Saturday, November 26, 2016
I can’t believe I am writing my Month #3 in Italy blog post. How has 1/3 of my time here in this beautiful country and city already passed? I can’t fathom it. These past three months have been some of the happiest months of my young adult life. I can’t get over walking past the Duomo every day, walking to class early in the morning on the city streets, grocery shopping every Sunday, going to the bank to withdraw money on Friday, and being with people who love the abroad experience just as much as I do. This month has made me realize how truly mature the people are in this program; we are all independent, driven, and enthusiastic about learning and gaining a global perspective. Obviously we couldn’t do it without the support of our friends, our parents, our grandparents, our cousins, aunts, and uncles. This is an experience I will always be grateful for, and I’m not even close to being ready to say goodbye to it. Luckily, I don’t have to for six months! I cannot imagine being a semester student getting ready to leave in three weeks.
Here are the highlights from the past month:
- going to Ibiza for fall break
- traveling alone for the first time to Venice for my pilgrimage
- realizing I will most likely not be fluent in Italian come May because I am just too suffocated by English throughout my daily life
- lowering my weekly budget from 100 euros to 80 euros
- starting to volunteer at a local elementary school
- celebrating Halloween & Thanksgiving away from home
- the 2016 Presidential Election
- getting my haircut
- going on a class field trip to Genoa, Levanto, and Cinque Terre
Three months later and I feel more comfortable with the Italian way of life, navigating the city, and talking to the locals. I’m able to recognize people on my street and in the grocery store. I can try and make small conversation with the baristas. The waiters at La Ménagère don’t even ask me if I want to see a menu anymore. I go to the grocery store and am not spoken to in English like the other Americans. It’s these subtle details that make me feel less like an expat in Florence. I am going to continue working on my Italian, but I have acknowledged that I won’t become fluent since I’m not fully immersed in it. I will say that volunteering at the school and hearing the kids speak in Italian is very beneficial to my own understanding of the language.
A month from now I will be on a plane flying back from Budapest. I will have completed my final exams and have begun my generously long winter break. I am so excited to experience a European holiday. It’s starting to feel a lot like Christmas in Florence with the Christmas music in the shops and bakeries, the lights strung throughout the city, and the Christmas decor. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. xo ~e.