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25-情迷锡耶纳

感谢大耳朵网友"uuu2002"提供的听力原文

Ciao, Bella

After four trains and a wrong turn in Florence, I was in Siena, Italy, carrying too much luggage and struggling for words I didn't know. It was November, and I was going by myself to a city with tones so unusually rich, a color is named for it.

The family I was to stay with, a relatively elderly mother and her twice-my-age son, didn't speak a word of English and weren't expected to. I was the one who was supposed to learn a language; I was to go to Italian class three hours a day for the next month. But the day I got there, all I knew was "Non parlo italiano," and I said it all the time.

The family was short with me at first, and I understood enough to figure out the words for "that's the thing with Americans, they don't know how to speak." But it would be they who would teach me most of the Italian I learned there—and a few added lessons along the way.

I went to Siena for a few good reasons. I left Chicago for a million more. I had just quit a job to go to graduate school, and the people there resented me for it. I had just quit a boyfriend. And I had quit an apartment where the landlord was a little too friendly. I was tired of quitting things; I was ready for big, shining starts.

I picked Italy for its art, and Siena was full of it. It was just so old. The town hall was built in the 12th century, and all the other buildings weren't much younger. A thick high wall circled the town as if the whole thing had been thrown like a discus into the Tuscan hills. The Duomo was made of ancient striped marble, and St. Catherine's skull was in a church named for her, where it's been for 600 years. Everything was medieval and preserved, and nothing was like where I came from.

The first morning of class, my host-mother, Signora Franci, escorted me on the bus so I wouldn't get lost. She was about 4-foot-11 to my 5-9 and she talked continually to me in Italian, though she knew I was still oblivious. She left me at the Dante Aleghieri language school with a tip-toed kiss and a "Ciao, bella." I could love a country where absolutely everyone called you beautiful.

My class was a stray collection of 21-year-old Australian girls. I took them on as my friends; we'd circle through the city after class every day, then sit in the town square, dodging pigeons and eating gelato.

But I suddenly wasn't good at having friends. Something from the month before had made me shy. I wasn't very happy about people in general and it showed with these women. I questioned when they were nice to me and bristled when they whispered about anything. I was sure I was just weird to them, some older, freaked-out American who trusted no one.

And my boyfriend had been tricky. Yes, we broke up before I left, but the actual night before I got on the plane, he gave me presents and talked about missing me. So now I missed him.

I went to Rome to look at the Sistine Chapel, and I called him from a pay phone in front of St. Peter's to describe every detail. He screamed things back to me: "What are you doing there without me?" "When are you coming home?" And it rained the whole time and some guy grabbed my butt right there in Vatican City, but I didn't care. I felt filled up with Michelangelo and a boy and bringing worlds together.

But all that rain wasn't good for me. Back in Siena, I woke up the next morning and I couldn't stand up. Being sick is the one thing that can make you feel completely alone; and that was a feeling I didn't need reinforced. When I wasn't up for school, Signora Franci came into my dark, blue room. "Io sento malo," I told her. I felt bad. She immediately started rushing around, yelling at her son to call the doctor. I understood that much, but events were out of my hands. I lay in bed and she brought things to me: a hot water bottle, tea, soup.

I wondered how she could be so concerned, not knowing me, not even knowing my words. But I was so far away from home, I never needed taking care of so badly. I stared at that ceiling, and thought about every friend, every boyfriend, I ever lost too soon. I could see all the people I missed now. The people who hurt me, the people I didn't understand, just drifted away.

Hours later, Signora Franci came in again, this time with green velvet slippers she had bought because I always walked around in socks. She said something I equated as: Of course you're going to get sick if you have cold feet all the time—warm them. "Mille grazie," I said. But a day later, when I was feeling better much sooner than I thought I would, I wanted to thank her more.

