Lauren Graziano: The Frozen City

Lauren Graziano

Studying abroad is as grand as I’d hoped it would be; every day is a new adventure, whether it’s learning new Italian words (croccante means crunchy!), exploring different cities every week, trying unfamiliar foods, or choosing a new route to run. This past week we returned from our Parisian adventure, to a wonderful surprise that reminded me of home in Colorado—snow!

It was a treacherous hike home in the icy blizzard that threatened to blow us over every second. Thank goodness for umbrellas and gloves or we may not have made it home at all. Perhaps it wasn’t quite so drastic, but it was severely cold, windy, and particularly horrendous when a snowflake blew in your eye, temporarily blinding you. Nevertheless, we made it home, half frozen, but safely. You can imagine we were extremely pleased to receive an email cancelling classes the next day, leaving us free to explore our snowy Viterbo. And how snowy it was! I expected perhaps a few inches, but the white blanket that covered Viterbo the next morning was far greater than I predicted. We excitedly bundled up in our boots, gloves, and scarves, hurrying outside to make memories in the icy, glistening, medieval streets of our city. When I say icy, I mean icy, like a sheet of ice on certain alleys that hadn’t seen the sun yet. But we were much too thrilled by the beautiful snowy landscape to worry about slipping on the ice.

Every familiar piazza and street was new and exciting to us with its snowy design; drifts of snow clung to vines, trees, rooftops, even the flower pots were transformed into wonderfully icy, floral gardens. Watching the local Viterbese sledding down the hill brought to mind fond memories of sledding down our own hill in Colorado with friends and family. The air was so chilling it was as though you were breathing in thousands of tiny icicles that prickled your tongue and throat, burning your lungs in a fresh, sensational way. We trucked through the snow for a few hours before heading home to bake some oatmeal raisin cookies and warm our freezing hands with a steaming cup of tea. I also decided this was a great opportunity to meal prep for the week and I proceeded to make WAY too much rice. Still figuring out grams rather than cups over here and, if I’m being entirely honest, it’s not my greatest talent.

Our snowy escapade didn’t end on Monday; in fact, classes were cancelled the entire week. I dodged two exams and discovered that Terme dei Papi is a fantastic way to spend the afternoon relaxing after an exhausting morning of Pilates with the crazy fit Italians. I feel so fortunate to have experienced such a beautiful snowfall in Viterbo, where that is rare, and to have such a wonderful host family that takes us to all the greatest places during our time in this city.

Lauren Graziano è una studentessa americana USAC che studia all’Università della Tuscia per il primo semestre di questo anno scolastico. E’ cresciuta alle Hawaii, ma ora vive in Colorado e studia in una università nello Iowa, dove ritornerà il prossimo autunno, dopo il suo semestre a Viterbo. Ama viaggiare, leggere, scrivere e uscire fuori, sia che si tratti di escursioni, sci, nuoto o altre divertenti attività all’aperto.