Can’t believe it’s been a week since I left home, and I’m pretty settled in here. Still living out of my suitcase, but maybe one day before May I’ll work it out.
So I’ve finally had a couple of days in Ferrara, my new home.
So in my town, in the center, there’s this huge castle & cathedral. We got to tour it on Friday as a part of orientation. Currently, it’s a city hall and a museum, but it used to be living quarters of the ruling family, the Este family. They were kicked out of the town after their line died out because a son was “unfertile,” as the tour guide said. It’s really cool though because it’s literally a castle just in the middle of the city. No big deal. I’m not used to how everyone is so casual just walking past all these old things every day, when to me it’s the coolest thing. Everything is so old. Churches are something I’m really starting to appreciate because of how they are painted and built. Ferrara was damaged by the earthquake in 2012 so a lot of things are covered up and still being reconstructed/fixed. Still cool.
Now that I got that out of my system, I’ll go day by day a bit. I got to Ferrara on the 12th after a whirlwind of layovers, all nighters, and a lost wallet. Long story short, don’t take any liquids to Heathrow Airport. Just don’t do it. Also, make sure you read your ticket before going to the airport because I ended up at the wrong one and basically had a meltdown. Finally made it to Ferrara after my plane sat on the runway for an hour and realized I lost my wallet while being interrogated in Heathrow, cue another meltdown, but thankfully, the people from CIEE were still waiting for me. Thank goodness. We took an hour and a half car ride to the center, where there were just a few people waiting to be picked up by their family. I was only in the room for like five minutes before getting picked up, they brought me to their house and I was just so tired and overwhelmed. They don’t really speak English at all which is good because I HAVE to speak Italian, but also pretty difficult because I’ve realized I’m just not confident with my Italian yet. We went to dinner at this nice pizzeria with everyone from CIEE and their families. I met this girl who has been here since last semester (she’s doing a year long program) and she told me a little bit about the town, the program, but nothing really of substance. The next day was orientation. We learned about street signs, etiquette, and we did a treasure hunt to kind of learn how to get around the city. I’ve never loved my map more than I do now. So then we all went home, took a nap, and we tried to go out. My family has dinner VERY late so everyone had already gone out and I was like “Oh, I’ll just meet everyone at the address in the groupchat.” Did not go well, got lost for an hour, and I had to ask random people on the street where the hell I was. Cue another meltdown. But I made it home, went to bed, and got up on time the next day. We went for a lunch and had all typical Ferrarese food. They have this thing called cappellaci, which is almost like a tortellini with pumpkin inside (super white girl) and meat sauce called ragu on top. It’s so sweet, but really good. I would have it everywhere. I’ve noticed everything here is really salty which I’m not used to.
Friday was our tour, and then a couple of the girls and I went shopping. Of course, we forgot that everything here closes from 1230- about 3:30 so we had a coffee, got to know each other, it was fun. We went out at night to this club called College. They play music from 2009 and weird techno house. Nothing like Rutgers, I must say. The guys are also pretty creepy because there’s this infatuation with America and New York and it’s just…weird. Something to get used to.
Saturday, Lauren, Linn and I went to Bologna. Poorly planned first trip, but a learning experience nonetheless. We took a train from Ferrara to Bologna for 4.60 Euro and got there in a half hour. We got out of the train and were just clueless as to where we were, what we were going to do, where to stay and bought a map. It freaked us out a little more, because we have to remember that maps look bigger and make things look farther than they really are. Something in my mind that is a ten minute walk looks like 30 minutes on a map. We ended up deciding to just spend a little more money and stay in a hotel since its our first night. It was 60 euro for the three of us so we just split it, and it was a nice hotel. If we woke up early enough, we would have gotten breakfast. We went shopping in Bologna where I bought a nice shirt and we got dinner. We stumbled across this restaurant that had an 8 euro buffet with a drink so we did it, obviously. It was pretty good because we were all so hungry but our drinks were so strong. Later, we had plans to go out but… that didn’t happen. It’s okay, because the clubs were 15 euro to get in and I wasn’t about that life. Then today, we woke up and went out to go sightseeing. The map we got at the hotel had numbers for the sights, so we basically followed that. We went into two churches and even found this archaelogical site that had things from year 1 BC. Crazy stuff to see. We took the train back at around 6, I had a crazy Italian Sunday dinner, and now I’m ready for bed.