As my plane descended into Bologna, my window revealed a picturesque scene of rolling Italian hills and little farms and vineyards. Stepping out of the airport, I realized I didn't speak a word of Italian and didn't know where my school was, so I walked up to the friendliest-looking cab driver and asked, "Johns Hopkins SAIS?"
"Si si!" he replied, and so began my Italian adventure.
We arrived at school just in time for the weekly happy hour that occurs at the cafe/bar located in our school. I met up with my roommates and some old friends and hung out a bit before I headed to my new house.
I've been pretty bad at taking pictures since I've gotten here, but I'll take some later of my house. It is huge and awesome. More on that later. I spent the weekend exploring Bologna and meeting the incoming SAIS Bologna class, which consists of about 50% Americans and 50% Europeans with a few Latin Americans, Africans and Asians sprinkled in.
Back to my first night in Bologna. After dropping off my luggage in my room, I went with a group of about 30 other students to a restaurant where one of my classmates knew the owner. We all paid a flat fee and then they just came out with plates and plates of delicious pasta and tons of bottles of local wine. We all sat around talking and joking and then stared in awe as they came around with MORE pasta platters and then platters of lamb and pork.
I have yet to learn the language here, but I already appreciate the food more than I ever thought I could appreciate food.