Sunday, August 26, 2012

What a crazy first week

An Italian flag I saw in one of the neighborhoods during our visit to local shops.

Piazza Sanagostino!

Joust festival decorations! Our neighborhood's flag is the one in the picture. 

The Piazza Grande.

The other side of the Piazza Grande. 

The left of the Piazza Grande.

One of the streets (I think it's Via Corso Italia, but I'm not sure since they all look similar).

This past first week here in Arezzo has been quite eventful! My classmates and I have been busy filling out paperwork for our resident cards, sitting through orientation lectures and presentations, and spending time learning about the various shops here. In Italy, there isn't a Walmart where you can buy many things all in the same place (they have a Walmart-esque store called Billa, but it's definitely not the same). They have specialty places. A rosticceria, where you can find roasted meats and vegetables. A pasticceria, where you can find pastries. A gastronomia, which is kind of like a deli, where the chef creates food you can take home and prepare yourself or he can warm it up for you right then and there. Lucio, our student affairs director, told me that Italians prefer to go to various shops for things, instead of going to one giant store.

Speaking of all these specialty food stores, I've enjoyed almost every single meal that I've had here. On Wednesday night, we had a welcome dinner at this restaurant called Anticafonte. There are no menus because they just bring out a ton of food and you can pick what you like. When they say Italians love their food, they are not joking around. It was dish, after dish, after dish. At one point, Jessica (a classmate) asked one of our directors, "Does this ever end?! How many more dishes?"We started off with an antipasto/aperitivi (appetizer, hors d'oeuvre) and it was Tuscan bread with various toppings and a spinach quiche in the middle. Then we moved onto the primi piatti (first plate or course), which was this amazing tomato linguini. Words will never do justice to describe how delicious the food here is. And this is coming from a very picky eater. We then had a gnocchi dish, followed by a meat dish (which I didn't eat because I don't like meat), and finally, a lemon tart cake. And gelato? American ice cream has nothing on it. So far I've had coffee, cheesecake, and nutella and there is a gelateria on almost every corner of the town. I've found my newest addiction! The pizza here is also to die for and you get one as big as a table for around 5-7 euro.

Pizza and spaghetti from one of my favorite restaurants so far!

Piazza Sant'Andrea, I believe, with live outdoor DJs!

Let's move away from the subject of food before I'm tempted to run to the nearest gelateria. Earlier I mentioned this week was eventful. Let me touch base on that for a quick second.

  • I mentioned the various negatives regarding my apartment earlier. Well that situation heightened on Thursday night when my roommate was electrocuted because of a loose wall socket. It traveled from one arm, across her chest, and into the other arm and you can see the entry and exit points. She screamed bloody murder and I'm sure the entire town of Arezzo heard. Her hands turned purple, she had cuts, and the current burned one of her acrylic nails off. The rest of us made a commotion after she came back from the hospital because that's not safe. All of the complaining on our parents' part resulted in new wall sockets and....drum roll please, AIR CONDITIONING, HALLELUJAH. 
  • On Wednesday night my roommates Maddie and Olivia and I met up with some local Italians named Giulia, Lorenzo, and Andrea. Giulia is the definition of class. She only wears high heels, owns only Prada bags, and studies in Milan and she's such a sweetheart. Lorenzo is a goofball who enjoys being a troll (I taught him that word the other night by the way). We all met up and just hung out and as we were going home, one of the girls hugged him goodbye and he was super awkward about it. He didn't know how to hug someone goodbye and explained how in Italy, you don't hug another girl unless you're in a relationship with her. He also didn't know what grinding was--and yes, I mean in terms of dancing. He said at the discotecas, people just sway or move their arms awkwardly and when Olivia showed him an example of grinding and the look on his face was priceless. "I could NEVER do that!" he said in English, with his very Italian accent. 
  • There's a joust festival here in Arezzo. The town is divided up into four sections, each section has their own flag, and each section competes in the reenactment of jousting from back in the day. The festival isn't until next week but all of the preliminary parties have begun and let me just tell you, they are CRAZY. Piazzas are squares/plazas here and there are usually piazzas scattered around town and then there's the Piazza Grande, which is the largest one. Well each piazza so far has had a party. They're usually outdoors, with live DJs, and people dancing and having a good time. Most of the students in our group went the last two nights and it was so much fun. The DJs play a lot of American music too. It's so nice to not have a single worry in the world. That's all I usually do back in the states: worry, worry, worry.
And some of the other things I've noticed about Italy/Italians/etc:
  • You have to pay for plastic bags at the grocery store, so everyone brings their own bag of some sort. If you're ever here, please make sure to remember that, or you'll be struggling to get up a hill with a ton of boxes and detergent in your arms!
  • Shop owners sometimes close their shops around 2-4 and I learned this the hard way when I had to run some errands and almost everything was closed.
  • There's a flea market here every Saturday and it's massive (my professor's who've lived here for a year still haven't been able to go through the whole thing) and you can find a lot of things.
  • The alley ways, which I thought were streets just for walking, can also be used for vespas and cars. We all have to squish against the wall whenever a car tries to squeeze through the tiny streets. I can now see why all the cars here are so tiny.
  • People do indeed have wine at all hours of the day; I've seen children buying wine at the grocery store too.
  • Oh and I also learned that the Sprouse twins from the Suite Life of Zack and Cody were born here because their parents were teaching English here for four months. How random!


Darianne said...

The food looks so yummy. I'm now hungry and craving Pasta and Pizza. Yay for Air conditioning!

Jenny said...

Zahara! It looks like you're having a blast! OMG, I love the food. Pasta is my favorite... my mouth just started watering. LOL. Wow, I didn't know you have to pay for plastic bags at the grocery store.. I hope you're enjoying yourself!!!

Elizabeth said...

That pizza looks extra delicious!

P.S stop by my blog. I am hosting a little giveaway and would love it if you joined :]

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