It was three weeks into the trip, and she had made me realize why I came to Italy. It wasn't just to see art—though I saw it, and it made me feel creative and part of history and enriched. And it wasn't just to get away. What I needed, and what I never got from sweet Australians or kind teachers, was the returned belief in basic human kindness. Signora Franci didn't take care of me because of anything else but basic human concern: Someone is sick, she's away from her home, make her better. I was 25 years old, I had just started seeing more bad in people than good—and I needed to see that kindness in action.

In my last week in Siena, I just took in the medieval walls, the green narrow hills and the wet, wet air. My Italian class performed a terrible spoken version of "Don Giovanni" for the whole school. I rode to other hill towns on huge buses with my Aussie friends, and the last night we drank wine and wandered through the streets yelling phrase-book expressions at each other.

Days before I went home, I knew I'd be ready for it. There were people to get back to, and I knew who they were. People, in general, could be terrible and wonderful. Sad that I had to go to Italy to realize that. Amazing that I could.

  
情迷锡耶纳

  好不容易我才抵达了意大利的锡耶纳,一路上拖着沉重的行李,我辗转搭了四趟火车,中途还在佛罗伦萨搭错了车,沿途的人都在说着我听不懂的意大利语。这是十一月的一天,我独自到了锡耶纳,在这里当地人说话的声调多得令我咋舌,而锡耶纳这词在英语里面还代表“土黄色”的意思。

寄宿家庭里有一位年长的母亲,她还有一位年纪比我大一倍的儿子,在以后的日子里我就要和他们一起朝夕相处。他们都不会说英文,也根本不需要说,而我则需要去学习一门新语言。在接下来的一个月里,我每天要上三个小时的语言课程。可那天我到他们家的时候,我反反复复说的,也是唯一能说的意大利语就是:“我不会说意大利语。”

  刚开始的时候,那家人很少和我说话,我也只能模糊听到几个单词,隐约猜到他们在说:“这就是典型的美国人,他们都不懂得怎样好好说话。”可事后想起来,我大部分的意大利语都是跟他们学来的,我还从他们身上学到了附加的一些人生道理。

  如果说我到锡耶纳有几个堂皇的理由,那么我离开芝加哥就更加振振有辞了。为了念一个研究生课程,我还专门从公司辞职,因此得罪了公司的人。我还和我的男朋友分手。就因为我的房东对我过度热情,我也搬出了公寓。我已经厌倦了这些辞职、分手和搬家,我渴望一个全新的、灿烂的开始。

  我之所以到意大利是因为我喜欢意大利的艺术,这在锡耶纳俯拾皆是。这座城市太古老了。市政厅始建于十二世纪,而其它建筑也并不见得比它“年轻”。一堵厚实的高墙环城而筑,给人感觉就像整个城市像铁饼一样给扔到了托斯卡纳山上。中央大教堂由年代久远的条纹大理石建成。圣•凯瑟琳大教堂收藏了圣女凯瑟琳的头骨,离现在已有600多年了。这里触手可及的都是保存完好的中世纪建筑,这和我美国家乡的风情迥然不同。

  在我上课的第一天早上,因为生怕我迷路,寄宿妈妈弗兰西亲自送我去搭车。一路上,身高不到一米五的她滔滔不绝地和身高一米七四的我说话,尽管她也知道我听意大利语有障碍。在但丁•阿利吉耶里语言学校门口她向我道别,踮起脚尖吻了吻我,并说了句“再见了,亲爱的小美人。”在这个国家,人人都唤你为“小美人”,你有什么理由不热爱这个国家呢?

