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Comincio...

I am finally settling in to life in Italy - the internet is working - and I can begin blogging again!
As of now, I have been in Foligno for exactly four weeks - but it seems a lot longer than that (in a good way!) Here is a brief outline of what has been doing:
Le Feste
The Christmas holidays in Italy extend well into January, ending on the Epiphany when the Befana, a witch, rides down your chimney on a broomstick, and puts either coal or treats into your stockings (sound familiar?). On New Year's Eve, we made a big dinner of shrimp and monkfish-stuffed ravioli with gamberi, roasted branzino, and lentils di Castellucio (lucky) with mashed potatoes and Cotechino - Italians love Cotechino - its a big sausage stuffed with various pig parts - I'm not a very big fan (especially when reheated for lunch the next day...it has a very strong "perfume"...). We were in a great spot for the fireworks afterwards - Foligno is in the center of the valley, so we were surrounded by the fireworks of the neighboring hill towns of Spello, Montefalco, and Trevi - boom!
Tutto in Italiano! pt. 1
I have started my Italian language lessons at L'Universit√° per Stranieri (The University for Foreigners) http://www.unistrapg.it/english/ in Perugia, about 30km from Foligno. The classes are challenging - completely in Italian - and so is registration! The name of the school is the University for Foreigners, as in people who do not speak Italian...yet the school does absolutely nothing to help you get registered! I won't go into the whole story, but, I'll just say that it took me 2 full days to complete one form (running back and forth between the school, multiple post offices, tabbacherie, and constantly standing in the wrong line - aaaaahhhh!)
Tutto in Italiano! pt. 2
Something else completely in Italian (obviously) is TV. Since it has winter has finally arrived in Umbria, I have been watching more TV - I love the game shows! I am addicted to Millionario (yes, its Who Wants to Be a Millionare), because it actually helps me practice Italian, because they write the questions on the screen which helps me to understand, and quiz myself on Italian trivia. My other unexpected favorite show is Affari Tuoi, a scaled down, homey version of Deal or No Deal, where a person from each region in Italy is represented - never miss it!
Not all things are good about Italian TV, though...I cannot stand the fact that they overdub everything that is in a foreign language - I saw a commercial for My Name is Earl, and I just can't even imagine how that is going to be popular - part of the charm is the white-trash accents - how are they going to pull that off in Italian?. Even movies at the theater are dubbed in Italian - we were going to see Rocky, but I backed out - I'm just not ready to sit through 2 hours of dubbed Sylvester Stallone - please, Italians, its really not that hard to read subtitles, really!