Day One. July 6
After roughly 19 hours of travel, one sandwich, a palm sized salad, tiramisu, water, crackers, and one cup of tea I finally set my tired feet in Napoli. With one small suitcase in tow and my fifteen-pound backpack filled with books and electronics and their apparatuses I made my way through the small crowd with my group.
“Accademia Italiana? Si? Quanti studenti?”
Oh, crap. I forgot how to say fifteen. Seriously?
The numbers ten and five run through my head in four different languages in fifteen different arrangements. By the time I got to quindici he and my professor (Gina) were speaking and we were soon making our way across the parking lot to our transportation. Within twenty minutes we were on our way out of Napoli and driving down the beginning of the Amalfi coast.
Bellissima! The busses pulled over for a few minutes for our wide eyes to take in this sight. It was hot (fa caldo) and we were tired (eravamo stanchi), but this breathtaking view brought us back to life and provided the first opportunity for a group photo. Back in the busses and on to Salerno.
Some host mothers/fathers/families were waiting for us at the bus stop, and some of us had to wait quite a while. However, feelings of neglect and despair quickly disappeared when from across the street two women came rushing.
“Ciao ciao! Mi chiamo Angela, piacere piacere!”
Kisses and hugs exchanged, etc, etc. *note* In Italy, when kissing on the cheek, turn one’s head to the right, not the left. You will avoid an awkward near lip lock with your new host mother.
My roommate Christina and our host mother pilled into a minivan with three other girls, their host mother, and about seven pieces of luggage. What an experience. Four girls squashed in the back seat and me on my host mother’s lap hunched over in the front. Tipico. Such a perfect welcome! It put us right at ease.
The apartment is wonderful! It’s so clean and comfortable! Thank God for that. And we have a little puppy named kigui (sp?), who took to chewing Christina’s shoes and my shirt after about five minutes. He’s cute, but needless to say we’ll be keeping our door closed.
We were given a little tour of our new home and told to unpack while Angela made dinner for us. We had pasta with tomato sauce, meatballs with eggplant, salad, and watermelon. This was a delicious and much needed meal after traveling! To be honest I could have eaten more! We’re looking forward to Angela’s cooking.
During supper it became clear to me how difficult it was to understand Italian. This only made me that much more nervous to speak it. I just kept thinking that it would get easier as time went on.
Angela told us to rest for about 40 minutes and at 5:30 she would take us to the antique shop that she and her husband, Leo, own and then show us how to get to our school. The shop is about a ten minute walk from the apartment and the school about five minutes past that. All along the way Vespas were swerving around cars and people and people were swerving around Vespas and cars. Although it may seam chaotic, there is a kind of system to things: If you’re big expect to be passed on all sides by smaller things. If you’re small expect to jump out of the way for your life…
After a little tour of the Accademia Italiano we all went to eat at a little restaurant on the Lungo Mare (the road that runs along the beach in Salerno). The food was wonderful and the wine delicious! Ho mangiuto linguini con gli scampi e vino di rosso. Yes, yes, I know, red wine with seafood, but I wouldn’t have traded this meal for anything.
During dinner Christina was raving about the mozzarella in her salad.
“It’s so flavorful! So.. delicious.. molto bene!”
Yeah, yeah. What is the big deal.? It’s mozzarella cheese…
So I tried it. Boy was I wrong. La mozzarella di bufala is a huge deal. It was unbelievable. Man, I thought I liked mozzarella before, but now I don’t know if I can go back to eating the nonsense we are fed in the States. If you ever make it near Napoli, make sure you try the mozzarella di buffalo da Salerno. Delicious!
And so, after a long, exhausting, and eventful 24+ hours, it was time to find our way home, shower, and sleep. Once home we were able to meet our host sister – Diane – who is also studying Italian at the Accademia. She’s from Switzerland and has been here only since Sunday, but her Italian in wonderful.
After another slice of watermelon and a cool shower, bed.