Warm Tuscan Sunsets, Warm Tuscan People
“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” ~Freya Stark
This placeis finally beginning to feel like home. I started this semester incredibly ungrounded, as I always do when I come to a new place; I begin my journey with a blank slate to the point where I feel like the quintessential wanderer, a traveler without any sense of direction. However, after a month and a half in Siena, I am learning its ins and outs, its curves and edges. Little, seemingly irrelevant aspects of the city now bring me comfort, like passing the dried fruit store on my way to the Piazza del Campo and waving hello to the Russian woman that works there, or my host family’s cat, Trotti, jumping out of my window onto the rooftop, or making my lunch at the school while talking and laughing with my friends, or seeing Sienese residents from my yoga class on the street and greeting each other with a friendly smile. Warm Tuscan sunsets, warm Tuscan people.
The past two weekends in a row, I have gone to two graduation parties held at La Birreria Bar in the Piazza del Campo. I met both of the graduating individuals through mutual friends, and came to each of the parties knowing very few people in attendance. However, the environment was positive and open, and I felt that I had an unspoken social permission to approach anyone in the room and to strike up a conversation. After just a couple of hours, I was dancing, laughing, joking, and singing with students that I had just met that night. It felt comfortable, natural, and genuine in a way that would be difficult to cultivate in such a short amount of time in a similar environment in the United States. This morning, while walking through the Sienese streets, I ran into a few people that I had met at one of the parties, and we greeted each other as if we were old friends. The warm, inviting atmosphere and the love for life that is rampant in this city, that emanates from the people and from the culture, is something that I will never forget about this place.
I will be back in Siena someday. I am not sure when, or in what context, or if I will ever again see the people that have touched me here so profoundly, but I have left pieces of myself scattered all over this city, and I intend to someday uncover and re-discover them.
Lilia Gaufberg - Liberal Arts - Spring 2015