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Published: August 17th 2011
Hard Rock Cafe'
Paolo's number one destination.
Ahh.... Home Sweet Home.
I know that in my last post I promised that I would do one more. Well, now that I am back in America, it's been a month, Paolo is home, and I just kept putting off this entry. It's so nice to be able to go to bed at night and not have to worry about posting for everybody! But finally I decided that I am just going to get it over with, so you all can enjoy one last entry before my blog of Italy comes to an end! Right about now, I'm thinking there will be three main sections to this entry: (a) the flight home and last-day experience, (b) a summary of the Italian culture, and (c) what we did when Paolo was in America and what Paolo thought of it. All of the pictures on the blog are pictures that Paolo took... (or at least from his camera). I stole them from Facebook. So, "here goes!"
It was a spectacular month, that June of 2011, full of new people, food, ways of life, and just experiences overall. (If you want to know what those are, well, you haven't been reading the
Paolo and I about to ride on the tube together.... right before we broke it :)
blog entries then, have you? 😊 ).
Well we woke up the morning we left Italy (I guess that makes sense... we didn't sleep through it all) and after having breakfast (and Elena giving me an Italy t-shirt as a gift from the family... how nice!) we headed out towards the airport in Venice. Of course, as you always do when leaving somewhere for a while (in my case, indefinitely), I had to do one last paranoid run around the house to make sure I'm not leaving anything... because I would leave something important like my camera or cell phone (that I hadn't used in a month.. oh, that would be irony for ya).
With a tear hanging in the corner of my eye, we drove away from the house, and headed towards the highway. Then I noticed the peeled onion right below my face causing me to tear up, and I threw it out window. We drove into Padova to drop Nico off at the car dealership where he had previously left his car, I said my goodbyes to him, then we left Padova for Venice. When we got to the airport, we had to wait in
North Platte Float
Brianna, Ciara (her friend), my mom, my grandparents, paolo and I... just hangin out... trying not to float into trees.
a line of cars to drive into this parking lot... and Elena accidentally rear-ended somebody. Way to go Elena! 😊 From there, it was a repeat of the good-bye process when I was leaving... the mother almost/already in tears, embraces, and seeing off through security.
Our flight left around 1:30 PM (5:30 AM US time) and basically I just entertained myself through crossword puzzles and napping the whole way to London. Upon arrival in London, we went through the process of finding the gate for our flight to Denver. There was a Starbucks at the terminal there, and Paolo was fairly excited about it, but we decided not to get any because (a) our flight was soon and (b) we weren't sure if we could pay in US dollars or Euros, since Pounds and whatnot are used there. Oh well. Eventually, we boarded the flight and got settled into our seats. I was near the front of our section, and Paolo was in the VERY back row, in a CORNER seat, so I'm sure his legs were extremely uncomfortable, poor guy. But he insisted he was ok, so I went up and got ready for a flight full of
At dem der Ro-day-o
YEEEE-HAAAAW... pretty sweet picture in my opinion.
House and The Jungle.
But that's not what happened... I fell asleep for about 5 minutes and then woke up, and decided to watch the movie that was on the mini TV screen on the seat back in front of me. So I put in my ear-phones and suddenly I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned to my right (since I was on the aisle seat on the right side of the plane) and the girl next to me asked, in broken English, how long the flight was. Well, that got us talking, and I ended up missing the movie and not being able to watch any House or read any of my book at all! The reason why? you may ask.... well, it turns out the girl sitting next to me was actually from France, and was flying to America to stay with a family in Boulder for 3 weeks! So not only was I exposed to Italian culture on this trip, but also French culture! Her name was Caroline Schil, and she was a lot of fun to talk to. We discussed TONS of things, from the geography of the USA vs. France, the school
Full speed ahead Capt'n!
systems, the music, movies, and a whole lot more! I told her I had taken a year of French in school, so I had the opportunity to humiliate myself with attempts at speaking French. This humiliation came in the form of (a) my crappy American accent, and (b) realizing I was combining French and Italian (I once said "Tre Heures," meaning to say "three hours". However, "tre" is three in Italian, and "heures" is hours in French. She was really confused....). She read me a small paragraph in French just because I was curious how it sounded... and it was crazy! But anyways, we talked about an infinite number of things, and I ended up helping TWO foreigners through the customs process once we got to Denver. (By the way, you know the 3 chapters of The Jungle I was saving for the flight? Well, I didn't even read HALF a chapter, because it started talking nonstop about Socialism. Meh. I really didn't want to read about that! And it wouldn't stop! So I had to struggle through the last chapters later. Disappointing....)
Speaking of customs, I turned on my phone and started to send messages to my mom
Eaton Days Street Dance
The only picture Paolo took of the street dance... he didn't stay long. I think it was the country music that drove the Italian away.
