You first arrive in Orvieto. You step out of the funicular, and onto the cobblestoned corso. Your feet clickity clack and your suitcase rattles. You are high up, the fog slips away like the crisp white sheet you will slowly pull off your body and legs in the chilly mornings to come. you overlook the countryside, full of whim and want. You want to be running through the cypress and the olive groves, but you also want to be up here, up in Orvieto, surrounded by the walls of the city. in the sunlight there is hustle and bustle, shopkeepers open their doors wide, you sip a cappuccino that burns your tongue but warms your chest. Distantly, at intervals, church bells sing out cheerfully, rhythmically, mirroring the order of the city. you’ve unpacked your suitcase into the clean white convent. You’ve gathered your pencils and your charcoal and your notebook and you are out in the city, your new home, looking, gazing, trying to understand and capture in little scratch marks on your page. At lunch you wander the tiny curving streets that wind like the sinewy cerebrum of your brain. The rain begins to drip and dabble, the shops have closed for afternoon riposo, and suddenly you are alone.
It’s been four months since I returned from Orvieto. Four strange and wild months of reminiscing and missing, but also looking forward. As I approach graduation this year, I am recognizing how much my four months in Orvieto shaped me. In Orvieto I got to slow down and really focus on the classes I took. I felt more dedicated to my work, and more excited by it than I had before. I had time to read, and learn to draw and paint and write poetry. It’s been four whole months, but also, it’s only been four months, and I am still realizing how much my experiences in Orvieto are still shaping me. I’m still learning how to slow down and engage with what’s in front of me, whether it a sculpture by Bernini, a paper for a class, or a tough conversation with someone I love.
By Rachel Baldwin, class of ’17