My Life: dazed and confused

Volunteer teach Italy Piedmont

Where to begin?!

On November 8th it was move out day and time to go live with another italian family in a town called Riva Presso Chieri about 10-15 minutes from Chieri (my previous town). Being a girl I have accumulated more and more things since I  arrived here and struggled fitting everything in my suitcase and backpack. I had to carry my coats and put the stuff that didnt fit in a shopping bag. Needless to say I need to buy another suitcase or wear half my clothes on the plane ride home. The sad part is can’t stop buying things. I have a problem. Other than that the move went very well! It was sad to say goodbye to my previous host family, but it was not difficult to adjust into my new home at all. They have been more than welcoming. My host mom speaks a little english very very little, but it works for us! She also takes english classes once a week and I help her with her homework. My host dad cannot speak english but does try! We mostly do charades and google translate has become the fourth member at the dinner table. They also have two daughters. I have met Serena she is doing her residincey to be a surgeon here in Torino and she comes home about twice a week for dinner. She speaks english pretty well and is so nice!! Their other daughter is Arianna and she works as a lawyer in Milan with her boyfriend. I will be visiting Milan the first weekend of December with Serena to visit her sister. Oh and I cannot forget the best part of the family is their cute cat named nonna. She is fifteen and the sweetest cat! She reminds me of Marshy and having her around makes it feel a little more like home. 
The first weekend here in Riva, they had a teacher named Paula and her family come over for dinner. She is an english teacher I have been working with and is very nice of course. She has two daughters one is 15 and the other 18. I met the 18 year old who is studying languages, so I had someone to talk to at dinner haha. The dad also spoke a little english and is a volleyball referre. At dinner we had about four courses I would say. The first course were slices of sirloin steak, then after that we had salami and sopressta, and then my favorite part….cows tongue. I was in the process of chewing it when the daughter told me it is a piemontese specialty called cows tongue…By my suprise it was not that bad but not something I love. The sauces we put on all the meats were amazing. After all that we had lamb with potatoes, and then turkey. So I basically ate every animal. For dessert we had frozen yogurt, that tasted nothing like our frozen yogurts. It was 100000 times better! There were many toppings such as chocolate, caramel, coconut, and marmalade. We also had this apple crisp that had like a cream in it. The whole meal was to die for. Afte 4 1/2 hours of sitting at the table eating, I got up feeling like I had just gained at least 5 pounds. 
The next day I woke up and went for about a 5 mile run with my host dad. Their whole family is very active and into running, hiking, and working out. I recently went to the gym with the host mom and did a step class, which was a lot like aerobics in the beginning. Thank God for that aerobics class I did in college, but really….I would have had no idea what to do. 
After my run I went into Asti with Paula’s family to get some chinese food. I know chinese food in Italy?! But it was really really good and a really nice chinese restaurant. It was also nice to have a change from all the carbs. But I still have not gotten sick of all the Italain food! Maybe its the Italian in me 🙂 Asti was a very cute quaint town. It was Sunday so all the shops were closed, but there was a market in the center of town, but it was a rainy cold day so not too many people out and about. Rainy cold days are very common here and something that has been difficult for me. I do miss my sunshine and palm trees!
On Monday I started my first day at my new school in Riva, where I am teaching Primary and Secondary school. It is definitely nice to teach secondary, because the kids can understand me a lot more and it makes it easier to teach them. They are also able to talk to me more and ask me more questions. For example one of the boys on the first day asked me what my dream guy looks like….and then proceeded to ask me if I have a boyfirend…so ya the only boys that want to date me are 13.  
As for the primary kids they are just so adorable! They made me big welcome signs on my first day. On the first week it was just introductions and I showed them pictures of my home, family, and friends. This week I have been teaching the secondary students about the American holidays. Thanksgiving, Halloween, and Independence day. Talking about these festivities definitely made me realize how much I am going to miss celebrating thanksgiving this year with my family 🙁 But I guess I will just have to make an italian thanksgiving! 
FIRENZE!!! Where to begin with one of my favorite cities in Italy so far….
