Usually, when the first signs of the morning start peeking through my windows – I don’t ever want to wake up. Just 5 more minutes? Apart from the jet lag that I, unfortunately, did not adjust myself well to, waking up has been easier than ever knowing that I’m waking with the Italian sun. About to put on my slippers and lazily walk downstairs to make myself a cappuccino in the morning. If I had the cool devices Italians did in my kitchen, I’d make one every morning for myself at home! Comunque, I live in a small town called Daverio with my host mom, dad, sister Rebecca, and brother Jacopo. They are the sweetest family, and the grandparents live in the house attached to theirs! Every move I make their dog Olaf jumps on my back, the family tries to stop it but when they’re not around and the dog won’t listen to my annoying yells of “GIU” “SEDUTO” “VAI GIU” I’m usually walking with the dog attached to my hips as I try to move about the house. It’s definitely horrible for my allergies, but hey one week in – today I forgot to take my allergy medicine and I only sneezed once or twice!
Today was my first day of lessons if we can call it that. I job shadowed a science geology class taught in English with my mentor. Laughter erupted from the classroom when I realized I was not reading slow enough for them to understand, and I thought I was reading pretty slow. I guess you can’t make a song to preteach the words ‘planetary accretion’ and ‘dust grains’ to high school students. Sorry ACLE, you helped me prepare for this day in other ways! I spent most of the day explaining who I was to professors and trying really hard to speak Italian well. It has been difficult, but I am trying. My goals for these initial weeks are to 1.) find a yoga studio I can go to often and 2.) find someone who can give me Italian grammar lessons in exchange for some English!!
*UPDATE: I FOUND A YOGA GROUP*
My host sister has been wonderful showing me cool places around the town and letting me meet her friends. She is patient with my Italian and listens when I switch to English without problems. Luckily I hear Italian all the time so my comprehension has been improving immensely. And recently I helped my host brother with his English homework and then we played ping pong and in a mix of English/Italian, we talked about the differences between American high schools and Italian high schools. There are A LOT. Maybe that’s a blog for another time. It has been so nice to bond with my host siblings. I feel comfortable here.
Making friends is also easier than I thought! I joined some groups for foreigners living in Milan and voila, I met a girl living in Varese, two assistants doing the same thing as me near my town, a German girl living outside of Milan as an au pair, and the daughter of one of the teachers at the school! I’m already starting to make some plans with them! I was so nervous to not make any friends. Reaching Milan is easy, and I have already frequently made my way to the city center to meet Isabela a few times!
I also discovered a wonderful yoga group recently and I plan on going at least once a week. This type of yoga was more meditative and not quite what I’m used to but I enjoyed it and all of the yoga people were SO nice. They wanted to introduce themselves to me and talk to me, which was really cool because I am so used to being in a large studio where you don’t know who everyone is. You walk in, find your spot in the class with your mat, practice, and namaste – fin. done. Prior to entering the class, I had a really long conversation with the principal of the school I was at. He let me make all of my mistakes in Italian and we talked for a while. It was just a wonderful day of yoga and Italian. Practicing yoga in Italian was beautiful and I cried.
This past weekend I met the daughter of one of the teachers at the school, her name is Gaia. I met her and her friends and they are lovely! We met with Isabela and some other English teachers here to see J-AX AND FEDEZ. It was unreal. I listened to these guys all summer and all last summer. Their hit “Senza Pagare” was number 1 in Italy for four months. I’ve also recently become a huge fan of X-Factor Italia where Fedez is one of the judges. So going from seeing him on TV every Thursday to seeing him up on stage was completely insane for me.
My first week of lessons went well apart from the lack of sleep I’ve been getting…and I made a presentation about American life and American High School. The best feeling was the excitement from the students and how, at the end of the lesson, they usually formed a circle around me and asked me a bunch of questions. I felt like a celebrity. The second best feeling was walking through the hallway and hearing student either directly say “Good morning!” to me or as I passed them they would say “C’e’ Ashley!” to their friends.
Remind me to make a blog about all of the American stereotypes the students told me…