It's been like 2 weeks since I've updated which is crazy because time is going REALLY FAST.
The fact that it is almost October is terrifying. We've been here over a month and I want it to slow down. As I've mentioned probably a thousand other times on this blog, I love it here so much and if it wasn't for my family and friends at home, I would never leave.
I know (or at least would like to think) that some people at SHU are reading this blog to see if they should decide to study abroad in Italy or not and I'm just going to say : DO IT! It was the best decision of my life. I thought I was going to be really homesick (let's face it I am SUCH a homebody) but you are so busy and so fascinated by everything here, I haven't really got homesick at all. I get more homsick in Connecticut when I am only 2 hours away, than I have been in Rome.
We've kind of calmed it down these past two weekends. As my ma says, "you've been burning the candle at both ends." It's been nice to just relax and continue to explore Rome. Last weekend, we just hung back catching up on work (LOL) and walking around the city. One thing about Rome is that it's pretty much all walking. I love that. There is an option of public transportation which I take occassionaly, but I mostly walk everywhere. For the four days of class, I wrote down how much I walked each day and just by exploring the city and in four days, we walked 10 miles. Alright, it doesn't seem like that much, but compared to walking around SHU, I thought it was pretty cool. It's still really hot here, like in the 80s. It feels like summer which isn't a good combo with the walking. After getting to where we want to go, we are usually all drenched in sweat. The one pro to this is that at least we are exercising a lot which can make up for the amount of gelato we eat...
ANYWAY last weekend we did something that I was VERY excited about. WE GOT CHINESE FOOD. Anyone who knows me knows that chinese food is my favorite thing in the entire world (here's looking at you Hunan, Golden Empz, and Chef Yen Can Cook!) so when I saw a chinese restaurant by the Trevi Fountain, I was more than pleased. I am a really picky eater (which will come back later on in this tale) so I always get the same thing: egg drop soup, chicken and broccoli and white rice. (I know none of you care about my order at chinese restaurants but I'm just using it to compare Italy to the US ok?!) Anywho, as we sat down to order, I excitedly opened the menu to find that they had no egg drop soup, and no chicken and broccoli. I had to branch out. I got what the menu called Wuntun soup (lol), sweet and sour chicken, and fried rice. The food was very interesting and very different from American chinese food, but whatever I still loved it. Then we all got fried ice cream for dessert which in hindsight, was pretty gross (omg Tsukis) but we powered through it.
I think I mentioned this before but I'll mention it again, our suite is all SHU girls which is really cool! We have one other girl who is super nice and she goes to school in Iowa but 8 of the 9 of us are at SHU! Here's a picture of some of the SHU girls in our suite!
We decided to walk around Trastevere and the Tiber at night is the prettiest thing in THE WORLD
Once again, we found ourselves at the Trevi! We all think it's really cool to be able to walk to the Trevi and just hang out there, especially at night.
The next day we set out on a mission. Every girl in Italy has these really cool pants. They have patterns on them and come in all different colors and KVH, Kat, and I really wanted a pair. So last Saturday, we went to the street vendors and found what we call: THE pants. We each bought a pair and ran back to our apartment to all wear what we think are the most comfortable pants. I am anticipating the ridicule from my friends when I wear them in the States but whatever I love them.
This past weekend we stayed in Rome again. On Friday, I went to see some of my family and try again to get to Boiano. Rita (a wonderful family friend) met me at Termini and we set out on a two hour train ride to Boiano. We once again, got to the station early so we wouldn't miss the train...again. We got to the platform with time to spare until we realized we forgot to validate the tickets. In Italy, not only do you have to buy your tickets but before you board the train you have to get them stamped in a machine. We thought this was no problem because there were two ticket validators right next to the train. We went to validate them and what would you know, they were both out of order. In full panic we sprinted to the front of termini ( we were literally the second farthest platform from the front...) and got a nice morning workout as we found a ticket validator. And it was a Friday morning miracle: WE MADE THE TRAIN! I slept the entire train ride so before I knew it, I was in Boiano! We got off the train and met Giovanna a friend of Ria's who was picking us up because Ria does not have a car. She did not speak one word of english so my italian was put to the test... and it failed. Nothing is more discouraging then practicing a language for so long and then being surrounded by it and not understanding much at all. Thank God for Rita, or me and Giovanna would have had a very quiet car ride. We met Ria and had a big hello (I haven't seen Ria in 8 years since she left the US). And I saw her sister Dora who I had met before, and I met her brother Joe aka the cutest Italian man in the universe.
Rita, Ria, Dora, Joe, Giovanna, and I went for lunch which meant two things.
