Happy 2008! I've been completely blog-dispondant, but now that I am back in Italy, and can only talk to one person (Paolo) because I don't know the language yet, the blog will be a welcome outlet to communicate, in English, when I'm desperate to say what I want to say without having to explain what I am saying. Hai capito? You understand?
Anyway, a quick recap of the last couple of months...
Since I returned from my trip I've been staying at my parents house, because it didn't make sense for me to rent a place since I was only going to be in Ohio for 4 months. Lately, I seem to do things in 4 month increments. Living with them has it's perks and downfalls, naturally, but overall we have a good time together. I got a job in Uptown Westerville at a cute little store called Encircle, which helped me to pay for my cell phone bill and go out to dinner (but not much else).
Paolo came to stay with me from right before Thanksgiving until January 2nd, when we both returned to Italy together. So it's going to be a total of 5.5 months of being together nonstop--wow. It was so fun having him around for the holidays, because he's always so happy. He loved Thanksgiving dinner, which was to be expected, as Paolo loves ALL food. He did wonderful at the chaotic holiday family get-togethers, where there are around 40 aunts, uncles, cousins all piled into one house. Not only did he have to try to remember all of their real names, they all seem to have nicknames too. It wasn't long before I looked from the kitchen into the dining room and see him tossing my cousin's daughter up in the air and her squealing with delight "again! again!" He fit right in. He was even a good sport during the gift exchange (if you can call it that)--which can get pretty intense--alliances are built, strategies are put into place, all relationships are pushed to the wayside, people will even steal from our 92 year old grandmother-figure. Paolo got his gift stolen and wound up with the laser level. Later he told me, "it's a nice gift Maggie, men always like tools." (The men I've had in my life, uh-hem, Dad, don't seem to know a hammer from a wrench, so this was new to me). And my dad's gotten a laser level before, and I think he response was "I always get the sucky gifts."
Aside from the holidays, we spent a lot of time studying, spending time with my friends, checking out the city, Christmas shopping, going to dinner--he became a big fan of sushi, thank God. I was worried about what he'd like to eat, because in Italy there really is only one type of food--Italian. Literally, they really do eat pasta everyday. So when I asked him what he wanted for dinner one night and he said "either Chipotle or Japanese" I fell in love even more. He was tired a lot, which I can understand the feeling. Even at night if we'd be watching TV, it was still work for him because he was trying so hard to understand. It's not like he could just zone out. We'd usually watch the Discovery Channel or Animal Planet where the narrator usually spoke relatively slowly, or What Not to Wear--who better to learn english from that Stacy London and Clinto Kelly????
We ended 2007 with some of my best friends, cousins, drinking, eating and dancing. For my friend Jennifer and I, 2008 really, truly marks a new beginning. Here I am, in Italy, learning Italian, living in a small coastal town, with a view of the sea. Jenn, just got a job as a Federal Prosecutor and will be moving to LA in September, where she will be living a real life Law and Order episode. Yeah, she'll be going on FBI stings and stuff--I love it. She's 5'1" and looks like she's 19. She is going to tear up that town.
But for both of us, 2007 was more than difficult. At some points neither of us could see the light at the end of the tunnel. It just goes to show you that no matter what, the future is always going to be different than today (got that piece of wisdom from my Google "quotes of the day"). I take solace in that. If today sucks, tomorrow might not--who knows? And if today is great, tomorrow might not be...but no matter what, we can count on it being different. That will never change.
So with 2007 being behind me, and 2008 at it's very beginnings, I am filled with hope, anticipation, and some almost closed battle wounds.
In the days to follow, I'll write about the town in which I am living, our crazy condo, my first Italian lessons, and what it is like to be fully immersed in a culture. I'm in the very south--the heel of the boot. There is no English spoken here, so it is sink or swim. (Or tote around a cute little translator named Paolo). He'd like to write a blog of his own, because I have had some great "Maggie-isms" where I've created my own words in Italian. What goes around comes around, and I'm beginning to pay for lauging at him calling his neck a "neckle"...