Friday night started out slowly, beginning with a few of the students meeting at a restaurant for an aperitivo, a five dollar charge for a drink and a plate of little sandwiches and snacks. We quickly realized this was not the place to be (despite the DJ who was playing, seemingly just for us) when we saw that even though it was midnight, everyone around us was ordering gelato, not drinks. Awkward. So when the place closed, we wandered a bit looking for something to do, because honestly, none of us had any idea what people did in Siena on the weekends.
Evan, Faith and I out on Friday night.
We finally came across this PACKED bar, with people standing all around it on the streets. There is a university in Siena, so we figured this was the cool place for college kids and decided to try it out. Upon our arrival, we found Gianluigi standing with many of his friends outside the bar, and we took this as our way in. He speaks very good English, so he is very easy to talk to and a great resource for learning about the language and culture, but when he introduced us to his friends, it was a bit more difficult. Evan and I ended up having particularly long conversations with two of his friends who spoke about as much English as we do Italian, so it was great for both groups to practice the other's language.
The experience here, though, was pretty shocking. After an onslaught of "Are you American? Where are you from?" etc. while attempting to order drinks from the bar, we couldn't help but just look around and laugh. Groups of boys were loudly singing drinking songs, or maybe team songs, because there is a soccer game today against Naples. I couldn't understand them either way. Once we ordered drinks, we learned the thing to do is just stand outside and maybe take a walk to the piazza, because there's a. no room anywhere inside to stand comfortably, and b. it's totally normal to walk around the city with drinks in hand! Something that doesn't go over so well in Charlottesville...
Last night we all tried to see a live play of Breakfast at Tiffany's with Christina, but unfortunately it was sold out for the entire weekend. Instead, we got gelato and she and her friend showed us some bars that are cheap and usually have a lot of young Italians in them. We hung out on the piazza, a very popular pastime, I've come to realize, and finally met up with Gianluigi and some of his friends at his apartment he shares with the three girls in the program.
Faith and I also went to a concert of the band that Stella's son, Francesco, plays in for a bit. They were very good! Granted we couldn't understand their lyrics, but the music was rock n roll and great. There we met up and danced with Francesco's partner and mother of Cosimo, Natasha, who is incredibly nice and who we spend a lot of time with at home.
I am very excited to continue to make friends with Italians and to see where my new friendships will go! I'm also, surprisingly, excited for school to start tomorrow. A whole new adventure begins...