1. I was the only person fully fluent in english so lunch was going to be a lot of me pretending to understand.
2. I was going to also have to pretend to like a bunch of food that I would normally never touch. As I mentioned before I am a very picky eater, and this was my first real italian meal. The meal had 6 courses, each being harder to get through than the next.
SIX COURSES. Yes, SIX. I was shocked. For starters, I hate seltzer and anything really fizzy but when the only choice was fizzy water, I had to go for it. I poured a whole glass and right after I finished pouring, they brought natural water to the table. I had a choice: drink no water for the whole meal, or chug the fizzy water. Sadly, I had to chug. Then came the food. It was a ton of food and at points I just could not eat anymore. Every time I even put down my fork to chew, I was yelled at. "MANGIA MANGIA!" I am going to write course by course for my own entertainment (sorry readers... or more realistically, reader because I don't think my blog has a very high fan base considering all the spam comments I get -_-)
Prosciutto, Salami, Wet mozarella cheese
I love ham, it's my favorite cold cut. But salami is the worst thing in the world. And even worse than salami, wet cheese. So I ate the prosciutto and put down my fork. I was glared at by 5 angry italians who had finished their plates. "What you're not going to eat that?" "You don't like?" So I took one for the team and forced down the salami. Ugh, ew. The mozzarella cheese I couldn't do.
Lasagna. Ok I loved it. Authentic Italian lasagna, come on how good right?
Meat. Sausage, Lamb, and I have no clue what else.
The sausage I loved, but as weird as this is, I can't eat lamb. Lambs are my favorite animal (judge me WHATEVER) but I had already dropped the ball of the first course, I couldn't let down my italians again. I took three bites of the lamb and made it look like I ate a lot, but stopped. Then was the bird which I swear to God (picture to follow) looked like the got a bird from a cage and fried it. Yes friends, I ate the bird.
SALAD. THANK GOD. Even with just olive oil as dressing, I was happy to see it.
Dessert! Grapes, melon, and raspberry gelato!
The dessert was good and I love grapes but I was so full from the previous courses, I only had a couple. Once again, I was told to eat. The italians get very offended when you don't eat their food. I definitely learned that this weekend.
More dessert... nutella cake!
Ok don't hate, but I'm not nutellas biggest fan and this country has a nutella obsession. But I ate it, and it wasn't terrible! The waitress drew hearts in them which I found adorable.
The meal was done! The restaurant we went to was really cute. It was in the hills of Italy so there were a bunch of fields by us with 6 really cute dogs running around. Before the meal, we played with the dogs and there was one really cute black and white dog who looked very sad. Well, poor Spot we realized was not sad. We saw him walking around before the meal and when we came outside after the meal, Spot was laying on the groud with flies on him. Yes, sadly, Spot had died while we were at lunch. OMG right?! RIP SPOT!!!!
After that, we went to a farm because Rita really wanted fresh Fici (some kind of weird fruit here). So we went Fici picking!!! Last year at SHU we went apple picking with choir and it was one of my favorite days ever so going Fici picking was something I was so down for!! Fici tasted like apples but had a lot of seeds in them. Kind of hard to explain, but it was an interesting fruit!
Another thing to touch on about the culutural differences is that EVERYONE when they greeted me in Boiano, did the double kiss thing. One kiss on each cheek. Well I ALWAYS forgot about it so when I met someone new, I would shake my hand and they would pull me into this awkward embrace. My mannerism totally scream American. So warning to anyone coming to Italy, practice that because they will kiss you on both cheeks and it could get ugly if you aren't expecting it!
We left after this which was a sad goodbye, but I will see Rita soon and Ria again in November when my family comes! I got back to Rome and went right to sleep. The next, for lunch we went to a place called T-Bone Station which is an American Steakhouse. It was nice to have cesar salads back in my life again and omg HEINZ KETCHUP. After that, we rented bikes (I LOVE BIKE RIDING, miss you cruiser xoxo) and rode bikes around the Tiber. The bikes were only 5 Euro an hour which we thought was a great deal! We all were in our own world as we rode our bikes so I pulled out my ipod and put it on shuffle and the first thing to come on: Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen. It was just such a perfect scene: riding my bike next to the Tiber with that wonderful song playing. Biking was a really nice change, I really missed it and I plan to go biking whenever I am in Rome on the weekends. I am going to take my family biking down there (get your helmets ready guys) so I hope they'll like it!
I am going to end this post with a suggestion to future SHU student's in Italy. Go. to. Tony's. It is the best restaurant here. Here's a closing picture with us and the restaurant owner: TONY.