Thursday, January 31, 2013


Yesterday afternoon I met with my Italian friend Linda again and her sister Laura. We sat in un bar and talked for a long time before walking home. I love spending time we both of them. They help me with my Italian a lot and it's fun to exchange words and teach each other new things. Linda is extremely helpful. She sent me some Italian songs so I can learn them and fit in with the college crowd. I met my friend Judith and her Italian sisters and their friends for dinner. Their family owns a restaurant in town so we ate there. Then it happened. We were all laughing and having a grand old time with language barriers when we got yelled at by the table behind us for being too loud!! Thankfully I was with Italians and it wasn't just me! Afterwards we went to the piazza. It's very interesting because all the bars in Padova are really small so after you order your drink, you go back outside and everyone hangs out in the piazza....except it's winter and cold. The sisters told us that in the summer the piazza is so busy on Wednesday nights that it's filled with people and you can't move. After we went to a discoteca, except the discotecas don't open until 12:30...Italians like to stay out realllly late, til 2, 3, or 4 in the morning! It was a lot of fun dancing finally because no one dances at the bars. We took a taxi at 2:30 and thus today has definitely been a struggle due to lack of sleep. I don't understand how they do it. When I go out during the week at Bucknell, I'm still home by 12:30. So that will take some adjusting, though after my intensive month of language class, I don't think I have class quite so early. This afternoon I met with my other e-pen pal Annachiara and we chatted over un caffe, as is the best thing to do. She talks in English and I talk in Italian so we are both able to practice, but right now my brain is very tired of speaking Italian. It needs some sleep tonight. It's ridiculous though, no matter what I do I have AMERICAN plastered across my forehead. Tommaso says my accent sounds like the English recording on the train. When I walked into a cafe yesterday and said "Vorrei un panino," the lady at the counter yells "Inglese! They don't speak Italian well!" But regardless, I keep trying.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My Life Is Complete.

Tonight in la piazza there was a BORDER COLLIE PUPPY. The cutest thing EVER. And I asked in Italian if I could pet it!! So proud of myself.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Important Things I Forgot!

I had my first cannolo siciliano!! Molto delizioso. Tonight I was transported back to elementary school. I read my Italian homework out loud to my family after dinner and they helped me correct my mistakes. I wrote about how dinner time with them was my favorite part of the day and they liked that I called them my mother, father, sister, and brother (Not that you're getting replaced Mom and Dad and well David I doubt you're reading this).

Proof That I'm Actually Here

Pratto delle Valle - Meadow of the Valley


My biggest accomplishment thus far: I was walking to class this morning when a car with a true Italian man pulled over and asked me in Italian if I knew where Via Pesciera was. Luckily, it was the street we were on, and I was able to help! But just think, I looked like an actual person who knew what they were doing. Fantastico! Today was also the first day of class and it went fine considering I haven't been to a class in a month and a half. So let's see, Sunday I met my e-pen pal Linda and oh my god. I love her. She is incredibly nice and we just clicked. We walked all throughout the city and talked. She bought me a cappuccino and said I spoke well. It was my host sister's birthday Sunday night and she had friends over for a festa and dinner. At first, I was such a novelty and they were scared to talk to me and kept whispering, until someone finally asked me a question and then they realized I was actually a person that could communicate with them. My brother Tommaso and I get along great. He always comes to my room and talks to me (in English when his parents aren't home) but I always respond in Italian. He was helping me with my blinds the other day because they aren't working properly and we opened the window and there was the most MASSIVE grasshopper I have ever seen and Tommaso was terrified. It was hilarious. All my friends want to meet him because of all the funny things he teaches me, especially gestures and swears. Yesterday after our placement test, we visited some churches in Padova and wandered the city. St. Anthony is the patron saint of the city and we went to the Basilica di San Antonio. In addition to his tomb, they have his tongue and larynx preserved and on display. So bizarre. While we were there, a choir came in and starting singing to his tomb. It literally stopped us in our tracks and was the most beautiful sound I have ever heard. I spent the rest of the afternoon hardcore bonding with friends. Still having trouble sleeping through the night....this jet lag thing is getting old. I'm definitely loving Italian culture. We pop into un bar for un caffe at least once if not twice a day. The Italians drink their coffee in a few minutes standing at the bar. Che fantastico. It snowed yesterday so we are definitely excited for the weather to get warmer. That is all I can think of, my brain is all over the place!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Running e Il Canale

