Hey everyone. I said that I would update you on the change of housing, so here it goes. Yesterday couldn’t have been any more stressful. First, I had to pack all of my belongings in trash bags because, frankly, I’m not reusing a suitcase that has spent almost a month in a bug-infested apartment. Plus, Antonella has told me that due to the fact that I’m a teacher for the Rome Study Program and that all of this occurred while living in UT-sponsored housing, I am entitled to be reimbursed for a suitcase. I’m not taking any chances and will be purchasing one of the hard-sided, durable ones (i.e. a suitcase that can’t be penetrated by bugs, moisture, or what have you).
My next stop was the laundromat. Here’s a helpful tip if any of you happen to encounter bed bugs and don’t want to throw all of your clothes out (FYI those little fuckers can get into your clothes like it’s nobody’s business): Wash your clothes on the hottest water setting, then dry them on the highest temperature you can. Even if an article of clothing cannot be washed on hot, it is enough to place it in the dryer on the highest heat possible. Once the fabric reaches a point of 120 Fahrenheit for a period of at least 10 minutes, any potential bed bugs, eggs, and larvae will be killed. Being endowed with an innate ability (more like a skill, really) to make a mountain out of a molehill, I washed my clothes on 200F water, and dried them for over 60 minutes. Here’s hoping all those nerves… I mean work paid off.
After consuming massive amounts of electricity and water at the laundromat, I headed to school to teach after which Antonella and her husband, Bob, were supposed to take me to my new place. As I was leaving school I receive a frantic phone call from Antonella telling me that their car broke down and that I’d have to take a cab from Piazza Belli to their car (where my stuff was stored) and then to my new home. …And then it started to rain, thunder, and lightning. Surprise, surprise. After catching a cab rather quickly, I met Antonella and Bob at their car, got my stuff, and then embarked on the longest cab ride of my entire life. First off, heading to the suburbs of Rome at 5pm was not the best decision of my life. Second, the cab driver was very nice but seemed capable of speaking only Roman dialect. It’s not that hard to understand, but to the untrained ear (read: native-English speaker who has learned bookish, standard Italian) it was hard to understand him. Third, the name of my new neighborhood, “Laurentina” must derive from the Latin word meaning “really fucking far from the center of Rome”. I think Sister Catherine taught me that in junior year Latin class at Trinity High. Seriously.
Now, don’t be confused - by no means am I complaining about this change. I’d much rather take an hour to get to school and sleep in a home where I’m not an all you can eat buffet for some six-legged beasts. In fact when I arrived at the apartment, I was warmly welcomed by Anna, my new host mother and the “ciambellone” or bunt cake made from scratch. Her casa is simple, yet quaint. I was made to feel right at home from the moment I arrived. She had prepared a bedroom just for me, and I have my own television, bed, table, and access to her large balcony. I can even access the neighbor’s wifi from the apartment. (Keep your fingers crossed on this one, ragazzi, because I don’t want to lose it!) For dinner we had roasted chicken that had been marinating in white wine, lemon, garlic, and home grown rosemary, risotto with her homemade ragu’, green beans, and then the ciambellone topped with fresh strawberries for desert. After being complimented on my Italian, which Anna says is almost too perfect (my constant use of the subjunctive mood when required gave me away as definitely not Roman, according to her), we talked about our families, friends, and lives. It turns out that she was Zach Farhood’s (a friend of mine and former president of UT’s circolo italiano club) host mother, so we immediately bonded over mutual our friendship. This morning, I told Anna that I had accidentally ripped a shirt of mine, to which she replied “Portamela subito che’ te la cucio!" ("Bring it to me right away so I can so it for you!"). Within, seriously, less than 30 seconds, it was expertly mended and good as new. I love this woman.
So, do you wanna know what the best part of this whole situation is? When I woke up today, it seemed like my bolline (Italian for little pox, bite marks, etc) seem to have become less red and less swollen! I’m very confident that they will continue to get better. I’m going to keep on taking the antihistamines to help with the itch, but I think I’ll back to normal within in a few weeks.
Preview of coming attractions: I’m going to Florence this weekend!
A new apartment, and internet! Nice... Five? really :-)
Yes, I’ve finally changed apartments and (luckily for me) one of our neighbors hasn’t locked his/her internet access. I’ll update y’all on the new place/new host mother. Just know that Anna is great and an amazing cook!