Postcards from Prato

Anelia Marston

Slowly but surely, I’m getting back into the swing of things with classes. Last week, I started volunteering for my Italian class at a local school in Prato. Four days a week, I go to the school and help the students practice their English, while I attempt to use Italian to explain things to them. One day, I volunteer in a high school science class, called “Science in English.” I had to read a passage from their textbooks and then explain the certain scientific concept. Another day, I assist in a high school English class and another day, I help an afterschool English program for elementary students. It’s a lot of work and a little scary to be thrown into an Italian high school setting, but, in the end, it is a lot of fun. I have only been volunteering for a week, but I love it. I started making friends with some of the students, and, even though it is mandatory for my class that I go now, I think I will continue my volunteering until the end of the semester.

Anelia at the Leaning Tower of Pisa (Photo provided by Anelia Marston)
Anelia at the Leaning Tower of Pisa (Photo provided by Anelia Marston)

Another exciting thing that happened the past week was that my mom and grandma came to visit me! I was getting a very mild case of homesickness and seeing them made it a whole lot better. I stayed with them in their hotel in Florence for the weekend, and we made day trips to all over Italy. I wanted to show them how I was living my life for the past few months. On the first day I stayed with them, I took them to Venice because they also needed to cross off taking a gondola ride in Venice from their bucket list. It was a great day! We rode in the gondola (my grandma even made the gondola guy sing) and hung out in the Piazza San Marco for the day. That Saturday, we took a trip to Pisa and Lucca. This was my first time in Pisa and we all took the iconic tourist picture of holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

After Pisa, we hopped back on the train and headed out towards Lucca. I didn’t really know what to expect, but it turned out to be a really cool city. There is a medieval wall that surrounds the city and it is so thick that people can walk on it. Instead of walking on it, however, we rode in a horse-drawn carriage around the entire city. The next trip of the weekend was to Verona on that Sunday, which is my favorite city in Italy.  I was so happy to be back in the beautiful city. We went to Juliet’s house, and I even made my grandma climb to the top of this hill to be able to see the whole city. I was really glad I got to show my family Italy.

Easter is coming up soon and I’m traveling to Barcelona for it. I can’t wait to continue my adventures around Europe, until next week!