Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Let's start with the obvious. Kansas=small; Roma=HUGE! Kansas (as in the entire state) has just a few more residents than the city of Rome. My small town Kansas attitude just doesn't fly around here. You don't smile when you pass someone, or say goodmorning. No you keep your eyes glued to the ground only glancing up to make sure you don't get hit by traffic at the crosswalks. Which brings me to my second point.
Point 2: In order to drive in Rome you must be certifiably insane. I can't tell you how many times I've nearly been hit by a car, or worse, by one of those crazy scooters when walking through a crosswalk. This is not the only dangerous thing I've noticed about motorized vehicles in Italy. I don't know what kind of test they have to take to drive, but it must be long. I have not seen a posted speed limit and in most intersections there are definitely not lines to tell you which way traffic is supposed to go. From what I understand you just have to "know." I've come to the conclusioon that I would definitely not be fit to drive here.
My next cultural difference is although this is a city Italians definitely like to take their time. Along with taking their time comes the process in which you order and drink your coffee. First of all Italian coffee is simply a shot of espresso, to get american coffee you order an Americano and then deal with the dirty looks that you will recieve from that point on. Also on a side note, a latte is hot milk. If you want your latte like you order at Starbucks you should probably stick cafe in front of it. Now for how you get your coffee in the morning. There are probably hundereds of coffee bars throughout the city. I think I pass at least 20 on my 30 minute walk to school. So when you walk in to one of these various establishment you must go to the cash register order and pay and then hand your ticket to the guy behind the bar to make your coffee. Now that I write that all out, it's just like ordering at Starbucks, but there they tell you where to go and what to do. We had to figure it out the hard way here, a trial and error of sorts. Next thing you should know is that once you get your coffee you take it at the bar. You drink your coffee standing up with all the other morning bar-goers. And when you are done you simply leave. Can you get a coffee to go you may ask. Why of course not. There is not a single place, not one, in all of Rome that serves coffee in cups that you could take out of the restaraunt. We did discover the little coffee vending machines but it's not like your Venti White Chocolate Mocha with double espresso. No it's a small shot of cappuccino to get your day going, that's as close as you'll get to a coffee to go.
Moving right along, the third cultural difference is Time is Not Money. Italians like to take their time here. You sit down at a restaraunt you may wait 15 minutes before they take your order and then another 30-an hour while you wait for your food. When you are finished you must ask for your check (il conto) or you could be sitting there for the rest of the evening. Customer service is the least of their worries. They are doing a service to you by being open. With that comes the strange hours of operation. Most places open around 9 a.m. with the exception of some coffee shops. Everything is then open until about 1:30 or 2:00 at which time businesses close their doors for the afternoon siesta. Then everything opens back up at 4:00 and stays open until 8 or 9.
Finally is Italians with machine guns. It's not a strange occurance to see the Caberineri standing on the street next to their Range Rovers wielding very intimidating looking machine guns. Why I have no idea, but I do know it's different. Then again it is Italy!
Today was my first day of classes in Roma! I had Italian at 8:30 so I woke up at 7:30 to get ready and Rachel and I headed out at 8:00. We arrived at the Guarini campus and found our classroom. My teacher walked in a little after 8:30 and began immediately speaking in Italian. It was definitely a little overwhelming. She motioned us to move into a half circle and we began class by learning how to say our name and where we were from by throwing a ball back and forth. She continued to use Italian for most of the class. She went over the rules in English and explained that we would only be speaking in Italian throughout the course. For the purposes of explaining however, Valentina continued class in English. It was a good start though to class. My next class was in the photo lab which was located off campus. Rachel had been there before so she gave me brief directions, then as I started off to get there I decided to head back to the school and get directions from the “professionals”…not really but…you know. So I walked back in and another girl was getting directions too, so the two of us headed out together and walked down the street we were supposed to go and it didn’t look like there could possibly be a classroom there, but finally we found the number on the sheet of paper and realized that it wasn’t so hard after all. Our teacher was, needless to say, a little passionate about photography. He rambled the entire class period and I was nearly falling asleep. After class I went to a Travel Tips assembly and got some more pointers on how to get around in
Monday, January 19, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Our tour guide Massimo!!!
Amanda, Kerry and I in front of the Pantheon! (Which, I didn't know was in Rome, but then I realized that I was thinking of the Parthanon, yea 2 different places)
Kristin Kerry and I at the Spanish Steps!
The Trevi Fountain at night...It was an amazing sight! Did you know it was named Trevi because "tre" is Italian for three and "vi" is short for the Italian word via for street. It's at the intersection of three streets! Fun Fact provided by Tour guide Massimo!
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Today has been the best day yet! We didn’t really have that many obligations to fulfill for our orientation just to register for our permit to stay and give our credit card for a cell phone. The time between the two we headed out to find somewhere to eat and walked around in a circle and ended up eating really close to the school. After our last thing most of the girls headed back for a cat nap. Kerry and I decided to just get a shot of caffeine and head out to see some of Roma.
We went to a really cute coffee shop right by the school. We quickly found out that you order and pay for your coffee at the register then take your receipt to the counter and give it to them to make. After you are finished eating, or drinking, you are supposed to take it back to the counter for them. It’s different, and it’s interesting to get used to.
We headed out to find the
Here's a video clip of our adventure! :)
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
I’m finally in the city of
I arrived at my apartment complex, and lugged my suitcases up 2 flights of stairs, thank goodness it wasn’t 7 like the boys I had been dropped off with (little did I know there was a small elevator I could have used). I reached the door and attempted to open it with my new set of keys, one of which definitely resembled a car key. I think I must have made quite a ruckus, because I soon heard voices from inside. “I think some one is trying to get in.” and I answered back introducing myself and it seemed like forever to get it unlocked and we tried everything finally I turned the key just right and the door opened.
I walked into my apartment, I was expecting the worst. I mean from all of the information we had received from Study Abroad Italy it sounded like our living situation could be quite interesting. I was also worried because we had 9 girls living in one apartment! I was praying it was huge and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was. You walk in and the “dining” area and living room were really small with a teeny-tiny TV. As you continue down the hall it turns to a wooden parkae floor which is absolutely gorgeous, we have 4 pretty good double sized rooms and one single, 2 bathrooms and a nice kitchen. There is also a beautiful blue tiled balcony that you can access from three of the bedrooms! It was so great to find that we had a nice place to live! My roommate wasn’t there when I got it but 5 of the girls were, and they all headed out to dinner. I stayed in to unpack and after a while 2 others arrived and we went to find some food as well. That dining experience is a whole other story! After we finished we headed back to the place and I got to meet my roommate. She seemed really nice, but we didn’t spend much time getting to know each other. We sort of unpacked and then crashed out. We had to be up for breakfast at 8:30 at the campus.
P.S. the picture is my room...when I moved in, you can't really see all of it and this blog is kinda lame, I can only post one pic at a time...i'll work on that though so you can see more :)