Tonight was probably my favorite night since being in Italy. First we took a tour of the Queen’s tomb. Lauren, the girl doing the homestay, tried to tell the lady she was living with that she was going to the Queen’s tomb, but accidently said Queen’s tomato! Sometimes our translation books aren’t quite correct. Anyway, the tomb used to be an initiation room where boys would go through a ceremony before they were re-born or considered a man. We got to go through this really small tunnel/passageway within the cave/tomb. It was really small, and kinda creepy but cool to walk through.
Afterwards, we went to this couple’s house outside Tuscania but within walking distance. One of the local guys drove us a part of the way in his little vehicle. It’s a mini-truck with a bed but only on three wheels. But instead of a steering wheel, it has bike handles. Lots of people in Tuscania drive them because you don’t have to have a license to since the engine is so small. Anyway, we went to this couple’s house, at about 7pm, to try some of their homemade goat’s cheese. The husband is a shepherd, and they are from Sardinia which is in southern Italy. Sardinia is known for their agriculture and hospitality, and this couple definitely displayed that. Monica, our Florentine API director who speaks her native language Italian and then mostly English, took us to meet them and learn more about the Italian culture, so she was able to translate what the couple was saying. We ended up talking to them for an hour or so, and then they invited us to stay for dinner with them. During the meal, I started to choke on this real good bread, so the lady started patting my back and said something in Italian. Then her husband and Monica started laughing, and Monica told us that she had told me to look at the birds so the food would slide down easier, and we all laughed. From then on, whenever the lady brought out more food she would pat me on the back and say in rough English “careful”.
It was so cool to hang out with them even though there was a language barrier. Sometimes it felt like I was playing charades as I pointed and gestured towards things. It is so cool how many things are universal and constant throughout cultures. They had several pets and we were all talking about them in baby voices and petting them. We talked about the states and where we all come from, finger nail polish, farming, raising sheep, Tuscania and Italy, food, and a bunch of other random stuff. I learned lots of new Italian words, and I haven’t even started my Italian class yet! They were so friendly, easy-going, and hospitable. I love how the Italians here are willing to take time to get to know people. Most of you know that my love language is “quality time” and this culture really provides that. Italians will hang out with others and spend quality time with you at the drop of a hat. It’s really cool to be in a culture that takes life so much more slowly (since that goes well with my personality). We ended up staying and talking to this couple for about three hours, and then they drove us back into town. I love that I can experience REAL Italian culture here.