I left my life in Kansas on Sunday, shedding my old skin, setting our for bright and distant horizons; not to mention a new life, full of unfamiliar faces and situations. The last twelve hours I spent in Manhattan were the hardest yet; I felt sick to my stomach, and at times, I found myself questioning the decision I had made to leave this life behind. It seemed the dark, uncertain night would never draw to an end, and yet, I feared the light of morning and all the changes it would bring. But when the day broke, and we loaded my luggage into the car, we were met by a thick and somewhat foreboding fog... After many more tears and last goodbyes, my fear and despair finally subsided, and I was once again filled with excitement, thrilled to meet my new family, and to start fresh in an unknown land. Let's hope it lasts!
I arrived in Catania at about 2:30pm Monday afternoon local time, which equates to 7:30am Monday morning Central time. It is absolutely beautiful. Even the poor parts of town have enough character to be considered beautiful, in their own way. The streets are always busy, even at 4am local time (9pm Central time), at which time I am writing this. My family is amazing! They are so nice and welcoming and understanding. I am still trying to adjust to my new surroundings, to not feel like a burden or an intruder; I imagine this will take some time. My family has reassured me several times that this is my home now, and to make it so. Did I mention the almost hilarious language barrier? My oldest host brother Claudio and I have decided to make an English-Italian word and phrase book, consisting mostly of foods, household items, and random words, at the moment. There was a lot of confusion followed by hearty laughs and utilization of Google Translator, after trying to understand / translate the old fashioned way would prove faulty. We are all trying, and I am certain that in time, we will understand each other much better.
Also, their house is unbelievable... Both of my host parents are architects, so of course, I expected an interesting house. But I never would've imagined this! Every room is painted a different vibrant color (my host father's study is lemon yellow and verbena green, my host sister's bathroom is stop sign red with turquoise mosaic tiles, etc.) and has a very interesting structure. Everything is very modern, and by American standards, very small. I had a difficult time figuring out how to flush the toilet this morning... And apparently, Italians don't use towels to dry themselves off after showering? They kept asking if I had a robe, and I would ask if they had a towel, and they would point to my robe and mime drying off... It's been interesting.
More later! A presto,