The inevitable stories of passport abuse


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving in Florence

Happy belated Thanksgiving to everyone in the U.S.  I wish I could have been home to celebrate with my family and friends, but as I am half way across the world that wasn't going to happen.  So naturally I planned the next best thing, Thanksgiving dinner with the friends in Florence that have become my family. I must selfishly admit that cooking a Thanksgiving dinner was a lifeline for me; I needed something to take my mind off of the fact that I wasn't at home pouring my Grandmothers several glasses of wine and whipping up a pumpkin pie with my sister. So I invited everyone over to Via dei Pilastri for a home-cooked meal. Let me just say this, I have a new found respect for mothers (or fathers) who have ever cooked a Thanksgiving meal....IT IS NOT EASY! I asked everyone to bring a favorite dish and I would provide the turkey (named Lorenzo). I also ended up making two different kinds of stuffing from scratch, rehydrated dried cranberries so we could have cranberry sauce with our turkey, chopped some veggies for our roasted vegetables, peeling potatoes for homemade mashed potatoes, peeling apples for apple pie, buying a pumpkin pie (long story short.....pumpkin pie without canned pumpkin takes way longer than a day) and more. Oh and did I mention we only have one oven? By the time dinner was served ( much later than anticipated) all I wanted to do was sleep! But alas, then there were the dishes. From now on my mother with NEVER have to do dishes after she cooks; I have learned the hard way that dishes are a cruel and unusual punishment after a long day of cooking. With that said, Thanksgiving Florence style was a success, everything turned out delicious, if I do say so myself, and everyone had a great time. With the smells of Lorenzo cooking, the Christmas music and all of the laughs it actually felt like Thanksgiving, something I wasn't expecting. I am so grateful to have met all of these amazing people that made a Thanksgiving away from home that much easier.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Italian Family

I know that I fail at life and have not blogged about any of my amazing trips for the last MONTH but I promise they will be coming soon.  After midterms I left straight for Barcelona and Croatia, got home and had house guests for over a week, so things are finally starting to settle down.  But before I get to my adventures in other countries I need to write about the one adventure that has single handedly made study abroad in florence worth it...the Zuppiroli family.

When first arriving in Florence I signed up for this club my school has called the Italian Family club.  The school finds Florentine families that are willing to adopt poor homesick American students for the semester.  After lots of paperwork, interviews and people thinking I was crazy for giving up my travel weekends to spend time with a family I didn't even know, I finally met my Italian family. To make many long stories short, they are beyond amazing.  I have only known Alfredo, Sandra, Margherita and Amit for a little over a month but I don't think I could ever explain to them how much they have impacted my life.

Tonight for example, Sandra invited me over for dinner. First, she is such a wonderful cook; if only my stomach could speak it would tell you. Second, these dinners that Italians have EVERY night, consist of at least four courses and last for a minimum of 2.5 hours.  At dinner tonight Sandra invited her niece for dinner, who is a little older than I am.  Little did I know (but I am positive Sandra did this on purpose); Sara not only speaks Italian, Spanish and English but is also a swim coach. I had told my Italian family last week how I coach 160 beautiful children and how( it may sound ridiculous) I miss them so much that I feel like part of me is missing when I am not at the Cunningham pool trying to squeeze 40 kids into 3 lanes, listening to Peter tell me some strange story and eating candy by the bucketful. Sara spoke in mostly Italian ( Sandra is working very proactively towards me being fluent and won't let anyone in the family speak english during dinner). And although the conversation was in a language that is still completely foreign to me, I had no trouble following.  The language of the swimming world transcended all language barriers and I felt like I could be talking to any of my coaches about what set to give the 11-12 year olds. Sara even invited me to her team's swim meet in a couple of weekends and I don't know if I have been more excited for anything since I have been here.

Needless to say dinner tonight made me appreciate being here in Italy and experiencing the language and culture first hand.  As I was walking away from their house, in the complete downpour that I have come to expect everyday in Florence, I couldn't help but close my umbrella and spin around in circles in the storm thinking of how blessed I am and how happy I am the the Zuppiroli family decided to adopt me.