BRESCIA, Italy — After the busy week that began with Easter, sent me to Verona, Venice and all around Brescia with my visiting cousin, and ended with a weekend in Switzerland and France, the past week has been spent in a much more calm, relaxing way.
I’ve gotten back into my school routine, and while this week has been less adventuresome – the way the days are all formatted the same way – the feeling of always knowing what to expect is nice and comforting.
My “daily life in Italy” routine begins around 7 a.m. when Daniela pops her head into my room, saying, “ Vado fa colazione!” which means she’s going downstairs to start making breakfast.
So, I spend the amount of time it takes to warm up a little kettle of milk on the stove rubbing my eyes and willing myself out of my warm, comfortable bed.
When Daniela calls out, “ Lu! Chandler! Colazione pronta!” I call back, “ Va bene” to let her know that I am on my way down and haven’t fallen back asleep.
Lucrezia and I almost never say a word at the breakfast table. We aren’t morning people. Sometimes Bonnie, one of our cats, jumps on the table to tell us “good morning” while we eat.
After breakfast, I go back upstairs and get dressed and ready for school super-fast. I ride to school with Lucrezia , and our conversation is usually limited to “What time do you get out today?” (noon, 1 or 2 p.m.)
If we both get out at the same time and neither of us is going out in the afternoon, we plan to ride home together. If not, I take the bus.
At school, I sit in the middle of the back row with a group of girls. In Italy, there isn’t really the stigma that sitting in the back row means goofing off behind the teacher’s back. This is because all the students are so serious that there’s hardly ever any goofing off to speak of.
Plus, there are only really three rows of desks, all split up into a middle section, a right-hand section and a left-hand section. Nobody sits in the middle front section because it literally touches the teacher’s desk and is just too close for comfort.
There’s a group of girls in the right-front; right-back and -middle mix up from day to day, as does middle-middle. But back-middle is always the same group of girls that I sit with, and the entire left is almost always all boys.
I’m still surprised at how little the boys and girls mix up at my school. At the beginning, they hardly seemed to speak to each other, but I’ve noticed that they’re all at least friendly and chatty during the breaks now.
We stay in these seats for the entire day (with the exception of two 10-minute breaks), as we study Italian, English, philosophy, Latin, math, science, physics, history and more.
School is much more fun and interesting now that I understand, but I’m still always relieved to hear the final bell at the end of the day.
When it rings, I sometimes go into the Center of Brescia for lunch with friends, and sometimes I go right home to eat.
It’s an easy walk to where I meet up with friends and to most of the good places for eating lunch, and I walk only a few blocks to get to my bus stop. It’s right in front of Magenta Caffe, which serves my favorite cappuccinos in Brescia.
On the other side of the street, there’s a bookstore called “Libraccio” where I like to walk around if the wait for the bus is particularly long.
My afternoons not spent with friends in the Center are spent doing any number of things. I read, write, study Italian, Skype or watch television with my host sister. Sometimes I take walks around Botticino.
Sometimes opportunities for adventures arise, and Lucrezia will unexpectedly ask me to join her on a trip to the lake or shopping. There’s always so much to do that I hardly ever have a chance to even think about getting bored.
Days end with a late dinner, almost always at home, but sometimes with extended family or family friends at our favorite restaurants, Pizzeria Bornata in Brescia and Antica Sole (translates to Ancient Sun, which I really like as a restaurant name) in Botticino.
I really like my Italian routine. It’s comfortable and entertaining. It’s not so different from the routine I had in Rock Hill, yet everything is done in such an Italian way that it makes me feel like a real Italian high schooler.
Chandler West is a Rock Hill High School student who is spending her senior year in Italy. She writes about her adventures abroad each week in The Herald and heraldonline.com.
Chandler West is a Rock Hill High School student who is spending her senior year in Italy. She writes about her adventures abroad each week in The Herald and heraldonline.com