When I was in high school (14 or 15) my family hosted an exchange student for 3 weeks named Sara. She was part of an English class studying the language who came to the US. When I was 16, I made my first trip to Italy and stayed with her family for a couple weeks as well in a small town called Serra De’ Conti which is about 25 min. away from the Adriatic Sea and a larger town called Senigallia. My biggest memory of that trip was when I was sun burnt to a crisp and was red as a lobster in no time. I didn’t realize how strong the sun was here, and in NY where I grew up there was not much of a need for sun screen. That burn lasted me a few months…yeah, not good!
Over the years, she and I have kept in touch and when I’ve come back to Italy we try to see one another. I saw her last 6 years ago when my sister Karen and I came here. Sara was very pregnant with her first child, about to deliver in a couple weeks. Now, Sara has Lisa who’s 6 and in school, as well as Francesco, her new born baby boy who arrived about a month and a half ago.I was sad to hear that her Nonna passed away this year in February at the age of 90. She said she was starting to lose her mind toward the end also. She was an adorable old lady. I also remember being 16, coming home late one night to find Nonna waiting up for us. She was trying to tell me discretely why she didn’t like one of Sara’s friends who we’d gone out with, but she spoke to me completely in dialect and I had no idea what she was saying during the whole 10 minute conversation! That secret was one that Nonna kept for herself! 🙂
Sara and I also met up with Pindaro who was Sara’s English professor. He’s a family friend who I met when I was 7 years old, the first time he’d done an exchange with our high school. My mom got to really know him when she came to Italy with my sister’s group from HS as he entertained the adult chaperones often. Since then we’ve visited with Pindaro over the years when we’ve come here or he’s come to the States. In fact, Pindaro accompanied the Aracri family through the US when they came in 2001. That’s how I know the family I’m staying with this weekend in Naples. I’ve stayed in touch with them as well. They felt like my own family when I met them, and they continue to be that way now.
This is a picture of Sara and Pindaro with the beautiful Adriatic Sea behind them. It was fantastic to see it once again (this time not being in the sun getting fried to a crisp) eating and drinking and catching up on life.I forgot that along the coast most restaurants serve seafood, which I’m not a fan of. We went to a place that luckily had something non-fishy I was able to eat so I survived. Senigallia was quite “tranquile” as the Italians say (quiet) at this time of year because July and August are the big tourist months here.
The day was very enjoyable in all though quite long. I left home at 6:45am to catch a 7:05am train to Florence, then transfer to a train heading to Bologna, then catch another train in Bologna heading toward Senigallia. In total, the train rides took 4 hours. I visited for about 5 hours, then took the same trains back to SGV. I got back around 9pm….a full day! That evening, I was knocked out cold at 10:30pm! Fun times with old friends will do that to you!