Friday, May 21, 2010

My First Festa

I'm gonna go ahead and designate myself as an exceptional house party host. Last summer before I left for Little Cayman I threw a series of parties in my backyard that were kind of amazing. One was so much fun that people started calling it Woodstock; there were guitars everywhere, people singing, and I don't think anyone had a bad time. Which is saying something for house parties in New Jersey. When I got back I threw some more. My pool was open, my grill was working, and the fire pit raged until all hours of the night. My parents are always okay with me having these parties because I always clean up in the morning and nothing ever got out of hand. Before I came to Italy I had another bunch of really good house parties, indoors this time. We turned my living room into a dance floor and my kitchen into non-stop a beer pong tournament. We played Rock Band and flip-cup in my basement and blasted music throughout my house.

Italian house parties (festa's) are hugely different. My Italian brother invited me to the surprise birthday party of one of his friends, which was being held in a town half a minute from the Slovenian border called Gorizia. I went there with no expectations. Expecting anything in Italy to be similar to things from America is sheer folly. It took us about 2 hours to get into Gorizia and I wasn't surprised at what the town was like. It was exactly like every other Italian town I've been to. We went into the apartment where the party was being held and I was definitely surprised by how nice it was. The apartments in Northern Italy are maybe 100 times better than those in Florence. There were not that many people there, making it less of a house party and more of just a birthday party. I was pleased to learn over the course of the night that a majority of them spoke English. I wasn't completely left out of the conversations due to my lack of skill at speaking Italian.

I wound up having alot of fun. I was introduced to everyone, having gone there knowing only my Italian brother, his best friend, and the boy whose birthday we were celebrating. I almost immediately made some friends. I spent the majority of the night talking with one girl who'd studied English in England and had the funniest Italian-British accent I've ever heard, a half Italian half Slovenian boy who (there is no doubt in my mind) if he lived in New Jersey would be 100% guido, and a Sardinian boy who made my night by talking books with me. When the birthday boy came, unaware of the surprise, he was drenched in Champagne and confetti. There was cake, there was wine, and there were lots of laughs. They played some good music, too. I heard Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, and Bobby McFerrin play from the different iPod's which had been connected to the T.V. I was surprised to learn that Italians don't have a clue who Sublime are. Poor souls. I spent a long time talking to them about America and how different Italy was. They were all interested to know about how I decided to come to Florence and stay in Italy. I wound up going out for a walk in Gorizia with the Sardinian and the Italian/Slovenian, where they taught me all about French history and Italian politics. When we got back and everyone had drank a little more, there was dancing until around 4 in the morning.

By the time I went to bed the sun was coming up. My eyes were bleary and felt on fire because smoke had managed to fog up the contacts I never wear. I pulled them out of my eyeballs and went blind for the rest of the time I stayed in Gorizia. They gave me a pull out mattress to sleep on and I passed out still wearing my shoes. I woke up early, around 10 a.m., drank a cappucino in the cafe downstairs, and left Gorizia and the friends I made there behind. As I drove home, my Italian brother driving at top speeds in his little Fiat, I thought about how very lucky I was to have experienced life the way the young Italians do. I can boast, now, that I've really lived in this country like one of them.
Arrivederci, for now.
Love, Gabby.

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