Yesterday on our orientation itinerary for the evening activity it simply listed “Dinner with Italians.” Since this was a rather vague description, the 7 other interns and I weren’t really sure what to expect. We figured it was going to be either one of two things. Option A: that our teachers were all going to surprise us and take us out to dinner again and make us only speak in Italian to assess our language improvement from the welcome dinner 10 days ago or Option B: that we were each going to be paired up with local Italian men and engage in a blind speed dating type event. While obviously keeping our fingers crossed for the latter, it ended up being neither of those options.
After entering the restaurant, La Finesterra, using what we considered to be the “VIP” entrance aka the back door since we got lost and came in on the wrong street, we were brought through a maze of rooms towards a ginormous table set for 16. 8 interns+8 empty seats? You do the math. Our table was at the actual entrance to the restaurant and apparently the entrance we had used was where the cooks entered. No wonder no one was there to seat us. It was good we came in that way though because the restaurant had different countries themed for each room and we got to see them all. Our table was set in the Greek room so we sat down and made ourselves comfortable. After patiently waiting while nibbling on what was probably the best restaurant bread I have ever tasted, our Italians arrived. They ended up being two of the young interns that work in the office at our school and some of their friends which was still very exciting because even though we didn’t score any hot dates, we all exchanged phone numbers and Facebook contact info. Now we have some real Italian friends to hit the town with instead of going to the Americanized bars that look like they were picked up from the University of Wisconsin and plopped down in the middle of Italy.
Most of the dinner was spoken in Italian. At one point though, since I was sitting between an intern who is of Cuban decent and an Italian who speaks better Spanish than English, we were literally speaking three different languages throughout one conversation. Thanks to my excellent high school Spanish teacher, Senor Diaz Lee (cough cough), I was able to keep up with most of the conversation. However, I’m sure that conversation didn’t help the fact that I often substitute Spanish words if I don’t know them in Italian since we were speaking what I’m going to call Spanglishian.
Tomorrow the rest of the students on our program arrive and we get to move into our new apartment! The housing director told us that we got the best one so look for some pictures soon!