Written by Experimenter Lauren:
“I have only been welcomed while here. First by my host family after getting off at the train station, by my host sister’s friends that same evening, and everyone else I’ve had the pleasure of meeting since. We have all had enthusiasm in learning about one another and what our lives at home are like, specifically in contrast to one another. As a native New Yorker, Cosenza is very different from my home. Whereas I am used to skyscrapers and crowded sidewalks, the mountains and palm trees of Cosenza make me question when I’ll actually be returning.
In Cosenza, the days are sleepy and the nights are buzzing with constant commotion. The town comes alive after sunset. Though we aren’t in Austria, the hills were very much alive with the sound of music last night. There are free concerts and performances practically everywhere. Last night, we went to a classical concert with many featured opera pieces- one of which included one of my favorite songs of all time, “O Mio Babbino Caro”.
The streets are a kind of organized chaos. Drivers who don’t necessarily know how to drive, and pedestrians who don’t necessarily know how to pedestriate (aka walk). The piazzas are constantly bustling with people buying, selling, riding scooters, playing soccer, and going about their daily lives. Everyone here is always doing something, but not in any kind of rush. They are simply living and enjoying.
People are shocked when I speak to them in Italian. They are also fascinated with American culture and dialects. I’m not the best at Italian, but I sure am fantastic at butchering American slang when translating to Italian. The culture contrast is stark and clear, with very few blurred lines. For example; yesterday, a very confused American girl (me) was shocked to discover that Italians seem to put milk in the bowl before the cereal while enjoying breakfast . Then the sound of a Freddy Krueger entrance was cued by the neighbors opening their rusty old gate, and I just about lost it inside. However, some chocolate cake was placed on my plate, and I then remembered that all is well.
I hope to return here in the near future, and encourage others to do the same! Cosenza is a beautiful place with kind people.