As my dad pointed out, and as I already knew, my blog has something of a food focus so far. This is because I’m still getting used to the culture so I didn’t want to discuss it too much until I knew some things. It’s also because we’ve been having quite a bit of class each day, so I haven’t been getting out as much as I may have wanted. I also stayed in a couple nights in a row to catch up on sleep so I haven’t had too many nighttime adventures either… yet. I also just love food. Food and travel are pretty much my two favorite things in the world so I’m quite pleased to be combining them.
Today we walked through the underground city a little and went into the Duomo. The Duomo felt very cold and museum-like to me- not anything like a place of prayer. Stacy (who is pretty religious, though not Catholic) and I may try to go to a service there, just to see how that feels. Jamie and I were wandering around a bit yesterday between classes and found some awesome shops/restaurants on a random side street and then ended up at a gorgeous view overlooking Umbria. We then cut through a random door inside which we could see a bookstore and old stones. This was the underground city. Today we walked through it a little more, but a lot of it was closed off. It got bombed after WWII, I think.
About Perugia: Well it is a mountaintop town so the main piazza is on the very top of the mountain and everywhere else is downhill. The streets are all old cobblestone and stairs and even the tiniest old alleyway can contain a multitude of shops and stores. In the afternoon there is “pausa” which is like the Spanish “siesta.” All the stores and restaurants close between, say 14:00-17:00 (it depends), except for a few bars. Bar means the American equivalent of cafe, which I sort of explained before. If you sit, you have to pay a fee for servicio so we mostly just stand or walk on the street while we eat/drink. The city is interesting because there are three universities here. There is my school (approx. 140 estudenti), the Universita per Stranieri (University for Foreigners), and Universita di Perugia which is the regular Italian University. Because of this there is a huge amount of diversity. Falafel shops are next to British tea rooms and in the bars (bar bars, not cafes) you can meet people from anywhere around the world. One American friend we made named Andreas said the Italian culture lends itself to laziness, hence their poor economy. I wouldn’t really know about that…
My roommate Abbie is still not doing so well, but her reasons are much more than homesickness so now that I know them, I can help. I’m glad she has good reasons because her unhappiness was making me unhappy but now I can help her to be more positive. My roommate Stacy is very very nice and probably a bit more nurturing than I am, so she is also quite helpful to Abbie. Beth is also a lot of fun but she has very bad ADD which is interesting for me… I seem to be the cleanest roommate (though Stacy is pretty good). Abbie is just too distracted to worry about it and Beth will literally take something out of the fridge and leave it open and not realize it. (That’s just one example.) I’m hoping this doesn’t become too frustrating for me because for the first few days I felt like I was constantly cleaning. I feel a bit better about it today though. They had some people over for dinner last night and did a great job cleaning up, thank goodness. Haha.
We are working on our trip to Florence next weekend but unfortunately we have to bring in our passports next Friday instead of this one for our Permits of Stay so we have to leave either Friday night or early Saturday morning. This is a bit of a bummer but I think it will be long enough for our first trip. I’m excited about that and so many other things to come. Especially my photography class. I took some actual good pictures today, not just touristy ones so I will upload those later. Today while exploring we found some great stuff near our house: beautiful views, an Internet point, delicious crepes, and cute stores. I am kind of ready to go shopping. I’ve barely even gone into the stores but I think the time is coming.
Sunday is the special orientation for the program I came through. We are going to an agriturismo where we will pick grapes, learn about wine making, farming and local food, and make our own pasta. See why I’m focusing on the food? You just can’t get away from it! And I’m loving it.