Today was a very tiring day. I woke up earlier to finish up the writing and reading. We had a quiz before the class. It literally took us an hour to do it, and I did not do perfectly on the quiz. After that, I got very tired. In the break, I had one espresso. It was very strong and condensed. We met Maria who would go to America as an exchange student, so we could have each other's contact. In the break, I taught them how to say "Zihan Dong è bella" that was a lot of fun. After the class we went to the best gelateria in Reggio, and walk to a library to meet people from "Associazione Sociologi Italiani". It was a very formal meeting, and it was shooted. Everyone dressed up, and it was my first time to see professor gatto got so serious of dressing up. They talked about music and language. As they said the music is universal, and everyone can appreciate. They invited one very talented young Musician called Alessandro to perform the local guitar. The guitar had ten strings, and it had special pattern and shape than the folk guitar, and it seemed more exotic. I tried the guitar after the meeting using the same knowledge I had known from Pipa. They were so passionate about music. Once I started the conversation, they never wanted to end. We took pictures and shaked hands, which reminded me of Italian performance. Italian love to put them on a show. After the meeting, we took the bus back to Catona. The condition on the bus was not well. It was as crowded as Chinese bus; there was not AC; we had to be careful of thieves. Then we walked back to the hotel. Everyone was exhausted, but we had a really nice fish soup for dinner. It reminded my the fancy restaurant in Manhattan. It had the very similar taste, but much more cheaper. After dinner I stayed a little longer, and I tried the herbal alcohol to help digest, si chiama amaro del capo. Professor gatto didn't want me to drink much, so he asked Ryan to help me drink half, which I did not need his help at all!
Today, we did something different. First, we were told that we would have class at hotel instead of going to the university, because the bus driver wasn't there. We were told to have breakfast at a different place, but we still sat in the same place. These two were just very common samples of how Italian changed all the time. We ended up having class at the pool. We finally started learning the new materials, and we had a break between, so we could go the the market. However, I was not very into the market, I thought going to supermarket would be much easier. I grabbed a big bag of chips, and I ate it all for my lunch. After the break, we came back to have take class until 2:40. I spent a while doing homework outside, and we left to see the farm at 5. We first stopped at Vincezo's house, and we got to see his pictures when he was young. The house was big and very symmetric. We had an award time sitting with vincezo's cousins. There was another lady came into that she had her own flower shop, and she gave me a rose, the third rose in my life. The first two were given in Tormino by Ryne and Vincezo. We went to the church a little bit, and we went to the farm. It was more likely hiking. We saw olive trees, grapes, apricot, etc.. Reed made a friend by borrowing a cigarette. The farmer took us proudly to his farm. We tried a plum that was the best plum I ever tried in my life. BTW, we had 11 people, but we were fitted in two cars. That was crazy and funny, four people on the back, two people in the front. Everyone looked us, and we were joking that wouldn't be legal. But this is Italy, no nobody cares and follows the rule!
For dinner, we had the risotto. It was simple but delicious. I was very happy to have different Italian food, and I am looking forward to tomorrow's fish soup!
Today was an usual school day. I woke up at 6:30 to finish my homework for today. After finishing everything this morning, we waited for the shuttle bus to come. In order not to waste any time, we began the class at hotel. We went to school about 40 minutes late, and Riccardo and I were talking about why we could not just have class at hotel. Finally, we figured out we needed to have lunch at university😅. In class today, we talked about imperfetto per Italian 3, and Ancient Rome history and Italian school system for Italian 299. I had bunch of questions for the materials, especially I was that kind of person who wanted to make sure all the facts I learned were very clear. I knew the more I learned and digged into it, the more I realized I needed to study more. Again, I tell myself everyday that it is ok not to know everything right now as long as I am making process everyday. With bunch of questions in side of my mind, we had a lunch. Then we heard the shuttle driver would be late. This is one of the Italian customs I hate very much, because they are too free, and they are never on time. Prof. Gatto also mentioned it was very difficult to balance the business and friendship. Instead of doing nothing, we started Italian conversation. We tried to make full use of time. Finally we went back to the hotel, and I relaxed a while. Now, it was time to do some work, because we actually have a lot of homework today.
