My first official full day in Arezzo was filled with new foods, embracing a new culture, friends, and a dinner in the countryside that included an amazing view.
Our day began with an orientation where we learned about the city, how to act, and what cultural differences we might encounter in Arezzo. After our orientation, we got to see a glimpse of our service site. Our service project is painting rooms for a local shelter for children. My first thought when entering the shelter is it reminded me of an old church. There is a lot of old and gothic architecture within the building. The space is very dark, but the children who live there are full of bright and contagious energy. Our job is to brighten their space with murals and bright colors to make the space not as old and dark. The children who live at the shelter were so kind. Although there is a language barrier between us, a simple sharing of a smile is passed and you can feel the appreciation and excitement they have for us being there.
By the time we finished at the shelter, the group was extremely hungry. In Arezzo, you can smell down the street, the delicious foods being cooked in each different restaurant. We made our way to local pasta shop in town. Arezzo is known for their different types of meat so I had to get out of my comfort zone and try their local dish that was made with a wild boar. My verdict on the dish… AMAZING! The pasta was thick and delicious and the boar was nothing like I expected. All the foods that I have tried in Arezzo have been 10/10.
Although lunch was incredible, my favorite meal of the day was at dinner. For dinner, we traveled to our professor Kirk Duclaux’s beautiful home outside of Arezzo. His home sits on top of a hill that overlooks the Italian countryside. I was in awe of the beauty he has when he walks outside of his door every morning. The view made me wish I could wake up to that view every morning and enjoy a nice cup of coffee with it to enjoy the surrounding.
For dinner, we enjoyed a good old fashion American barbeque…with some Italian twists. Being out of the country for 2 weeks now I have been craving meals that I enjoy back home, one of them being a good burger. However, I did try some of the local sausage and an Italian pasta dish as a side. Fresh watermelon was also served, and for dessert, we had an Italian version of a s’more. In Arezzo Hershey bars and graham crackers are not commonly sold. Instead vanilla cookies and Nutella are used. I might be taking this substitution back with me to the states because it was incredible.
The night ended with some dodgeball, which gave me PTSD from playing it in middle school and the basketball game gotcha that showed me I can still (somewhat) shoot a basketball. The barbeque was such a wonderful time to enjoy good food and company. It also made me closer with new members of the PCS group. It allowed me to make deeper connections with people that I had not known prior to the trip.
The first day of Arezzo has already blown it out of the water so I am excited to see what other surprises and adventures await.