  我的同班同学是一群21岁的澳大利亚女骇。我把她们当朋友看待——每天放学后,我们都会围着城墙散步,然后在市中心广场歇脚,在广场的时候我们手里都拿着一根冰淇淋,一路躲闪着成群的鸽子。

  但是我突然间不适应有那么多的朋友。一个月之前发生的事情让我变得自闭起来。不管是与谁交往,我都显得闷闷不乐的,在这帮澳大利亚女生面前,我的这种情绪可说是表露无遗。当她们很友善对我的时候,我就会满脸狐疑地猜测她们的动机;当她们在说悄悄话的时候,我就怀疑她们在背后说我的坏话。我相信我在她们眼里,一定是一个年纪比她们大,不信任任何人,整天疑神疑鬼的美国人。

我的男朋友也真会捉弄人。不错,离家之前我们已经分了手,可是就在我启程的前一个晚上,他送来礼物并告诉我说他很想我。所以,现在我也缠绵悱恻起来。

  有一天我到罗马去参观西斯廷大教堂,在圣•彼得教堂前的一个公用电话亭里我和他打了电话,向他仔细描述了这里的每一个细节。他在电话那头大叫说:“这么好玩的事情怎么能少了我呢?”“你什么时候才回家啊?”那个时候,雨淅淅沥沥地下个没完。在梵谛冈城的时候还有人吃我“豆腐”,捏了一下我的屁股。可我不介意,我感觉内心充溢着米开朗基罗的艺术和男朋友的温馨爱情,他们共同撑起了我的世界。

  然而,就是那场雨让我生病了。回到锡耶纳以后的第二天,在早上醒来的时候我发现自己根本站不起来。人在生病的时候总是感觉无比的孤独,我自己已经是个孤独的人,我才不想让自己继续孤独下去。留意到我没有去上课,弗兰西来到我黯蓝色的房间。我垂头丧气地告诉她:“我生病了!”她一下子就张罗开了,呼喊着她的儿子赶忙去请医生。我心里都很明白,可自己实在是无能为力。我就这样躺在床上,她给我拿来了热水瓶、热茶和热汤。

  我一直想知道她为什么那么关心我,她和我萍水相逢,甚至语言不通。可我离家万里,从没有像现在这样迫切地渴望得到别人的关爱与照顾。我凝视着天花板,想着以往的每一个朋友,每一个男朋友,还有那些已经流逝的段段感情。我发现我开始想念这些人,尽管里面有曾经伤害过我的人,有我无法理喻的人,可我已经不再心存芥蒂。

  几个小时后,弗兰西又走了进来。这一次她给我带来了新买的绿色天鹅绒保暖鞋,因为她注意到我总是穿着短袜到处走。她拉着我说了一通话,我揣测她的意思是:你老是让脚丫冻着,当然要着凉了——快穿上鞋子保暖。“谢谢,”我说道。第二天我觉得身体好多了,恢复得也比预想的快,我想再次感谢她。

  这已经是我旅程的第三周了,是她让我发现了自己意大利之行的意义所在。我来意大利不仅仅是为了欣赏艺术——没错,我的确看到了,艺术的氛围激发了我的创造力并让我融入历史,同时也丰富了我的阅历。我来意大利也不仅仅为了逃避。我的澳大利亚同学都很友善,老师们都很好,可我在他们身上无法得到的东西却在弗兰西身上得到了。那是一种信念,相信人善良本性的信念。弗兰西照顾我,不为别的,只是最基本的人文关怀——有人生病了,她还远离自己的家庭,就让她感觉好受点吧!我今年25岁了,正慢慢接触到更多人性丑陋的东西,我迫切需要看到更多这样的善举。

在锡耶纳的最后一周里,我再一次穿行在中世纪的城墙下,行走在翠绿的窄山坡,呼吸着润湿心肺的空气。尽管我们的意大利语说得很蹩脚,我和我的同班同学还是给全校师生表演了一出《唐•乔万尼》话剧。我还和我的澳大利亚朋友们搭公共汽车到另外的山村小镇去游玩,在最后一个晚上我们喝酒狂欢,在街上闲逛,冲着对方喊短语课本上出现的表达法。

  在我准备动身回家之前,我就知道我已经找到了心灵的航标。家里有让我牵挂的人,我也知道这些人到底是谁。人,从总体上说,既可以冷漠如冰,也可以温煦如春。可悲的是我居然要到意大利才能参悟到这个道理。而让我惊喜的是,我最终悟到了。
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