Alia in Italia!
Hi family and friends,
Let’s pretend this isn’t my first blog post in 3 weeks. But I honestly have to say that the first half of December was nothing special, I was just finishing up classes and hanging out. But from December 19-24 I was in Italy and then of course life got more interesting!
And now that I said nothing interesting happened in the first half of December…there were a couple singing gigs. But this is natural because Christmas always means singing for me. The 13th and 14th of December I participated in Christmas choir concerts with my church in Nice. We sang 12 traditional Christmas carols and invited people from within the church as well as the community. It was a great time! Then Sunday the 15th I sang a duet with my friend Jill who is a missionary here in Nice and is a formally trained opera singer! You can see the performance below:
Back to Italy. On the 19th I traveled to Torino by train with 2 of my fellow students who are Italians from Torino. It took a lot of the burden off of me because I don’t have too much experience with trains, and I don’t speak Italian. My first day in Torino I ate….pasta. And pizza. Pasta for lunch, pizza for dinner. It was fabulous and I also got to see the 3 biggest squares (the Italian word piazza is way better) – Vittorio (the biggest in Europe!), San Carlo and Castello. It was also raining, which eventually turned into snow! I was very excited to see snow because for me, winter has always meant snow. Here is a picture with me and my friends Stefano and Paolo in Piazza Vittorio.
The second day in Torino I did not see snow, but more rain. I met some friends of my friend Stefano who spoke English pretty well so that was exciting! I also went to the Egyptian museum which is only second largest to the museum in Cairo! I also experienced an Italian jukebox firsthand! (as pictured below)
Day 3 I took the train to Milan with my friends Thomas and Clara. Before I heard my Italian friends here talk about Milan, the name was really just a foreign, mystical name and I no idea what the city was like. The Duomo (cathedral) is absolutely beautiful, especially the façade on the outside (see below). There are lots and lots of shops including lots of luxury shops, and of course there was a bunch of people there the weekend before Christmas. We also saw the Castle Sforzeco…that Victoria Beckham wanted to buy. We also saw another area of Milan with the Navigli (manmade waterways) which is a picturesque area that I would love to see in the summertime (it was raining when we were in Milan as well). And naturally over the course of the day we had pizza and authentic Italian coffee. I ended the day by seeing my friend Andrea perform – he lives just outside of Milan. He gave a vocal jazz concert that was absolutely incredible.
Day 4, I returned to Torino to see the Torino Football Club take on Chievo. I was with my friend Stefano, his friend Stefano, brother Federico and cousin Annalisa in the section of the stadium with the most engaged and excited fans. All of the cheering worked because Torino won by a little bit of a landslide, 4-1. That night I saw more of the piazzas of Torino with my friend Thomas; Torino is really beautiful at night! I also ate delicious gelato.
Day 5 was my last real day in Torino. I wandered around the city some more with my friends Fabio, Enrico and Paolo, including going to the Caffè Baratti & Milano which is a fancy fancy café (photographic evidence below). I also went to the museum of cinema, located inside the city’s most well-known landmark, the Mole Antonelliana. Then I took the elevator alone to the panoramic view at the top. I highlight ALONE because there is a superstition that if a student takes the elevator to the top they will never finish their studies, so none of my Italian friends came with. I, however tested fate, because why not? That night I met a lot of friends of my friends at a welcome home party for one of their friends who was studying abroad in Maastricht this semester. It’s always interesting to say to someone at their own party, Hi you don’t know me. And oh, I’m American. I was switching between English and French a lot that night.
Day 6, I left my friend Paolo’s house at 8am and did not get back to my dorm room until 2:30pm. 4 trains, a tram and a bus. And it was raining again. A few hours later I hopped in my friend Marie’s car to celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with her family just outside of Grasse. Santa even brought me chocolate! I was so blessed by her family’s hospitality and welcoming me as their own daughter for two nights. I even sang some Christmas carols for them while playing Marie’s guitar, because again, Christmas for me is always associated with music. Here is a picture of most of us at Christmas! From left to right: Pierre, me, Marie, Camille (son of sister Sarah who isn’t pictured), Samuel and Pascale.
Right now I’m studying, memorizing, studying for exams in January. But I will still trying to pack as many fun experiences into January as I can :)