Sunday, January 12, 2014

Day 3

Well, I've barely slept in the past four days but it has definitely been worth it. Today, everyone had a bit of a rough time getting going. We had wanted to go to mass at St. Peters in Latin this morning, but it took too long to check out and move all our bags to the school where we would leave them until our host families came to pick us up. Although we missed mass, a group of CUA and Loyola kids went to go check out the Vatican today. I, however, was not that ambitious today unfortunately, but to be fair at least half the group stayed behind. Around ten of us feel asleep in the lobby of the school for about an hour, which I think ended up being a good call because we were all barely functioning. Once we woke up we ventured across the street to find some lunch and made a GREAT find; Mondo Arancina, which in Italian means Rice Ball World apparently. For 2.50 euro they sell these risotto balls as big as my hand filled with all kinds of things. There was one with tomato sauce and eggplant, one with mozzarella and mushrooms, one with proscuitto and mozzarella, and the list goes on and on. They were insanely good and right across from the school. They also had some really good looking pizza and sandwiches, and it was filled with locals which is always a good sign. After that we got an espresso and a mini cannoli at the bakery next store (so good) and headed back to school for the last part of orientation.
Once we arrived, we filled out our permesso di soggiorno which is our residence permit and it took forever. Now tomorrow we have to learn how to mail it so that will be an interesting adventure. After this they took us through a powerpoint about host families, what to expect, what the Italian customs were and so on, which I think was actually really helpful. It was small weird little things like, Italians apparently never go barefoot in the house, or even wear socks. They wear flip flops or slippers and they said to us its totally ok if we want to go barefoot but they will tell us "oh no you're feet/socks are getting dirty". The powerpoint was full of a bunch of little helpful hints like that. At this point Marie and I are freaking out. We really didn't know what to expect and we were the first ones called out to meet our host mom. As soon as she saw us she gave us a huge hug and said "i miei bambini!", or "my kids!" and was so excited we were there. She told us she was so happy, she was starting to get lonely. We took a cab back to her apartment which is beautiful and located in a big piazza. Marie and I got our own rooms, which was not something we expected at all. She went to cook dinner while we unpacked and then she called us when dinner was ready. The whole apartment smelled amazing. Tonight was a light dinner she said, tortellini soup, mozzarella and salad, bruscetta (with TONS of garlic it was incredible), and fruit after dinner. It was all amazing, she is a fantastic cook and she was so excited Marie and I appreciate Italian food and are so willing to try anything. Tonight only, she said, she spoke English with us, which is good I think because it will force us to learn, and she seems like she will be very patient. We talked over dinner about our families and our hometowns and the differences between America and here. She is so incredibly sweet and fun, we got so lucky. She hugged and kissed us before we went to bed and just kept saying how excited she was to have us here. After all that worrying  about my host family it's working out great so far!!
I absolutely love Rome. People always talk about how it's such an amazing city because you have both the modern and the ancient, and it is so true. I didn't realize how everything is so spread out, there is no "historic district" or anything, you definitely feel like you're in a major city, but you turn a corner and see a massive gorgeous basilica, or see the dome of St. Peter's, or a beautiful fountain made by a master sculptor. Just yesterday Marie and I wandered around in the evening before dinner and found ourselves sitting on the steps of a basilica which was not ugly at all, but fairly unassuming on the outside. It seemed like a place lots of locals were hanging out and it was only a little bit away from the Spanish Steps. All of a sudden we noticed people kept going in so we thought we might as well check it out. Well it was absolutely stunning. It was in the baroque style and the paintings all around were incredible. I've seen a fair amount of well known European churches and this was as beautiful as any of them, but I had never even heard of the Basilica and forgot to write down the name. I feel like we are always finding something new and I love walking everywhere here. I am so lucky to be in such an amazing city. 
Tomorrow is the first day of classes and my Italian placement test, so we'll see how that goes!


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