Each day I realize more and more how lucky I am to have been placed in the host family I am in. Maria, my “mom” is extremely sweet and helpful when I need things. Even though I try to insist that I can do my own laundry, she always ends up doing it for me. She works as a high school Latin and Italian teacher, which is good and bad at the same time (my Italian is improving “piano piano” (little by little), but I still feel like an idiot most of the time.
The two daughters, Livia and Agnese are wonderful as well. They always make me feel like I am part of their family.
This week, I returned home from school and just as I was walking up to our building, Maria and Agnese were leaving to do the grocery shopping. They asked me if I wanted to come with and seemed a little surprised (happily surprised) when I said Yes! We went to a grocery store called “Emme Piu” which is literally two blocks from our house, something that I had been completely unaware of. For anyone who has not spent a lot of time with people who do not speak the same language as you, I will try to explain what it feels like: It is often very frustrating, especially when there is something you want to communicate, but you can’t because its too complicated. Our conversations are somewhat limited unless they. start. speaking. extremely. slowly. pronouncing. one. word. at. a. time. I never feel “smart,” when I am around the family because of the language barrier, however I try to not let that stop me from spending time with them.
The trip to the grocery store was a lot of fun, but it made me miss my own mom a lot! Afterwards, they showed me a huge gelatoria, which is supposedly extremely famous. Since I have already gained a lot of weight, however, I am limiting myself to one gelato a week. (So far, this diet has not been successful!)
I have dinner with the family 4 times a week, Monday – Thursday. We usually eat around 8:45 and I look forward to it for several hours before because the food it always so good. I dont think there has been a single time where I havn’t enjoyed dinner at home. I am proud of myself for being more adventurous with food! I now eat cheese, and for those of you reading who know me, this is a huge step in my life! At dinner we have conversations about all kinds of things: our families, religion, politics (how none of them like the Prime Minister, Berlusconi, because he is involved in so many scandals, his mafia friends, and several times they have referred to him as a fascist and a criminal!), Italian language and the meanings of different words, shopping, men, and Italian life compared to American life in general. This week at dinner they told me that they could tell how much my Italian was improving, however, I still feel like I am completely in the dark!
Yesterday morning, I went with my older host sister to get our hair cut. This was the first time we have really been able to bond. Usually I talk to her younger sister more because for some reason I can understand her Italian better (and she speaks some English). We had breakfast- which in Italy means pastries and coffee-and talked about a recent tragedy in her life. Last week, her boyfriends father killed himself, after struggling with depression for a long time. It was very devastating for her boyfriend, as well as for her because she is very close to the family.
Despite the sad conversation, I can tell she is very strong and she wants to be there for her boyfriend right now, she is spending the weekend in Naples with him. Our haircuts went pretty well. I was a little horrified at first because the hairdresser cut my bangs extremely short! However, now I am quite fond of my haircut because it is completel different than anything I have ever done before. Several people at school told me I looked like a rockstar, my mom said I looked Euro, and my host family loved it and said I looked very fashionable. I guess that makes me a fashionable european rockstar? There are worse things that could happen i guess. 🙂

Me & Livia, new haircuts (my bangs look really short in this photo)