Il Weekend in Abruzzo

I just got back from the best weekend I have had this year so far! My roommate Andrea, myself and our friend Nikki went to visit Andrea’s family (Yes, she has a living, Italian family!) in Abruzzo. We took a bus to a station where her charismatic, funny uncle picked us up and brought us to a tiny, tiny village of just 300 people, called Villa Scontrone.  Her Aunt has been the mayor of that town and a nearby one (the two towns form a village) for ten years, and the family all live right next to each other on the edge of town. Being immersed in everyday Italian life for the weekend was inspiring—it challenged me to really use my Italian, even if I was just telling them random things to make conversation: “My cat is 2 years old and my brother is big.” The food was hands-down the richest, most non-preservative laden food I have ever eaten. We walked into the first house for our first lunch, to see all the women, young and old, rolling homemade Gnocchi and cutting up fresh tomatoes for the sauce—needless to say, YUM!! One house had the typical-looking Italian kitchen with a cute grandma screaming “Mangio!” (Eat!) at everyone whenever their plates were full, and a grandfather who never ran out of stories to tell. Along with all the delicious cheese, wine and food, I drank coffee for the first time. It was served in a miniature glass, which I had always believed was called “Espresso” but have since learned different. With four spoonfuls of sugar the stuff isn’t half bad! J We met up with Andrea’s cousins, and it was nice to have some contact with Italian teenagers—Nikki surprised them by starting the conversation on the topic of Italian music. It was interesting to hear about the school system too. I learned that the high school students in Italy go to school on SATURDAYS! That was news to me. We plan on meeting up this week with a cousin that we met who is studying at the University of Rome. On Saturday the mayor aunt took us to different villages around the area and gave us a tour of the Abruzzo National Park (Parco Nationale di Abruzzo). We were probably the only English-speaking people most of those people had ever come into contact with—we were really high up on the mountain. On Sunday we went to a museum with artifacts from the surrounding area, and we also got to see some ancient articfacts that Andrea’s uncle had in his basement, including pottery and jewelry from the 4th Century B.C. He is waiting for a new museum to open to be able to put his artifacts in it. Overall, the weekend was, as stated before, the best I have had so far. I got to speak Italian, learn more about the culture, and just simply get away from Rome all while having an awesome time my friends.

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About Jessica Raboin

My name is Jessica Raboin and I am a first-year student in the Rome Start program at Loyola University Chicago. I am interested in studying Environmental Science/Pre-Med with minors in languages (as many as I can learn!). I enjoy running, learning languages, sewing and traveling with my best friend. Although I'm a U.S. citizen, I lived in Germany before I came to the Rome Start program.
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