One of my main goals for this summer in Perugia was to meet locals and go outside of my comfort zone by creating meaningful friendships with Italians. I mean, I’m only studying in Italy and learning the language… I love my American friends, but this is just an experience I needed to explore! Some of the girls and I in the program were lucky enough to meet two Italian girls around our age named Irene and Barbara. The creation of this friendship was quite easy seeing as Irene and Barbara are obsessed with America and we all happen to be obsessed with Italy! Now, if that’s not a great foundation to a wonderful friendship then I don’t know what is!
Last week was our first time all hanging out together and it was quite the night! Before the night began we decided to title it “Su punto night,” which in English is the phrase “on point night.” This direct translation actually doesn’t make any sense in Italian, but our new Italian friends decided to humor us and make it a thing. The night started out with a group dinner at a restaurant. What type of cuisine does a group of Italians and Americans eat together??? Asian food, of course! (That’s just a no brainer) Irene and Barbara picked us up from the town center and we headed out to our “fancy American-Italian date night.” Side note: Most young Italians don’t actually live in the town center, but on the outskirts of the city and often times they hang out with friends in these areas. We arrived at the restaurant and were greeted with the traditional digestive. The menu was of course in Italian and many of us struggled to figure out what the heck we were ordering. I must say, even after studying Italian for three years, an Asian food menu written in Italian is always confusing. After the difficult task of choosing what to eat, the rest of the dinner was quite enjoyable. The conversation flipped from English, to Italian, and then back to English. We talked about our favorite movies and TV shows, which most of the Italian favorites happen to be American. #Globalization. Better yet, #Americanization. At the end of the meal we were all pleasantly surprised and the server brought out matching bracelets for all of us to keep! I would have also liked a fortune cookie….but these bracelets became the staple of the night and, as cheesy as it is, our new friendship bracelets.
The next item on the agenda was to go back to Irene’s house and have a scary movie night! It was quite cute because when we arrived at her house she had a screen set up with chairs, drinks and candy all in her backyard. She did so much to prep for the “su punto night.” Her cousin and some of his friends joined us and we started watching, “Mama.” I’m not sure if everyone is familiar with this movie, but basically it’s about two young girls who end being stranded in a little house in the woods and raised by a mother ghost spirit. When they are saved, almost 4 years later and taken home to live with their uncle and his girlfriend, “Mama” becomes angry. We watched the movie in Italian, but with English subtitles. What made this whole experience a little bit scary was A) That we watched it outside where it was dark, and B) That Irene had cats in her backyard that would randomly run out from behind the screen during the scariest parts of the movie and scare the bejeezes out of us! What lightened the mood was the sarcastic commentary by Irene’s cousin and his friends. All in all, it was a great “su punto night” filled with laughs and language jokes, and I feel so lucky that we were able to meet some locals here in Perugia. Irene and Barbara are great and I’m looking forward to spending more time with them before we leave! As Patrick Lindsay once said, “A new friend is a new adventure…the start of more memories.” I couldn’t tell you who Mr. Lindsay is, but I agree!