On Saturday morning, my host mother and one of my host brothers came into Torino to pick me up. They were joined by the teacher I will be working with in the school. After some snacks and social time with all the other host families and teachers, we got in their car and drove to their town. They live about 30 minutes from the city center in a small outlying village.
As we drove, everything I was looking at was new to me. We got to their house and my host mother drove the car through the back gate. Their house is a duplex. We went down a ramp that goes underneath the house and into a basement that doubles as a garage, parked the car, and went into the house.
I settled in to my bedroom, which was nice to do after 4 days of travelling and staying in a hostel. I have a large window in my room. Below is the view. (Note the mountains on the left)
The family had Monday and Tuesday off due to Martedi Grosso aka Fat Tuesday, so we were able to spend four days getting to know each other before I was off to work.
Over those four days, we ate almost every meal at home. Meals are always served in courses – pasta is first, followed by a meat, followed by perhaps another meat, and then salad, fruit, dessert, and coffee/espresso if desired. Off the top of my head, in the first few days we had pizza, pasta with red sauce, pesto sauce, sausage, fried chicken, carrot soup, and various deserts. Food is served on a totally different schedule than the USA. Lunch is around 2 or 3 in the afternoon and dinner is around 8 at night.
I was also able to meet many people and attend several family and community events around the town. On Saturday, a couple that lived nearby came over with their son and we made pizza. I stayed up late getting to know them and had some fun conversation. On Sunday we went to Mass, and I took a long walk around our town and nearby towns with one of my host brothers.
On Monday I went to one of my host brothers’ youth basketball games and then went out for pizza with the parents and children.
On Tuesday my host mother’s parents came over for lunch, and I attended a Martedi Grosso party with local kids at the church in town. The tradition is to have a confetti war, which I was able to participate in:
Conversations with the people I’ve met are interesting. I have a basic command of Italian and most of them have a basic command of English, so I can communicate effectively using “Itanglish.” However, it is hard to communicate deeper thoughts or feelings. Most conversations revolve around differences between Italia and the United States and these can be quite fun and produce good laughter. I try to represent the US well and dispel stereotypes. Many of the people I have met have been interested in my Italian-American heritage so I try to explain it to them.
By the end of the four days, I was ready to start a routine. Wednesday morning was scheduled to be my first day at the school.
As always, see my flickr page for more photos. Click the menu bar in the upper right hand corner for access.