the internet is too slow here to upload my photos, and i’ve already excerpted this email to a number of people close to me, but here’s a quick “what’s up in italy” from the week.
Italy is bellissima. Last week was orientation, where I made a bunch of new friends, drank a bunch of wine on the beach, and generally acted like an idiot playing the camp games and singing the songs. Imagine a conference room full of 74 twenty-somethings with “thumbs up! wrists together! arms back! bum out! head back! tongue out! toes together!” waddling around in circles singing gibberish at the ceiling, and you’ll have some idea of what my last week was like. Now, I’m in a small mountain village in Lombardy called Serle with one of my favorite girls from my orientation. Between the two of us, we’re responsible for 20 good-natured but lackadaisical local English dunces. The people in the village are insanely nice, and my host family is the tits. They’re practically force-feeding me delicious food. The family is Sofia, the stereotypical doting Italian mother; two boys around 10 who want to do nothing but stuff their faces with bread and cheese (today, Lorenzo ate two entire pizzas twice the size of his head and four gelati within like 3 hours); Guiseppe, the disenfranchised dad; Sofia’s mom, who never says anything that’s not A. at top volume and B. scolding someone for something; and Emilio, Sofia’s 40-year-old brother with Downs syndrome who talks like Rock Biter from the Neverending Story. It makes for very colorful dinner conversations that go something like this. Keep in mind, this is all in Italian, sometimes in a dialect that sounds more like French:
Sofia: Massimiliano! Don’t eat any more bread! Have some vegetables! You’ll get a stomach ache!
Massi: *Makes a puppy whine and a pout, shovels more bread into his face.*
Sofia: Massiiiiiii!!! Massi!!!!! Okay, you can have some more bread…
Lorenzo: *Takes a break from chewing on his own arm, lifts empty gelato container and sticks his face in it to lick out the last drops of melted ice cream.*
Sofia: Lori! Basta cosi! You are making me angry!
Lori: *Does not stop*
Sofia: *Gets Lori more ice cream.*
Emilio: *Burps* Ooooooh diiiiiooooooo.
The grandmother: Emi! Cover your mouth when you burp! Clean your mouth before you drink water so you don’t get your cup all dirty! Fai schifo! (Literally, you make gross)
Me: *Attempts to stifle hysterical laughter*
Guiseppe: *Sighs and pours himself more wine*
I feel like I’m getting healthy, in terms of my body and mind, for the first time in a while. My fellow tutor is staying with this family of TOTAL hippies about half an hour down the mountain. Last night, I slept over. On a loveseat, because they are too “free-thinking” to have a guest bedroom for us. I woke up at 5 AM to the sound of their goat and their goose apparently having a verbal argument. Don’t get me wrong. I love them, I’m just glad I’m staying with Sofia, who treats me like I’m 8 years old and it’s my birthday every day. Saturday, we head to the outskirts of Milan for the next camp. I’m looking forward to meeting the new families and working with 7 other tutors instead of just the one, since it means the pressure to make the whole camp run is no longer 50% on my shoulders. But I’ll really miss the Serlesi folks. They’ve treated us super kindly so far.