Lauren Graziano/ Colorado-Viterbo: 8,943 km and all the differences along the way

Lauren Graziano

It’s incredible, the things you discover you’ve taken for granted for so long when you are suddenly living without them. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, in fact, it’s a good thing to realize you can live without certain things that you had grown accustomed to having access to. Nevertheless, the differences and absences stand out, it’s hard not to notice such stark contrasts. My name is Lauren, I am a student studying abroad in Viterbo for spring semester and, though it has only been a few weeks since my arrival in Viterbo, I have quickly realized that my home here differs from my home in Colorado in many ways.
The most obvious difference that I noticed upon first exploring my home in Viterbo is the size. My home in Colorado is massive in comparison, totaling at 4,500 square feet (roughly 418 square meters) and surrounded by a yard consisting of an additional ¾ of an acre. Compared to the small and quaint apartment I live in now, my Colorado home seems excessively large, frankly it’s gigantic. However, one feature I found amusing is that my room in Viterbo is actually larger than my room in Colorado despite the vast difference in the overall size of the two residential homes.
My new home in Viterbo is a simple but beautiful flat on the 4th floor consisting of five rooms and two bathrooms in total: three bedrooms, a kitchen, and a living area. It’s perfect in its own, charming Italian sense; on the other hand, my home in Colorado is comprised of three levels. The main floor includes our entry room, family room, kitchen, laundry room, and two dining rooms because apparently in America we need two rooms to eat meals in as one is simply not sufficient enough. A curved staircase winds along the wall of the right side of the entry room, leading the way upstairs to the second floor. Here exists an office area, my room, my sister’s room, a bathroom we share, and lastly my parent’s room and bathroom. Beyond a door on the main level is a set of stairs that lead down to the basement where we have another living area, my other sister’s room, a bathroom, two guestrooms, and lastly a storage room (because naturally we need to space to store all the extra things we have as the rest of the house is just not big enough). On top of all that, we also have a three car garage but of course we have five cars so even three spaces is not large enough.
A few things I grew accustomed to in my Colorado home are the fire place, carpeted floors, the dryer, and the microwave. These are all things I am now learning to live without and, while this is quite doable, I certainly miss the warmth the fire place offered on the cold winter nights and being able to walk around on the carpeted floors without slippers (though I do not miss vacuuming the carpets!). Our dryer at home takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to dry my laundry and that has perhaps been my greatest struggle since arriving in Italy. See, I hate doing laundry to begin with, abhor it really. The washing and drying themselves aren’t so terrible, but the folding I absolutely detest with it being so awfully tedious. So here in Italy, not only do I of course have to fold my clothes when they are clean and dry, but I have to hang each thing on a drying rack and then let it dry for about a day or so. If I thought folding clothes was bad, hanging them is substantially worse as I am terrible at it; more often than not I find that some piece of clothing or another has fallen due to my improper hanging of it. Lastly, while having a microwave back home in Colorado is certainly convenient, the lack of one has not been too dreadful. Although heating up food on the stove here takes a bit longer than the ‘express’ button’s 30 second option, I have decided I will survive without a microwave after all.
There is a long list of differences when I compare my Colorado home to my Viterbo home but this article might never end if I listed each and every one. And in all honesty, despite my Colorado home varying in all these ways from my Viterbo home, the contrasting elements of my home here have seemed small and insignificant due to the warm welcome and wonderfully kind host family I have the pleasure of staying with. Not only that, but the locals and my fellow classmates studying abroad have made my first few weeks here absolutely grand—I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to study in Viterbo and embrace life in an Italian home.

Lauren Graziano E’ una studentessa americana USAC che studia all’Università della Tuscia per il primo semestre di questo anno scolastico. E’ cresciuta alle Hawaii, ma ora vive in Colorado e studia in una università nello Iowa, dove ritornerà il prossimo autunno, dopo il suo semestre a Viterbo. Ama viaggiare, leggere, scrivere e uscire fuori, sia che si tratti di escursioni, sci, nuoto o altre divertenti attività all’aperto.