A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Jenna M

Saturday Morning Caffe

quick update

sunny 8 °C

I had to write a quick journal entry for my english class and I decided to post a section of it on here, having it double as a quick update for you all. Hope you enjoy it!

And what about these Italian flies? These I prize the most. They seem to have a mind of their own, constantly swooping in and having a bit of Paolo's drink over in the corner as he instead is absorbed in his Italian newspaper ( which, of course, is only about calcio) Figure that is more uplifting than the current affairs of our world.
I find that my backpack of homework seems dismally boring as I observe these men at the coffee bar, early on a saturday morning, debating animatedly about which " squadra " is best. The barista has currently stopped making caffine concotions and has joined in on the fun - this pink paged paper concerning the prophecies of soccer is a holy document.
Every minute I hear another " Buongiorno!" or " Salve!" as new customers walk in to caffe bagaglino, cigarette in hand or hand in hand, waiting for their next cappuchino, espresso, or possibly a latte, all infinitely better than American coffee.
This is what I came here to do- I think to myself- as another spoonful of Nutella goes into my drink.
I look out the window and watch the smart cars drive eco-friendly by and wonder exactly what the speed-limit is on our dear via cavour.
Allora! I may now leave this place and explore the streets of Viterbo with some friends, searching for the secret of this beautiful life we are living with the italians in which there is no time, no work, and only the sounds of " Buongiorno!" and " Salve!" coming from smiling faces.

Posted by Jenna M 03:41 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Some stories

come stai? Che succede?

overcast 17 °C

My alarm clock went off and I jolted awake. As I lay there, staring at the white ceiling of my bedroom, I realized that I woke up as an eighteen year old American girl, living in italy. Its kind of crazy how life can hit you sometimes.

First of all, sorry that I havent updated this blog in literally forever. Thanks to uncle dave for reminding me of that.

ALLORA, ( all right) so here's whats been going on.

I've been eighteen for almost two weeks now and absolutely loving it. My birthday was excellent, complete with a TIRAMISU birthday cake made by my host mother, an fabulous party with my american friends, and all of the wonderful wishes and presents from home. Thanks guys.
School has been going well and (drumroll) I just completed my johns hopkins college application. Its a big relief knowing that now, everything is in someone else's hands.
Right now I am sitting in our school's "salone" which is basically our big common room. The noise in the background is a mixture of italian and english. Recently there was a great exodus to the computer lab to check email, but generally the mood on this halloween day is pretty calm. Everyone's relieved. We've all just finished the first quarter and many seniors just finished their first round of college apps.

So guess what guys? Im taking a fresco painting class. Thats right. fresco painting.
My whole philosophy here in italy is to do everything that Ive never done before. And Im absolutely loving the experiences Im having.

A couple weeks ago we went on a two day hike around lago di bolsena. (lake bolsena). We walked through vineyards and stole grapes, hiked through forests, swam in the lake, took a ferry to a couple of islands, and slept at a bed and breakfast.

Last thursday my host family and I decided that we were going to go to dinner at a pizzeria abotu 15 minutes away from town. We all piled into the italian suv (which is about the size of a mini cooper) and set off to the pizzeria. Once we were seated at the pizzeria, the waiter informed us that they weren't serving pizza tonight. Pizzeria romana doesnt serve pizza. "interessante"

So then we all get back in the car and go to a pizzeria in another town. We all get out of the car again and go inside. We sit down at a table, and then the waiter comes out and asks " why are you here?" we all say " we're here for pizza. this is a resturant yes?" he then says, " its thursday evening, we're tired. go somewhere else." The funny thing is, this is a normal occurence in italy. Sometimes people just get sick of working, so they dont work. Certainly this isnt strange.
The third resturant that we went to served pizza, wasnt closed, and after they heard about our troubles, gave us free gelato.

I was proposed to last friday. I was walking on my way home from school and a random italian man got down on one knee and said " will you marry me? Only you can save me!" I apologized and told him that he wasnt really my type. He was quite hurt.:)

This morning I woke up to the sound of the jack johnson cd that I made for my host family. I found my host mother in the kitchen dancing with my host brother to the sound of the song "upside down." When I said "buongiorno" (good morning), my host brother looked at me and said " what animal is it?" in english. I smiled at him and told him his pronunciation was excellent, and he told me I was a "cool dude." Its one of those memories that I know im not going to forget.

Yesterday I went for a walk around the city. I spent about 2 hours just taking in the sights of the town. I ended up sitting on the steps of the old papal palace, and spent some time looking out at the walled city of viterbo.

It's kind of amazing isnt it?

I love you all. I need your addresses so I can send postcards and other goodies from italy. Unfortunately, I cant send tiramisu.
- jenna

Posted by Jenna M 03:32 Comments (0)