Today was an excursion day. We were squeezed in a small shuttle bus for over an hour to get to the top of Apennine. The weather was not so nice early today. It began to pour when we were on the way up to the top, and we are stuck on the panini shop. It was scary specially the clouds and frog were in the way, and the curves were sharp. Through the clouds and the plants, we could see the beautiful village embedded among mountains. It was stunning when looking down, especially we were standing above 1000ft. There was a water fountain on the way up, and I brought the empty bottle to try the naturally fresh water. On the top of mountain, we saw how closely Sicily and Calabria were and the transportation between these two places. My favorite part of the excursion were Sicilla and the beach on the other side of Sicilla. Sicilla was a fishing town. Prof Gatto said it was very rarely to capture the swordfishes manually. We were very luck to see the fishing ship in person. We had lunch there, water from the mountain and the panini we bought earlier. That panini was the best panini I had so far. I finally got the right cheese, right meat and right bread at the same time. I also added some sun-dried tomatoes in side to add more flavors. After the lunch, Mike treated everyone a gelato, and we hangout on the beach. The sky was still dark, and the sea was surgent. The beach made up of rocks instead of sands. We sat on the rocks, taking pictures. The waves chased after us that was a lot of fun. Reed ran to the sea, and rolled in the sea. I wished I could do that, too, but I didn't want to get wet. On the way back, we sat in the crowded shuttle bus, and Riccardo tried not to touch Reed, so it make the trip more painful. Right after arriving hotel, I went to buy a local SIM card, so I could use the data and call others easier. At We had very interesting conversation about marriage in Saudi Arabia and Dubai. For example, how strict about sexual behaviors were, how they engaged, and I asked the questions about women's scarves. It was very relaxing night, because we all knew the next day would be a free day.
Today, we had our first conversation class. Signora teaches in Reggio university as well. She is a very elegant and nice lady. She does not speak English, so we have to figure out every way to make her understand us. She spoke Italian during the whole conversation. Even though she tried her best to speak slowly and clearly, still I could not understand everything she said. We talked about the city Reggio, and we asked a lot of random questions to her. Friday was an hanging-loose day. I went back to my room after conversation, and I started to look at my itinerary in Vienna. I wanted to to make sure I could go as many my dreamed places as possible so I have to make a reservation in advance. For example, I bought the concert ticket of golden hall. Fortunately, there was a concert of Wiener Philharmoniker on 6.21, which I was very excited to see. BTW, prof. Edwards asked me to inform my colleagues the conversation time. I thought I did a good job, I sent the message and asked them to like the message if they saw it. Therefore I will know who did not see it, and I knock their doors to make sure they know the meeting time. Later on, we had the regular conversation and regular dinner as usual. I felt more and more comfortable to live and study here.
Today was a regular school day. We had class at university. The weather was pretty gloomy, so did I feel. We had a lesson about direct and indirect pronoun. It was nice that we cover proper amount of materials everyday. For the culture class, we talked about the geography about four peninsula countries, especially Italy. The climate, geography and civilization were the basic knowledge we needed to know in order to study further in Italy. However, the more I thought about some customs, the more I thought I needed to learn. I felt very stressed and frustrated by not knowing enough, and there were way too much I could not remember in such a short period. It happened during the conversation, too. I got very depressed for not understanding many questions and could not speak well. Even though I knew I learned Italian not as long as the others, and I could fix it one day in the future. But I the emotion just came out today, and I was also irate by Internet, relationship and so on. Every day passed really fast, because without internet I spent too much time in sleeping and thinking nothing. I would push myself even harder for tomorrow conversation in order to make more progress.
Today was a very flexible day, because we did not go to university, instead we went to the weekly open-air market, and we had an afternoon class and a nice beach picnic. The market was not very big. At least it did not surprise me, because I had seen so many markets like that in China.I bought some fresh fruits for lunch, however they charged us more because we were strangers. Therefore I learned that I have to know how to bargain in Italian. Interestingly enough, I had several conversations (or debate) with my colleagues. For example, we talked about discrimination and sexism. I got either very emotional or impassioned. It depended on how my colleagues stated, and I could be very serious and emotional because I did not agree at all. We had lunch at beach, the food was not good and enough for me, but the ocean was really nice. We played ourselves a while in the water, skipping the rock. Also we captured a jellyfish, and this was my first time to see a jellyfish so closely which was a very interesting experience. After going back to the hotel, Kalle, Abby, Nellie and I went to the pool. The pool was cleaned and opened just for us, and today was the first day it opened. There were several beach chairs for us to relax and do some reading. The water was really cold, I stayed for half an hour and went to lay on the chair. The time passed really fast, and we had a nice conversation class after that. After a long day exposed outside, I got badly tanned.
