Sunday, February 21, 2010
Things the italians are missing out on:
1. Dryers (I now know how valuable a dryer is. We have to hang all of our clothes, and most of the time, the clothes end up discoloring a bit)
2. Ketchup (They have something like it, but nothing beats Heinz)
3. Push-buttons at the cross walk (first of all, the traffic laws seem to be inexistent, but the you can't signal a light to change with a button)
4. Bagels (you can't go wrong with bacon, egg, and cheese on a bagel)
5. Paper towels (all they use are dishtowels)
6. Butter (it has to exist, but no one has seen it yet)
7. Peanut Butter (Nutella is all there is, other than jams)
8. Cheddar cheese (the roommates and I tried to make cheese burgers, and has to use another kind of cheese)
9. Fast restaurant service (the italians love to take their time and allow their customers to have plenty of time between courses. we waited forever...)
10. Preservatives (going to the grocery, all you see is fresh food. You don't need to worry about extra preservatives or chemicals in food to make the food last longer)
Sunday, February 14, 2010
So yesterday, Dave, two of our roommates (mike and zach-man), and I went to Stadio Olympico to watch Roma vs. Palermo. On our way to the game, we had some trouble finding our way to the metro stop that would take us to the stadium, so we all pitched in to grab a taxi to not miss the game. After the taxi dropped us off, we sprinted to the stadium; the stadium lights lit up the Roman night sky from far away, and as we got closer the crowd got extremely louder. I was definitely pumped for this whole new experience in an entire new atmosphere, even though it was the same game. Running into the stadium, we were dodging italians just merely walking, as if the game didn't start for another hour or so. But not us Americans, we didn't want to miss one second of this epic match to be. Roma stands second in the Seria A table, while Palermo stands seventh. When we got to our seats we found ourselves bumped up next to the Roma fan's section, with a line of guardsmen in between them and us. The atmosphere was nothing I've experience before. I've been to an Arsenal vs. Chelsea match, but the fans are nearly not as crazy and out of control as the italians. Those italians know how to stir up the crowd and keep the stadium bumping with excitement. Roma ended up scoring four goals, with Palermo only scoring one because of a pk from a trip right inside the box. The chants and celebrations could not compare to an MLS match at all. MLS not only seems like a joke, but now I know it's a joke compared to these star-studded leagues in Europe. Us Americans need to step it up on all levels, when it comes to the game of soccer; from the fans to players and just the game itself. What an outrageous place to be to watch a football match.
Friday, February 12, 2010
"Sweet Caroline, bah bah bah..."
This week was quite more eventful than the last week for many reasons. First, everyone started their week of intensive italian for two hours a day, to try to expedite our understanding of the italian culture. Today, everyone took a quiz that determined which class they would be in for the rest of the semester. Second, on Tuesday's, an Irish bar called Scholar's hosts karaoke night, which of course my friends and I took advantage of. Dave Ferriero and I took the stage and sang 'Sweet Caroline' by Neil Diamond, which got the entire place going; definitely going to be a weekly occurrence. Third, today after my friends and I completed our quizzes, we made our way to the colosseum and walked around. As we were walking around, I spotted one of the more famous Ohio State athletes, A.J. Hawk, who played football and currently plays for the Green Bay Packers. No big deal. I wish I got a picture of him, but I didn't want to be too creepy, but I have a few witnesses. Lastly, this morning started with the entire city witnessing history, as we all watched snow cover the eternal city for six or so hours. The last time it snowed here was 1985, which is incredible because a majority of the people in the city were born after then. Well this weekend, I'll be experiencing my first big italian soccer match (AS Roma vs. Palermo), which I'll be posting about at the end of the weekend.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
The past few days have been all about learning from this eternal city; from the monuments to interacting with the locals, I've found myself learning very quickly the way of life around here. The people are either very warming to Americans, especially the people in the central part of the city, or they keep to themselves, like the people in the zones outside of the central part. On friday, the IES team split up the students into roughly 6 groups of 20 or so students, to venture out into the historical city. My group went off into the most central east part of the city where the Pantheon, Spanish steps, and Trevi fountain are located. We learned many interesting facts about churches and historical landmarks that effected the story of Rome. For example, the world headquarter of the Jesuits, which is church, wanted to make this magnificent church with a gigantic dome on top, but the Pope told them they couldn't because he was building his own dome (st. peter's) that wasn't going to be as big as the Jesuits dome. So he told them to figure it out and deal with it because he wasn't going to be embarrassed by them. The Jesuits decided to be quite creative by painting the ceilings to convince everyone that they were arched (it's actually very convincing). The frescos are incredible, yet to mention that no one can tell that the ceilings are flat. After roaming the streets and making our way to the top of the Spanish steps, my group kept climbing higher over the city, in order to capture a gasping view over a city that has been here for thousands of years (still unfathomable). When the tour groups returned, we were released to head home. My friends (dave, mike, and zach) and i headed back to our flat in Monteverde (bout a ten minute bus ride from central rome). Then dave and i heard about a soccer field behind a church near by, so we stopped by and found three young italian boys (bout 10-12 yrs. old) kicking the ball around. It was so much fun to try to interact with italian people, especially when you can barely speak the language. I have found that it's more comfortable for the foreigner to interact with kids, because they don't judge you as much as an adult would. After an hour or so of kicking around, we left the field feeling more confident to interact with italians and more confident about our soccer skills....but not really. I really did feel that this new environment was becoming less foreign and more comfortable; seem to be adjusting quickly.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
So being here in this amazing city is quite the culture shock. I spent the day with Dave Ferriero walking around the city looking for power adapters and computer chargers. We then did some of our own site seeing, looking for the IES center and walking through the narrow cobblestone streets eating real pizza. The time difference has been painful because I have been up since 9 am yesterday and haven't had much time to sleep. This day has been the opposite of a relaxing day for me. But I'm looking forward to what the next three and a half months will bring