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News > Old Girls' News > A Letter from an Old Girl

A Letter from an Old Girl

Natascha Genette-Stride left FHS in 2014. Here, she updates the FHS Community on what she has been up to during her gap year.
Natascha's Gap Year
Natascha's Gap Year
A Letter from an Old Girl
Natascha Genette-Stride left FHS in 2014. Here, she updates the FHS Community on what she has been up to during her gap year.
 
I hope you are all well and your usual sunny and busy selves. I am currently living in Rome and having an absolutely wonderful time. Spring is here and the city gets more and more beautiful by the day! I cannot recommend a gap year enough! It is very tough at first; I arrived as an au pair not knowing the language, anyone and very little about Italy and Rome. It gets easier with time and, little by little, you learn to spread your wings and fly, overcoming obstacles and taking risks - which pay off, usually. I really took on board what the amazing staff at FHS have always said: to make the most of every opportunity that life throws at you. During my time here, I am learning to speak Italian, meeting people from all over the world, eating the most amazing food, doing art gallery marathons (in which I spent days going around and reading up on modern art), visiting many historical sites and uncovering secret gardens in Rome, going to the Venice Carnival (and running into a dear FHS friend who left several years ago), touring Florence and making some amazing Italian friends who took me to their favourite hidden gems of places. I have also  managed to locate and enter the most beautiful convent tucked away in Trastevere with its Cavallini frescos, toured the Vatican and sent love letters via their rapid postal system, learnt to bake Roman dolci, partaken in yoga evenings with a live cellist playing, read fantastic books, walked onto the James Bond set, eaten the most amazing pizza in Napoli, heard amazing  Italian stories, joined the swing dancing scene in Rome, uncovered secret password bars, rowed in Villa Borghese.

Then there were the really random - what mum would call 'very Natascha' - moments. Once, I decided I wanted to organise an Italian vintage film night in a very cute little restaurant with a hidden cinema at the back. It was a great success, with thirty five people mainly all new to Rome, turning up somewhere where they had not been before to watch a film in a language they were not very familiar with. It did, however, teach me a few very important lessons... how to sell five Euro tickets in 48 hours, how to follow up with people, how to convince the owner of the restaurant that I could fill his cinema, how to select various beverage options, how to ensure everybody found a place they had never heard of and how to introduce everyone from different classes and countries. I am now looking to start an acting class in Italian and I am joining an Italian book group. My upcoming projects are to organise a dinner in the dark evening; it's an amazing concept that started in Paris whereby the whole dinner takes place completely in the dark. I went to one a while back and it was an incredible experience: all the waiters were blind; you had no idea who you were sitting next to and no clue as to the shape of the table, what you were eating, where the glass was or whether it had been filled to the top...

A gap year definitely comes highly recommended!
 
Natascha Genette-Stride
Old Girl 2014

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