Viterbo Rain

how truly crazy americans can be

all seasons in one day

So usually when it is raining, you can open an umbrella, place it over your head, and you will be shielded from the rain that is coming down. This day however, was very different. It wasnt just raining, it was pouring. No better yet, it was the biggest rainstorm I have ever been in... and my friends and I were walking over to the bus stop, and of course, the umbrellas didnt work. We were freezing, soaking wet, and there was absolutely nothing we could do about it.
It was supposed to be a typical Viterbo Thursday. School had ended, lunch was consumed for 4 hours, and everyone was about their usual business. It was also my friend Kristen's birthday, and therefore about 5 of her friends were invited to go to her house for a birthday dinner. We planned on taking a bus from viterbo to her house which is La Quercia (which is about 10 minutes away from viterbo) and then getting a ride back into viterbo after dinner for some coffee... At least thats what we thought we were going to do.
As we all huddled together waiting for the bus to come ( which was about 5 minutes late) we sang beatles songs in order to keep warm and to stop thinking about the weather, or the tree branches that were whipping by, flying through the air.
We boarded the bus. There was a nun in the front seat, a group of three old women, and a business man. We sat there for about ten minutes, finally starting to warm up and dry off, and then all of a sudden the bus slammed on its breaks. We looked out the windows of the bus, but we couldn't see anything through all of the rain. We all sat there. 5 americans, the old women, the business man, and the nun, perplexed and a little worried. The bus driver then stood up an announced that he was going to check out what was going on. He deboarded the bus... along with the 5 americans who were curious as to what was going on.
There was an enormous tree in the middle of the road. Now in america, one would just turn the bus around and take another route to la quercia. But there is no other route to la quercia. There is that one road, and only that one road. And who would walk to la quercia when the biggest storm of the century is going on outside?
The bus driver rolled up his sleeves, squinted his eyes, and turned to us and said, " we are moving that damn tree."
and you know what? we did.
We all lined up on one side of the tree, and mustered up all of our strength and centimeter by centimeter, moved that tree out of the road.
After we saved the day, we boarded the bus, and we all individually hugged by the nun in the front seat.
crazy italy memory #1.

I've loaded some pictures of the Festival Di Santa Rosa, so check those out everyone.
For those who want my Italian address, please email me and Ill send it over to you. Mail is precious here.
My italian phone number is 39-3464932809, call sometime!!!

Love to all.

Posted by Jenna M 01:23 Comments (0)

Landing in Viterbo

finally- I get to add this entry

rain 30 °C

A french flight attendant walked up and down the aisle of Air France flight 503. In seat 24a sat an excited seventeen year old, frantically paging through an italian dictionary trying to find out how to say "pleased to meet you" in italian. That girl was me and this was two weeks ago.

Its funny how much your life can change in just one flight. Immediately after we landed in viterbo, I was greeted by signore scanlon, the School Year Abroad program director. Immediately he started rambling on in Italian. Bene. I was already feeling like an idiot in my first few minutes upon landing. But in a sense, that was ok because I was with 60 other kids who felt the same way. When we hurried over to baggage claim, we were suprised to find that everyone had their bags... except 8 of us, including me. The other SYAers left the airport twenty minutes after arrival whereas the unfortunate eight waited for four hours for our suitcases to come... but they never did. Eventually we gave up, boarded a train for Viterbo, and quizzed Signore Scanlon on all of the thousands of cultural differences, shopping streets, and the way of life in Viterbo. He was very amused with how much we were asking and kept on repeating.... "Noi siamo divertenti, noi americani. "
We are very interesting, we americans.

Even though I've only been in this small city of viterbo for about two weeks now, I've learned that not only are we Americans interesting, we are highly entertaining. We walk too fast, talk too fast, and eat too little by italian standards. We are apparently obsessed with clocks, and we supposedly all of us have a group of friends that are identical in personalities to those of the TV show "Friends" Mamma mia.

Our school is on the main street in Viterbo. Via Cavour. Via Cavour is not only home to "la scuola americani", but to many different negozi ( stores, shops),and Caffe Bagaglino. Caffe Bagaglino is home to my new favorite drink. Cappuchino with a dash of Nutella. The Italians would call it " Buonissimo." very tasty. It makes my old coffee concoction seem like a juice box. Take that starbucks.

Every single morning before school I head on over to Caffe Cavour for my morning cappuchino. Augusto ( the owner of caffe cavour) already has my cappuchino waiting for me upon my arrival, and ]il corriere di Viterbo,Italian newspaper which I pretend to read.

For lunch, my friends and I will wander the small cobblestone streets of viterbo, barely missing getting hit by all of the cars and vespas that ignore the stop signs, cross walks, and ESPECIALLY the non existant speed limits. Now I truly understand what one of my cousins told me before I left. " Only in Italy you will see someone riding a vespa, talking on their cell phone, and smoking all at the same time."

Currently I am sitting in my school computer lab, on a quick coffee break. And yes, we actually do have a break during the school day where we are allowed 15 minutes to grab an espresso, or use the computers. God I love italy.

Last Sunday, a group of my italian friends decided to make us dinner. Claire, Kristen, and I played foosball while Andrea, Federico, Giacomo, and Riccardo dawned on aprons and made us pasta. American guys definitely have a lot to learn.

Allora, this is what my life has been like for the past two weeks. Its funny how much you can fall in love with a place after being there for such a short time. I have no idea what tomorrow and even this afternoon will bring, but I can definitely be sure that I'll have fun while experiencing this georgeous, medieval city of Viterbo.



Posted by Jenna M 10:01 Comments (0)

Underneath the Frescos

a quick update


All right so I rarely have access to a computer lately, so I decided to take advantage of the time that I have right now to write a quick update just to let everyone know that I'm doing well and havent gained 20 lbs due to pasta.
Im in love with viterbo. This city has the most fascinating culture and history. In America, teenagers will normally hang out at the movies, or go to eachothers houses. Here in viterbo, they'll hang out by the fountain in piazza del commune, and ride vespas.
I have found that there are very few similarities to American culture. Here, the people practice a slower way of life. I'm constantly in awe at how everyone takes the time to say hello to everyone they know, or ciao to the guy who made your espresso at the caffe. I love how people stop to smell the roses, and how no one has a sense of time.
Right now Im in the computer lab at my school, underneath the frescos that adorn the walls of our 16th century palazzo school.

My friends have just informed me that we are going to go eat pizza at the resturant next door for our two and a half hour lunch. Im going to go, but know that I have already written the next couple updates. I'll add them as soon as I can once I get my computer to school and the highspeed connection running.

Love you all.

Posted by Jenna M 03:30 Comments (0)

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