View of Siena and the Duomo from the fortezza.
View of the surrounding countryside.
In other news, I had my second teaching session yesterday at the elementary school, where I was reminded of a very bizarre situation with children in the public school system here. While teaching the verb "to be," I received a very "yeah, yeah, we know this" kind of attitude from the kids. But then, when I began a speaking activity to practice the conjugations, it was like they had no idea what they had just learned (or previously learned, as it seemed to me). After telling Christina about this observation, she reminded me that no, they actually didn't have an idea about how to say "She is happy" out loud. They've never had the opportunity to say it, and they've never heard it. She explained that most of them have learned a lot of English grammar throughout elementary school, but couldn't apply it in words if they tried. I don't want to say I'm happy this is the case, but I am happy that I have the opportunity to provide them with the practice they've been missing!
I almost forgot! I attended a family birthday party on Sunday for Francesco's father, Lino. I don't have much time to describe the details of it as I have to get started on this essay, but I'll just say that I really do feel like I'm part of a family here. They couldn't make me happier.
I tried to take pictures of everyone but my camera decided to not cooperate and they all came out blurry. But, you can try to decipher this one anyway...at the very least it's proof that these people exist!
The man sitting down on the very left is Lino, who's holding Cosimo of course. Stella in the red sweater; there's Marta, Natascia's 10 year old daughter, and a very blurry Natascia hugging an equally blurry 17-year old Gabriello, Lino's second son - Francesco's half-brother.