by Michelle Tumolo (Loyola College)
I BURP. A LOT. More than any girl should, according to my heightened-in-age Polish grandmother. The other half of my heritage comes from this lovely little land that I will be calling home for the next few weeks. Luckily, that eruption of gas that I frequently experience is much more accepted here, in Italy. While enjoying a few drinks at the local bar with my classmates, we try our hardest to befriend our new Cagliese neighbors. Halfway through our conversation, and my second beer, I belched abruptly. I immediately apologized to my new English-challenged amici. I was shocked and, needless to say, relieved when they responded "no problema." They were more impressed than disgusted or even appalled like my grandmother would be. I felt completely comfortable knowing that something that I consider to be completely normal, here is.

This awkward encounter that would be considered rude and inappropriate in America has made me appreciate the culture of this new, foreign place. Regardless of the seemingly disapproving looks that we see in the streets, the Cagliese culture has, in seven short days, heightened my awareness and my appreciation for multiculturalism.