(who was picking us up) while a lady behind me who just got back from a 3-week trip to France was talking to her daughter on the phone when suddenly a customs guy told us to get off our phones. Okay.... there were no signs, but whatever. So I put my phone away and the lady was in the process of hanging up when the guy came back and yelled, "LADY WITH THE PHONE! I TOLD YOU TO PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY!". Well, that got us into a conversation... joking that that guy probably just lost his phone and was really jealous of people using theirs since he couldn't use his. I talked with her for a while until we got out of customs, got our bags, and we finally met up with my mom and my sister after 15 minutes of trying to find each other. After getting back to the car, they had a bag of OREOS waiting for me (I love them!) and we headed home (stopping at Starbucks along the way).
So that's part (a) for you. Now for part (b).
FOOD: Pasta. Lots and lots and lots of pasta. They
Saratoga Fourth of July Parade
It's kind of surprising how much he talked this event up. I guess he hasn't had several years of American Independence Day Parades under his belt like us.
eat it constantly. The quality of meat isn't as good in Italy as in the United States, and bacon and eggs in an unheard of meal for breakfast. Pizza is practically a staple food there as well, and when you order a pizza, each person gets their own separate pie. Gelato (ice cream) is amazing there, and I'm afraid to try any so-called "gelato" made in America. Food Chains? McDonalds and a place called "Roadhouse". That's it. No joke. We are sooooo commercialized in America. Coffee? Ha. Well, they drink expresso. A shot of coffee. Anything more than that amount they refer to as an "American coffee" when they order. A cup of coffee the size of a regular mug is unheard of.
DRIVING: Holy crap. You know a "California stop"? Well Italian cops would be lucky if they even saw those in Italy-- they drive like wild banshees there! The legal age is actually 18 there, but it is not until 19 when full powered cars can be driven. (Ironically, from the age of 14 (I think Paolo said) they can drive motorcycles around the streets.... at least a helmet is REQUIRED.)
MUSIC: At least 85% of
Paolo is almost as tall as the Peterbilt.
the music played on the radio or anywhere really is English-language music. Classic rock is VERY popular there (heck yes!) and there are a TON of student bands formed there. There is definitely a more prominent musically-inclined population in Italy versus in the USA... it's amazing how much time the people there spend discussing/playing/listening to music! And remember, even Claudia's school is primarily a musical school! Italian modern music, so i've heard, isn't that good. However, I did burn some songs onto my iTunes from CD's at Paolo's house, and there are a couple of them that has caught my attention... such as "Bocca di Rosa" and "Fiume Sand Creek" by Fabrizio de Andre' and "Ombelico del Mundo" by Jovenotti. Check them out!
TELEVISION: Just like the music, most of it is originally English or American. House, Family Guy, Fairly Oddparents, How I Met Your Mother, Scrubs... there's so many shows that have been dubbed over in Italian by professional dubbers and released on Italian television. It's fascinating to think that all they watch over there is something originally in a different language. (And how the discrepancy between the lips and the voice doesn't bother them beats me!). No
Ready to go ridin...
I was not here for this (literally) nor did i have any control of what they did. Just a disclaimer. But they do look pretty awesome :)
wonder they think that America is filled to the brim with movie stars.... It baffled them when I told them most of the movie making takes place in just one city...
LIVING SPACE: They like to live on top of each other. The whole time I was there, I only saw ONE house that stood completely alone and unattached from another house. There are a ton of condos and apartments and it's pretty much the same set-up as the East coast urban areas (Manhattan, etc.). Every single square foot of space is being used for agriculture if there are not apartments there. The whole concept of "plains" is pretty much mystifying to them...
CLOTHING: Popular Italian Fashion Items: Hard Rock Cafe' T-Shirts. Capri-Jeans (even for guys. Real jeans are uncommon and extremely expensive there). Television show characters. At swimming pools, the minimum amount of fabric possible. Hawaiian and Life Is Good shirts? None. Only me 😊
ART & ARCHITECTURE: Old. Detailed. Abundant. Breathtaking. What more can I say?
RELIGION: Predominantly Catholic. Figures... seeing as the Holy See (Vatican) is located within the boundaries of Italy
EDUCATION: In Italy, schooling lasts 13 years (5 years of
Paolo must have been a little bored.
high school). Throughout those 5 years, you stay with the same group of students the whole time... and instead of the students moving around between each class period, the teachers do! Weird required classes: Latin, Art History, English, Theology, Philosophy. After they're done with high school, they are required to take a series of tests in July... these tests decide whether or not you are able to go to "the university". No pressure.... (They found it kind of funny that, despite a bad academic record, as long as you pay enough money in the US, you can go to college somewhere...)
