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Rhode Island, United States

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Blogging from the DeRada Center!

I'm sitting in Calabria right now, in a gorgeous, cool room in the DeRada Center- the insitute where I'll be studying for the month.

The plane ride went quite smoothly from New York to JFK, I was hungry when I got on the plane so I had the other half of my clif bar, and a couple hours later they served us dinner- I had a funny little mixture for dinner because they didn't have any veggie options- I ended up just eating the wheat roll and two tiny wheat crackers with some monterey jack cheese and a small cup of cantaloupe and grapes. Not the most nutritious dinner, but it held me over! I also had some of my FAVORITE blood orange juice, which I had been excited about coming to Italy and having!

In the morning (a few hours later, after reading and napping) we were served breakfast- which I happily ate, as bad as it may have been- because I was so hungry. It was quite delicious, however- a pastry with cheese and tomato, and an apple croissant.
My eating as the day went on wasn't much better- some peanut butter crackers and cookies on the plane from Rome to Calabria. We had a mini scare getting to Calabria- we almost missed our plane because they changed our gate number! Luckily we got there just in time, and off we were to Calabria!

The ride to Calabria was one of the best and worst of my life. I was exhausted, tired, starving and HOT... and almost fell asleep on our driver, Mario's shoulder. BUT it was incredibly beautiful- from the lemon groves to the olive and fig trees, the rosemary bushes and smell of the rich terra cotta colored soil... this is when I knew I was in Calabria. Truly bellissimo!

I was VERY hungry by the time we arrived at our apartments- I quickly snacked on some nuts and dried mango to hold me until dinner a couple hours later.

Our apartment is just as incredible as the land. It's at the bottom of a hill, so we'll surely get some good exercise walking up and down the hill each day for class. There are 6 of us in the apartment- Danielle and I are sharing a room with the most breathtaking view of the city, the mountains and the ocean- from our BALCONY! We're also living with Carolyn (of course!) who's rooming with Erika, and Jordan and Kevin- twins from Rhode Island as well. We get along great, so I think it should be a good month.

We headed into town after unpacking, and met up with a couple other students from the DeRada center. After a failed attempt at ordering red wine, we decided to go for something European to celebrate our first night- Heinekin! I sipped one with dinner, and tried a couple of the little snacks they brought out, just out of curiosity- the lightest, non-greasy potato chips I have ever tasted, and a couple little puffs.

Dinner was fantastic- I didn't have too much of a problem with my vegetarian diet; they served me an incredible salad, along with some insalata caprese- tomatoes with basil, fresh mozzarella and olive oil. The salad had romaine, raddicchio, fennel, black olives, corn, a bit of mozarella, and a little tuna I picked out (but a small bit of fish, I decided won't kill me- it's hard to avoid in small amount, and since I've been a pescetarian for so long I might deal with tiny bits) drizzled in olive oil. Absolutely fantastic. They also served me some little herbed potato balls, which were definately fried- so I just had one to try, along with a piece of fresh bread. For dessert, they served us big apples- I snagged one to bring home with me as well. I wasn't too hunrgy at this point, so I just shared a few pieces with Carolyn and we called it a night.

We made the tired walk back home and crashed, soon after taking pictures of the tiny lizard we found on our ceiling, and slept a good 9 hours, waking up rested and happy!
As soon as I woke up, I was hungry so I ate my "stolen" apple, took my vitamins and marveled at the amazing sight of the sunrise out of our apartment - trying to convince myself this was real, I am really in Calabria!!

We went to breakfast a while later- definately not my usual healthy fare, I settled on a cappucinno- which was hands down the best I have EVER had, with a marmalade croissant. This filled me for the time being, but a few hours later and I am STARVING and ready for some lunch!

We mde a stop at the supermarket on our way home from breakfast, grabbing some red wine, fresh bread, nutella, waters and plates for the apartment! We don't have a full kitchen- just a table and a mini fridge, but it should do us for lunch!

We chatted a bit with the nice lady who owns the apartment building, Nella- it was great to converse with someone in Italian, even though my responses are very basic, I understood pretty much all of what she was saying!

I'm starving, as I mentioned so I think I'm going to sign off and go have some lunch! Ciao!


ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Wow, it's so awesome you're in Italy!

Simple and Divine said...

Ahhh you're there! So exciting!!! And your apartment/view and BALCONY (?!?!?!!?) all sound incredible! I cannot wait to see pictures! And that cappuccino looks PERFECT! The milk should NEVER be "foamy," but more glossy and silky. Oh man that looks so heavenly! How relaxing and wonderful!!! I'm so jealous of you Kris!

Anonymous said...

I am so envious of your amazing sounding trip thus far!!!! I hope you enjoy every second of it :) Can't wait to see more pics and hear about all your wonderful travels!

Allison said...

Enjoy your time in Italy! That dinner looks gorgeous!!

hk said...

So exciting!! Glad things are off to a good start :) have a BLAST!