Yesterday we only had orientation during the morning so we spent the afternoon wandering the city. We ate lunch in a little pizzeria and I finally had my first gelato - straciatella (not sure about the spelling) but it's my favorite flavor! It was very busy in all the piazze on Saturday but of course we always manage to draw attention to ourselves as that group of Americans. The hardest part is all the doors have a pull handle on both sides, but you always have to push to go in...we always mess up. A bunch of us met for dinner and again after wandering we found a restaurant called Otium. I had un panino tenebroso with brie, lettuce, tomato, and prosciutto!! The prosciutto is amazing! After, we went to this mysterious place called a bar, which I had never heard of before, and I ordered my first drink with this special substance called alcohol, but something must have been lost in translation, because as I said, I had never heard of it before. I had my first spritz like a true Italian. It was a great bonding time for our group. This morning Judith and I went running along the canal as pictured above. It's gorgeous, and this morning was nice and warm (by New England standards at least). We stopped at the torre (tower) where Galileo used to look at the stars!! So cool! Che figo!! (Except never ever say "Che figa" because in Venetian dialect, it refers to female genitalia) Ahah. I have a little belt with a pouch that I wear under my clothes when I run to carry my phone and keys. The Italian word for it is "un marsupio" just like a kangaroo! This afternoon I am meeting my e-pen pal Linda. I have no idea what we are doing but I'm really excited to spend time with an Italian student and hopefully learn some good information. A few things I have learned: At Bucknell, cars stop for pedestrians. In Padova, pedestrians stop for cars. I'm not quite sure they know what a stop sign means. As you move away from the center, people don't walk their dogs on leashes which is really cool. But I have to find out if it's normal for people to ask to pet dogs. It also seems as the days go on, your brain confuses the two languages more and more so that instead of speaking one when someone asks you a question, you panic and nothing comes out. But I can't even say how much my Italian has improved in only my few days here. That's it for now!

La Chiesa

This is the church of San Giuseppe. My friend Judith and I meet here all the time to either walk to school or go running. We only live a few streets away from each other so it's nice to have someone to walk with.

Casa Mia

This is my house! The bottom right window is my bedroom. It's a cute little street with lots of pretty houses. I can't wait til it's warmer and we can use the terrace out back!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Grazie a My Spatial Memory

It was a great first day of orientation and overwhelming information. All the program directors seem fantastic. We meet our professors tomorrow during academic orientation. My friend Judith, who lives close to me, and I try to converse in Italian as much as possible which is very nice. Her family owns a pizzeria and we all went there for pranzo (lunch) today. We also purchased cell phones so now I have some way of contacting people. Another girl ran to the office today, so Judith and I plan on going on a run tomorrow even though the Italians don't really just go for runs, but that's okay. After orientation, Judith didn't know how to get back to her house, so I am quite thankful for my spatial memory and attention to landmarks and stuff so I was able to help her find her house, although it was dark and we had to ask a few people where the street was. But I am very proud of myself for that. My family told me that the cat Blackie is shy and will take a few days to warm up to me. However, animal behavior major over here, I have been here approximately 24 hours and Blackie is currently sleeping on my bed. However, when she first tried to jump up, my things on the bed (possibly also my Orlando Bloom pillowcase?) freaked her out and sort of fell off the bed which was quite humorous. I have never been so proud of my Italian skills, even though it's still difficult, I can say many things. I'm very happy that my family knows English because some families know very little. However, it's more helpful than not because when I need to know a word they can teach me. I can also ask what I'm trying to say and then they will help me with the grammar, and correct me when I mess up. Tommaso, my brother, asked me if I wanted tea when I came home, but I said I wanted un caffe and he said "It's so late!" I explained that I drink coffee and go right to sleep ahah, the caffeine does not affect me. Note for my dad: The "passo carabile" signs indicate that it is someone's driveway and you are not allowed to park in front of it. Now I wait for dinner.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

And The Adventure Begins

Well, everything was going great. Until I couldn't figure out how to flush the toilet. Awkward moments in my life. But it was all good - just needed some more water in the system. The journey was long but I am here. And proud of myself for surviving the airport. My program seems to have fantastic kids - we've bonded a lot already. I sat next to this one girl on the plane while I was reading one of my feminism books when she says "Oh, I stopped shaving my legs and I asked my boyfriend if he could give me a reason why I should shave other than cultural expectations and he couldn't." Jaw dropped, is this real life!? So needless to say, best friend ever. Who would have ever thought. I love my family. They say my Italian is really good so that makes me happy. The boy, Tommaso, speaks English very well so that helps with all the misunderstandings. He said they have had 8 students before, so they are well accustomed to housing students. I haven't met my dad yet but my mom and sister are very nice. I'm also obsessed with the cat "Blackie" who isn't black but gray? But once he gets used to me he should sleep with me wooo! That's about it for now, dinner isn't for another two hours ahhhhh. Tomorrow orientation starts at 9:30 and goes all day. Excited for all the great adventures to come! Ciao!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Last Night

I leave in a little over 24 hours. My suitcase is still at least 3 pounds over the weight limit. But my greatest accomplishment of the night right now is the 3 whole lobsters I ate for dinner. New Englander for life.

Friday, January 18, 2013


Last night Aunt Nora tells me: "All the Italians are going to think all Americans laugh like seals because of you." Perfect.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

La mia famiglia!

I leave exactly 8 days from today! I recently received my placement for my host family! I will be living with a mom, dad, 13-year-old girl, 15-year-old boy, and a cat in a three story villa with a yard and a terrace! My room will be on the ground floor. We may or may not have street viewed the house using Google Maps and it’s beautiful! I’m beyond excited. So I guess I should start packing. In other news, Dad told me the other night that my parents were going to move while I was gone and not tell me where they went. Feeling the love during this last stretch of time at home.