A Summer of Preparation

Well…it’s the final countdown!

The time has come! In less than 48 hours my 9 hour flight to Italy will be taking off.

First of all, 9 hours is absolutely ridiculous. I am bringing plenty of things to keep myself entertained for 9 hours, but I’m also hoping that I will sleep a bit since Italy is 6 hours ahead of the US. Wish me luck! So for those of you thinking of calling me, video chatting me, or messaging me at 8 or 9pm in the US, just know that I won’t be responding until at least 6 hours later. I am not known for being awake at 3am.

As you’re reading this blog post you are probably deeply concerned with what I have done to prepare for my trip since my crazy New York Italian Visa extravaganza. I know it is a very big concern so I’ll fill you in. Well…my summer can be summed up in pretty much one word.

Work.

This entire summer all I have done basically is work. There were a few times during the summer where I was able to hang out with some of my friends from CUA. It is hard to believe that I won’t see most of my friends from school for another five months. My summer doesn’t sound very glamorous, but I am content knowing that the gifts I buy in Italy and the delicious food I eat will be paid with my hard-earned money. This summer I even picked up a second job to cover the cost.

This summer, as I have done the last four summers, I went down to Avalon, NJ and lived with my grandparents while I worked. I worked as a Beach Tag Inspector 6 days a week, 7 hours a day and it was my fifth summer doing the job. My friend Sara studied abroad in Argentina this summer so she gave me a bunch of great trips for my upcoming semester. So instead of checking people’s tags, we talked about our trips to exotic locations. The second job that I picked up was hostessing at a small Italian restaurant called Via Mare. The nice thing about working at Via Mare was that the two owners were from Italy and talked to me about both the Italian language and the Italian culture. Unfortunately though, I realized at the end of the summer, that the restaurant business is most definitely not for me and my sister can have fun in the cooking industry.

There were many nights when I was sore and tired from work all day, but in the end I am proud of myself knowing that I earned my way through this trip.

I have been home since Tuesday and everything has been absolute CHAOS. I cannot even count the number of things that I have had to do, while also trying to hang out with my friends and family before I leave. Two days left before I leave and all I have left to do is pack and, luckily, I’ve somehow convinced my father to help me! Tomorrow is going to be a fun day in the Coviello house!

It is crazy to think that the next time I write a blog post I’ll be in Rome and fulfilling one of my lifelong dreams!

Until then…Ciao bellissimi!!!

2 days until Rome

Too Much Paperwork

Hey everyone! I know I haven’t posted in a while, but you are going to LOVE this story!

Since my last post, I have attended two orientations, a Rome Pre-Departure Orientation and a General Orientation, and a Visa Information Meeting (at 8 in the morning I might add). After attending all of these meetings, I bought my International Student Identification Card (ISIC) so I can get all these lovely discounts when I’m abroad. I also put together my Visa Application for my Visa Meeting this past Thursday.

Well…do I have a story to tell you about this meeting.

Because I live in Somerset County in New Jersey, I am required to go the Italian Consulate of New York for my Visa. You can only receive your visa three months before you study abroad and they are only open certain days a week. As many of you know, I live with my grandparents during the summer and work six days a week so I didn’t have many opportunities to get my visa done.

Well Thursday morning arrived. I woke up at 8am and my mom and I were driving to the train station by 9am. We got on a train to NYC, arrived at about 10:30am, and took a cab to the Italian Consulate. We arrived at about 11am, when my appointment was at 11:35am. The security officer told us to come back so my mother and I walked around NYC in 95 degree heat for 30 minutes. When I arrived back I handed the security guard my passport and she informed me that I could give her my phone or my mother. I was shocked that my mother couldn’t come in with me. (I guess that’s what happens when you’re considered an adult by the state.) So I gave my mom my phone and she waited outside for me while I went in.

The security officer handed me a paper with the number 22 on it. If you’ve ever been to the deli counter you know that you take a number and there’s a little screen that lets us know when it’s your turn. Well it seems that the Italian Consulate worked the same way as the deli counter. When I walked in they were on 19 so I had a bit to wait.

While I was waiting, I noticed that no one received their visa because they had issues and there were a lot of people, who I assumed had meetings earlier in the morning, coming back in and handing in other items.

