Siena pt. 6 - "So this is an Italian police car"

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Italians do this thing called l'aperativo which is essentially appetizers before the actual dinner. You go out together with your friends around 7pm and you pay 4 or 5 euros and you get to have a little plate of appetizers and a drink. It's cute and fun and our school organized an aperativo activity with different groups of students for Thursday (May 14th) night. We went to the first place and had some yummy aperativos and mingle with other groups that go to the school (there's students there from BYU right now - how random right? Out of all the places...) and then someone from our group decided to go to another place that has aperativos. We followed them to the next place and had some more aperativos which brings us here:

stolen from Rudi's facebook | Grazie Rudi!
Yay for new friends and aperativos! Then we decided to go to a carnival at Luna Park with all of our new friends from different countries. We had a few Australians, New Zealanders, and a Spanish girl. It was a lot of fun. We rode on rides like this one:

thanks again Rudi!
And did bumper cars like this one:

photo credit to Marie's facbook! 
There were lights and music and tons o' laughter and it was a great time. By the way, I've heard way more American music here than I have Italian music. And anyone who knows me knows that if there's music, I will dance. In-between the rides, Patrizia (my Spanish soul-sista) and I would just break it down and dance together. I tried to get everyone to come dance with us and even some of the ride operators were just like, "those crazy Americans with their dancing..." but then they cranked the music up even louder so it must not have been that embarrassing/weird...

Patrizia and I getting down
Nico was like, "Katherine I can't dance --" and I was like, "SHUT UP NICO WE'RE DANCING."
I finally got some of the group to come dance with me and Patrizia (thanks Marie for the photos!)
It was so fun. But that wasn't the end! After Luna Park our Spanish friend took us to a Havana Club where there was Latin dancing and oh...my...goodness we had a great time. There was so much throw back American music (Gold digger anyone?) and it was perfect that we had a huge group because we all danced together and filled up this tiny place.

It was about 12:30am when I decided I should probably head out since I live so far away from the center of the city. Nico, Nicola and I live a bus ride away so we went to the bus stop and got on a late bus that was supposed to stop at my place first and then go to theirs. But the bus driver went a totally different route and they got dropped off before me and when I walked up to ask the bus driver where my stop was he got really upset and said we already passed it a long time ago.

At this point, I was totally alone, on an unfamiliar bus route that was headed back to where I just came from with an angry, unhelpful bus driver. By the time we returned to the bus station it was about 1:15 in the morning and I really should have just gotten off there and taken a taxi out to my host family's house. But I didn't. Like an idiot. Plus the bus driver told me he would drop me off at my stop. He then proceeded to drop me off at the bottom of the hill about 4 or 5 stops from my usual one and said pretty much, "This is as far as I'll go..." and drove off.

So I'm standing there, in the dark, with no phone service at 1:45am and I start to panic a little bit. It was only my 4th night in the city so I was trying to recall the bus route and then I just started walking. I saw a few stores that I recognized and felt good about the direction I was going until I stopped to check a sign with the bus schedule and it listed buses I've never heard of before. I realized I was on the wrong street and had no idea where I was going.

I had been walking for nearly 45 minutes at this point and started to think about what would happen if I never found my way home. I decided that if I could just keep moving until it was morning, I could catch the bus back to my apartment once the buses resumed their usual schedules. I also thought I could try to find a park to sleep at but all of those thoughts went away when a car started pulling up slowly behind me.

I just thought, "This is it. I'm being taken. It's over. I'm glad that I at least saw Italy first." And a guy got out of the car and said, "Are you alright? Is everything okay?" And I looked and it was the police! I've never been so freaking happy to see police in my life. I almost cried I was so happy. I told him I was trying to find my street and he said, "Okay we will take you there. You are very far away." I kept trying to speak to him in broken Italian and he just spoke to me in English. I told them where I live and it was like a 10 -15 min drive. I would never have found it walking. I would have perished in the night.

Just so you know Italian police cars aren't very comfortable. I've never been in an American police car so I don't really have much to compare it to but the back seats are like plastic and hurt to sit on. I heard them talking about me in Italian and they thought I was Japanese. And even though I just had a traumatic-might-have-died experience, I had to correct them. "No, sono Ameriana..." I said. Then I told them my mom is Asian and they were like, "Oohhh... we thought you were Japanese."

(I was curious how the Italians would perceive my race because in the states people think I'm all sorts of things. Here they all just think I'm Japanese. I mean, are my features really that Asian?)

It was 2:45am when I finally passed out on my bed and I woke up at 7:00am to go to school until 1:00pm then I caught the bus with Belle, Nicola and Rudi right after school to go the hour and a half to Florence. It was a crazy night and I've never been so tired in my life.

Anyway, long story short: I'm alive. I got home safe. I got to ride in an Italian police car. And Florence is beautiful. I'll post about it tomorrow!

Ciao!

Katherine

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