This past weekend I visited the beautiful Florence. Heather and I left on Thursday night and got into Florence around 9pm. Once we got there we realized we had three options 1. take a taxi 2. take the bus (our air b&b guy told us which one) 3. walk about 15 minutes. So we figured walking for us usually takes twice the amount of time because we always get lost, then we are cheap and didnt want to take a cab, so when our bus came we hesitated then impulsively jumped on it last minute. Had no idea which direction it was taking us or if it was the right direction. Well by the 3rd stop we decided to get off, considering it kept going further away from populated areas. As soon as we got off we went on the hunt for a taxi! Could not find any. Literally none. So we walked into a hotel and asked the kind man to call us one. Once we were finally at ease in our cab we realized he was passing the train station, which means we literally went the complete opposite direction! Honestly it wouldn’t have been normal for us to ever get somewhere and find our apt right away, because we are challenged when it comes to directions…very very challenged. 
Anyways on to the amazing places I visited in Florence….or just all the shopping I did 🙂 
On Friday we spent about 4 hours in the leather market. I swear you can get lost in there for hours!! I got a beautiful leather handbag as well as a going out bag. The scarves were also so beautiful I could not resist. I also did some shopping for family members, so get excited guys! Next to the leather market is mercato centrale, an indoor food market filled with the best smells. I really wanted to have lunch at the restaurant in there but it was too crowded. After that we took a much needed lunch break then continued our shopping addiction. We had planned to go see the sunset on friday cause it was the only nice day but again we of course got lost…we went to take the bus and it never came. As usual google maps failed us, along with the lack of wifi everywhere. I think the one thing I miss most is my 4G!!! Dear 4G, I will never take you for granted ever ever again.
So we just changed our plans and decided to get some food but for some reason anytime we are looking for something its impossible to find and then when we arent looking for it we find an abundance of them. For example, so many amazing dessert places but no restaurants…we finally found one that ended up being amazing! It also had the best view right in front of the duomo, doesnt get much better than that. We sat outside taking in our gorgeous view and enhaling our pasta dishes. I got spaghetti carbonara which I was more than pleased with. Then for dessert we got this tart that had nutella on top then a cream in the middle and the crust on the was to die for. Also my new obsession is nutella. I want to buy a stock in nutella. I want to live in the nutella factory. 
Sorry I’m going on and on about all the food I’m eating but its basically the highlight of my days. After a few glasses of wine one day I highly considered going to culinary school so Heather and I could open our very own American Brunch cafe in Torino. Who knows….it might just happen..
Friday night we went to a pub that many American students go to and put their college shirts on the ceiling and sign it. They also had college shots, where I added College of Charleston’s to be fireball. I wanted it to be SoCo and lime but some other stupid school took it. Sorry Katie if your reading this. The bartenders there loved us I mean who wouldn’t? They ended up giving us many rounds of free shots it was lovely. 
Saturday was the day of rain. We were able to go to the top of the Duomo before the rain started. The climb to the top was not easy but oh so worth it!!! As you climb up you also get to go to the top of the Duomo inside. It was one of my favorite parts of the trip. The view was bellissima! We also went to the Academia Galleria to see the David. He is HUGE! And he was quite the looker back in the day if you ask me. 
Anyways then our italian friend from Rome, Diego, came in to visit us and we went to this restaurant my friend cara told me about, where we had this huge bottle of red wine, mind you it was not a bottle more like 3 bottles put into one. Then I tried chicken liver which in my opinion tastes like wet cat food…sorry. But I had really good strip steak that was so bloody. It was to die for. Basically still mooing on my plate. 
On Sunday we went to the top of Piazza Michelangelo. Just when I thought nothing could top the view from the top of the Duomo, Piazza Michelangelo did. It was incredible!!! We then walked through Ponte Vecchio and looked at the little jewelry shops wishing I had someone to buy me diamonds….a girl can dream. The ABSOLUTE best part about Sunday was that I found pajama bottoms!!! The hunt for these was unreal! All the bottoms here for women and for men are loose then tight on the ankle….I dont get it but I hate it. Thanks to Diego we stumbled on this pajama store where I bought mens pajama bottoms since all the womens pajamas are tight fitting. I am so happy and have to say one of the highlights of my trip.
On Sunday I did not want to leave at all. It was such a great trip in such a beautiful city. There really are countles picturesque cities in Italy. 
Alright I am off to Torino to get apertivo with Heather. CIAO!!!
Baci <3 

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