Emilio Chimenti spends last half of school year in Gregory

Sixteen-year-old Emilio Chimenti, from Rome, Italy, is one of five foreign exchange students attending Gregory High School this year. He had traveled to the United States once previously with his mother for a business trip in San Diego. Following a 24-hour trip from Rome to Amsterdam to Minneapolis to Sioux Falls, and finally to Gregory, he arrived December 20, making his home with host family Jerry and Sherrie Kafka. The first thing he noticed was how cold it is here, but people were running around without any jackets while he was bundled up and still freezing. He speaks very fluent English, and says he started learning the language when he was about 10 years old.

In the summers, Rome’s climate would be described as Mediterranean, very warm, with highs in July and August often rising above 95 degrees F with highs rarely below 86 degrees, night time temperatures in the low 60’s, high humidity, and little to no breeze. Winter temperatures rarely fall below freezing, ranging from average lows of 34 degrees F to average highs of 54 degrees F, and it is very wet. Snow used to be rare, but has become more common the past few years.

The population of Rome is 2.868 million and covers 496 square miles. A resident of Rome, Emilio’s home is in the Monteverde Vecchio neighborhood, a couple minutes from Villa Doria Pamphili, the largest landscaped public park in Rome, where he played as a child and takes his dog for walks. At .7 square miles (compared to the city of Gregory, which is 1.71 square miles), the park was an ancient noble Roman estate, later becoming home to Pope Innocent X. It is now host to open-air concerts, nature trails, a fountain, and beautifully landscaped gardens. Emilio’s family, like most people in Rome, lives in an apartment, but in his neighborhood, the buildings aren’t as close together as in other areas. Although he enjoys a short commute to school, he would prefer to live in a house, even though that would entail at least one hour of travel time each way.

 

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