Wacky Winter Wonderland

Kurumi S. is currently a junior at SYA Italy and a blogger for the Campus Reporter program. She comes to SYA from Spence School in New York.

My friends and I spent the afternoon with some light shopping at H&M and Subdued along il Corso Italiano until we stumbled upon a large sign sponsored by Caffeina directing us to head in the direction of San Pellegrino. Intrigued, we strolled that way in hopes of killing time until curfew. Having lived in Viterbo for almost three months at that point in time, I thought that I had known the city inside out by now, but this day showed me otherwise.

When I walked into the piazza, I did not recognize the place at all. Vibrancy and brilliance poured from the cute, quaint booths and stands. Cheerful Christmas music was playing, and the aroma of dolci permeated through the atmosphere. The city center was swarming with locals and tourists with teeth-flashing smiles. For a minute I just stood in the middle of this piazza, absorbing the essence of it all.

Of course, we explored the shops a little bit. We went into a sweets store that had a wall of cascading chocolate and the cutest Christmas baskets of Santa-shaped chocolate. I bought sugar cookies for my host family members, and took note of the store so that I can take my American family there when they visit for Christmas. Afterwards, we were compelled to go to the tea stand which emitted divine scents of familiar spices, where we tried free samples and purchased a few boxes of herbal tea. Next door, we bought freshly made crepes oozing with melted nutella and pulverized hazelnuts.

On our way out, we passed by rows of buildings all adorned with Christmas lights, and in that moment I felt one of the rarest emotions I have ever felt: pure happiness. It's the kind of happiness where you simply can't stop smiling, no matter how hard you try. I even tried to test it. My walk home from the Christmas village, I pulled down the corners of my mouth to see if I could stop, but my facial muscles tensed up, denying me of my ability to not smile. It's the kind of happiness that hugs you from all sides, and you feel love and warmth cuddling your heart. It's the kind of happiness where you are so happy that tears start to stream down your cheeks in a bittersweet manner as you feel the grave feeling of appreciation and belonging in the small European town. What could I say? It was merely the Viterbese Christmas village as I experienced it.

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