BRESCIA, Italy — The past few weeks, everything in Brescia has been waking up from winter and turning green. With all the flowers blooming, the timing of Easter this year was perfect.
For my Italian Easter, my host mom, the Nonna and I went over to Chiaras house for a big family lunch. We had a white lasagna with artichokes for the first course, risotto for the second, then a roast with potatoes and finally sweets.
Chiaras son Ale (short for Alessandro), whos almost 4, was very excited about the traditional Italian Easter treats for children.
While the Easter bunny brings American children (or brought me, anyway; Im not sure about other families traditions) Easter baskets with hollow chocolate bunnies and a few prizes, the Easter bunny does not frequent Italy.
This does not mean, however, that Italian children do not end up with prizes. After they patiently sit through the big lunch filled with boring grown-up chatter, theyre presented with giant chocolate eggs. They unwrap the eggs, then punch holes in the sides to reach the hidden surprise inside.
These are usually some sort of little toy. It depends on the egg. Ale got a plastic fish and fishing rod, which he liked almost as much as the abundance of yummy chocolate.
Besides the big meal, Italian Easter is pretty laid-back and relaxing. I spent most of the afternoon getting things in order for my cousins visit. Sarah is spending this semester of her junior year of college in Prague and we decided to organize a few days together on her spring break.
She came Monday, the day after Easter, and is leaving on Friday. Shes the first person Ive seen in seven months that I didnt meet for the first time within those seven months. The first person Ive seen that I knew before coming on exchange. So far, it has been awesome showing her my life here.
On Tuesday, we took a day trip to Venice. We ate lunch there and I showed her my favorite things. I took her to Piazza San Marco and Caffe Florian, which she enjoyed as much as I did.
We explored some areas Id never been to before and found a free-entry Vivaldi museum inside a church, which had all sorts of cool stringed instruments, plus some strange things Id never seen before, like a pocket-sized violin and a violin morphed with a trumpet.
After much deliberation, Sarah bought a pretty, sparkly black mask, and when we got back to my house we realized that it is exactly the same as the one I bought when I went the first time, except mine is white.
On Wednesday, I had to go to school, but afterward we went to Verona. Even though its just a 40-minute train ride from Brescia, Id never visited before. We saw the ancient Arena di Verona, which is one of the most well preserved coliseums in existence.
Since Verona is the setting of William Shakespeares Romeo and Juliet, we also had to see the Casa di Giulietta (Juliets house), which of course was never really the Capulets residence, seeing as theyre a fictional family, but is still very fun.
Thousands of locks are attached to every possible surface and names are scribbled on the walls. Doing these things is supposed to make love last forever. It is very sweet and romantic. We took lots of pictures.
Thursday, were staying in Brescia and Im going to show Sarah all the interesting sights and my favorite places so she can see what my day-to-day life is like here. Im going to take her to the café with the best cappuccinos in town and were going to try to meet with some of my friends for lunch. I hope shes enjoying Italy and will enjoy Brescia as much as I do!!
Chandler West is a Rock Hill High School student who is spending her senior year in Italy. She writes about her adventures abroad each week in The Herald.