Yes, both the weather inside and outside was glorious this week. The mornings were spent in the most physically exhausting and rewarding movement class I have ever taken: Body Weathering. This class was taught by an actress/martial artist who developed the program. She was one of those tiny women who was incredibly ripped and could easily break you with one finger. We would start the class with breathing exercises and imagery, largely based in eastern techniques of the energy in your body being sent out into your surroundings and collected again in your body. From there, we start into about an hour and a half of movement going across the floor in all sorts of ways: walks, rolls, leaps... It feels like boot camp. We're not allowed to stop moving the entire time, so even between treks across the floor you have to just run/jump around in place. More than any other class, this truly pushed me beyond my limits, past the point of exhaustion, and I loved it! A large part of the class is connecting with the energy of the others in the room, and pulling each other along when you see someone else slowing down. It was fantastic, and after just 5 classes I can feel positive changes in my body and the way I move.
Also... Spring has finally come to Arezzo. Last week the weather was incredible, and warm enough to have class and eat meals outside. This has reemphasized yet again how unbelievably lucky I am to be where I am right now. It is almost impossible to feel bad when the sun is out and you're eating pasta and doing acrobatics in a field of daisies. That's entirely accurate by the way, not even exaggerating with the daisies.
I've been having a blast with the people here, and have made some very close friends that I know I will stay tight with after the program is over. Since I've spent two and a half years living in the palaces that are HPU dorms, I'm realizing that this is the first actual college-y living experience I've ever had. Our doors are always open and on our floor we're always talking to each other and hanging out in each other's rooms. I'm loving it. Our shenanigans culminated on Saturday night by streaking our field together at midnight to reign in Trevor's 21st birthday. If you've never done acrobatics naked in a daisy field under the stars with good friends... I highly recommend it. La vita è bella.
|Elena putting Jeremy in a giant bag. Shenanigans. Good stuff.|
So anyway, perhaps most importantly this past week... Mom and Pops came to visit! Most of the pictures from our brief but wonderful time together are on Mom's camera, but I do have a few to share. I met them in Florence on Friday evening. Before leaving Arezzo, my friends and I walked up our hill to the nearby wine factory where you can fill an empty container from what looks like a gas pump with ridiculously cheap but ridiculously delicious wine. I brought mine to Mom and Pops to welcome them, and we had a few glasses catching up in their hotel room. We then walked around and had a fabulous three course meal near Ponte Vecchio, and afterwards took them to Grom for the best Gelato in town.
|Elena and I at the wine factory. Check out the short sleeves! Spring is here!|
|Reunited and it feels so gooood. First night in Florence.|
I went back to Arezzo that night but met them Saturday morning at the train station. We explored the city for a while; our favorite surprising sight was an exhibition that I had never realized was there of some of the more bizarre bronze statues I've ever seen. It was more or less a battle scene, but the knights and horses were arranged in very strange positions and often had very strange expressions on their faces. I took a picture of the most bizarre one I could find, though they all were pretty outrageous.
|The cutest, mightiest travelers. Hope I look that good at that age.|
|Outside the Arezzo duomo.|
|Yep, it's just what it looks like.|
We then trekked to the villa where I live so I could show them around. I took them on the hike into the hills I took with friends last month, and though we didn't go as far this time it was mighty beautiful. On the way back we stopped at the grocery store for some wine, cheese, salami, bread, and oranges, which we ate from the roof of our teatrino. I'm so glad Mom and Pops got to see this view in person... My pictures are just unable to capture how spectacular of a sight it is to behold. We rested for a bit in the villa then went back to the roof to sip cappucini and watch the sun go down. We then walked into town and met my best friend here, Elena, for dinner.
The restaurant we had intended to eat at was full, so Elena suggested we eat at the place where she and some other students here have been taking a cooking class on weekends. This was one of the best meals I've had in Italy, and Pops proclaimed it as one of the best in his whole life. We all sampled different items and I can't wait to go back to this place again. We went to Sunflower afterwards for gelato, which is possibly the best in Arezzo.
On Sunday I went back to Florence, and finally went to the Uffizi! My favorite, hands-down, was the Botticelli room. I spent a great deal of time in front of both "Birth of Venus" and "Primavera" just staring. They took my breath away. The whole Uffizi was, of course, incredible, and we were so fried after spending a few hours there. I took them to our favorite Florence eatery (thanks again, Chris and Julia), "Yellow." This was my fourth time at this restaurant, and possibly the best experience yet. Everywhere Pops goes in Italy he insists on speaking Italian, and I must say he's great at it. The waitress we had (who was beautiful and we're hoping to marry her off to Paul one day when she's studying dance in New York next fall) loved Pops and gave us free Limoncello because he spoke such great Italian. It was wonderful.
|My favorite people in the world. :)|
I was sad to say goodbye to Mom and Pops, but it won't be too long now before we see each other again. I know they're having a fabulous time in Rome and will be in Venice later this week. They are fantastic travelers together and I'm so happy they get this trip to enjoy themselves and each other.
So, it's back to the grind for me. We're back to Commedia this week... but it's off to Rome this Thursday! We're going to learn the Tarantella from one of the dance teachers while we're there, but mostly it's just a trip to see Rome! I'm also hoping to hit Naples and Pompeii. I'm very excited.
I guess that's all! Ciao, Belli!
Love and miss you all