Ciao da Sorrento!

Thanks for tuning in to my blog from Sorrento as I begin this journey here in Italy! If you’re reading this, you probably helped me make it to this point in one way or another, so I hope you all know how much I have appreciated your support and encouragement, and I hope I can share at least a piece of my life here with you.

Before I get into my experience so far in Sorrento, my time in Italy began with a flight into Rome last Saturday morning, and while I was there I had the wonderful opportunity to spend the day with a family friend who lives in Rome.   Our friend, Francesca, as well as her husband and her two high school daughters, kindly offered to pick me up from the airport and show me around the city for the day before I went on my way to Sorrento. It was really great knowing that I would have this connection right from the start, but to be honest, I wasn’t really sure how the day would go – their family actually does not speak too much English at all, so I had to jump right into trying out my Italian speaking skills. I guess I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity though, right?

Francesca’s family and I in Piazza Navona

Of course, I was practicing in my head and reviewing old notes from class as much as I could on the plane ride to Rome, but it’s hard to really study for a conversation. I have had more than a few instances so far in Italy where I’ve carefully prepared a thought or two in Italian, thinking that I’m all set to have at least a working conversation with someone, but then they start throwing back words at me that I’ve never heard, not to mention at what sounds like 10 times speed to me, and then it usually ends with them resigning to just speaking in English to me if they can, after they see the confusion on my face.

But anyways, the day with Francesca and family went very well. They were very patient with me as I tried my best to speak Italian, and Francesca was able to talk at least a little bit in English whenever we really struggled to go back and forth. It was fun being around her daughters, as well, who at times I could tell were better at understanding me than their parents. It also sometimes seemed like they were solving a puzzle together when I spoke; it felt like every other thing I said in Italian, they would have a 5-second family meeting/chat (in more Italian that I couldn’t really understand of course) before they made a decision on what I actually meant to say. I think I ended up saying everything I meant to, but I may never know.

Had to get a fam selfie by the Colosseum

On the other hand, I tried to help them with their English a little bit too, which made me feel at least a little bit smarter than a 4-year-old trying to speak Italian. They were very excited to talk about all things America with me, as they are preparing to take their first family trip to New York this fall. It was fun to hear their opinions on America, too – they were excited about a new place like America just as I was excited about a new place like Italy, and we had a good time going back and forth about differences between the two.

In the end, it all worked out, and I said “grazie” as many times as I could so they knew how much I appreciated their kindness that day! It was a great little intro into living in Italy for me, and I’m looking forward to building on that experience while I’m studying in Sorrento.