Postcards from Prato

Samantha Higgins

It was another amazing week here in in Prato. I still can’t believe just how nice everyone is, how beautiful everything is, or that I am actually here.

Photo By Samantha Higgins
Photo By Samantha Higgins

There is so much to do. I realized we had been here for a month, and it made me miss everything here already. We have a few months left, but just knowing that we are one month down, and that it went so quickly, makes me so sad.

We had our regular Monday soccer this week- no rain! With the dinner that follows at one of the restaurants- Francescaioli, which just so happens to be in the same building that UNH just purchased to be the new campus building starting next semester. So anyone who plans to come will be there from now on!

I love the dinners after soccer, I don’t even play soccer; but I just go to watch the game and then go to the dinner because it’s so nice to see all of us together. Everyone doesn’t go, but a huge group does and I think it’s a great way to build our relationships with the other students; cheering them on then getting dinner afterwards.

Tuesday was supposed to be the start of the conversation exchange, but they had to cancel it. This is one of the programs I am most excited about here. It is a weekly meeting where the Prato students are paired up with various Italians who have signed up and they spend a half hour talking in Italian and a half hour talking in English so that both people can practice their language skills. I really need this because when it comes to language learning it is pretty much in one ear and out the other, no matter what I do; I just do not retain it at all. Hopefully this will be able to start up next week because a lot of us are looking forward to it.

Another thing that began this week was a volunteering program at a local school. The Prato students were able to sign up to go to this school once a week, in groups or pairs, to teach English. So everyone who signed up went to see the school and talk to the woman in charge. The different groups get to do presentations on their major or hobbies to not only teach the students English skills but also more about what America is like.

We also had another movie night, which was better than the last because it wasn’t nearly as hard to understand what was happening. I actually enjoyed it this week. Even though you have to read the subtitles and that always drives me crazy, it wasn’t bad and I think it’s starting to grow on me.

I also experienced a new restaurant that was recently added to our meal plans. The meal plan here is so great you just hand the restaurant a voucher and get to eat, no money is exchanged and you always eat enough- sometimes even too much.

This new place is just so nice! The food was a smaller portion than other places, but at the end of the meal you realize that it was absolutely perfect- and it tasted just that! They also have a lot of different desserts, such as the Italian favorite; pears in wine. I do not like pears, nor am I a fan of wine, but it was delicious!

The best part of the week was, by far, going to Pisa. I never realized just how much the tower truly leans! It was breathtaking! To see something that I have only ever seen in pictures and realize that I was actually there was crazy too. It was an amazing experience, and taking pictures with the tower was a lot of fun because it takes a true science when making sure you have the right light, the right angle, and the right position- it took a while.

All the shops there had such cute little souvenirs too, shirts with Snoopy holding the tower up, the Hulk knocking it down, and Tinker bell using her ‘magic;’ they are all very creative.

I think so far it was my favorite place, but now I am working on planning Spring Break- so we’ll see if it stays that way!