Thank You My Friend – Part Two

Italia Lifestyle My Life Travel Beyond

A continuation of Thank You My Friend – Part One. You’ll be introduced to 5 kind & sweet women…


ANNA & SONIA

Thoughtfulness

Everyday I’d be up at 5/5:30 am and one of my rituals included going to the kitchen and making a smoothie. At around 6/6:30 am, Anna would walk in and we would exchange morning smiles and chat while I made my snacks and she, being the Italiana that she is, would prepare her coffee. For us, these mornings were very special because we were the only two up this early in the morning and in some weird way, knowing that we would see the other, gave us some sort of comfort.

The day before she was to return home to Sicily to visit her family, she came knocking on my door. I simply thought that it was only to say goodbye which for me was a beautiful gesture in itself. She not only came to bid me farewell, she also gifted me her Mensa card to use in the interim until she returned. Anna was aware that my scholarship did not cover meals and graciously offered to loan me her card.

I have never forgotten that night because I can still feel the emotions that consumed me when I grasped what she was doing. Smiles went beyond my cheeks and tears ran down my face while I phoned my mom and told her what Anna did.

This meant that I didn’t have to do groceries for this week and that the extra monies could go towards a trip out of Siena. PS. I probably danced about the room like a little girl!

Thank You My Friend - Okizia Beyond: It was the friends I made while studying in Siena, Italy that made life memorable. I share with you those who had a great impact on me & taught me lessons.

At my apartment. I treated her & the others mentioned in the post to a thank you dinner. I cooked some of islands’ local dishes for them – bouillon, cocoa tea & saltfish.

Anna, you taught me that one does not need to be a close friend to think about someone’s situation and show kindness. Sometimes that person can be someone you have short chats with every morning, whose room is just a few feet away from yours.

Could God send any more blessings my way? HECK YEAH! Where Sonia at?

My relationship with Sonia was the opposite. We would see each other mostly at night and around the place.

She has an obsession for black natural hair and would always beg to pass her hands through mine which was always fine me. In essence, she believes that deep down she is black, so much so that she had me plait up her hair, which probably lasted 2-4 days until she couldn’t take the pain anymore hehe. But I am sure that has not changed how she feels.

Her altruïsm is most admired. After her university lessons, she would give free Italian lessons to the African immigrants and other friends of hers. Sonia listened to my Italian presentations that I‘d have to make every month for my exams and helped me with my thesis. But what I shall remember her for most, is that she fed me :D. If you haven’t caught on, I love food.

I knew God was sending many blessings my way but I didn’t know that he would orchestrate them in ways that would remind me that He knew all my desires and needs. Whenever Sonia left to visit family, she almost always gifted me her Mensa card. The first time it happened, I danced around my room and thanked My Heavenly Father so much. She may have loaned me her card around 3-4 times in my stay up there and has never hesitated to share whatever it is that she has with me. Many times when I tried to show my gratitude to her, she would humbly decline, unless I brought it directly to her so she couldn’t say no (wink wink).

Thank You My Friend - Okizia Beyond: It was the friends I made while studying in Siena, Italy that made life memorable. I share with you those who had a great impact on me & taught me lessons.

Left to right – Constance, myself & Sonia

Sonia, through you, I saw kindness emanate for all and a soul who was content if only to just help. Thank you for counting me worthy to be part of those who you helped.

 

DANIELA

The Prayer

Before leaving home, I prayed to God to send me a roommate who I could laugh, eat, dance, go out with and love. The third time must really be a charm because she was the third female who had booked a short stay at the dorm and got booked with me. Can you say love at first talk of salsa and Spanish? I can, but obviously, it goes beyond that.

I still remember her first day. I was in bliss while napping because it was another day/week/month of not having to share my room with anyone. Suddenly the phone rings and reception tells me my new roommate is here. Sigh, “What? God really? I hope she doesn’t stay long. I’d really prefer being on my own until I have to leave to get my apartment”. I go out to help her and consciously tell myself it’s a new opportunity to be kind and blablabla.

I immediately ask how I can help and give her tips etc because it can be lonely being so far away from home and I would have hated for her to feel so, especially on her first official day in Italy.

