Monday, September 12, 2011

Italia week 2

Living in the countryside has it's benefits. Yesterday, I picked baby cherry tomatoes from our garden, under the Italian sun. I harvest jujubes from a tree and examined the growing pomegranates while the chickens clucked in their pen. The number of fruits that we consider exotic that you see growing around any neighborhood is amazing to me.
For lunch we sat outside in the garden and the first course was a pasta-caprese salad, made with penne, fresh mozzarella, with basil and tomatoes from our own garden. All dressed of course in a perfect distribution of olive oil.
On the nights where I go out, I hop on my bike and ride the 2 km into town, where I meet up with friends in the Piazza (plaza). There is a big culture here of standing outside during these warm nights, talking and drinking. It's a little intimidating speaking so little of the language, but that is why I am here learning. I started out in a language class that was a bit hi level for me. About half of the class were pretty fluent Italian speakers, and the professoressa would ramble on in italian without really slowing down. I'm proud of my classmates for being where they are, but it was truly above my level and I was miserable in class that first week. The people at CIEE are very understanding and familiar with the situation, and now I am in the intermediate class, which is more what I thought I would be getting myself into, having increasingly complex dialogues and learning new grammer/vocabulary.
The events CIEE organizes are very fun. They have great connections in the town and treat us to events like observing the making of high-class gelato. We also got to play Bocce, which according to one of the organizers who might have had a bit much to drink, made us not tourists, but members of the Ferrarese family and it's history.
Everyday I try to understand more. It's a struggle, but it's still early on. It sometimes boggles my mind when I think about how long I will be in a country speaking a different language. Fall term at OSU is long and it hasn't even begun yet. I am excited for my birthday coming up in a couple weeks, and I miss my family and friends back home. I am thankful for the friends I have who I talk to from back home while I am here. They help me feel connected. That's all for now, I will try to post again this week.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Italia part. 1

Wow! So, I'm in Italy. That actually, finally happened. And it was scary, and intimidating to get here. But now I'm here and learning how to be an Italian and oh what a beautiful thing that is. My dear mother drove me from Vermont to Canada where I said goodbye to her and our good friend Tula.
C'e Tula

I got on a plane to Zurich where I didn't sleep very well. I ended up watching Win Win with Paul Giamatti which was a decent film. In Zurich I had a very quick half hour to race across the terminal to catch a flight to Bologna. I was so exhausted that I pretty much conked out through takeoff, which is my favorite part of the flight. I was more or less content to sleep through the entire flight, except when the stewardess came by I thought I would get a water. I opened my eyes when I heard their cart and what did I see coming up outside my window? The Alps! That's right, the most bad-ass, epic mountain range of all time. Needless to say after that I was wide awake and took an array of photos.
From their Io ho comprato un bigliette. (I bought a ticket) For a bus to Malpensa train station, only the craziest, zaniest train station in the world. After fretting that I was in the wrong line and finding out I wasn't, I eventually boarded a train to Bologna and arrived right when a train for Ferrara was leaving. I was sure all was lost, but it turns out another was not far behind.

When I finally arrived at the hotel in Ferrara, it was time to get to know what the program was all about and what the people were like. I have already met great people and eaten great food. Domani, tomorrow, we start our two weeks of intensive Italian courses. We have had the first five or so days to get to Ferrara, familiarize and settle in with our new Families. Yes, I have a homestay family. I live 2 km outside the walls, in what is basically the country, in a little house where a terrifyingly loud train passes by. Living in the house are Daniella, her son Filipo (both who I have yet to meet, they are on vacation.) I have been hanging out with Daniella's uncle Bruno, who doesn't speak a lick of english but we get a long fine and he takes care of me, cooking great Italian dinners. He has a 12 year old dog named Poldo, short for Leopoldo. It never ceases to amaze me how similar their personalities are. You really get the sense that they are best of friends. <---- C'e Poldo

<---Un Foto tipicamente di Bruno e Poldo.

That's all for now. Until next time! Ciao