Allora, ricominicio dove ti ho lasciato:
After I got off the bus, I met my host mother, named Maria Carlotta Maso, but she prefers Carlotta. She is a single mother (separated but not divorced) with two children, Rocco (20 years old) and Emma (23 years old). They live on the second floor of a family-owned apartment complex on the south end of town, just off of a tram stop, which is perfect for me to get to school. Carlotta is an elementary school math teacher, and will be starting school soon. Rocco will be an incoming student at the University of Padova studying Political Science — which is probably one of the reasons why I was placed here. Emma graduated university after studying architecture and photography. She doesn’t live far away and often comes home for dinner.
While I always knew I wanted to do a home-stay program, I was a bit nervous to meet the family, since they don’t speak very much English, not to mention the fact that I’ve never met them before. After only a day, though, I’ve realized that this family is a perfect fit for me. Even though they don’t speak any English, they speak extremely clearly and slowly enough for me to catch all of the words. It’s especially helpful that Rocco frequently helps me on with my grammar and vocabulary mistakes. It would be imbarazzante to make too many linguistic mistakes in public, so I’m very grateful for that. They are extremely nice and it’s pleasant to be living with them.
My room (and the house in general) is the perfect size and serves me very well. As the pictures indicate, the room has a desk with a
beautiful view, a closet as big as what I have at home, and a comfortable bed. Everything in the home is relatively neat, tidy, and well-decorated, and it is important to Italians to keep a clean room. The only problem is that the summertime in Padova tends to be a bit buggy (e.g. mosquitos), so we have to use vape-plugins. It will be
a great place in which to study and do homework, but there are also many study spaces (aule) throughout the city with wifi that will work just as well. It’s not always a good idea to stay in one’s room all day.
The first evening, I actually took a nap for several hours, but didn’t mean to sleep until dinner time, which is usually at 8pm. This is probably because I had pasta in pomodoro sauce after we got home. For la cena, we had chicken breasts cooked with dijon mustard and a side of cooked vegetables (peppers, eggplant, onion, etc.). It was quite delicious. To my surprise, they drank beer rather than wine, but it was good nonetheless. As the picture indicates, they have a beautiful terrace on which they eat many meals. After dinner, I gave
them the gifts I brought from home. For Carlotta, I brought a Vineyard Vines tote from Bucknell, a book about scenic Maryland, a Yankee Candle, and a giant container of Old Bay. For Rocco, I brought an under-armour zip up shirt with a Bucknell Bison, and a shot glass with Maryland themes. For Emma, I brought a Vera Bradley phone/ID wristlet. I think they very much liked everything. But I do know that they LOVED the Old Bay, the Otterbein chocolate chip cookies (which got smashed), and the amazing Double K Pretzels homemade in Lewisburg, PA. It was actually kind of funny to watch their faces light up with enjoyment. They so enjoyed it that I cooked chicken and pork with Old Bay for Rocco the next night.