Don’t get me wrong, I miss the snow and the dages and the midnight snowball fights a lot, but I’ll stick to living vicariously through snapchat and living in Italy where it’s just cold and lacks snow and I can chill in 2000 year old monuments.
This week was pretty stressful: first week of classes. The program I’m taking includes taking two weeks of intensive Italian classes before beginning my content classes, which is really difficult. Because I didn’t take Italian last semester to focus on my major (and graduating on time), I’m definitely really rusty- il curso e molto difficile. So basically I’ve been trying to get back in the rhythm of learning verb forms, remembering vocabulary, and trying not to mix it up with Spanish. It’s four hours a day, which is a LONG day. It’s weird because I get out at three, and people at home are still asleep. Still getting used to the time difference is pretty difficult, since I feel like I haven’t talked to people in weeks and my group chat blows up at 4 am my time for sylly week plans. Speaking of, although I’m in Italy, definitely feeling the FOMO. It sounds dumb because like, I’m in Italy, but I’m really starting to realize I won’t see my friends for another three and a half months, homesickness is starting to settle in, and I’m actually missing Rutgers. Weird, right?
Besides school, this week was pretty calm. Usually, after class, my friends and I bike over to the CIEE center and talk about life, make weekend plans, stuff like that. I’ve gotten really close with two girls in particular, so it’s nice to know that I’ve made friends here. The group has split up into two, which sucks because that “group” keeps to themselves, which makes it a lot more difficult to make plans, have fun, or even get to know new people. Very highschool-ish, says everyone else, but I guess it’s a part of life and ya gotta deal with it. Both groups eat lunch separately, so me, Lauren, Linn, Mackenzie, and Anthony usually eat together. We try to eat at the cheapest places, but still yummy food. I haven’t spent more than 10 Euro on a plate of food for lunch yet, and they hold me over until dinner time (8 hours or so, plus I don’t eat breakfast). So if you’re budgeting, lunch isn’t that bad once you find the right places. We ate at this place called Woodpecker twice, and it was really good, but a bit pricy for the amount of food they give you. We’ve also been eating at a bread bottega, but the pizza we get there isn’t warm, so we’re still looking for that perfect place. Thursday, we got gelato after school – it was amazing. Strawberry gelato doesn’t even COMPARE to America.
Saturday we went to Verona, known for being the setting of Romeo & Juliet, a city of love. It really was so breathtaking, and a lot more beautiful than Bologna. We saw San Zeno’s church, which was really amazing to see. The inside is starting to wear away, and it really puts in perspective how long it has stood there, how many people have gone to pray, to get married, to have a funeral, etc. Truly amazing.
After, we walked around the city with our tour guide, who showed us Piazza del Erbe, which is the market square. There was a market which was kind of cool, but I didn’t see anything that grabbed my attention. A lot of Carnevale masks and Romeo & Juliet themed souvenirs. The fountain was used by commoners to obtain water, since the plaza next to it was for the Lords, doctors, lawyers, and important people, and had a statue of Dante.
Of course, we saw Juliet’s house. The wall into the entrance is covered in names and dates of loved ones, supposedly good luck. They clean off the wall every six months so I don’t know how lucky that is, but the hopeless romantic that I am participated anyway and scribbled mine & my boyfriends name on it. Once you walk through, you see the balcony, and can almost imagine Juliet saying “Wherefore art thou Romeo?” Funny story, the balcony isn’t even in the original book, or a part of the original house. An american director installed it after deciding it would look better and more romantic for the movie. Next to the house is the statue of Juliet. Legend has it that touching her right breast will bring you good luck with love, touching her left breast will bring you good luck with money, and touching both will bring bad luck since you’re just not supposed to do that. The original statue’s right breast was rubbed so much that it fell off, which is hysterical.
We saw the Arena, built in 1 AD. It was really amazing, thinking I was standing in the same spot where gladiators fought, where royalty looked down for entertainment, and just soaked up the sun. We went around the town after, ate some food (the dessert was my favorite), and went shopping. After, we came back to Ferrara, and went out to a club called Renfe. Ten times better than last week’s club, because it played better music, but it was really far. Overall, the homesickness is killing me, but I think I’m spending my time here pretty well although I’m still working on the adjustments. Someone mail over some snow for me, I’m missing out!