Surprise, surprise, I’m sick again, but I won’t let that stop me from recounting my last week here in Italy. A few days ago, we had to go to Napoli as a giant group to get our Permesso di Soggiorno (Permit to Stay). In Italy, in addition to a passport and a visa, you have to complete a Permesso di Soggiorno for any stay longer than three months. Another early morning on the 7:30 a.m. train took us to Napoli where we were lead by one of our program coordinators, Serena, to the immigration office.
The immigration office is a small building in the worst part of Napoli with broken chairs and rude clerks that many of the students likened to the DMV. After our 6:30 a.m. wake-up call, we were all falling asleep on the dirty plastic seats, the worn floors, and each other as we waited for our names to be called. I was lucky to be one of the first, but the clerk was very upset by the fact that my passport spells my name with a space between the two Cs in the middle. I tried to explain to him in my less-than-perfect Italian that my name is Scotch-Irish and the second C is a capital letter, but that the passport inserted a space instead. He was not having it, insisting that I was instead attempting to impersonate someone with the last name Mc carry. After much negotiation, he agreed to allow me to get a Permesso di Soggiorno under the requirement that for all official Italian documents, my name would have a space and no capital letters.
After this complicated process, we went off to explore Napoli’s food and shopping selection. Along with a couple of friends, I navigated to a popular (and cheap!) pizzeria near the University of Naples named “Sorbillo.” Though it was a hike, and we were all starving by the time we reached it, the pizza was unbelievable. I don’t have the adjectives to describe how amazing this pizza was. Suffice it to say I ate an entire pizza by myself; but don’t worry, that’s totally normal in Italy. They look at you oddly if you try to split a pizza.
Afterwards we headed out for some cheap shopping, and all managed to find something we liked. After seeing the prices in Napoli, it will be hard to buy anything in Sorrento without scoffing at the high prices.
A few days after our Napoli trip, Carnevale kicked into full swing here in Sorrento. We were treated Tuesday afternoon with children in costumes, loud music, men on stilts, and the air full of confetti and balloons. Later, we went to an American-themed party at one of the local Hostels. It was supposedly “Wild West” themed, but there were American flags everywhere, and everyone was in denim and plaid. My friend Morgan and I laughed as we walked in and heard Shania Twain blasting from the speakers.
As with any holiday in Italy, Carnevale has some pretty amazing sweets. Fabio, a local restaurant owner, offered me a star-shaped pastry filled with cream and honey, and later we gorged ourselves on Chiacchiere, a light, deep-fried pastry with powdered sugar on top.
As for now, the party is over for this week, and we’re headed straight into midterm exams. But fear not! Next weekend marks the beginning of spring break, and a whole slew of new adventures. Here’s a preview, for those of you that are interested: Barcelona, Madrid, and Paris. It’s a hard life, huh?