Below is an email I sent home to my mum and dad from my one month Italian Language school. I stayed in Sorrento in Italy with a host family who were wonderful, hilarious and different to anything I had ever experienced back home in Australia. I think this email sums up one of the colourful experiences i had there:
Buongiorno from Italy!
I have just finished Italian class and thought i would write a quick email to update you on what has been happening in my life the last couple of days...
OMG worst thing happened though.. I arrived home to find ALL of my things in my travel pack, taken out and sorted. Theresa my host mum had gone through the whole thing when i was at school and neatly folded everything and arranged the things around my room.
COMPLETE invasion of privacy!! My dirty underwear and bras were neatly folded and put away and all the junk of the last 4 months was sorted into piles. NOt even i knew what was in there. ARGH! 4 months travelling- can you imagine?! For one thing she would have found the dirty socks i trekked the Cinque Terre in.
I was so upset, shocked! I paced up and down the 2 meters of space in the bedroom for a bit then just cried. I don't know i just found it a bit invasive. I mean i didn't want her even washing my underwear because i found that a bit strange but then to pick through my suitcase and take them out and fold them. Oh that’s just too much!
I know she had the best intentions because she had a huge smile on her face when i saw her. I just bowed my head in shame and muttered "Grazie.."
She then came into my room and showed me where everythng was, using hand gestures to describe "bra", "Underwear" oh god... I'm from British stock, I can't handle talking about things like that with strangers.
Oh the new Austrian student is REALLY weird! He must have social issues because he is blatantly rude, inadaptable and arrogant.
Theresa HATES him because he sits cross legged at the table and speaks in English.
She almost yells at him "Non ho CAPITO!" (I don't understand!) Before throwing her hands in the air and walking out of the kitchen.
But he just continues yabbering away in English.
I sit toes curled at the table. Tense and hardly able to eat in fear of the next explosion. I find it difficult because he then directs the question at me. I of course understand and am torn between whether i should respond because I don't want Theresa thinking I am betraying her by speaking English.
Oh its not fun!
Last night he asked Theresa could he eat the tomato salad on the table, at the same time as the pasta. EVERYONE knows this is FORBIDDEN! You have to eat the pasta as the first dish and after the tomato...
SHe screwed up her face and shook her head saying "nooo, no bene, noo! Due Gusti, no insieme...yuuuuuuuuuk!"
He then proceeded to question why... "In Austria we can eat everything together"
"No, in Italia NO!"
Then the topic turned to me. He asked "In Australia can you eat tomato with pasta?"
Me: (For God's sake leave me out of this!) I muttered "Yes...but we are in Italy and there are lots of regulations regarding food..." (can't believe we are even having this conversation!)
Thereasa "In Italia, Mangi Italiano, parla Italiano, penso ITALIANO!"
Austrian; "Vesss, but i vust don't understand vhy."
Thereasa then pretty much picked up the plate of tomatos and thrust them at him. "Ok va bene! MANGI! Domani, UNA piata per tu!!!- Tutte INSIEME!" (ok FINE, Do as you please- eat it all together!! Tomorrow you will get only one plate! Eat EVERYTHING together!!!!!)
An interesting experience i must say. I have now become the favourite of the household which means i get fed even MORE!
Before i go i'll tell you my plans for Italy after Sorrento. I am now going to Lipari with Sol my Korean friend. Lipari is an amazing island off the coast of Sicily and is surrounded by many other islands. We are staying for 6 or so nights, so i am extending my time with the family a little which is fine.
You will be happy that I am not travelling alone anymore.
It is ironic how things work out. Now my need to learn Italian is essential, so that i can communicate with my Korean friend in Italy.
ANyway, miss you all... love Emma