Today was a really fun day. In the morning the group of people who are only here for 4 weeks got together for our “reflective writing” course (in english) in which we discuss our home lives and our trip over and any questions that we have. It was really interesting to see how everyone’s home life is different especially since we tend to generalize the characteristics of certain cultures and countries and attributing one or two characteristics to every household in that country. For example, most Italian mommas will be very upset if you try and walk out of the house with your hair wet (they think you will get sick), however, not everyone in our group had that discussion with their host parents. Also, skinning apples and cucumbers. A friend of mine’s host dad made her skin her apple before eating it for reasons unknown, and also skinned cucumbers before using them. I personally have not encountered this and only one other person in the group had, so it can’t be assumed that all Italian households are this way. We also had the fortunate opportunity to bring up any awkward or embarrassing questions that we could not bring up with our host family (I especially enjoyed this portion; I had many questions) The following were asked by me: Question number 1. Why in the world is the toilet seat in my house a square. It isn’t a complete square, the corners are rounded, but still. It is uncomfortable and I haven’t noticed any Italians with square butts so I’m assuming their anatomy is the same as American anatomy. Our teacher explained that it was most likely a style thing so I guess my house is really stylish. For those of you wondering, yes I will be bringing back pictures. Also, my house was one of the only houses in the group that had a square toilet seat. Interesting. Question number 2. Why are all the clocks I see in Italy broken? I had noticed this with the clock in my kitchen, a clock in a classroom, and a clock in the family room area of my house. Also, it has been explained to us that Italians pretty much run on their own time (something we found out the hard way when our class went 30+ minutes over) so I was wondering if this was because there was shortage of working clocks which apparently were only there for decoration. Our teacher pretty much just said it was a coincidence and made a note to tell people in the school to fix the broken clock. Question number 3. My blinds in my house are electric, is this also for fashion’s sake? The teacher said that it was interesting because neither she nor anyone else in the group had electric blinds that work at the push of a button. So my house is clearly just the fashion forward casa on the block. We then just talked about our expectations in Italy, concerns, etc. Pretty simple but entertaining class.
The real fun began around 4 pm (16:00) when we had cooking class! Italian schools don’t have campuses so our building has other things in it and one of these things is a cooking school. We made our own dough for pasta and watched as the teacher made pappa col pomodoro, and the sauce for a pasta called pici (pee-chee), and tiramisu! It was so unbelievably good and I was more full than I have ever been during my time here. Our teacher believed that the way to learn Italian was in the kitchen and she spoke to us entirely in Italian but we did have a translator to explain the steps and directions. After cooking class, we all went to the campo to drink wine and just hang out which was a lot of fun as well.
When I came home from the campo, at about 10pm (because it’s a school night!), I sat down to do my Italian homework and pretty much the whole family helped me. I absolutely loved it. It was so nice to be able to bond with them helping me and explaining to me what was correct and why. It was kind of a relaxing conversation since I didn’t have to work so hard to try and keep up a conversation; it was all on the paper. My momma Cristina and I stayed up late just talking about my homework and the tangents that came from that like my friends and family. She also told me that she really likes English and Spanish and that she thinks English sounds pretty. Even the American accent in Italian! I was surprised and told her I thought English was brutta (ugly) and not romantico. She laughed and said that Stephanie (the other American) said the same thing. I was actually really happy to hear how much she liked English and the way it sounds because I personally thought that Americans have the ugliest accents ever. To my ears, we sound crass and unoriginal so it was so nice to hear that someone actually likes to hear us talk!