Sono Arrivato — Torino Province, Italy

Sono Arrivato — Torino Province, Italy


Torino Province, Italy

Its been three days since my arrival in Italy. You can say that I’m starting to feel the culture shock. Italy, to put simply, is very laid back. There is no need to rush (unless you’re driving) and schedules hardly exist. For an American, this can be frustrating. We are constantly trying to meet deadlines or be somewhere at a certain time. The justification to be able to sit and relax is to accomplish something first. In Italy, you don’t always need a reason to relax. If you want to relax, you just do it.

I have so much to say about my time here thus far, but for now I’ll just recap:

Giorno Uno:

The flight from Newark to Milan went very smoothly. I sat in the back of the plane and had a whole window row to myself. First class flight for the price of economy, win. Upon arrival at the airport, I expected long custom lines. That was not the case. I passed through within a matter of minutes and obtained my very first stamp 🙂 At this point I was ready to take on everything Italy has to offer me, but of course we had to sit in the airport for another 4 hours to wait for all the other teachers to come in. The wait was excruciating. However meeting and talking to fellow teachers made the time go by a bit faster.

After going up and down the lift multiple times, a pick up spot was established between the group and the bus. I fell asleep as soon as we got going. Apparently the drive to Torino and the hostel was about an hour.

The hostel, called EcoBamboo, was located near the Torino city center. I am the first person from Hawaii to stay at this hostel. Whooo. We had a few hours to spare before the night’s festivities so we decided to take a short walk around our location to find a snack/get water. This is when it started to hit me that I was in Italy. Italian flags waved proudly over balconies, Fiat upon Fiat roamed the streets, and on every corner there was a pizzeria. I thought “sono arrivato” or “I have arrived” and smiled at every single person I walked past.

The night entailed a walking tour of the city and, of course, a pizza dinner. To get to the city center we caught a bus. This is completely different from what I’m used to. No ticket or bus fare upon entering, about 35 people squeezing into a square foot of space, and stops were in the middle of the street.

Torino is not the stereotypical tourist destination of Italy. Though, this city’s charm still gave me the “ZOMG this is beautiful” feeling. It is exactly like what you see in movies, only better.

Before dinner, we had about 45 minutes to venture off and explore. Jenae and I walked straight until we found a little shop that closely resembled Ikea. You had to follow a path through the store to see the things they sold.

And then we got lost. This is where my Italian proficiency was put to the test. We were forced to approach random people and try to describe the location we were headed. It was kind of like a game of charades, I pantomimed ice skating (in order to find the ice rink near the pizzeria) but all I got was a place I could buy skates. Finally after about an hour of broken Italian conversations, “troviamo cavalli di macchine” was enough of a description to get us to our destination. We were late for dinner, but of course, the group still hadn’t ordered their food.

Giorno Due:

The itinerary for day consisted of orientations and the introduction of our new families and teacher advisors.

Mode of transportation: taxi. This is the perfect way to experience Italian driving. Its like stop lights, road lines, and speed limits don’t exist. Italians disregard any form of traffic signage and drive as the please. Luckily we arrived alive and were able to orient ourselves to the country and the Italian education system (I could go on forever about this, but I will refrain). The image on left is of the center courtyard of the school at which our orientation was held.

At the end of the orientation, the teachers all went separate ways to towns and “villages” throughout the Piemonte region. My home for the next few months is Trofarello, a village of about 11,000 people located 30 minutes outside of Torino. Here I will be teaching English in a scuola media, or middle school. My host family consist of my mother, Leila, and brother, Matteo.

For dinner, we went to Leila’s mothers house. Here I met the entire family and got to experience my first authentic Italian home-cooked meal. I didn’t know what to expect. We all sat around a long rectangle table with our plates and utensils already laid out. Marta (sp?), my new 2 year old cousin, requested that I “seduti vicino a me.” So I did. Bread & oil with salami was served. Thinking that was going to be it, I ate quite a few pieces. Whoa, I was wrong…Leila’s mother brought out the next part of the meal, the appetizers. First we had roasted aubergines topped with cherry tomatoes. Then, pepperoni, real pepperoni: orange bell peppers topped with either formaggio, anchovies, or tuna. At this point, I am already full. Sure enough, my plate was replaced and glasses of red wine were set out before us. We had, or at least tried to have both English and Italian conversations. Language barrier at its finest. After red wine, a bowl of agnolotti was served. It sort of resembles ravioli, however this dish is specific to this region. BEST PASTA EVER. By now, I am completely stuffed but of course the meal wasn’t over. The main dish: grilled chicken topped with a special tomato puree and a side of cooked spinach. And finally for dessert, homemade strudels stuffed with a fruit medley and topped with confectioners sugar. This was probably the best meal I have had in my life. Everything was so fresh and made to perfection.

Giorno Tre:

Today was a very relaxing day. After breakfast, I was given an Italian baking demonstration. Two things were made. First a cake involving a chocolate and vanilla swirl, then traditional Tiramisu.

Italian fact of the day: “Tiramisu” literally means “lift me up.” This dish is usually consumed at breakfast in order to be energized by its’ coffee content. Wow!

Following the demonstration, we had lunch and then headed over to the aperto mercato, or open market. It kind of resembles a swap meet or farmer’s market, with vendors lined up selling an array of goods including clothes, electronics, and all sorts of locally grown food. Here we bought fresh fruits, cheese, and prosciutto. I’m surprised by how cheap everything is especially with the high level of quality. I’m definitely in food heaven.

At the end of the day, we went to Matteo’s football (no, not American football) match. He is definitely a pro-athlete in the making. Unfortunately his team lost, but it was a great match nonetheless.

Three days later, I still can’t believe I am here in Italy living my dream. These next few months will fly by. All I can do is take it all in, truly live the Italian lifestyle, and appreciate every single moment of this opportunity.

A presto


Leave a Reply

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