Posts Tagged ‘Aurora Zanardi’

   Lucy Sandahl (8) and Mallory Kortuem head for the finish line in the 800 at Saturday’s West Central District 3 track meet. (John Fisken photos)

   Wolf throwers (l to r) Skyler Lawrence, Allison Wenzel and Alexxis Otto smile for the camera after kickin’ butt and takin’ ribbons in the discus.

   Ariah Bepler drops over the bar on his way to winning the high jump, punching his ticket to state.

CHS senior Lauren Grove is headed back to state for a third, and final, time.

Ashlie Shank advertises her school while waiting for her event.

Hiding from the paparazzi.

Naika Hallam fires the javelin skyward.

   Landing with a splash in the triple jump, foreign exchange student Aurora Zanardi ends her American high school track days.

For some, it was the next step. For others, the final stop.

But, regardless of whether they advanced to state or not, all the Coupeville High School track stars competing at the district meet in Renton Saturday got a chance to shine in front of John Fisken’s camera.

The photos above are courtesy him.

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   Italian foreign exchange student Aurora Zanardi has joined the CHS track team. (Photo courtesy Zanardi)

One day you’re hanging out in the cultural capitol of Italy, the next you’re in Cow Town.

Following in the footsteps of her aunt, Aurora Zanardi set out on an American journey this year, and it’s carried her from historic Mantua, a key locale in Romeo and Juliet, to the prairies of Coupeville.

The foreign exchange student, who turns 18 in two weeks, is capping her year at CHS by joining the Wolf track team, and participated in Saturday’s meet, which helped debut the school’s brand-new track facilities.

It’s been a whirlwind adventure for Zanardi, and one she has enjoyed every day.

“I didn’t expect anything because I didn’t want to have wrong ideas and too high expectations about America because everyone sees America only for Las Vegas or New York,” she said. “But I knew I was probably going to go in a small town so I was really not trying to think about it.

“I am fine here; I adjusted good, I love my family and I am a very adaptable person and I like changes so I don’t have problems with living in a different place,” Zanardi added. “I am lucky to be here, so I don’t complain about what I have; every place has something special.”

Mantua, where Romeo was sent into exile by Shakespeare, and a home to major real-life figures like classical poet Virgil and world cycling champion Learco Guerra, is a city rich in art and history.

And, frankly it doesn’t look a whole lot like our town, with its farming history and location in the middle of one of America’s longest islands.

“Coupeville is totally different from where I live,” Zanardi said. “It is bigger but there are less things, so everything is far and you need a car to go somewhere.

“Where I live I could reach everything only walking/riding a bike or with a public transportation if the place is far,” she added. “Because we have auto-bus that brings you everywhere, probably because it is a place with a lot of tourists.”

Then toss in the wildlife and things really look different.

“The main difference is that where I live everything looks old; there is also a castle and a lot of historic things,” Zanardi said. “But Coupeville is full of nature and gorgeous places and deer hanging out together.

“I don’t have any deer, squirrel, coyote or eagle where I live,” she added. “They’re two different beauties; one is more natural and the other is more cultural and artistic.”

Zanardi, who attends an art school in Italy, has carried a love of animals from country to country.

At home, she volunteered at a pet shelter, something she has continued in Coupeville thanks to WAIF.

In Mantua, Zanardi, who has an older brother, lives very close to most of her family, with grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles all nearby. That enables the clan to see other on a weekly basis.

Traveling around the globe has taken her away from that family, for a bit, but it was a trip inspired by them as well.

A fellow student from Mantua wrote a blog about her experiences as a foreign exchange student (“It made me think how amazing it could be”), but the idea was already in the air, thanks to one of Zanardi’s relatives.

“My aunt, when she was my age, had the same experience and she is still in touch with her host family that every Christmas send us gifts,” she said. “I started joking around with my dad about that, but it turned out that he was fine with that so we started planning everything!

“What mostly interested me was the idea of being away for one year in a totally different place because I like to travel and America was totally different and unknown for me,” Zanardi added. “Also, I wanted to improve my English and know a different culture and know other people.”

After she finishes her time in Coupeville, Zanardi heads back to Italy to finish her schooling. After that, she wants to travel, with a return to the states possibly on her itinerary.

Wherever she goes and whatever she does in the future, one thing will be a constant for her — family.

“My parents and my family, I’m really thankful to them for giving me the opportunity to come here and make this great experience,” Zanardi said.

Her family and support crew, both in Italy and America, have helped give her the confidence to soar to new heights.

“My teachers and all the people I have around every day teach me new lessons from where I learn something,” Zanardi said. “And also myself, I teach myself a lot of things!”

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