Benvenuto a Italia!

Benvenuto a Italia!

ImageSuccess! I’ve escaped (miserably cold and snowy) New Jersey! Now, don’t get me wrong. I really love my state. I grew up in the very north of Jersey my entire life – a lot of trees, a lot of lakes, and a lot of sarcasm. (Oh, Sarcasm – how I miss thee in just a week!) It’s beautiful and has the perfect mix of tranquility and intensity that comes with living within an hour of New York City. But I’ve always dreamed of traveling, and with the help of Greenheart Travel and WEP (Greenheart’s Italian partner), I have that chance while keeping true to my first passion of teaching.

Since I’m writing this a few days late (I wanted to settle in), I’ll recap what has been a crazy experience in culture shock.

View of the cloudy sky and, in the distance, the sun rising over the AlpsI left Newark International Airport on January 22nd. Despite a seven hour overnight flight, I didn’t sleep once. By the time I arrived in Milano, it was about 2AM in New Jersey. I have to admit that watching the sun rise over the Alps from 30,000 feet in the air made up for the exhaustion.

When the entire group with WEP gathered, we were transported two hours away to a hostel in Turino (the capital city of the Piemonte region). We wandered the city for a few hours that The alter of the Chiesa di San Filippo Nerievening and a few of us stumbled upon this beautiful church. We hadn’t even known it was a church until we stepped through the gates and opened the doors to a darkened room. I’m not religious, but the artwork and detail put into every inch left me in awe. This was the greatest moment of reality: knowing I’m truly in a new country – finally seeing the history mixed with the modern society.

After a glorious sleep, the next day was to orient us in our upcoming experiences and meet with our host families (in my case, my mentor teacher since my family was unable to make it). I’ll leave out the boring parts and all of the goodbyes to my fellow English-speakers and skip to arriving at Savigliano.

I seem to have been given the perfect host family! I was expecting a much more strict life-style, as I was told by many people, but they are so extremely relaxed that I still need to get comfortable in how much freedom there is. My host brother is 24, and my two sisters are 21 and 16 – making it easy to have them as friends in this new world. My brother especially has been fantastic so far and has taken pity on me to bring me out with My host father built this only two weeks before I arrived. It is a balcony that sits right over the staircase to downstairs.his friends (who gladly taught me Italian and Piemontese curse words). Aside from all this, the home is just comfortable. And there are books in nearly every room. What more could an English teacher ask for (aside from, you know, books in English)?

Things are still very new to me here, and I have never felt more confident nor more inadequate in everything I do. My first goal is to try and learn Italiano so as to not be such a burden upon my family for everything. I want to travel the country and this continent, which seems both small and massive at once… I suppose that is my greatest impression of my first week here: how the contradictions seem to exist next to each other in every aspect of life in Italy. I just hope I can keep up.

p.s. As I finish writing this entry, it has started to snow in Savigliano… I suppose I spoke to soon about escaping the cold Jersey winter!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *