I was born in the heat of July in a dusty arena packed to bursting with roaring spectators, each of the 17 contrade in their own section and flying banners dating back to the Middle Ages. I was born to the sound of hooves pounding the packed earth, and the blare of trumpets amplified by the walls of Il Campo. I was born at the Palio, in the medieval city of Siena. It was 2008.
Before I left for my summer abroad, I felt a range of emotions. Excitement, nervousness, giddiness, fear… I’d dreamed of traveling, indeed I’d studied International Business in hopes of traveling for work someday, but the only country I’d visited outside my own was Canada — not exactly an international experience. What if I hated it? What if I couldn’t handle the pressure?