Living in Italy isn’t completely what I’d expected. I miss Kraft Mac and Cheese and my mom substantially more than I should. That being said, through the tears of homesickness, there have also been many bright times. Every day, it take courage to leave my apartment and step out into the world, to venture into shops where I don’t understand the language/culture. It takes courage even to go to classes to meet other people in my program… they seem to have it all together and I do not have it all together by any means. However, each day I try. Each day I grow.
Here are some random things I’ve learned so far:
- I filled out housing paperwork I didn’t understand. I may have signed my life away.
- My fingerprints may be registered in Amsterdam.
- I have two toilets, but one is for my bum and that’s pretty funny.
- They have a law preventing household heating to be above a certain point, so I’m always cold and wish I packed my Yoda slippers. Which brings me to…
- … I severely under-packed compared to everyone else in my program. I wish I’d brought more comfort items or another pair of sweatpants.
- Italians don’t wear sweats.
- My clothes are stored in cupboards right now. I’m bummed when I open up the doors and find socks instead of snacks.
- I bought lettuce like a healthy, hopeful girl, but I cannot find ranch dressing. Or any dressing. Suffice to say, the lettuce traveled from my fridge to my garbage.
- The towels given to me are scratchier than sandpaper, but the rack they’re on is heated.
- It snowed in class on Tuesday for the first time in 5 years. I find it ironic that MN students just arrived.
- Getting an Italian phone plan is difficult when the carrier doesn’t speak English. It is worse when you get a phone plan and everything’s in Italian. It is terrible when your phone stops working and when you call for help, it’s in Italian.
- Strollers have plastic around them, like the babies are in isolation or incubation or something really important. Like they can’t be exposed to the world around them and have to travel in a safe plastic bubble.
- “Stew” means sandwich. When offered a panini with stew for 5 euros, do not accept because it means you will get two paninis for 10 euros.
- Alfredo is an American thing?
When things get tough and I want to take the nearest plane home to see everything I left behind, I remember how the sun was setting in MN on January 10th. I remember that when the sun went down, it was just me on that long plane ride. Me and my thoughts, my anxieties, and my hope. I remember that I know now more than I did then, and I will know infinitely more by the time I leave in May.
I want to hang around and find out what else is out there for me.