Arrivato in Italia!!
Sorry it’s taken me so long to write in here but they have kept us very busy with orientation for classes and getting us acquainted to the city of Milano. First off, AMO ITALIA!! Things have been great so far despite the waves of fear and thoughts of “what was I thinking!?!” that come every now and then. Here is a day by day as much as I can remember thus far and as soon as they fix the internet in my dorm room I’ll do better about updating daily(ish)....hopefully.
August 31 – September 2, 2008
After spending my last night in Ohio with the lovely Cocuzzi family and friends, I woke up with only 2 hours of sleep to finish packing and head to the airport for my flight to Italy. Let’s just say if it weren’t for my amazing grandparents and my mom flying in from Texas to see me off I think I would have curled up in a ball and missed my plane. There were some issues figuring out how everything for 3 months and 2 seasons was going to fit into only 2 suitcases. I ended up taking 2 very full suitcases, 1 very fully carry on and 1 very full backpack. On the way to the airport I was feeling only one emotion for most of the way……FEAR. I might have had a slight sobbing/asthma attack in the car (good thing mom was driving). But as all good moms do, she assured me that I would be fine and reminded me of what a great opportunity it was and how long it had been a dream of mine that was finally coming true. So I waved goodbye and loaded my plane (after I got my Starbucks of course :)).
My flight left at 11am and flew to Philadelphia. It was a short flight and I slept most of the way. In fact, I don’t even remember who was sitting next to me. I arrived in Philly around 12:30 and my next flight wasn’t until 4:30 to Milano. However, through facebook I knew there was at least two other girls on my same flight and one had arrived in Philly earlier that morning. After several hours at the airport our group of 3 turned into 10 and we met about 15 other students in another program. What a comfort! Especially when we landed in Milano at 6:30 AM and together struggled carrying our loads of luggage, figuring out how to buy a train ticket and which way to take the train, loading our luggage onto the train, getting off at the right stop, flagging down a taxi (which apparently you don’t do in Italy… you are supposed to call for one ahead of time) and finally arriving at our program’s building on Via Carducci. Other than the hassle of bags and the train door closing just after I put my bags on and just before I myself had stepped on, things went pretty smoothly (there was a button that someone eventually found to open the door before the train left me stranded all alone at the station with no luggage). Oh and there was the fact that our plane landed during a thunder storm and the bumpy landing made me so nauseous that I didn’t recover for over 24 hours (probably due to the fact that after the plane we rode a train, then a taxi and later in the day a bus).
We were the first group to arrive at IES (my programs name) and had lots of time to explore the area and get to know each other a little better. Then at 2pm we all loaded onto a bus that took us for a few days of orientation at a beautiful Agriturismo (Farm with a hotel sorta) called Torrazzetta in the Pavia countryside. Our rooms were pretty nice, there was huge pool, amazing food and they loaded us with information about what was to come.
September 3, 2008
We headed back to Milano and got our luggage to move into our various living areas. All the students are either in apartments spread all throughout Milano or where I live which is the in Collegio di Milano. Basically it’s an honors dorm with 11 IES students and 88 Italian Grad students who are really nice and most speak English. They are really patient with us if we try to speak Italian and they encourage us to listen and speak the language with them as much as possible so we learn it better. I have a single room which is a decent size with a bed, closet, desk, air conditioning!, my own bathroom, and a pretty big balcony. The dorm building itself is very nice and has a lot of great luxuries that those living in the apartments don’t have like a washer AND dryer, a gym, cooked meals, big screen tv, an awesome Italian doorman who takes your key when you leave so you don’t lose it, and (DAD you will like this) a security system.
September 4, 2008
Today we met at the Duomo Cathedral and they gave us a walking tour all over Milano. What a beautiful city with so much history! We also had a tour of the Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore where most of us will be taking a class or two outside of our IES classes. I will be taking one business course in English there along with an Italian language course and 3 Italian culture classes through IES. It is a beautiful university with perfect grass because apparently it is bad luck to step on the grass.
IES has so many great events and trips set up for us throughout the next 3 months so we can really dive into the city and culture if we choose. Tonight to celebrate the end of our first full day in Milano IES treated us to an Aperitivo which is basically the Italian happy hour. You pay (or in this case they paid) 7 euro for one drink and a buffet of appetizers. They had the place all decked out for us and other then the poor waiter who had to run around and get 100 drink orders the atmosphere was very pleasant and relaxing.
Tomorrow we take an esame to figure out what Italian language level we will be placed in. So me and another girl living at the Collegio came back and just spent sometime speaking in Italian to each other. I forgot how much I love the language!
I'll post a few pictures soon! I miss you all!
Ti Amo! Ciao!