Thoughts upon Repatriation

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I write now a little less than a month before my flight home. It’s at this point in my stay that, when spending time with our now close-knit group of friends, someone occasionally mentions that we have less than four weeks together before we all part ways. Then someone else tells that person to shut up. At this point, I’m familiar with Tuscany. But in that familiarity I find new things to appreciate, as my Italian and understanding of the …

Translating Sustainability

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  When I first started my Sustainability program at the Siena School, I was told that, when talking to Italians, saying that I just studied ‘sustainability’ would not be sufficient. Sostenibilita in Italian is much less a coherent concept than it is in English, which is saying something. Usually I introduce it as agricultura sostenibile, but even that still gets some confused looks (not as confused, however, as when I say I major in Black Studies). That said, what we might call …

Eat to Live, Live to Eat

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“Do you eat to live, or live to eat?” I was asked by Amy, an American ‘casualty’ of her 1970s Study Abroad program that I mentioned in a previous post. Amy currently lives with her husband, an Italian, at La Comune di Bagnaia, a commune about 30 minutes outside of Siena where I stayed for two weeks as part of my Sustainability program at the Siena School. This question was one of many that swam through my head during my stay …

Some Thoughts on Connectivity and Aloneness

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During the first three weeks here in Siena, the curriculum was centered around an intensive Italian language course on which we spent three hours a day, usually from 10 am-1 pm. In the afternoons, we’d alternate between viewing Italian films, exploring the city of Siena with our encyclopedic tour guide-cum-teacher Roberto, or having introductory classes to our courses for the rest of the Fall. One of these afternoons was spent learning about the Palio, Siena’s annual horse race in which …

Uncharted Territory

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CW: Anxiety On September 1st, 2016, I sat at a long dinner table at Fattoria San Donato, a family run vineyard/”agriturismo” on the rural outskirts of San Gimignano, Italy, rapidly bouncing my leg up and down while playing Titus Andronicus loudly in my head, as I often do when I feel anxious. It was my first dinner with the people with whom I was about to spend the next semester: six American students and three Greek students, as well as …