14-- Motorcycle driving
18-- Vehicle driving (below a certain horsepower), Voting
19-- Vehicle driving (any horsepower)
POLITICS: Well, what I got is that Burlesconi, the Prime Minister of Italy, is somewhat corrupt and involved in some scandals and that most people DO NOT LIKE HIM. But I'm not too into discussing my own politics let alone Italy's, so if you want more, I would gladly guide you to a Wikipedia page on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_Italy.
There are probably sooooo many other things I am forgetting to mention in this section. The best thing
Driving through golf-ball sized hail in Cheyenne.... I think it's close to golfing :) Hooray for puns!
I can suggest for you to get a more in-depth knowledge of the matter is to GO TO ITALY!!!! Experience it for yourself!
PAOLO IN AMERICA
So what did we do? Here's a brief list: Buffalo Wild Wings Trivia, Cheyenne Frontier Days, rodeo, Water World, go to the cabin, eat hamburgers, camp at Woods Landing in Wyoming, float the North Platte River, water-ski, go tubing, visit Casper, Eaton Days Street-Dance, take a glimpse at the USA Judicial System by seeing James Judd Bondsteel in court being sentenced to 134 years in prison (look it up!), eat more hamburgers, go disc-golfing, go to starbucks, go to the Beach House Grill, walk the streets of Fort Collins on a Friday night, Fourth of July in Saratoga, Wyoming, go Geocaching, eat peach ice-cream, sit around, play Wii, Renaissance Fair (huzzah!), Rotary Meeting, Hard-Rock Cafe', get caught in a golf-ball-sized hail-storm, see an Echo-Cardiogram, attend a neighborhood BBQ, watch Paolo play bass in a garage band, go golfing (Paolo never wanted to try...), visit University of Wyoming, take Paolo UW-shirt-shopping (his idea!), eat more burgers, water-fights, watch House, How I Met Your Mother, Scrubs and other shows, make tons of s'mores,
Random Garage Band...
Featuring Paolo Sasso on the bass!
improve Paolo's classic-rock knowledge via a CD made my Senora Grablander (thanks again Senora!), return him to DIA and see him off...
By the way, that's not in chronological order. And I probably am forgetting a lot here too. I mean, there's SO MUCH you can do in just ONE month... I wish we could have taken him to Yellowstone. Oh well, I didn't get to go to Rome so we're even!
What did Paolo think about America? Well, Paolo is a hard person to read sometimes. He is the type of person where even if he really likes something, he doesn't necessarily have to show it. Prime example is with music... if I'm listening to music in the car that I know he liked, he would still put on headphones and listen to his own music! Haha.... funny guy huh? 😊 Paolo did have some things he would show fascination for:
SPACE: How much room there is out here in the western, country part of the USA. "Wow..." he would always say.
NATURE: Along with the space, there was a cool landscape around, he would take out his camera and snap some pictures (and I'm proud to
The only picture of water world Paolo took... I guess it's pretty understandable.
say, many of these were in Wyoming!)
HARD ROCK CAFE: His musical tastes and love for hamburgers and Hard-Rock T-shirts made this place one of his favorites.
UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING: He outright said that he loved the campus and expressed interest in the Honors House
HAMBURGERS: Every single meal possible.
STARBUCKS: He really liked it. He'd been craving it ever since his visit to NYC a couple years prior.
FOURTH OF JULY: He expressed a lot of interest in the fireworks, peach ice cream, and parade involved in our Saratoga, Wyoming venture for Fourth of July. I think a lot of this comes from the fact that the Italian Independence day wasn't celebrated all too much!
S'MORES: I think he was in heaven when we first made him one.
Once again, I might be forgetting a lot of things. It's hard to keep track of what all he thought was cool throughout the month he was here, and he is hard to read. But he was a lot of fun to have in America, and I would like to see him again sometime!
Well.... It's crazy to think that I started this blog at the very beginning of
Epic tubing-down-rapids fail
This was after my grandpa and I got flipped off of our tubes by man-made rapids in casper. It ROCKED! :)
the summer, and here I am, 2 days before moving into my dorm room at the University of Wyoming, finishing this blog. I really appreciate everyone who took just a few minutes out of their busy days to read about my experiences in Italy. I hope that it gave you all a great perspective on Italian life, culture, and perhaps the urge to visit Italy or another European country yourself! Just imagine what you want to do, set yourself a goal, chip away at that goal piece by piece, and before you know it, you could be writing a blog detailing your adventure through the African Serenghetti, down the Great Wall of China, at the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. There is so much in this world to do, see, and experience. So why not do it?!?
Thank you all once again for all of your time this past summer, and I wish you all the best in your ventures! Break a Leg!
Sincerely, il tuo amico americano,
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