Un Cane in Chiesa (and Other Italian Idioms)

Hope Louizes Arcadia in Rome, Italy


August 17, 2016

The number of things that go into preparing to live in a foreign city for a semester is expansive. In the past few months I have had to create a budget outline translated from dollars to euros, call up my phone company to discuss what options I have for communication while abroad, acquire a National Study Visa (which is an adventure in and of itself), spend twenty minutes researching the appropriate way to order an espresso, and take on the task countless other students in my position dread: packing.

I have to say, I was bracing myself for this part--after all, condensing your life into a less-than-50lbs suitcase is no small feat--but having just recently finished a good portion of the job, I found myself more excited than anxious. As I folded one shirt to put in my suitcase, I remembered the day I bought it with my roommates from Arcadia, and I know when I put it on in Rome, I’ll be reminded of them again. In some ways, it helped ease the fears I harbored about missing my friends and family while abroad. Now, aside from the essentials I will use in the next two weeks, my bags are packed, and it seems I am facendo passi da gigante (“taking giant strides” or, accomplishing things quickly).

The idea of being homesick hasn’t been my only concern, however, as two other aspects are sticking to the front of my mind: my money, and the language barrier. For the first one, I knew the best way to avoid essere al verde (literally “to be at the green”, colloquially “to run out of money") was to create a budget.

This, when combined with my lack of knowledge on all things spreadsheets, took quite a bit of time to nail down. In the end, however, I am thankful I have a document I can reference throughout my time in Rome to ensure I maximize my experience, instead of being stressed out about finances (my tip: break the budget down three different ways, by months, by weeks, and by days to easily keep track).

As for the latter concern, the language, I am having fun learning what I can before I fly out. With two semesters of Italian under my belt already I thought it would be interesting to learn some phrases I wouldn’t be taught in a classroom. After a quick google search, I have definitely caduto dalle nuvole (“fallen from the clouds”/been taken by surprise) at how many odd idioms Italians use in their everyday lives! I suppose English utilizes just as many, and I have a strengthened respect for people who speak English as a second language. I know that sometimes I will have to inghiottire il rospo (“swallow the toad” and suffer my embarrassment) when the language makes me stumble, but I cannot wait to try a few of these expressions out!

My adventure is soon to begin, so say in bocca al lupo (“in the mouth of the wolf”--an old hunting expression for good luck) and hope that Italy does not find me to be un cane in chiesa (“a dog in a church”, unwelcome)!


Italy Pre-Departure