Today was the first day of the class. I actually had been very prepared and looking forward to have the class in university. The classroom was huge but only for three students including me. Mike started the class in intaliano. At first, it was really difficult to catch and very frustrated. But if I paid a lot of attention the instruction was actually feasible. I tried to pick up verbs from the sentences and add some rational imagination. The nice thing about the course was that I could always fare una domanda, and I had a more convenient way to communicate with the professor. In such a environment, I was unconsciously able to speak more Italian, and I felt more comfortable to speak Italian. Though, I was confused that how the class could cover the materials from Italian 2 and Italian 3 at the same time. In class today we did several conversations and reviewed a little materials from Italian 1. That I thought was nice to concrete everything together, and everyone seemed on the same page, and everything worked out today. However, how we could mention in the same page and at the same time Abby could make sure Abby was not behind of the schedule. I also was stressed about the class structure a little bit, because I didn't know how hard will the written exam be, since English was my second language and Italian was my third language, which made me very difficult to catch and understand some materials from the guide. There was a problem on the shuttle bus, so we have to wait couple more hours to get back to the hotel. So Mike took us to explore the city, we sat down on a beautiful coast, wandering in mind and tossing the rock. Then Mike treated everyone una gelato which was the best in Reggio. Since we did not know when would the shuttle bus come, we just sat in front of the gelato shop, chilled and relaxed. It was my first time to have pistachio flavored ice cream, and I loved its special and strong flavor a lot. During that time, I had very few very nice conversations with Hamdon, Abby and Riccardo. From the conversation, I learned about their school success and career path, which was very inspiring. I realized I was not the only hardworking person who planned everything well. For dinner we ate at the same place with our new friends who were from Minnesota.
On May 12th, we went to a city in Sicilia called Syracusa which is the same name as Syracuse. In the morning, we went to the biggest amphitheater built centuries ago. Many countries came to take over as their colonies, till now the amphitheater is still being used. In the same place, there was another attraction called “Orecchio di dionisio”. It named this way because its shape seemed like an ear, and it made echo last for a long time. Kids yelled loudly inside, and so did we. For lunch, we had a simple sandwich in isola di ortigia, and we spent rest of day in the island where had been easily approached by immigrants and colonists. However, the best part on the island was the piazza, because my favorite italian movie “Malena” had few scenes shooted in that piazza. I have been dreamed so long for just experiencing part of the movie, so I had a very strong personal attach to this piazza. I did take great pictures that I was really excited to put on the intstagram. However, the experience in front of the church in the piazza was not so pleasant. A woman carried a parrot and put the parrot on the tourist’s shoulder to ask for money. That was really annoying, because she just followed us all the way around. After a little bit, we explored the island by ourselves. We found a small piece of spiaggia that we could approach to, and boys taught me how to toss the rock to make it skip on the sea. Later, I bought a pair of earrings made by used colored pencil. They were very special, and the lady sold pencil jewelries was an artist, and she sold her paintings, too. When we got back to the hotel, we all worn out. Hamdon very kindly bought us pizza back to to hotel.
On May 13th, we went to the beautiful village called Taormina, super romantic. The day we went there had a beautiful wedding.
I made a power point of the comparison between Taormina and a Chinese village that I will attach to this blog.
The first part of this program is in Sicilia where I have been dreaming so long to reach one day. After the four days, I am still in the romance of Taormina, the grandness of Etna and the tranquility of Syracuse.
The flight to Catania was long but smooth. It was a six-hour trip from State College to JFK, an eight-hour trip to Zurich, and a two-hour trip from Zurich to Catania. I packed light and spent most time in sleeping, so the trip was not a pain to me. On the plane, I saw there were many Jews around. It was my first time to learn how Jews dressed, and I learned they could not eat dairy and meat at the same day, so they have special meal on the plane.
When we got to the hotel, we rest the rest of the day and went to a local restaurant for dinner. The hotel was really old and needed renovated. The first impression toward Catania was not so good. The restaurants in Italy opened really late, and it was very common to have dinner at 10 pm. Our first meal in Italy was pizza, BTW I normally don’t like pizza at all. I did not have any idea how the pizza tasted different from pizza are from America or China, and I did not know how big the pizza was. I ordered a super fancy one, and I surprisingly love the pizza very much. I am a huge eater, but I still could not even finish half of it.
Penn state 2019, majoring in Supply Chain Management, minoring in Italian and international business. Promoting Chinese culture to America; loving art, music and adventures.
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