FamItaly Meals in Arezzo

Daphne Bigelow,

Italian and International Studies, Fall 2021


December 17, 2021

I was nervous to meet a new family, though I was mostly thrilled at this chance to learn more Italian, make connections to Arezzo, and of course have some more amazing homemade Italian dinners.

 

My family was one of the kindest families I have ever met, and they welcomed me with open arms. The mother, Serena, had prepared homemade pizza that evening, and I was able to speak with her and discuss some of my hobbies, one of which I found out to be very similar to her daughters’: horseback riding!  Her daughters Ines and Anita adore languages and horseback riding like I do, and they have their mother’s love for travel, and it did not take long for us all to get along like old friends. Serena’s youngest, Leone, was perhaps the star of the night, as he would try to sound out English words with me (by the second dinner he had come close to saying my name which was the sweetest thing I could imagine!) and he would light up as we spoke about Christmas (Arezzo had just put up their Christmas lights around the town). The whole night, though I was nervous at first, I became so comfortable and overjoyed by the experience I was having with the Cutini’s. When speaking with the father, Andrea, I was able to look at some career opportunities that I may have within Italy, which was something I had actually been looking into for a while since my majors are both Italian and International Studies, and the confidence he gave me that I would be able to make my mark within Italy made the night even better for me. We spent the night laughing and sharing stories about our trips across the world, and speaking about our families, simply enjoying wherever the conversation took us. Even though I had just met the Cutini family a few hours prior, it felt like we had known each other for years!

 

My second dinner was another lovely experience, sharing Christmas stories and what we’d like for Christmas this year, talking about school and more international experience, even the differences in driving in the United States versus Italy. I found out Ines tested into one of the more advanced programs for her English classes before she begins liceo, or high school (I was beyond happy for her!) while Anita and I went on and on about horses and our passion for them. We went on to share some wild stories about our time in cities we’ve all been to, like New York, and Serena was sharing my dread for the fact that I have to return to the freezing and unruly Chicago winters (it’s safe to say she and I both prefer the slightly milder Arezzo winters!). After an amazing pasta dinner, Serena brought out homemade tiramisu for dessert after she remembered it was my favorite, and that gesture convinced me even more that the Cutini household really is my sense of home while I’m away from my family and friends within the states. I am hoping to see them one last time before I leave for the United States and share some more memories with incredible people.

 

Having this opportunity was incredible for me, and I truly hope to be able to meet the Cutini’s again someday, whether that be abroad elsewhere or back in Arezzo. I absolutely encourage everyone who chooses to come to OUA to sign-up for the FamItaly Meals! It can be intimidating at first, but it is very likely that you will find a home away from home, much like I did. I have never been so glad to have taken my experience one step further into the Arezzo community, and Arezzo truly does feel like my home if it hadn’t already.