It has been a few days since I arrived (it is Wednesday and I arrived Saturday) in Italy, but life in Italy is great so far!
I traveled for 23 hours from Columbus to JFK airport to Berlin to Rome. In Rome I spent the night in the hotel attached to the airport until we departed for Perugia on Sunday morning. I have never been so exhausted or dehydrated (?) in my life after traveling, but I am so glad I made it here without any lost luggage or airport hassles! Sunday morning I met the rest of the people who are going to the Umbra Institute this semester and we loaded up on buses for a 3 hours ride to Perugia. Although we only drove through Rome on the highway, everything there seemed very American feeling, but when we finally escaped the city, lots of green space, mountains, and small Italian looking houses/ villages were all over the place.
The first night in Perugia we stayed in a local jazz/wine hotel. It was fine, but not your typical American hotel. There were 2-3 twin (and by twin, I mean TINY) beds in each room. Learning how to flush the toilet, keep the room from being WAY too hot, and how the floors on the hotel works (there are -1 and 0 floor numbers) were quite an experience. That day, a group of girls and I had the opportunity to walk up the hill to the center of Perugia. What we were met with was like nothing like we had imagined. The city center is so romantic with beautiful stairs, buildings, and DOORS. Being here makes me want to just steal every door here and bring them back home to the States to put on my own house one day. They are incredible (yes, this is me missing my HGTV shows and thinking I am now some home decorator or something). Not only were the doors beautiful, but so were the views! We are on the top of a mountain so there are so many wonderful outlooks over the rest of Perugia and towns around us. Assisi is in sight, too!. (I’ll post some pictures on here so you can all take in the sights, but they don’t do justice). There are also SO many stairs and hills in Perugia and we walk everywhere, so hopefully this will help keep off weight from all of the Italian food I will be eating
After exploring around town, Umbra provided us with a traditional Italian meal. Who knew pasta was the first course of a meal (like an appetizer) and not the main course? After dinner a few of us went to a local geloteria to get gellato and returned back early to head to bed as we were all exhausted from a long 2-3 days of traveling.
The next day we moved into our apartments. I hadn’t met my roommates yet, so we met that morning and moved in! Our apartment is fairly big and definitely Italian feeling. I am in a double room with another tiny bed. The apartments here are definitely more basic than what we are used to, and there will be some adjusting to this type of living over the next few weeks, but we don’t spend much time in our apartments other than sleeping.
Monday and Tuesday were busy spent exploring the parts of Perugia and seeing everyone’s apartments. There are definitely some wonderful and adorable apartments here. We also had our first experience with the grocery shops (or market) here. The market I have been going to is one of the smaller ones but it has the basics. Food here seems pretty cheap, too, so hopefully I can keep my food expenses to a minimum here! The only thing is that you MUST NOT touch the produce with your hands- gloves are used to touch the produce instead- I kind of like this idea. Maybe we should implement it in the USA too .
Tuesday was full of meetings and information sessions. The highlight of this day was our first dinner out to eat on our own, without the Umbra Staff to help us! We went to a cute little Italian restaurant ( I should probably remember the name, but I don’t) and figured out how to order with a lot of pointing and poor pronunciation of the Italian words, and with a little help from the very forgiving waitress. After dinner, I went home to Skype with people back home and head to bed early to prepare for our first day of intensive Italian (which was this morning). Needless to say, I know hardly any Italian haha.
I have already met so many cool people and I am excited for the rest of the semester!