T-minus about 32 hours until departure to Siena for three and a half months! Wow! What seemed to be a lifetime away when submitting applications in late September and struggling with student visa forms in October, has finally become a nerve-wracking, slightly nauseating reality.
My plane ticket will read Florence, SC to Florence, Italy ( + a few stops in between). Thus, it is only appropriate that my cover photo be a picture that I took SIX long years ago on my last (and only) adventure to Florence. Memories of that 10-day choir tour of Italy involve my over-zealous choir director urging us to sing in the streets of Florence in front of a crowd of confused, onlooking Italians, a holding-up-the-tower of Pisa photo (my expression involves a cringe-worthy 14-year-old duck-face), and several awkward interactions involving my inability to explain why I looked Italian, but did not, in fact, speak Italian.
20-year-old me is excited to re-experience the wonders of Italy, hopefully a bit more deftly, with an introductory Italian course and slightly less embarrassing photo-ops.
My excitement to go abroad has been intensified by my adventurous grandparents, who recently returned from galavanting across the Mediterranean. While they were traveling, they got to experience Sicily, and spent some time doing research about our family history. It turns out that both of my paternal grandparents’ ancestors are from Sicily, and while they were there, my grandparents worked on an intriguing , yet quite complicated family genealogy. Turns out that when you do a family history, you uncover family secrets! (Spoiler alert: It’s only interesting if you care about spelling our name Di- or De-Marco) Anyway, the point is that I’m excited to spend the semester in a place that holds such an important part in who I am and what the name DeMarco really means. Not to mention, the added plus that it is so renowned for its art, history, food, and of course COFFEE, or as the Italians say, caffè. Maybe my love of coffee traces back to Vincenzo DiMarco, my great-great grandfather… but I’ll give any excuse to indulge in one of Italy’s famous cappuccinos.