October 1, 2013
No. of Days - 30
I’m not sure how it happened, but I have found myself in the most wonderful and welcoming country.
I left on August 31 from the Sarasota airport. After a quick flight to Charlotte, North Carolina, I embarked on my transatlantic journey. I reached Frankfurt, Germany the next morning and managed to get lost twice. Luckily, a nice customs officer pointed me in the right direction. My flight to Naples was, by far, the most exciting -- I was going to be in my new home so soon! I arrived safely and was greeted by my host mother, sister, uncle, and cousin as well as the president of the Pompei Oplonti Vesuvio Est Club and his wife. The ride to the building where I live was full of smiles and hand gestures and I could already tell that I was going to be happy in this first family.
I swear that I felt right at home from the moment I stepped into my new home. My host sister, Serena, and her friend, Bianca (who I now consider to be my friend too!!), helped me to unpack and did all they could to make sure I knew how everything worked in the apartment. I showed them pictures of my friends and my former school and we Skyped my mother together. After I finished unpacking, it was time to eat!!
Now, I’m sure most everyone knows the stereotypical Italian mother figure that says “mangia!!” and heaps more and more food onto your plate. Well, guess what. That’s my host mother. Carla, my host mom, is always making sure that I get enough to eat and won’t listen when I say “sono piena!” or “non posso mangiare più.” Somehow, I have found that the food here is much more filling (and delicious) than it is in the United States and I can barely finish what is on my plate.
I cannot begin to wrap my head around everything I’ve done here. Only a few days after I arrived, I got the chance to go to the Pompeii ruins! My Rotary club here was sponsoring some sort of convention where Rotarians from all different countries came together and spent time learning about Italian culture. It was wonderful to meet so many awesome Rotarians (plus, I got a lot of pins for my blazer!). I have decided that Rotarians are the most humorous and the most dedicated people in the entire world. No matter where they are from, they are all so kind and generous.
I have been here for a month and, honestly, it feels like just a few days. I’m amazed that I already have a routine and friends and that I feel like I actually fit in. None of this would be possible without the support and help of my friends, family, and -of course- the wonderful organization that is Rotary.