Sunday, September 25, 2011

First Impressions...

Sorry it has been so long since my last post. I might not be able to post daily but my goal is to do weekly!!

This post is going to be a combo post. One to catch you up and two for my Italy Today class. As the title suggests with will be of my first impressions of Italy and Ascoli, as we have been here for about two weeks.

Before coming to Italy, everything I knew about it had been gathered from movies and tv (less credible source) and Italian language class (much more credible, but slightly less broad) so, coming in I did have some preconceived notions: I am not exactly sure how I thought they would look, but I didnt seem to think it would be so similar to the states. It was something that I didn't even know I had thought about until I was here. It sounds kind of stupid of me but at the same time...its the truth.
And a subsequent, yet contradicting thought, was how obviously I would/ do stand out. Sometimes more than others.

I had heard that in Europe in general they dress more nicely than in the states. It is sort of true. They do dress nicely, not fancy like I first thought, but they dress that way all the time. Even when its a casual time or outfit it still looks really nice. This holds true for both Ascoli and Venice (the only two places in Italy I have been)

In Venice I felt much more like a tourist because we were staying in a hotel and were leaving in two days. Here in Ascoli I have moved on from the initial visitor feeling. I am by no means a citizen yet, but I am on the way to feeling like more of a part of the city than an observer of it.

The food is as delicious as I hoped. One thing that I have noticed is that I have to work a little harder at more variety in my meals. And that there is no peanut butter to fall back on in times of hunger. But in our apartment we have established a great system. We all decide on dinners together. Erin is the head chef, Abby sets the table, Meg cleans, and I do a little bit of everything. I am like the sous chef, if you will. Together we are able to fill all the cravings we have and make balanced meals.

The language. I took 4 semesters of Italian before I came, which I am very grateful for. But I still have almost the whole language to learn still. I realize that there are a lot of things I say so naturally in English I still dont know in Italian. I also forget that the Italians aren't translating from English into Italian in their heads. It is amazing how much we learn about speaking and at such a young age. I though the 4 year olds would be more at my pace...not so much. I have to get to the point where hearing a word doesn't mean whatever it is in English. For example counting, I can hear uno due cento venti and know the value of those words/numbers. For most words other than numbers I have to do the translation into english in my head. Again as time goes on it gets better and easier.

One thing I don't like as much is that there is a lot more smoking here. Its just an adjustment.

Overall I have loved being here. There is no doubt that I have gone through some culture shock. I still have to fight back the nerves and just try new things, mostly doing things in public where I might not be able to communicate, but that gets less and less hard every day.

So now for updates on activities. Thanks to Diana (one of the people that works at our school and runs the program) we have found a travel agent who helped us book our bus tickets to Florence (where we are going next weekend). This past week we had classes and they went very well.  We spent a lot of evenings this weekend hanging out with everyone and the basketball players, Trey and Paul. Today Paul, Meg, Abby, Josh (another Basketball player, a Brit) and myself went to the beach again. Last night  a bunch of girls (including myself) went to San Benedetto, which is the beach town, and watched the American boys team play the team there. Then we went out to dinner with them and some of the Italian guys from the Ascoli Team. It was funny being at a sporting event and expecting to hear things but instead hearing them in Italian. We could understand a lot, like when fans yelled at the refs and certain calls that were made. Surprisingly similar to home. It has been a long week and I am now ready for bed and to start again.

Hope everyone at home is having a wonderful saturday night!

IWOD: Soldi - money, of which I have not enough of to buy the clothes that Italians wear :)


  1. I really enjoyed reading your blog. Love the idea of IWOD.
    see you in class.

  2. Ciao!
    What a blast to read of your adventures and all of the new things you are learning! It sounds like you and your roommates have quite a good system for meals. I'm quite the sous chef myself! Enjoy Florence this weekend! I remember the exquisite doors on one of the cathedrals/chapels. Such intricate work!

  3. Brava! Greatly admire your adventurous spirit in trying so many new things at once, and in a different language! Bill & Dave have been to Italy twice, and loved it. They are drooling over your descriptions of food.