I arrived before school started to spend time with my cousins in the Italian region of Umbria, a short distance away from Florence. It was interesting to see how I managed the language with my cousins who hardly speak a word of English.
I left from Philadelphia in the afternoon on August 15, shaking from nervousness and excitement at the same time. Although I didn’t expect it prior to leaving, I was so grateful that my mom, dad, and sister, Mary, were all coming for the drive to send me off. It hit me on that morning how much I would miss them, and yet, whenever I would try to imagine myself walking through the streets of Italy, all of those anxieties just seemed to pass me by. I was going to be living in another country for almost a year! And not just any country. This is Italy we’re talking about — I have the chance to walk, talk, act, and breathe like an Italian for practically a year of my life. I kept telling myself that I simply do not have time to think of American things this year — I wanted complete immersion, and I was determined before leaving.
Ever since I was little when my Nonna sat me down to tell me the history of our family in Italy, I had wanted to learn the language and to know as much about the culture as I could — the people, the land, the history, the food, the family life, the way of these people. To me, Europeans just know how to live the right way.
Before I left, I cannot even count how many people said to me, "It’s not like you’re going to be in another planet," or something along those lines. Well, it may not be another planet, but after being here for a month now, I can tell you that Italy is a place unto itself. And I mean that in the best sense. Every time I wake up in the morning to start my school day at the CLIDA (as it’s known to all of the people of Firenze), or the Dante Alighieri school, I always have to laugh to myself at how I must seem like a bobblehead doll with my head constantly swiveling right and left, trying to take in as much as possible.
Today, I must say that although I am still determined as ever to immerse myself and become a true Italian ragazza (girl) at the end of this year, I do think of my family and how privileged I am to be here and have my time to explore this "other world." But, it’s only the beginning!
I had a minor computer failure two weeks ago, which has pretty much stunted my blogging for the time being, but I promise to keep you filled in on all of the exciting happenings of this glorious city and to revert back to more of my experiences in Umbria with my family. Until my computer is fixed, arrivederci (goodbye)!
Baci da Italia (kisses from Italy),