Friday, September 10, 2010

my favorite reading spot

This spot is one of my favorite places in Siena. It is just outside Porta San Marco on the south side of the city. There is a little playground that kids are always running around and benches that nonnas are sitting on, watching the kids play and chatting. Surrounding this area is a beautiful view of the Tuscan countryside. The valleys and hills around this area are filled with silvery olive trees that seem to almost shine in the sunlight. It is such a relaxing place to sit and do some thinking or to sit and read a book.
I have been coming here lately in the afternoons to do either of those things. I usually go with the intention of reading, but easily get distracted by the olive trees and the laughter of bambini.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Lots of fun things to look forward to

For the last while, we have been trying to figure out what exactly our plan is for the upcoming few months. While this plan is still being worked on, we have come to the conclusion that we will probably, most definitely be in Siena until the end of October. After that, we are hoping to spend some time in Germany before moving back to the states in December, sometime before Christmas.
So, being here through October gives us an extra month to do lots of fun things in Italy. Tonight we did some internet searching for events that might interest us, and found a lot to keep us busy!
Here's what we have coming up: (0r at least all of the things we found that we would like to do)
Alghero, Sardegna- September 17-20
Impruneta grape festival - September 26
Barcolana Regatta, Trieste - October 9-10
EuroChocolate festival, Perugia - October 16-17
Fiera Nazionale del Tartufo Bianco d'Alba - October 23-24

This next month and a half is going to go by way too quickly. I really can't believe that our time here is almost over!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Figs are delicious!

Figs are one of my favorite fruits. This is something that I have discovered only in the last few years. When I was working at Gratzi in Ann Arbor, we had a pizza one week on the menu that had fresh figs, ricotta, walnuts and honey. After having that pizza, I have been hooked on figs.

Lately, we have been seeing fresh figs at the fruit stands and in the markets. We bought some last week that were absolutely perfect. They were almost bursting out of their skins; they were so juicy and ripe. We ate some of them just plain, but for a few others I dressed up a little bit. The resulting dressing up was pretty high up there with some of the best things I have ever eaten.

I quartered the figs, placed them in a baking dish, put a tiny piece of gorgonzola on top, then a piece of prosciutto over the cheese. Then, it all got drizzled with balsamic and a little bit of honey. It all went into our little toaster oven to warm up, melt the cheese, and crisp up the prosciutto. It was pretty much anything you could ask for in a food. Sweet, juicy, salty, cheesy, and delicious!

We were going to make this again tonight, but by the time we decided to, all of the fruit stands were closed for the night and the grocery store was out of figs. I have all of the other ingredients here waiting for the perfect figs to be found again.

Friday, September 3, 2010

One year later and we are still here!

So I really meant to write this post yesterday because on September 2, 2009, we arrived in Siena on our year long (plus!) italian adventure. In some ways, it seems like the year went by at an incredible speed, but other ways, it seems like we have been here for quite awhile. Either way, this past year has been amazing in so many ways.
The first thing is, I am so proud of myself for actually doing this. Moving to Italy has been a dream of mine for the past 7 years. There were many times when I thought it would always remain a dream and never actually be more than that. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful husband who will support me and push me to follow my dreams, and be willing to move across an ocean with me. This year abroad has not always been easy. In the beginning, actually, it was pretty hard for me. I am so glad I stuck it out through the hard times and have come to a point where I really enjoy my life here.
So, now, this is where I am. I really like living here, and can't imagine leaving soon. I can't imagine not being able to go across the street for a gelato on my way home from work, or stopping at my favorite bar in the morning for an espresso and pastry, or laying in the piazza on a sunny day, or taking an evening passegiata.

la vita e' bella in italia, sempre.

These pictures are from our first night here a year ago.