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Finding the Extraordinary in the Everyday

Posted by on February 6, 2014

This week’s blog post has been a bit of a struggle to write.  So far, I’ve had ideas pouring out of me since the moment I stepped off the plane.  But this week…this week seemed, well, boring.  I’ve been going to class, eating dinner with friends, and catching up on sleep; pretty much what I’d do in an average week back at UMW.  At first it bummed me out that I didn’t have anything to write about, but then I realized just how beautiful that is.  I, me, Caroline, have become a person who can successfully adapt to life in a foreign country.  I can wake up in my bed in Italy and drink my coffee in Italy and go to my classes in Italy and speak to shop owners in Italian and make dinner in Italy and do it all over again tomorrow in Italy.

Dopo i miei corsi, sono andata all'appartamento.  E un bella passeggiata!

Dopo i miei corsi, vado all’appartamento. E un bella passeggiata!

Despite the triumph that I feel in being able to feel comfortable enough to follow a mundane daily routine, it doesn’t make for a very interesting blog post.  At least, that’s what I thought.  But as I was walking home from class with my friend Morgan, we stopped and watched the lights across the bay in Naples.  I realized that this these are the things that I need to remember.  As much as I wanted to write about Rome so that I wouldn’t forget a single second, it wasn’t necessary because I’m never going to forget Rome.  I will never forget the way it felt when I first saw the Colosseum over the horizon, or when I tossed my coin into the Trevi Fountain.  What I’ll forget is the everyday moments of beauty as I walk the streets of this amazing town.  So, in that vein, I’d like to attempt to document all the little things that have made this week in Italy so simply magical.

I’ve taken to wandering the streets of Sorrento during the daytime between my classes, discovering all the hidden side streets that wind their way around the apartment buildings and shops.  There’s always something new to see, even if it’s just a different side of the Mediterranean from the one I usually see on my way to class (again, the fact that the wondrous sight of the Bay of Naples has become “usual” is vaguely overwhelming.)  It’s so serene to walk these streets alone right now, but I know that once spring sets in they will be packed with tourists coming to experience the wonder that is Sorrento.  It’s odd to me that I now look at the tourists as they walk down Corso Italia with their cameras and money pouches and giggle.  Sorrento is now my home and I feel so safe and comfortable here, that I no longer identify with other visitors.

This past Thursday, we went bowling with some of our new Italian friends.  It was so cool to do something so simple and normal with these people I barely know.  Although I lost spectacularly, it was fun to do something familiar for a night.

Then, Friday night we went to a cooking class at our friend Tsu’s restaurant, Ristorante Tasso.  I was so unbelievably full by the end of the meal, but it was an amazing experience to be able to go into an Italian kitchen and make our own dishes.  We began with gnocchi (a potato dumpling), then made chicken milanese and fresh fried potatoes, and finished the night with Tiramisu.  The staff at Ristorante Tasso was so welcoming and friendly, and I’m excited to try making gnocchi with my Dad when I return home.

La mia amica Morgan e me prima del corso di cucina a Ristorante Tasso.

La mia amica Morgan e me prima del corso di cucina a Ristorante Tasso.

Saturday night, my roommate bartended at a local bar, the English Inn, and we all went to support her.  The owner, Fabio, is a kind man who often exchanges bartending for free food, so Haley and I ate dinner for free.  Then, while sitting at the bar watching her pour drinks, I ordered a capuccino and he brought over a plate of mini muffins without my having to ask.  It’s quickly becoming one of my favorite places to hang out.

A English Inn, Fabio mi ha dato la sua giacca perche ho avuto freddo!

A English Inn, Fabio mi ha dato la sua giacca perche ho avuto freddo!

While these are all things that I could probably do in America (bowling, cooking, going to a bar), they mean so much more because they’re happening here, in Italy.  I need to remember to count every moment and remember all of the little ways that my day is influenced by the fact that I’m in Sorrento, even on the days when I’m only walking to class.

So, for now, I’m going to enjoy a not-so-quite evening in the apartment with my new friends.

La mia amica Nitsa e molto bella e simpatica.

La mia amica Nitsa e molto bella e simpatica.

One Response to Finding the Extraordinary in the Everyday

  1. Elizabeth Wade

    There’s a lot that’s lovely here, Caroline, but my favorite line is the one about making gnocchi with your dad when you’re back in the states. I think that’s the best part of travel–learning new things that we can share with people we love (and all the better if they’re delicious too!) 🙂

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