I got off the airplane in Naples, and after a 12 hour flight with one layover I was relieved to be back on land. The occupants of the airplane were ushered off in an orderly fashion and directed inside a surprisingly small airport (compared to Germany). I had absolutely no idea where I was going, so naturally I followed the crowd which lead me to one of the most interesting restrooms I have ever seen with a live foliage wall and sinks I didn’t know how to operate. Welcome to Europe. After searching for my bags and finding the exit I also found my ride along with the other students in my Sorrento program. I was the last one to arrive, so we all headed to the car.
Southern Italy along the coast is very humid and Italian driving is very scary. Cars weaved in and out of each other and staying within the lanes on the roadway seemed more like a guideline than rule. Our driver skirted between various-sized cars (mostly Fiats and mopeds) until we started to twist through the backstreets along the Almalfi Coast. I was instantly taken aback. It was a perfectly clear day where I could see both the sandy beaches of the Mediterranean and Mount Vesuvius. Italians and tourists walked along the sidewalk (which was very narrow with only enough room for single-file walking) towards the extremely packed beaches to enjoy a warm and sunny Saturday afternoon. Soon the van started climbing hills and twisting around cliffs until finally the driver said, “This is Sorrento”. Wow. The buildings were all different colors and the streets were alive with locals selling their produce and goods. The driver pulled up to a big blue gate, stopped, pulled the luggage from the trunk of the van and was off. I was home.
The apartment was surprising large for what I anticipated of an Italian apartment. The bedrooms were large and the apartment had two bathrooms. I was one happy camper. The only downside to my lovely home is my new necessity of having to take three minute showers, turning the water off intermittently to conserve the precious hot water.
My first real Italian meal was during orientation when the group was taken down to the marina for a welcome lunch. We were served course after course, all different preparations of seafood caught locally by the fisherman of Sorrento. The restaurant was situated right over the water where I was lulled into Italian dreamland by the lapping waves of the Mediterranean while simultaneously being fed past the point of fullness. Even though I was still jet-lagged and in a foreign place I knew instantly that I could call Sorrento home for the next five weeks.
Lydia is a student at Seattle Pacific University studying at Sant’Anna Institute in Italy during the Summer 2014 term.