Week 2 has concluded, and I finally feel that I have gotten into the groove of things. My 2ndweek in Verona consisted of learning about pasta and going to Rome.
Part of the focus in the educational realm of my second week was learning how to make pasta. Pasta day was my favorite day because it enlightened me on the difficulty of making pasta! During pasta day, we got into groups of three and made pasta out of eggs and flour. Creating the dough went smoothly, but stretching out the dough proved to be challenging.
The most surprising “fun fact” that our instructor told us about making the pasta back in the day is that a woman’s ability to get married back in the day predicated on her ability to make an exceptional quality of pasta dough. Pasta dough needs to be stretched out, and it was required for a woman seeking to get married to have a dough was translucent and can be held without breaking.
When I heard this, I was doubtful that pasta dough could meet those two requirements, but our instructors proved us wrong by spending a considerable amount of time rolling and stretching the dough to where it was nearly translucent. Needless to say, creating quality pasta is an art, as my group and I created dough that was deemed too sticky and needing a little TLC.
Afterwards, we created spinach tortellini and cheese raviolis that they baked and let us taste. Though proud of our efforts, consuming our pasta made me super grateful that Antonia, our wonderful chef, and her team cooks our lunches for us instead of leaving us to our culinary devices!
After learning about pasta throughout the week, I took advantage of our free weekend and traveled to Rome. Traveling has gotten exponentially better following my mishaps with public transportation in the first week! Going to the capital of Italy was an eye-opening experience.
The vast number of tourists in the city restructured my reference to what it means to be a tourist city. Despite the number of tourists in Rome, I was able to get a feel of the authenticity of the historical city by visiting some historical sites. The site that had the most impact for me was visiting the Pantheon because it brought me back to my sophomore year in high school.
During our time learning about the construction of the Pantheon in AP world history, our instructor would play a song called “Party in the Pantheon” and repeat that phrase throughout his lectures. It stuck with me, for some reason, and made me feel grateful that I could finally visit the Pantheon five years later. In addition to visiting the different sites, my stay in Rome solidified my comfort at touring by myself.
I was supposed to travel a few hours outside of Rome to visit my friend who is nun, but I missed my train. Therefore, I was on my own for a few hours until the people that I traveled with finished their tours. I no longer had that sense of panic of being on my own like I did during my first day in Italy. Instead, I was able to keep calm navigate myself around the city by myself. It’s a small victory, but I felt proud of my newfound confidence of being by myself at times.
Overall, I have adjusted nicely to school and Italian culture. The culture shock has faded away, and I am thoroughly enjoying myself. I have met new people, both in the program and Italian citizens, and was able to go on amazing min-adventures with them during the week. I am happy, and excited to see what the third week will bring!