Italy: Where People Roam the Markets Like Americans Do at Target

Italy: Where People Roam the Markets Like Americans Do at Target

While I was in Italy I didn’t really feel like blogging as much as I thought I would, but I did want to write about my Italian experience. So, here we go, here’s just a few memories from my time spent in Europe. Which, now being back in the U.S it is much easier for me to realize what moments really had an impact on me. A lot of friends and family members told me it would be a life changing experience, but I kind of brushed it off. Anywho, here are some memories.

School in Italy

So I never would have thought that I would actually work at a high school, or a high school in Italy, but despite the occasional classroom filled with body odor, I am really glad that it happened :] Having 18 different classes wasn’t easy to juggle, but I managed. Teaching is a challenge, but when you’re teaching a foreign language you must have constant focus, which I usually don’t…It can be mentally exhausting. Teachers, I applaud you. Which is another thing, the students were great and studious, way more than American high school students. But the teachers get less recognition for their hard work. I was lucky that all of the teachers I worked with were very welcoming , some invited me for a meal at their house and others at a local restaurant, Eataly.

One thing I’ll never forget is many students who would want to say “hi” to me in the hallway, would get nervous and just say “ciao.”

Daily Life

There are little aspects of Italian culture that I’ve always admired, for example, walking to the market and saying hello to the vendor. Which in my case was Cristian and Massimo. I’m pretty sure I had mandarins every day and I know that we mostly bought them from Cristian. There’s a sense of trust even between you and the guy you buy your fruit from. You know that Cristian will be waiting in the piazza next to your apartment saving you the best mandarins he could find. In Massimo’s case he was waiting to let you taste a new kind of delicious cheese that was made locally.

If you ever need anything you know that the markets are open on Wednesdays and Saturdays. People roam the markets in Italy just like Americans do at Target. But no, there aren’t 3,000 kinds of toothpaste that you don’t need.

At one point I needed to put minutes on my prepaid cellphone and the little “Tabacchi”, convenient store wasn’t open at 4:30 P.M. That was a “whoa, I’m not living in America moment.” But I recharged my little Go phone the next day.

Culture Shock

So one week I totally experienced culture shock about 6 weeks into my stay. I had been warned by advisors at my school that “this trip will change your life, but it will be a roller coaster, there will be highs and lows.”  One week I was definitely a sleeping beauty and slept a lot. Culture shock is hard to describe, I love everything Italian and definitely wanted to be living there, but there are times when you just want to speak to your friends and understand everything!!!! You feel out of place…Even if you understand the language there are so many cultural differences and you feel like you don’t belong. I thought for some reason culture shock wouldn’t affect me, but it did. Luckily I stayed with an amazing host family and my host dad, Luca got out the guitar and had me sing with him and Italian mom, Elena. Italians really are great people. :] So I was feeling better and decided I’m in Italy I should be having the time of my life, so I need to make friends! The next day in class one of my students leaned his head back speaking to the back row of the class “hey! my birthday party is this Saturday, come to the Discoteca.”(he said this in Italian of course) I butted in and was like “hey! I want to go!” This was my class full of 18 yr olds so this was one of the last boys in the class to turn 18’s birthday party. Which turns out to be a never ending pizza party!!! Gotta love Italians! Danced on the tables (this was normal:]) with my students and suddenly I was a happy American girl in Italy again! It was there that I met my first Italian date.

Love Life

Sleeping beauty must have had a prince! So since Italy is a very romantic place, lovely churches, flowers, old, beautiful architecture, people making out all over the place…. Girls want Italian boyfriends of course! And I would have to say that my Italian adventure would not have been quite the same without an Italian boyfriend.

Right before my first date with Loris, the most german looking Italian ever, blonde hair and blue eyes. I started panicking! I was like oh my gosh I’m going on a date with a boy that speaks no English! What the hell am I thinking, that I could pull this off?!  I could stand on my balcony and see him as he was walking up to the piazza below my apartment. When I went down stairs I was freaking out! Being the nerd I am, I was trying to take my Italian book and a backpack, because my phone didn’t have a translator! This was a man from the mountains! Rora, a boy that spoke Piemontese, a dialect of Italian, that is like Frenchtalian!! My Italian dad refused to let me take a backpack, so I ended up taking a small English/Italian dictionary that could fit into my purse. So he picked me up, walking of course, and I proceeded to pace around like a New Yorker and he grabs me, looks me in the eye and says to me “Piano, Piano!” Like slow down, slow down! I was like “right” I was on  a date with a boy that spoke no English, this is crazy, but I probably should chill out. It was time to actually speak some Italian in Italy! So after I slowed down things started to get better, I could try and understand him now. It was a bit difficult when he was telling me that he had 3 jobs. I understood that he was a waiter at a couple of places and then he kept saying this word I had no clue about. Turns out he worked at a funeral service also. I knew the word “dead” so I was confused,,” you work with dead people?!”Si, Si! bene. Lol

So we went to a little coffee shop in a hidden place and he immediately says to the owner “Aituami!!!” (help me!!!) He was probably so confused by the fact that I was speaking broken Italian, but SOMEHOW we managed to communicate. He told me he went to school for Tourism, and I was like wow! What are the odds I would have common career interests with an Italian boy?! So anywho, we enjoyed some tea and at the end of the night he took me to the church San Maurizio, at the top of the hill, where I would normally walk to or take my sketch pad to draw the church.. which was definitely the perfect spot for a first kiss. And that was the beginning of my Italian romance..Sleeping beauty found the blue prince!

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