Thursday, April 29, 2004

Talking About the Internet at Sarah's School (by Steve)

SIENA (#47)

Yesterday I addressed the 4th year English students of Professor Medaglini.  I had two objectives. First, I wanted to have a very American style discussion about the Internet.  But in addition, I decided I was going to develop the conversation as an example of why English is so important to learn.  I am pretty sure that most of them got the first message.  Some of them might have understood the second. And I had a blast.

Before starting, I had written my name on the board.  As I was writing, I overheard them talking about the spelling and the pronunciation of ‘Stephen’.  “It’s just like Stephen King,” one of them said in Italian to the others.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Italian Liberation Day, 2004 (by Steve)

SIENA (#52)

Yesterday was the 25th of April, the 59th anniversary of the Liberation of Italy from German control in 1945. Liberation was one of the two central events in the formation of the modern state of Italy, along with the subsequent creation of the 2nd Republic abolishing the Monarchy. It used to provoke passionate debates about what exactly happened in 1945 and in the war’s aftermath and why. But with the passage of time perhaps and dramatic political and economic developments which transformed the world, these historical events seem to have lost some of their power. And so have the intense political debates they used to provoke. Yesterday the crowds were tiny and most of the leaders spoke and wrote about the European Union and the need to remember something, as if the danger of forgetting altogether had somehow become more frightening and important than agreeing on what was remembered. I suppose that is how a national myth is made.

Sarah Gets a New Look (by Steve)

SIENA (#46)

Sarah has been bugging us for days to get her hair cut. Once we were back in town from our vacation and settling down to our routine, we agreed. So last Thursday while I was out, I made an appointment at a place that Laura Ducci recommended. Then at 4:00 yesterday Doreen, Sarah and I walked in to the parrucchiere or hairdresser. One hour and 15 minutes later we all left, but only one of us was transformed.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

My Class Goes to Ostia! (by Sarah)

SIENA (#45)

This Tuesday, I went with my class on a field trip to Ostia. It was really exciting for my class because last year, they didn’t have any field trips. So it was a big deal and everyone was totally psyched. See pictures from Ostia here.

We met in the parking lot near school at 6:30 am. I had to wake up around 5 so I could get ready and then walk there. I was pretty tired. Our bus left pretty much on time, and we were off to Ostia! It took about four hours to get there, so it was a great time to talk to all my friends, and just relax. We spoke lots of English and Italian. I had my music with me so I was able to let a lot of kids listen and I got to hear more of their Italian music. It was really fun. We only made one stop at a gas station where there was also a bar, so everyone got off and went to the bathroom and got food. Francesco had been complaining the whole bus ride about how hungry he was. We asked him why he didn’t eat breakfast, but it turns out he ate two sandwiches right before he got on the bus!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

We're Back from Our Vacation (by Steve)

SIENA (#43)

So Passover is over and we’re back from our Easter vacation. It was a blast. In some ways it seems odd to be taking a vacation from our vacation. But it’s true: our routine in Siena is much more like life than vacation and Easter and Passover were a nice break. We managed a very nice balance of keeping our traditions but adjusting to accommodate travel in the land of pasta and bread. We also alternated between staying put and driving around, seeing friends and seeing sights, revisiting some old places and exploring some new ones.


Every Passover we recall how “this night is different from all other nights;” but this year our Passover was different from all other years as well. Take for example the preparation. Instead of the Kosher isle at Stop and Shop, we went “shopping” at the Synagogue of Siena for matzah and other items. Professor Lattes, the caretaker of the synagogue, managed to keep something like a small kosher section of a supermarket in a closet in the hall outside the main sanctuary. We just gave him a call, walked over, and he opened it up for us. There was Matzah, cakes, wine, cheese, and even “turkey salami” (which looked, smelled and tasted more like boiled ham than salami). Then, after picking what we wanted and paying him, we loaded up and walked home across the Piazza del Campo, up Via Di Cittá, by Quattro Cantoni and the Questura, and to our home in the Duomo of Siena. Imagine that!

Friday, April 16, 2004

Breakfast, Temple, Frescoes and Friends in Padova (by Sarah)

PADOVA (#44)

We woke up on Friday to another pleasant morning in the house of Giovanni and Giulianna.  After our all-day trip to Venice the day before, we had decided to take it easy, enjoy breakfast at their house, see the Synagogue in Padova and then the Capella Degli Scrovegni, and then meet Margherita and Benedetto for lunch. I absolutely love Giovanni and Giulianna's house. From the outside, it looks like a normal house. They also share the house with a neighbor. On the inside, it’s really modern. All the floors are really gorgeous, dark wood. They had three really nice bathrooms. Most of the walls were white and there were modern looking lamps, so everywhere was always bright. The railings up the stairs were metal and at the top there was a plant that grew and was winding down the railings. It was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. They had a lot of plants around too and the atmosphere was just really nice. I hope my house is exactly like theirs.

Orna and Annie back in the United States
The other really wonderful thing about their house was their dog, of course! Franz is a huge German Shepard, and as sweet as can be, He has the cutest face! He’s open to all visitors and likes to be petted. When you pet him, he kind of leans up against you. It’s so cute. Another great moment was when Giovanni was going to take Franz for a walk, and he said the magic word “Andiamo!” (“Let’s go!”) Franz got so excited and started kind of jumping around in a circle. It was so funny and so sweet! It was great to have Franz there, but it made us all miss our dog, Annie, back at home.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

My Class Trip to Verona (by Alex)

SIENA (#50)

This is an outline of my trip to Verona and each topic on the first level will eventually be linked to a story I wrote concerning the sub topics.

Monday, April 05, 2004

It's all about the Basketball (by Sarah)

SIENA (#42)

Saturday night began as a regular night on the town with all my friends from school. When I met them, they were all really excited for some reason. Turns out that before I met up with them, they were all at the big opening of a store. For the event, the store had a few of Siena's basketball players there to sign shirts and stuff. For my friend Chiara, this was the best day of her life, because she met her favorite player, David Vanterpool. The other favorite of my friends is David Anderson.
We started to walk around and suddenly we saw two heads that were much higher than everyone elses. It was Vanterpool and Anderson! We followed them for a little bit while my friends told me all about them. It was so funny, because there were about 20 other groups of kids along with us pointing and following them too! My friends told me that Vanterpool is actually American, so I really wanted to talk to him! At first they didn't like the idea, but they finally gave in, and we walked right over to the famous basketball players.

David Vanterpool was as sweet as can be! (And he was REALLY tall!) He warmed up right away after knowing that I was American too, and we chatted a bit about the U.S.A. He lives in Washington D.C. and came to Siena to play for the basketball team. The whole time we talked, my friends had gathered around and actually brought more friends over, so there was a little crowd around us. They stood there, trying to understand, and staring with huge eyes and wide open mouths. I knew that Chiara loved him, and she wanted a picture with him, so I asked him to pose with her for a picture, and someone took it with her cell phone! I could tell she was so happy!

Sunday, April 04, 2004

B'nai Amoona Macaroon Recipe (by Doreen)

SIENA (#41)

Ok, so you are looking for some recipes on this site?  Well, since Passover starts tomorrow night... [we're having 2 of my classmates (+ 1 husband) from Italian school, Tony D'Amico and his niece here for seder...Laura and Giulia can't come  -Angelo is in  Vietnam for fun --an ironic idea....and Carla from Pisa has friends here from England'll read about that later].... for now, how about my macaroon recipe.

2 egg whites 1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup sugar 2 cups coconut

Beat egg whites until stiff.
Add sugar slowly and beat until smooth.
Add lemon juice, then coconut slowly.
Drop by tablespoonful onto greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 300 for 30 minutes or until brown on edges.