Day Two. July 7

7:00am. Rise and shine.

We needed to be at school by 8:30 to take our placement test. Angela provided tea, coffee and biscuits for breakfast. Tasty, but not nearly enough for my American palette. I’ll need to buy fruit or yogurt or something to keep me until lunch.

The placement exam was not as advanced as I expected and I had studied the majority of subjects we were tested on. Nevertheless I was placed in one of the beginner classes. Va bene. I need all the help I can get! And our tutor is a hoot! Her name is Pina and she has always been 25/26 years old, knows some English (maybe too much as we know we can get away with speaking to her in English) and is very patient with us. After four hours of classes I was already doing better. At our one o’clock lunch break the group went for lunch at Bar Rosa just one block away. Pizza for 2 euro and beer for 1 euro. I had the Italian brewed Peroni. Very good.

Bar Rosa has a lovely outdoor seating area with cushioned benches which is separated by glass from the sidewalk. The thirteen of us fit perfectly in one of the sections and quickly felt comfortable making it a meeting point in Salerno.

After lunch we made our way back to the school (only a three minute walk) for afternoon culture class. Gina (our Northeastern professor) teaches that class. She’s having us complete an ethnography on a topic of our choosing. Christina and I are considering Italians and their television habits (the TV in our apartment has yet to be turned off – it’s even on when no one is home!).

At home Christina and I spent about an hour watching “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” (in Italian of course). It was actually a lot of fun! Beyond just trying to read the question on the screen, we needed to think in Italian to participate in the game. Loved it! It’s such a great way to exercise the brain. We’re looking forward to catching it in the afternoons.

We met with some of the other students at 8:30, had a few drinks at Bar Rosa, and walked most of the Lungo Mare. The night was beautiful and so many people were out walking. After an hour or so of exploration we settled down at a restaurant for some food and drinks where we met a lively Italian family. What a sight. Ten American students with a two year old’s proficiency in Italian engaged in one of the funniest conversations I have ever seen. The father had us singing Frank Sinatra and the “YMCA”, the mother and daughter kept asking us about American celebrities and the daughter had us all write our names down so she can add us on Facebook. Pretty soon the whole restaurant was in on the joke. I wish someone had caught it all on camera!

12:30 in the morning. TV still on. Bed.