During my stay here in Italy I am with two families. I spent one month (5 weeks, actually) with a family in Montecosaro Scalo, and yesterday I moved in with my new family in Civitanova Marche. I will be with them for the remainder of my stay here in Italy – until the 2nd of May.
I was a little sad to leave my first family. We have become very close and I greatly enjoyed spending time with them and was comfortable in their home. My host mother reminded me a great deal of my own mother, and it made the stay in their home quite easy.
My new host family is, of course, very different – but I find I am also incredibly comfortable with them too. My first day was a little rough, though through no fault of anyone’s except perhaps my own. On my last night with my first host family we went out to eat at their neighbor’s seafood restaurant and enjoyed quite the feast. We had seafood from all over the Mediterranean and had quite a good time.
However, when I was young I was allergic to almost all seafood. A single bite of shrimp could have me sick for hours. Thankfully, as I got older, I outgrew my allergies and I slowly began – very timidly – trying all different kinds of seafood to see what I could and could not eat as I got older. Now, at 25 years of age, I can eat nearly everything – except octopus and scallops. I don’t know why, especially considering I can eat squid and all sorts of other shellfish, but octopus and scallops make me sicker than a dog.
During our seafood feast I was well aware that there was octopus on the table, and attempted to keep my distance. However, after the wine started flowing the merriment began, I must have lost track – because I had a horribly unpleasant Friday night. So, sadly, on Saturday morning when I was due to meet my new family, I wasn’t exactly at my fullest capacity for perkiness.
I managed to put on a cheery face (I hope), but all the while my stomach was roiling. It was a very long day of getting acquainted with the family and meeting some of their friends, including a dinner which included delicious food but a little too much chaos at a lovely restaurant. I felt like I was about to keel over by the time we finally made it back to the house last night.
Thankfully, this morning I was finally feeling like myself and was able to interact with the family as I normally would. I’m greatly enjoying spending time with all of them and getting to know their routines and habits. The youngest daughter is a ball of energy and totally adorable. The elder daughter is very sweet and almost fluent in English (a total Godsend). The mother and father are also super nice and accommodating. I know that the next two months with them will be great. Their house is in an amazing location – a mere 200 yards from the Adriatic Sea and only a short 2km (1.5 miles) to the center of Civitanova Marche. The area is totally beautiful.
Today we ventured out to the family’s “country house” near Civitanova Alta. It was complete bliss. I grew up in a fairly rural area and have a total soft spot for family farms. I absolutely loved this place. They have their own garden, olive tree orchard, chickens, rabbits, and the two cutest little rustic houses/kitchens ever. It’s simplistic and rustic, but lovely. They have a mind-blowing view of Civitanova Alta and the Adriatic Sea. The awful cell-phone photo at the top of this post doesn’t even remotely do it justice.
As we were driving along the gravel road to the house, Mariella explained to me that people were all about because it was wild asparagus season. As we drove along, Angelo pointed out to me the wild asparagus plant – which looked totally foreign to me – and then stopped at one point and picked a small stem. I was completely overjoyed. I absolutely love the idea of foraging for wild foods – and wild asparagus? Yes, please! If I have even the slightest opportunity to forage for some wild asparagus while I’m here you can bet your buttons I’ll be out there as quick as can be. When I lived in California I took a class on foraging for wild mushrooms, but I haven’t tried it on my own because it’s crazy dangerous. Picking the wrong mushroom can literally kill you. But I haven’t yet heard of an asparagus that causes a horrible, painful death. Sign me up!
After that I got to meet the youngest daughter’s pet rabbit, Lola. She was unimaginably soft and totally adorable. I love rabbits – both as pets and well….you know. They’re tasty, what can I say?!
All in all, it was a lovely day. I got to spend some quality time with my new host parents and drink some lovely wines. Honestly, after drinking a shocking amount of wine today and not really feeling any effects, I’m starting to wonder if I’m turning into an Italian?! We had good conversation – and are starting to understand each other’s language more and more with each conversation.
I really enjoyed the comfortableness I had achieved with my first family. By the time I left we were communicating easily and had gotten to know each other very well. I thought I would miss that when I left – and I do – but meeting and learning about a new family is very fun. And I know that this experience will be all the better for spending time with both families.