Finally, it was my turn. After going through all my paperwork the woman informed me that I didn’t have everything that I needed and that two of my documents were not acceptable. I thought I was going to cry. I spent weeks getting all of this paperwork together. WEEKS!

I was given a piece of paper informing me that I had to come back on a Tuesday or Thursday between 1pm-2pm in the next week to hand in the other documents. I was leaving to move in with my grandparents the next day. So I walked out of the consulate and told my mother what had happened at 12:15pm.

We decided to try and get everything together for that day (it was a Thursday). We had 1 hour and 45 minutes. She immediately got on the phone with the credit card company to get the information that we needed. I found a Staples that was a half a mile away.

By 1pm we were at the Staples and the credit card company was willing to fax a letter to Staples (but not email my mother the same letter ugh!). We received the fax and fixed the other “unacceptable” paperwork. I also had to print out a copy of my transcript to prove that I was enrolled at CUA. By 1:30pm we had everything together.

So at 1:30pm in NYC when it was 95 degrees outside, my mother and I walked, speed-walked, and ran back to the consulate. (We actually ran. I almost died.) We made it back to the Consulate at 1:40pm.

I gave my mom my phone and I ran in. The security office waved me in and I went up to the same woman I had before. She looked at my paperwork and asked to see my credit card. My heart was pounding. The woman went in the back to talk to her supervisor and when she came back out she said “Perfetto!”.

I was so relieved. I ran back outside and told my mother the good news. I had some sweet gelato, ate a nice Italian lunch, and headed back home. At the end of the day I had received my Italian Visa!!!!

Unfortunately the paperwork isn’t done yet, but I’m now able to get into the country I’m studying in!

I still have a lot more paperwork I have to work on, but now I have to done a bunch of research on Italy (I bought three books!) and figure out everything I will need for living in Italy for FOUR months!

I don’t know when my next blog will be, but I hope that you enjoyed this one because my mother and I very much enjoy telling this story!

Ciao bellissimi!!!

80 days until Rome

Why I Started This Blog

When I started looking at colleges with my mom, there was an unsaid list of what we were looking at in the school. The distance, the number of clubs, and the business school were some of the major things that we looked at. One of the biggest things that we looked at though, was the school’s study abroad program. Every time my mom and I heard about the school’s study abroad program we would always make sure that they had a specific program in Italy. That was my dream. To study abroad in Italy.

One of the most appealing things about coming to The Catholic University of America was their study abroad program. Not only did CUA have a program in Rome, Italy, but they had their own campus. It was as if God had given me my dream on a silver platter. It would be so easy for me to go to Italy. I didn’t have to worry about transferring credits or not knowing anyone because I would be with my school, just in another country.

I spent the first semester freshman year figuring out how the next three years were going to go. After talking to my parents, I decided that I wanted to study abroad in Rome the fall semester of my sophomore year. So when I came back to school in January I began looking into everything that I had to do for my study abroad application.
Once you fast forward through all the really boring stuff, it was Thursday February 18th and I was finally submitting my study abroad application.

A few retakes of passport-like pictures later, on February 24th I found out that I had been accepted into the program (on my father’s birthday of course). I was so excited. My parents may have been even more excited than I was at the prospect of going to Rome for a week. (My mom is currently memorizing the words that she needs to know when she visits.)

Two weeks later, I put the deposit down to go to Rome (after thousands of questions from my mother). After putting the deposit down it all became very real to me. That I would be living in Italy for four months. That I would have the opportunity to go to so many countries in Europe when I was there. Even my friends at CUA have been realizing that I won’t be here next semester. My friend Jay asked me what stop Rome was on the Metro so he could come visit me. Every time one of my friends has this realization it makes this whole thing more real. That I, Samantha Coviello, am going to be living in Rome.

Over the next few months I have a lot of work to do to prepare for my trip. I have to renew my passport, get my Italian visa, and fill out a TON of paperwork. I am not exaggerating.

Now to get to the point of why I made this blog. With everything that is going to be going on in the next few months and the AMAZINGNESS that is Rome I thought it would be a good idea to make a blog. I want my family and friends to be able to know what is going on during my adventures and hear about all the DELICIOUS food I am going to be eating!

That being said, I don’t really have anything else to “blog” about right now. I’ll probably have more wonderful stories about my journey to Rome soon!

Ciao bellissimi!!!

160 days until Rome