The last few days have been a blur of memorable moments and increasing progress. I don’t even know where to start, and the thing that kinda sucks is that I should be writing in my journal every day and I have but for the past week, I just haven’t had time to sit down and fill it in. So, with that said, today’s blog will consist of me completely relying on my memory, which at the moment is a little scattered due to the amount I stuff into my brain every day. But let’s give it a shot. Andiamo!
School has definitely gotten a lot easier! I thought I would dread going because it’s school, but I look forward to it. I have made a few friends now despite the language barrier, and I am confident that as I learn more it’s only going to get easier. I have some really fun classes and others which I can’t even hope to understand, but if I don’t understand the lecture I try to learn a few new words if I can. I really like my teachers as well, although only two of them speak English. Also, my host sister switched into my class, so we were both really happy about that! It’s nice to have a few translaters around when I need them as well. School has been so good for me and I think for my friends, because as they teach me their language I teach them mine. It’s a beautiful cycle that makes me smile and is very fulfilling. I don’t know if I’ve said this before, but for anyone out there who is thinking about exchange, immersion is THE BEST way to learn a language! 100 percent.
Apart from that, I’ve just been hanging out with my family, running a lot (I live in a very active community so that’s great!), and doing loads of things around my town. On Saturday we had lunch with some family and then had dinner with my third host family. Absolutely delicious! They also showed me where I will be staying in their house, so that was kind of cool. They were also incredibly generous enough to give me a phone, so I can finally contact people here! Something tells me it will come in handy.
Yesterday was one of my favourite days so far. It makes me a little uncomfortable saying that actually, because I believe that every day should be fully appreciated and lived to the fullest– the truth of that statement never really hit me until exchange– but it was a day that stands out to me because of the amazing adventures which were had. By the way, I know I’ve said this before, but I just need to re-iterate that my host family is absolutely fantastic. They do so much for me and I feel as if I’ll never be able to repay them, so I always make sure to tell them how much I appreciate everything. They’ve really gone out of their way for me a few times, whether it was to get things sorted out and get me settled or show me a new city, and it just means the world to me. So grazie mille a la mia famiglia hospitante!
Anyways, yesterday my family asked me if I wanted to go to the sea with them, or to the mountains with my second host family. It was a difficult decision, but I’ve always wanted to go to the Mediterranean and I didn’t know if I would get another chance, so I opted to go to the sea and my second family came with us. Right now they are hosting a student from Turkey, so he came along with them. Luckily he speaks English, so communication was easy! We drove about two and a half hours to Liguria, which is a province on the western coast of Italy. We were going through all these tunnels and all of a sudden, out of my window I could see this dazzling turquoise water. I think I smiled so big I almost broke my face. We missed the exit we wanted so we ended up driving along the sea through all these little towns, what a hardship. It was absolutely ridiculously beautiful. I’ve never seen anything like it it in my life. I had to keep telling myself, “Dude, you’re in the Mediterranean!”. I was so happy I couldn’t keep myself from getting a little choked up. That has happened quite a few times actually. Whenever I think about the fact that I am actually here, I am so overcome with happiness and fullness that I get tears in my eyes and I have to go hide in my room and pretend I have allergies. All joking aside, I seriously am so incredibly lucky and to everyone who has helped me get here, not a day goes by that I don’t say thank you. To the wall, because obviously you’re not here. But still.
We drove through so many towns but one that stuck out to me was Rapallo. We stopped to get foccaccia and I just walked around with my mouth hanging open, marveling at how a place could be so beautiful. That happens a lot too. We ended up in San Margherita Ligure, which is an absolutely beautiful town on the sea with these amazing different coloured buildings spanning the boardwalk. We hung out at the beach for a while and ate our foccaccia and other things which I can’t pronounce. I also swam in the sea for the first time! The water’s edge was composed of these giant white rocks, and the turquoise water was a perfect temperature. Not too hot, not too cold. You didn’t even have to wear a light jacket (that reference was for you dad). The water was so clear and behind the beach were all kinds of colourful houses nestled in the hills. I swear, I’ve seen it on a postcard. I had a moment where I was tanning and I had the realization that, hey, I’m laying on a giant rock in Mediterranean Italy without a care in the world. How did I get this lucky?! After we hung out at the beach for a few hours, we walked around San Margherita and took lots of pictures. We then drove home and had some lovely pasta with the “true” pesto, staight from Genova. Scrumptious!
So, after a great week, we launch into a whole new week of adventures. This week I am going to a three-day multi-district conference in Emilia-Romagna! Can’t wait. And if I can leave you with one thing, it’s this: There is no way to know what the next day brings and for that reason complaining about “tomorrow” is useless. Why dread what you have to do tomorrow when you don’t know what tomorrow brings? You might meet a life long friend or eat the best gelato you’ve ever had. There is absolutely no way to know how many tomorrows you will have in your life, so make them “todays” and enjoy the heck out of them instead, even if you don’t want to go to school or work, etc. It will make you a happier person and you will absorb more than you ever thought you could.
Ciao ciao, until next week!