The biggest blessings I’ve found thus far have been my roommates. They’ve been my travel companions, confidants, and support system from the start of this journey. I met Veronica shortly after I arrived in Torino. She is the kind of chatty I wish I could be, gets along easily with everyone, and has been my replacement ‘mom’: lovingly checking in and making sure I don’t stay out too late. On a walking tour of the city I was lucky enough to meet Bella, a sweetheart from Australia who makes me tea when I’m sick, gives the best bear hugs and rocks my world with her pasta bakes. Last, but certainly not least, after a Frankfurt Airport travel disaster, I found my other half in Ken, my third roomie and the one I get to share an actual room with. She is the perfect combination of funny, feisty, and friendly, and I can’t think of anyone I’d rather struggle through Intermediate Italian homework with. The three of them have had such an immense impact on my experience in Torino in the short amount of time I’ve been here. I couldn’t have picked better roommates if I had tried (shoutout to the USAC housing committee!). And speaking of Torino…
From the moment I flew into the city, I was in love. Torino is nestled into the base of the alps, snuggled in against the first few foothills. Sound familiar, Coloradans? I couldn’t help but notice with the golden buildings and red-tile roofs, it looked just like Boulder! As the proximity to the mountains was a big reason I chose Torino, I already felt more comfortable. I quickly found that Torino is a much more authentic Italian place to live, as opposed to tourist favorites such as Rome, Venice, and Florence. While there are fewer people who speak English, it’s easy to submerge yourself into the culture and get insight on how Italian people live their lives. In fact, our apartment is situated in a building full of Italian locals. No dorm living for us this semester! Even though we have to be very careful during quiet hours (legally starting at 10pm) the fact that our building always smells like authentic Italian food makes it all worth it. And speaking of Italian food….
My biggest accomplishment of this past month is finding ‘my’ restaurant. My mother will testify to the fact that I am a ‘pastaholic’. From ravioli to macaroni, marinara to pesto, I love the stuff. Cacio e Pepe is located about a block from my apartment and it is a pasta lovers dream. Guests are seated in a small enclosure that’s on the street outside the restaurant and are served steaming plates of pasta, gourmet pizzas, and endless other mouthwatering creations. My favorite is the bucatini; long, thick pasta mixed inside an actual wheel of cheese. The owner, with whom I now have a secret handshake, recognizes us warmly and gives us free drinks.
Sitting at Cacio e Pepe, watching compact Fiat’s zip by, surrounded by the new friends I feel like I’ve known for years, is when Italy really starts to feel like my home. And I haven’t even touched on the gelato…’
McKenna Keller, a University of Denver student, found her new school this semester in Torino, Italy. She may be new to Torino, but it sounds like she’s well on her way to making a lifetime of memories.
Ready to find out who you’ll meet and what you’ll eat while you’re abroad? Check out our website to see where you can go!