Friday, June 29, 2012

Modena Part 2-Birthdays and Obama

Welcome to day two of the Modena stories!

Like I mentioned yesterday, I went to a birthday party with one of my brothers (Giacomo) while I was in Modena. The first Sunday, while we were eating pizza, Giac told me I was invited to his friend's party. Honestly, the thought terrified me. Not only was I just getting to know the family, but I was going to have to put up appearances in front of a group of Italian 20-year-olds. Scary? I think yes.

The party was on Thursday and the closer it got, the more relaxed I became. Living in a new country with new people speaking a new language really makes you take advantage of every opportunity. I generally hate crowds and new situations. But in Italy, I embraced them. The night of the party, my mom picked me up from our seminar and took me to Luca's house. I found out that his mom was an English translator so that eased a little anxiety. I realized on the bike ride over that I was actually excited to go into the new situation. And it turned out to be awesome!

I was greeted at the door by Giac, Luca, and Luca's parents. They were all so friendly. They took me to the backyard and I was immediately the center of attention. I'm talking everyone went silent and they all stared at me. A little uncomfortable. They introduced me and then everything went back to normal.

People started walking up to me introducing themselves. Almost all of them spoke English. One of them was fluent so we made fun of the other's attempts. They all wanted to practice their English and wanted to know about America. They offered me so much food as well as beer or champagne. I don't drink so when I told them "No, grazie" they were shocked. "You're 21 right? You're in college? You're American? And you don't drink?!" Haha sorry to disappoint. Not all American college students are like the ones you see in movies.

One of the other boys was particularly interested in our politics. After introducing himself, this is how our conversation went:

Boy: Are you Republican or Democrat?
Me: Republican
Boy: So you don't like Obama. Correct?
Me: That would be correct.
Boy: Why?

This led to a long conversation about American politics and what's going on in our country. It was actually pretty great. I never expected to talk politics at a 20-year-old's birthday party, let alone at an Italian birthday party.

The rest of the party was spent talking, laughing, and playing dumb party games. At one point, a boy started to explain the rules of a game. Everyone made him explain it in English for me. So he was speaking in English and then another guy translated it in Italian. Quite possibly the funniest thing I've ever heard.

This night was one of my favorite nights on the trip. The people really made me feel welcome and were so interested in everything I had to say. I have never liked being the center of attention, but it was nice for a change.

Sadly, I didn't have my camera, so I have no physical prove that this actually happened. Luca's mom did take a picture of me with the birthday boy. Guess I need to track her down and get that from her.

I had originally planned to finish up Modena stories on this post, but this turned out to be longer than expected. So stay tuned for more outings tomorrow!

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