We become kindred spirits right away and well, we now refer to each other as sisters. I do what Isaac taught me  – kindness. We go to the city center and spend hours walking around while I show her all what Isaac showed me & what I’ve learned so far. It was exhilarating! All of a sudden I was seeing Siena for the first time…again.

My Dear Daniela, I believe we spent the most time together. With our walks to and from the university, we grew on this journey and shared our secrets; sacrificed when the other was in need and never looked at it as a burden; we came running to each other’s city when being alone was too much to handle; were scared shitless when the the credit card wasn’t working because we had little to no cash (well you were, I found it hilarious); experienced Florence for the first time together!

Remember when I had you close your eyes before turning the corner so that you could be as stunned as I was with Duomo in Firenze?

Daniela, you are that prayer. That reminder that God hears and sends. You became part of My Posse and opened up a space in our hearts for you. Your carelessness, sensitivity and dedication to go beyond is beautiful. We have done so much and continue to do so. You make me proud every day.

 

MARTA

Comfort

I wanted to improve my Italian skills so I decided to make use of the university’s Tandem program which allows students to have language exchanges. Marta & I agreed to help each other and it turned into more than practicing English and Italian…it transformed into a friendship. In Marta, I found someone whose heart yearned to console others despite her own struggles; who would inconvenience herself to accommodate anyone; who wanted to share as much as she could from her time to something she or her family cooked. I spent an afternoon with her and her family in her home town of Poggibonsi and in that moment, I felt so humbled that they would accept me into their home, cook for me and share their love. I boasted about that day to my mom so much.

Thank You My Friend - Okizia Beyond: It was the friends I made while studying in Siena, Italy that made life memorable. I share with you those who had a great impact on me & taught me lessons.

Marta, my words cannot express my love and appreciation for things you have done which others know nothing about. When with you, there were never worries, regrets, unease…with you…there was peace. PS. Thank you for the chocolate cup, it is one of my greatest treasures that I brought back home.

 

MONICA

Innocence

Never have I encountered such a free, pure and innocent spirit who ALWAYS looks confused lol. Monica walked into the class with her own sense of fashion (which I imagine me wearing) and a big colorful backpack filled with books and the most lost and happy expression on her face. I smiled inside because I knew then that I wanted to get to know this quirky girl!

The only girls’ hands that I have ever held while walking were my siblings, niece and other family members. There Monica was, holding my hand like we see those other girls do. Admittedly, it was one of the weirdest feelings because I had never had a girlfriend show their friendship for me in this way, but it brought a warmness to my heart. For me, it was a sign of her welcoming me into her world, life & heart.

With you Monica I find myself wanting to be like that again – free, pure and innocent; happy to be in the company of all and cheerful to others even when there is a storm within. I see your smile and I’m filled with thanks to God for sending this sweet soul my way to make me see things from a different perspective.

 

Hanzadah Rosom

Pure Talent & Warmth

I remember seeing Hanzadah sitting in our Misericordia class and being completely awestruck by her quiet nature and  “look”. Immediately I knew that I wanted to be her friend. So as we all do but pretend like we don’t do, I came up with a conversation and scenario in my head on how I would approach her lol. Do I remember what actually happened? Not really. But since our first chat we have remained friends. Our friendship is not as easy to put into words as the others were. She is like me, a quiet soul and that’s what attracted me to her – I just knew deep down inside that I knew her somehow.

Thank You My Friend - Okizia Beyond: It was the friends I made while studying in Siena, Italy that made life memorable. I share with you those who had a great impact on me & taught me lessons.

My last night in Siena was spent with Hanzadah & Constance.

When I think of you Hanzadah, I literally get excited because I can see all that you will accomplish in your life & how you will impact others. You are the epitome of “boundless gifts” – an artist,  a pharmacist, an absolute survivor & warrior. You inspire me to use up all that the Lord has gifted me & bless people with it. I Love You!

Check out Part One!


Have you lived abroad and encountered such giving and welcoming people? Yes ? No? What was your experience like & what impression did they have on your heart?

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