Life in Italy
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Breakfast for Dinner

Last evening I went to my first Dinner Society. This sounds very fancy pants but it is basically just an initiative dreamed up by the ASSG (Gastronomic Sciences Students Association) to allow for a little bit of fraternizing among students from different programs and years.

All individuals interested in meeting some new peeps fill out a quick Google Form and if so inclined offer their homes up as the locale for an evening in with around 5 other humans. Being the host means you also choose the theme. It was my first time in this rodeo so I just chose to be a guest.

So, what was the theme for my first Dinner Society dinner (repetitive, I know)? Well, my title gave it away: Breakfast for Dinner. Not Italian breakfast, silly goose, that would just be weird to have 5 people get together at 8 PM for espresso and chocolate cookies. No no no, we’re talking American breakfast.

The host and his roommates provided OJ and prosecco, scrambled eggs, bacon, a grilled meat resembling a hot dog, toast, waffles, jam (including a sweet red onion one that knocked my socks off) and some “crepes” which were 99.9% Nutella and about 0.1% crepe.

So, fun fact, I was the only American at this shindig. In fact, I was the only non-Italian. And the only Masters student. Everyone spoke English, but I was the only one who didn’t speak Italian. Hmm. Please refer to the cartoon at the top of this post at this time.

The evening followed an interesting pattern of me trying to have a side conversation with the girl sitting next to me because I could tell that my fellow diners were a little embarrassed to speak English in front of everyone else (even though they all spoke well!)… but then everyone kept stopping to listen what I was saying which made me feel weirdly important even though I was talking about silly things like Smorgasburg… Mostly there was a lot of me listening to other people’s conversations, the host trying to talk over everyone to translate for me and then me picking out enough few words to get a vibe for what everyone was yakking about. During this time, I came to two great conclusions:

1. The Argentines totally stole the “put your fingertips together and shake them/ WTF is this” gesture from the Italians.
2. You can anticipate in almost any sentence there is going to be a large “perooooooo” and then everyone tries to interject but that person just turns up the volume and keeps cruising ahead full steam.

But really, even though about 80% of the evening was conducted in Italian, I really appreciated hearing from my fellow diners about their study trips and their overall impressions of the school.

Other notable occurrences:
I successfully provided an icebreaker-type anecdote about the production of maple syrup when it was time to eat the waffles. Go VT.

For a while, I sat next to a guy who apparently studied Political Science for a year and then dropped out to pursue life as a gastronome. When I told him about my educational background, he just couldn’t believe it. He reached behind him and produced this huge Political Theory textbook that I think he tried to loan to me (unclear if that actually happened or I misunderstood but regardless I left the book in the apartment).

When we moved into the “everyone is smoking a cigarette” phase, we also moved into the “hour-long conversation about wine among 22-year-old males” phase. I’m not kidding. They were talking about vintages and tasting rooms and tannins and stuff. I could say that was a first in my book.

Given that the Master’s students are pretty much holed up in the same room in the castle and don’t really see any other humans at school except for at lunchtime, I’m quite glad I went to this dinner and got to share some scrambled eggs with some undergrad Italians.

Until next time, Dinner Society.

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