Ciao from ITALIA!!!
I arrived here 5 days ago now into Verona airport where my exchange host Anna picked me up to take me to her village, Spiazzo Rendena. It was so nice finally meeting after months of planning and discussion about all the fun to be had and, according to Anna, all the boys excited to meet me.
We set off on the two and a half hour drive back to Spiazzo in her 'Ferrari'. At least I'm pretty sure that's what she sees it as. We were RACING along the freeways passing cars left, right and centre as she explains to me that Italians don't know how to drive because they go too slow. I ask her and her best friend Francesca who came along what the speed limit was or if they even had one! Anna says it is 160 (she is going at least 170). Francesca disagrees and exclaims that it is actually 110!!! Either way Anna is speeding for sure, something I'm sure she is very used to doing on a daily basis.
Spiazzo is located in the mountains of Trentino so the journey incorporated a lot of winding roads up and down the mountain side on roads that seem not to have enough room for two cars but manage to squeeze past at high speeds! At one point Anna even hit the curb, laughing at her ability to drive. As you can imagine I was extremely relieved to make it into Spiazzo alive and safely to her home.
Spiazzo has a totaly population of 1000 people. I kid you not, it is the typical setting of an italian movie where old people sit on benches eating icecream and kids roam the streets on their bikes, everyone waves ciao as you pass, stopping to say hello. What I love the MOST is the water fountains located around town. In the piazza, the centre of town (only 200 metres from Anna's home) there is a fountain with constantly running water from the glacier. It is fresh and cold and when they have town festivals or gatherings people use it to get water to drink and my favourite part- to keep bottles of coke cold, just like an ESKI! Ahh modern Italy. When I first saw it I asked what it was for? They said for the people in town to come and get water when they need it. I said don't they just use a tap?! They all laughed at me... Of course they have taps but these fountains have just remained from long ago and are still used on a regular basis I guess more for convenience sake!
When I arrived at Anna's house I met her father Fausta, mother Elena and brother Fabio who all lived on the third floor. The top was her uncle and his partner and the second was for people who rent it out. Typical Italian multi-story house. I was lucky enough to be given Fabios' room for my 3-week stay while Fabio headed up stairs to stay with his uncle. Elena speaks a little bit of English and Fausto occasionally will attempt some typical english words. Fabio is actually getting really good at speaking english as I attempt to communicate with the family on the nights we sit for dinner. I am their english teacher and they attempt to teach me Italian.
The other night while Anna- our translator- wasn't there I even taught them some card games! With a mixture of the little Italian I have picked up, the little English they kind of understand and a LOT of hand gestures I manage to teach them 2 games. The teaching is half the fun as we attempt to 'capito' each other haha. But it is actually so amazing how much you learn and pick up just by being surrounded by it! I have only done a little bit of italian in my time, which mostly involved me and Blair practicing for my Friday test after a Thursday night out at clubba, but somehow it actually comes back to you and I can sort of understand and use a few words. Its amazing! I also credit it to my articulate skills of guessing what people are talking about. It's common sense really!
The first thing I learnt when I came here was their non-verbal language. The stereotype that Italians talk a LOT with there hands is certainly true but I have now learnt the specific meaning of each of the gestures! From 'I don't care' 'What are you talking about?!' 'I'm all alone' and MANY more. They are the easiest to use and all you really need!
Honestly I really feel that I have found my true home!!! Where people are surprised by how fast and LOUD I talk in Australia, it is the norm here! They have fountains in their town square holding COKE! They have pizzerias everywhere and bread with every meal. Cheese oclock is every hour and everyone is sooo friendly. Apologies to everyone but I may never leave!