Samantha Williams: Eagle in Italy
Follow rising sophomore Samantha Williams’ study abroad experience this summer as she leaves for a five week trip to Montepulciano, Italy. The Lady Eagle will blog about her experiences here on a weekly basis. Below is her first installment as she embarks on her trip.
It has been over two weeks since I returned from Italy. The delay of my last blog is proof my return date of August 2nd was the epitome of bittersweet. I was ecstatic to get home, yet I knew I was leaving the place that had blessed me immensely for five weeks; a place that helped build my character and taught me a lot about our American culture and the culture of Italy.
I learned a lot about myself and our culture by experiencing a completely different lifestyle. Looking back, I am still intrigued by how similar people are, but yet SO different. Everyone has emotions, needs, and wants but all three things have their own distinctions throughout cultures. In the fast paced life of a college athlete it took a while to let myself settle down into the slower paced Italian way of life. Italians seemed to go with the flow a lot more than we do. I would describe it as ‘nonchalant’. Siesta was everyday between 1pm -3pm. However, if they wanted to extend that to 3:30 or 4 pm it was A-ok. Something that simple made a huge difference. I would walk all the way down the hill just in time to find the local grocery store with a sign saying ‘chiuso’ (closed). The first time I did that, I was really upset, but every time after that I just tried to laugh it off. I’m sure the owner just wanted to get some extra snoozing in.
I had to get used to several things when I arrived back in America, for instance having a full wardrobe. I lived out of suitcase for five weeks. In the morning it took me less than ten seconds to decide what to wear. With so many choices now I have a hard time deciding what to mix and match. So for the past two weeks it has become a morning routine to just stand and stare at my closet for about five minutes. Living out of a suitcase wasn’t so bad because I like to keep things on the simple side and not have the pressure of picking out the days perfect outfit (girls understand this).
After the trip I feel like I am more of a well-rounded person. It is a beautiful thing to experience what I did. I got to live on my own and fend for myself in a completely new environment. That is bound to make one grow up and learn at least a tiny bit. I was excited to get back to Statesboro. I missed the college town and its people. I’m excited for the upcoming season. I can’t wait to get to know all the new faces (6 freshmen and 1 transfer). I’m expecting big things to happen this year athletically and academically.
I want to thank everyone who took the time to read this blog. I have enjoyed this opportunity to write my first blog. GO EAGLES!
Train rides are absolutely wretched. Everyone usually comes back with grisly stories of their train experience. A majority of the time it is includes inescapable heat, lack of sleep, dreadful smells, and Italian creepers; all mixed into one. I have been pretty lucky thus far but my luck ran out on my weekend trip to Sorrento. I guess the price was high for the most incredible weekend of my life.
I prefer to write little about my field trips to Sienna and Orvieto because they seem trivial compared to the weekend in Sorrento. I will talk briefly about Orvietto. It is a smaller town famous for its underground Etruscan caves. They are under the entire city! We got to tour a couple. It was outstanding. The intelligence of humans that long ago was really awe-inspiring. It was also relieving to tour something other than a church. No offense to churches.
From Orvietto we left for Sorrento. After the survival of the awful train ride we eventually made it to the hostel. Actually, I can’t even call it a hostel. It is more like a dance club and hotel mixed into one. We did not spend much time there however except to sleep but it boosts my self-esteem when I tell people that is where I stayed.
While in Sorrento I did the famous hike up Mt. Vesuvius (an Italian volcano), had remarkable food, faked being rich on a private beach (my friend was staying in a really nice hotel), and took an all day boat tour around the Bay of Naples. What made it even better was that I was with the best travel group. It was seven of us (2 guys, 5 girls). The guys took on the role of the protectors (from overly-doting Italian men). The five of us girls had a great time. We all wanted to do the same stuff. When something didn’t go our way we were able to laugh about it. We just enjoyed each other’s company by being goofy all weekend. I almost felt like I was back in the seventh grade riding the school bus home. We sang songs, did little dances, and got on everyone’s nerves.
The land around Mt. Vesuvius was rugged. It was not until you got to the top of the volcano that you got a miraculous view. The Bay of Naples and the Sorrento area was huge! The ocean was in sight on the cloudless day. The seven of us were all over the place climbing on the solid lava. My mom would probably have shaken her finger at me, but it was really fun all the same.
Saturday was unbelievable! My group took an all day boat tour on a small boat. Our skipper was so awesome (sorry for my lame adjectives). He took us around the coast of Sorrento before making our way around the island of Capri. He got in the water with us to swim in coves, grottos, and a waterfall. The grottos were the best part of our water fun. A grotto is basically a natural tunnel through land. The water was bright clue and clear. I could see the bottom of the floor a hundred feet below me. This made for great snorkeling. Although I never got to step foot on the island of Capri, we went around it, through it, and under it. The whole area and the entire day was gorgeous. I cannot even describe it. I sat at the front of the boat with the wind blowing in my face trying to soak it all in. I decided I could stay in that moment for the rest of my life.
Unfortunately all good things must come to end. We are wrapping up our classes this week. I have a lot of studying ahead of me to prepare for my finals. I only wish it were all fun and games.
'Til next time,
- Category: Women's Basketball
- Published on Wednesday, 19 August 2009 13:03