So I have to apologize if the last few posts have seemed a little sad. I have to say that I am actually quite happy here, and I think maybe the anticipation of leaving (though I still have another month) is what is making me a little sad. Of course no one can expect to be happy all the time, it’s just that when you are far from your family and friends and you are feeling a little down, the feeling is more pronounced. However, it is a good exercise for the soul to feel lonely every once in awhile, because it teaches you that even when life has its ups and downs, you will always be okay. I wonder if I a became more sensitive to it when I was living in Germany, but I am learning that the weather has an enormous effect on my psychological well-being. It may sound ridiculous to some of you, but after a year of rain and cold and little sun, whenever a cloud covers up the sun I get a shiver down my spine and don’t feel well until the sun is back again. I do love storms, but it is the sort of rain that is monotonous and dreary that really casts a spell on me. Anyway, not to dwell on the subject, but it is something important that I am learning about myself. I am also learning that I am infinitely curious, which is a great thing until I wear myself out. There are just so many things that have changed in my life that are finally starting to catch up to me, such as my diet and the way I spend my time. Though I am absolutely in love with all the food here, my body is starting to get angry with me, demanding a salad every now and then! Like I said before, life is a constant learning process as we all seek out a balanced lifestyle. I am so incredibly grateful to be living here with Fiorella. She is always a bright spot in my day, and her smile never fails to cheer me up. I admire her for being so happy all the time, for finding joy in the small things in life, for being passionate about everything she does and about everything in which she believes. I cannot always communicate everything that I want to communicate to her, but she understands. She continues to talk and tell me brilliant stories even if my response is limited to “wow” or “I know!” or “I can imagine” or “no, that is impossible!” Moving into her house was the best decision I could have made, and I really do treasure every breakfast and every dinner when we get to sit and talk for a bit. And of course it never hurts that she is an absolutely FABULOUS cook! Today I had a nice little pick-me-up at my friend Andre’s house. His Italian roommate Jacopo cooked for us, which is always a treat because he is a real artist in the kitchen. Today he made this wonderful pasta and when I asked him where he got the recipe he said, “Oh, well, I ate something similar once in a restaurant somewhere, and I liked it. I just sort of made it up as I went along!” Brilliant. It always does me good to spend time with the two of them because they always lift my spirits. There are just some friends in your life with whom you are completely comfortable, completely yourself, who always bring out the best in you. Such friends are Andre and Jacopo, and even though I know I am young I know better than to take their friendship for granted. So this is the last week of the second month of courses, and I will say that I am impressed with the progress I have made. I think this is a pretty great school, and I look forward to next month’s lessons. I just hope more students arrive! Well, it is late here and that is all I’ve got for now… but thank you all for your emails and comments, and I hope you all know that I love you and miss you!