Thursday, May 26, 2011

May 23, 2011 - "Adventure is worthwhile." - Amelia Earheart

My first full day in Perugia! What a day. I slept pretty well-weird dreams and temperature changes but a good night. I got up at 9 and took a shower. The showers and bathrooms are different in Italy so you have to open the window as a vent to make the water evaporate and every time you take a shower you have to mop the floor in the bathroom. Weird but at least it keeps the bathroom clean. I was just about done getting ready when Ashley got here. There had been plane problems and she missed a flight to JFK, was sent to England for 5 hours and then stuck in Rome overnight. To make matters worse, her luggage was lost and won’t be here for 2 days. Luckily she has some stuff in carry-on that she can live off of for a bit.
After Ashley unpacked, we went out with Jill. We showed Ashley the little that we knew about the town. The three of us decided that our mission is to find an awesome coffee shop (or “bar” as they call them here) and become regulars. We found one of the many in town. This one had a beautiful view of the main fountain. The three of us drank coffee, ate croissants and talked while sitting in the Italian shade. The coffee and food was good but we will keep experimenting.
At noon we went to open house to sign up for our trip to Tuscany and make sure our classes are in order.
At one Ashley had to go on the walking trip so Jill and I decided we would go on it again with her. It was a good idea that we did it a second time. I listened more and she also explained things in new ways and I got a better feel for the town.

At three we went to orientation. It was in a beautiful oratory. They went over things such as housing, events, trips, etc. It was a lot of fun. One of my favorite quotes from the one of our staff members was “Italian women run in high-heeled running shoes, while talking on the phone and smoking a cigarette.” Everyone burst out laughing. The chief of Italian police then got up to speak to us about safety. Buff arms, tan skin and perfect hair…..he looked nothing like our police men and every girl in the room seemed to notice his wedding ring….He was a very good speaker. He was funny while being serious, informative and getting his point across. He spoke about how to protect yourself, staying in groups and what to do in certain situations. It was a bit scary, but it is just like anywhere you travel. He turned the topic to the men and women of Italy. He asked a student, “What is the main sport of Italy?” and the guy answered, “Ummmm, soccer?” The police man turned to us and with a smile he said, “Women.” He went on to talk about how Italian men are much more forward and touchy that other men. “And women,” he said, “are evil. They would not give you attention for anything, they just ignore you. Even if you were in the street dying they would not call an ambulance.” He said that that is the way we have to be to the men, cold and just keep walking. I am really bad at this. It is my natural reaction to smile and interact….
After orientation, the three of us went shopping. We got some stuff for dinner and breakfast. It is very hard to shop for food when you can’t read any of the labels. We then went to the bakery and got a loaf of fresh, warm bread for only a little more than a euro!
Making dinner was quite an experience.

We decided to make pasta with garlic, salt, pepper and oil. It took us about 20 mins to get our gas stove lit…..and the whole apartment smelled like gas. We all we going to break the pasta but when Jill did, the pasta flew everywhere. We were walking on pasta until we cleaned after dinner. After cooking the pasta we, we couldn’t get the stove going again to cook the garlic so we skipped that part. While Ashley and Jill were finishing the pasta, I was looking for something to put the pasta in. Apparently I freaked out when I found the perfect big bowl and I yelled “Oh my God we can put it in this!!” I got a little excited….hey, I like a good presentation. We then sat down to our pasta with parmesan and olive with a glass of red wine. The wine was sparkling and fizzy which we probably would have known if we could read the Italian label.
After dinner, we all went out for gelato at 8 so most places were closed. We kept walking but ran into our friend Liz who was eating gelato. We basically attacked her and she showed us where to go. I for coffee flavored and it was so strong that it was like drinking a cup of coffee. Liz then showed us her apartment down a really creepy street. Her view was amazing because she lived on the fourth floor….unlike our first floor. We stayed awhile, drank wine, and talked until about 10. When we left we had to walk down the creepy street in the dark. Just as we were mentioning how scary it was, the loudest whistle I have ever heard blew and echoed down the street. The three of us jumped and moved close together only to find out it was a woman looking for her dogs. An Italian man walking by laughed as us. Our hearts we pounding from fear but we laughed at our stupidity all the way back to our apartment.
When we got home, we cleaned, wrote down our expenses, wrote in our expenses, wrote in our journals and got to bed around midnight. Another great day of new experiences in Perugia, Italy.

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