First Day

My first day of school began as most first days of school begin everywhere. I woke up early due to back-to-school anxiety. I had my coffee and checked my e-mail and Facebook (It’s what modern school kids do I’m told.) I got dressed in my new school clothes and had my first day of school pictures taken and was sent off with good wishes. Some asked to see my first day of school pictures so here you go.

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I left the apartment and on the way to the street I saw a sight that reminded me of where we live and why I am here.

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Our apartment is above a seafood shop (pescheria) and restaurant. We ate at the restaurant the first night we stayed in our apartment and it was quite good. Seeing the box of fresh octopus and the bags of fresh mussels and feeling interested and excited by them reminded me of why I am here…food.

I proceeded to what I thought was the correct bus stop (I hadn’t had a dry run, you remember.) and was reassured to see other young people with back packs and courier bags introducing themselves to each other. I joined in that nervous-meeting-new-people activity which was better for me in that I knew Cathrine and Molly from previous encounters with them in Bra. We all climbed aboard the bus and soon arrived in Pollenzo and to our school. I took several pictures of the activities of the first day though the quality isn’t that good as I took them with my iPhone camera. That is not going to stop me from posting some, however.

This picture is of several of my classmates signing up for a bus pass (€50 for a year).

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The following are tour pictures. First the library…

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…then the entrance to the Wine Bank…

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…a couple shots of the campus as we went between buildings…

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…a couple scenes at the cafeteria where we can buy lunch service if we want…

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In the afternoon we had a talk from the President of Slow Food Italy who told us the history of Slow Food and the development of their themes that food must be Good, Clean, and Fair. It was a very good overview. Then we were invited to hear a corporate executive from Ferrero Italia a very large multi-national food company ( http://www.ferrero.it/ ) talk. Apparently they frequently have speakers representing various types of food producers and industries come to campus to talk. He only spoke Italian but they provided headphones though which somebody translated what he was saying. The conference room is lovely. Here is a photo of it.

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After the talk we were invited to go back to the classrooms to have an “aperitivo” with the students who are in the Italian Gastronomy and Tourism class and a couple of the students who took the program we are in and that are still around. The students prepared and brought the food and wine and with the mix of nationalities represented it was delicious. Apparently that type of potluck meal is very common among the students. It was a good way to get to know some of my new classmates and hear stories from students who have been around a while. Here’s a not very good picture because most of the food and all of the wine is gone. I kind of forgot about taking a photo until just before leaving.

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We caught the last bus back to Bra at 7:15 PM.

One of the first things we did during orientation was to go around the class and introduce ourselves, tell where we were from, what our background was, and why we were here. The class is pretty diverse. I had difficulty hearing all of them speak but a general over view would be that there were people there from Brazil, Peru, Sweden, Italy, Canada, England, Germany, Netherlands, Colombia, Croatia and, of course, from the USA (Chicago, San Francisco x3, NYC, Boston, MN x2, New Jersey, and someone from the USA who’s been living in Romania. Our class has 25 students in it. I thought they said there was a 26th who would be coming on Monday, but when I did the count of people from my notes I counted 24. So maybe the 25th is coming Monday. Of those 25 there are four men and, let’s see, that would be 21 women. The backgrounds included marketing, law, philosophy, chefs (a few), anthropology, dietitian, communications, theater, management, international business, journalism, and others that I didn’t catch. I’ll try to paint a more complete picture as events unfold.

I returned pleased with how things started. I set up my computer so I could access my e-mail at school only to find I had mail. The instructor for our classes next week sent a syllabus with reading assignments and the outline of the course. It will last about a week at the end of which we have an exam, turn in a 4 to 5 page paper, and present our paper in class (about 15 minutes). A class will run from 9 to noon and then from 1 to 4. Hummm…this could be some work! We were told more about our week-long field trips. There will be four in Italy and I didn’t catch where except the first is Piemonte (the region we are in now). The other countries we will visit will be Spain and England. Most of my classmates don’t seem thrilled about England as it isn’t what pops into mind when you think “food.” But I’m sure it will be interesting.

Here’s my end of day photo and with that I’ll say, “Ciao!”

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7 thoughts on “First Day

  1. Thanks, Doug – what a beautiful school – and a wine bank! It sounds like a great program. Not envious, of course – oh no . . .

  2. Doug, thanks for telling the story of your first day at school.  Sounds like a great day—an inviting day!<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>Clay Oglesbee<o:p></o:p>District Superintendent, River Valley District<o:p></o:p>Minnesota Annual Conference<o:p></o:p>The United Methodist Church<o:p></o:p>Cell:  (507) 251-9283<o:p></o:p>From: Over The Table [mailto:post=overthetable.posterous.com@posterous.com] On Behalf Of Over The TableSent: Thursday, March 17, 2011 5:00 AMTo: Clay OglesbeeSubject: [overthetable] First Day<o:p></o:p>

  3. You look great!  It sounds scary but so much fun!<o:p></o:p>From: Over The Table [mailto:post=overthetable.posterous.com@posterous.com] On Behalf Of Over The TableSent: Thursday, March 17, 2011 5:00 AMTo: mclaire4@comcast.netSubject: [overthetable] First Day<o:p></o:p>

  4. Doug, I wish could have had a plate of warm chocolate chip cookies waiting for you upon your arrival home after your first day of school….. something I did for the girls. But, after your “get to know your classmates party” with wine, they may not have had the same impact! So glad to hear you both are adjusting well. June, again, your survival skills seem to be working well for you. I admire you both for your adventerous spirits. The campus looks beautiful.

  5. Doug, I wish could have had a plate of warm chocolate chip cookies waiting for you upon your arrival home after your first day of school….. something I did for the girls. But, after your “get to know your classmates party” with wine, they may not have had the same impact! So glad to hear you both are adjusting well. June, again, your survival skills seem to be working well for you. I admire you both for your adventerous spirits. The campus looks beautiful.

  6. Thank you, Doug for a wonderful post. Great detail and so interesting. I eagerly look forward to future posts–continuing the ‘journey’!

  7. That first day of anxiety is over and now school begins. Friendships are formed and the learning begins. Those field trips sound like they will be an amazing experience.

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