Ciao a tutti! I have finally arrived in Italy and so far, it has been like a dream. Sometimes, it is so beautiful or I am so amazed that it doesn’t feel real, it feels like I am watching a movie. I am falling in love with this place more and more every second I am here (clichè, but sooo true!)
I have been here for about a day and a half. I arrived at Malpensa, the airport I flew into in Milan, at about 11:30 AM on Saturday. It was a very long and very tiring flight as I could not get to sleep and the aeroplane seats are not the most comfortable in the world. But, all the movies and TV shows were free, so who can complain! I was greeted by my host dad Daniele and host sister Chiara. They had a sign with my name and Italian coloured balloons! Before driving to go home (which was one of the most beautiful (BELLISSIMA) drives I have ever been on!) I experienced my first Italian cafè! It was life changing. We drink coffee completely wrong in Canada; here, it is served in a small cup and is not bitter or watered down like at home. I was not a coffee drinker at home, but I can already tell I will be here (as I have already drank probably 5 coffees already haha).
Instead of writing one long paragraph about everything I have done so far, I will put it in a timeline:
Saturday afternoon: On the way to my new town, Darfo Boario Terme, we stopped for lunch at a rest stop restaurant. It was very good, I had risotto (a very common dish in the north of Italy, made of rice), bread, and fresh fruit. Molto buona! The rest of the drive was spectacular- beautiful Italian towns, the mountains right front of us and finally the Lake Iseo. I will put a picture of the lake here to help you to imagine how amazing it really is, because I do not think words could do it justice:
Saturday evening- We ate dinner with the relatives of my host family. I spend most of my time thoroughly enjoying my food (I will never get sick of pasta and bread) because I am so tired that all I can think of in Italiano is ‘si’ and ‘no’ 😉.
Sunday morning (this morning): After waking up at 9 am (NO JETLAG?!) and eating a breakfast of cafè and toasted bread crisp with marmalada and Nutella, we started our hike. Our destination was a church that sits on the side of the mountain behind our house. The walk through the small, winding streets of Darfo blew my mind. It is exactly like how you would picture an Italian town: yellow and pink and beige and white houses with balconies and windows full of flowers and hanging plants, fountains, lots of dogs and cats, trees of every fruit in peoples’ backyards and in miniature orchards, and motorbikes leaning against the street walls. The view from the church was spectacular- a full view of Darfo, and even all the way to Lago d’Iseo. Mariarosa says that most days the fog makes it hard to see the lake but today was perfectly crisp and clear. The hike was very good exercise as well as we were walking up a mountain, and I know I will be going on many more after this one!
This afternoon- We really just relaxed this afternoon after the walk and lunch (salad and more bread). Before dinner, Daniele took me across town to see a lake in the mountain- Lago di Moro. Okay I am seriously getting spoiled with this scenery because mamma mia (this phrase is actually used!!) this lake was a dream. You can swim (he says it is cold but it is probably as warm as Georgian Bay this year, so very nice), row, walk to perimeter and get a gelato. Today there was a triathlon so there were many people biking up the steep path and swimming across the lake. It was a perfect day for it. Here, we met my counsellor as well.
Tonight: I was so excited today because the family said they were bringing me to get pizza at a pizzaria for dinner and let me tell you, it DID NOT DISSAPPOINT. First, we were given a glass of wine on the house (ah I broke a Rotary D! But the ‘no drinking’ rule is really no big deal here) and shared a plate of fries. I had la pizza with mozzarella, potato, spinach and asparagus (there were so many types of pizza I could choose from it was hard to pick, so I chose one Chiara reccomended) and it was amazing! There is a tradition here that I like which is to share a piece of your pizza with everyone at the table and they will give you a piece of theirs! This restaurant itself was as beautiful as its pizza. For dessert we had sorbetta (I think?) which is a sweet lemon gelato, it is more like melted ice cream as it is not frozen. We also had little merengue and coffee tartes. Two things I love about the food here (well, there is nothing I don’t like but anyways ;)): how when you order a pizza you get the whole pizza to yourself (which is important to a quantity eater haha) and how the food is light so even though you can eat a lot, you never feel grossly full. Daniele said it best today, “There are so many restraints in Italy because Italians LOVE their food. Also, many churches as well!” Well said Daniele.
I will end this very long update by saying that I am proud to say I understood about 50% of what I heard spoken and can express what I want to say most of the time (mind you, what I can say is very simple and the grammar is probably horrible!)! Tip for future exchange students: Studying beforehand pays off!
Grazie e buonanotte !
P.S. Most of my posts won’t be this long, so you don’t have to worry 😉