Half Way Gone (14 July 2010)

2 ½ weeks left. I can’t believe I’m half way through. It doesn’t feel like it’s been that long, but at the same time, it feels like we’ve been here forever! I haven’t really felt that homesickness feeling that some people have. I do miss my family, of course. The time difference really sucks with being able to call them, but I’ve really loved being here. Right now I’m sitting in my apartment with our window and shutters wide open. You can smell different dinners being cooked from down the street. There’s a couple people that sit in their doorways around our apartment and they just talk. There’s a small town feel here that you don’t get in most places in the states. I can walk down the street and smell everything. Food cooking. Fresh laundry hanging out to dry. Flowers. You can smell flowers everywhere. Our elderly neighbor does wood work out of his garage. I can smell the wood cutting.

The shop owners are all so very nice! They talk to us and a lot of them will give us discounts if we tell them that we’re from the local Italian school. My buddy Scott has become a sort of man about town around here. He knows almost all the shop keepers, I’m sure! But they’re all so welcoming to us. It’s pretty amazing.

I could go on and on about the view we have. It’s like nothing I think I’ve ever really seen. There are miles and miles of vineyards. Grape vineyards and olive vineyards. Wheat fields too. You can tell which ones are which even from a distance. In the background, the mountains fill the horizon with a blue-gray brilliance. They softly disappear into the sky. There are two lakes that can be seen from our side of the city. The sun glistens off of the water. This place is truly enchanting. Even the cities are too, in their own right.

There’s so much history here. There’s so much to learn. Bartlett spent 4 months living in Rome doing research. I couldn’t imagine wanting to leave after that. Ellie asked me today if I had the chance to change my classes that I’m taking here, if I would. It’s funny because I thought about it today as we were melting in the classroom. My answer is pretty simple really. I paid for this trip not as a vacation. I paid for this trip to learn. Who better to learn from then the walking encyclopedia? =P Sure, Bartlett can get boring at times and his power points can be grueling, but honestly, I wouldn’t change my classes. I feel like I’m actually learning something. I’m actually going to take home knowledge. There’s so much to learn and we’ve barely scratched the surface. I want to learn more.

Assisi was great. It was slow and easy going. The city is built a lot like Monte is. It’s on a big hill with city walls. We saw a couple churches before lunch and then had a 2-hour lunch! This is unheard of with Bartlett. It was great. The last of the afternoon was spent getting a tour of the Church of Saint Francis with a friar as our guide. It was pretty cool. We saw relics of Saint Francis and Saint Clare, which were kind of creepy. If there’s one thing that I haven’t quite grasped with the Catholic Church, it’s the need for saints and relics. It will really continue to be foreign to me. As will their idea of the Trinity. Oh well, I am here to learn about how Christianity started. Where better to do it?

That’s all for now. Tomorrow’s Pisa.



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