As you may or may not know, i decided to travel to Italy this summer to study Italian. Strike one thing off the bucket list because here i am!
On arriving in Roma, i am assaulted by sounds, sights, and heat. although it is past the worst of summer, it is still caldissimo. I was so frazzled before I left, I screwed up my arrival time to the school, and my ride showed up one day early. Bloody hell. So, i was on my own. Fortunately, it was pretty easy to find my way to the Leonardo Express counter to buy my ticket to the Termini.
The train was not super busy and I was seated beside a mom and daughter from North Carolina. The daughter was going to school in Florence and seemed relieved to see someone else from North America (seriously? Don’t we get enough of each other at home?). Once I arrived at the Termini, I felt a little lost. when I arrived in Florence last year, I recognized quite a bit surprisingly, which led me to feel rather comfortable quite quickly. I, of course, did not have that luxury this time. Nothing was familiar. Immediately a boy approached me wearing an Italia shirt. He could have been Italian or Indian, I couldn’t quite tell at the time. He asked me where I was going and then quickly grabbed my suitcase and started walking. Rather helplessly, I trotted along behind. I was rather tired at his point and thought if he can get me to my street quickly, it would be worth a few euros. After about 10 minutes of walking, my razor sharp bullshit detector started to go off, and I grabbed my bags, gave him 6 euros, and told him I would be fine from here. The persistent little bugger actually started arguing with me that I owed him another 4 euros! I waved my hand and said “se ne vada!” (Go away) and he moved on to a fresh mark. Only in Roma for 5 minutes, and already suckered once.
Thanks to the help of a kind fellow tourist, I got a decent map from his hotel and finally found my way to the appartamento. Nicoletta was very gentile (kind) and helped me get settled in. She made me coffee and preceded to tell me in Italian where the local food shop was – right downstairs and one door over – very convenient!
I am staying in Monti, a part of Roma very close to the Colloseum. Monti is lovely, and has many little shops for food, wine, and molti ristorante. The school is so close! Only a 5 minute walk and I can find my way there even with my abysmal sense of direction. There is a cute little coffee shop beside the scuola that serves lovely cappucino with a dusting of chocolate on top – friendly staff and coffee is only 1 euro!! Monti is very much what I have come to think of as Italy — crumbling plaster walls in terra cottas, yellows, and salmon-y pink. There are little back streets, uneven cobblestones that are determined to trip me up and send me sprawling on the streets ( note: I have yet to fall!).
My landlady, Nicoletta, only speaks Italian, but we are managing to communicate. Her daughter, Albertina, returns from holiday at il mare (the sea) on Sept 1st, and then I will have an English speaker around, but I hope she insists on mostly speaking Italian. Understanding what I hear is my biggest weakness so I really need to concentrate on that!
What has been quite unexpected for me is the ferocity of the thunderstorms! The rain is torrential when it comes, and the thunder bone-jarring. I have become most unaccustomed to it being in Victoria!!
school is good and everyone is very nice. The teachers, Eugenia and Simona are lovely. It is nearly all in Italian so rather challenging! At 9:30 is grammar and at 11:40 is conversation.
Am trying to resist too much gelato, but am pretty much having vino and pasta (or pizza) most nights. It will be a miracle if I don’t return to Victoria grassa!! ( I will let you guess the meaning!)