To begin, I would like to explain (and defend) the title of my blog. While it may seem incredibly unoriginal to have a blog titled “hello”, I chose the title because it had more meaning to me personally. “Ciao” is basically the only word in Italian that I knew when I came to Siena and entered into an intensive learning program where everything I hear and learn is entirely in Italian. So, for me, Ciao really signifies my beginnings in Siena and will show how far I (hopefully) progress in Italian during my time here.
So, with that out of the way I guess I shall describe my life here. Siena is absolutely gorgeous. If you ask anyone who has been to Italy what their favorite place was, they will most likely say Siena. That is at least how every conversation went for me when I told people about my trip here. My house is right outside of the city. I walk to my classes because it’s not a long walk and I am afraid of the bus. I live with a family of five (cinque). My momma is named Cristina, my bobba is Johnny (I don’t know how to spell it the Italian way but I know it starts with a G), and their children are named Lorenzo (12 years old), and the twins John Luca and Elena (almost 9 years old). The kids are absolutely crazy and hilarious. I can get along just fine talking to Elena with my very broken Italian because her facial expressions are universal. Lorenzo speaks Spanish and can help me when I am struggling to communicate with his parents, and Luca is very shy but also adorable. There is also another American student living with the family named Stephanie (stephie to the family) who has been with the family since last semester. She is obviously the biggest help in communication between me and the famiglia Passaniti but she tries to speak Italian with me as much as possible. For the first day, she explained everything to me about the weird toilet flusher thing and the fold out shower wall thingy and the washing machine that apparently does clothes by temperature (I have yet to go near it, I am hoping that momma will either teach me or take over my laundry), so I had a pretty good grasp of what was going on which was a huge help. Cristina and Johnny are the absolute nicest people ever. They are always smiling and making sure that I am comfortable. Cristina also took me on a tour of the house and revealed how the electric blind thingys worked which are pretty awesome by the way, and Johnny is always looking out for me like the time that he informed me in Italian and charades that I was still wearing my slippers while leaving the house for class. oops. Having a conversation is hard with my level of Italian, but somehow we pretty much end up getting the point across about what we are each saying. There are enough similarities between Italian and Spanish that I have started to just speak Spanish when I don’t know the words in Italian and we just see how far that gets me. We have done pretty well so far.