afford to have a meal at a restaurant every day. I have, however, gotten a head start on preparing for that.

Let me tell you, grocery stores here are CHEAP (for many things). Buying packaged pasta, bread, cereal, milk, juice, etc. has been easy and inexpensive. Wine is insanely cheap (Three Buck Chuck has nothing on Italian grocery stores) when you avoid wine stores marketed at tourists. And best of all, the big supermarket in town is practically next door to the language school, so it’ll be easy to grab the day’s lunch and dinner walking home from class.

The Internet in my apartment isn’t working, so I’m stealing WiFi from the cafe below. However, my espresso cup is empty — despite having a double — so I’m going to cut this short and go get started with my day.

Augurami buona fortuna!

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