The past two weeks have been a great time, and I can confidently say I have adjusted to this new life abroad, eating pizza and pasta just as much as I thought I would, and even a little bit of waking up for my 9 am’s three times a week (it sucks).
Last weekend, my friends and I went to Venice for Carnevale. It was definitely a lot of fun. I must say, I expected some different things, like more music or street performing, or things to do in general, but it was basically just people walking around in their costumes. It was still a beautiful sight to see, and I recommend it to anyone who has the chance to go to Carnevale. It really isn’t all the crowded, especially Friday during the day. We bought a Venezia Unica pass for 28 euro that was for transportation (water ferry and the bus) and it was super worth it, considering every ferry ride is 7 euro alone one way. The city is walkable, but it’s also pretty cold by the water. Walking through the streets and window shopping looking at intricate Carnevale masks was amazing, and it takes forever to walk to St. Mark’s Square just because you keep staring at the masks. We stayed in a hostel for 15 euro each, it was off the island so we had to take a bus (worth it to get that pass!).
We did a bit more walking around on the second day, admiring the streets, sitting in the sun and drinking wine, etc. It was a genuinely nice time, and the sunsets were beautiful!
We also took a ferry and got off at a random stop, and we took one that left us in Lido. This was one of my favorite parts because you can sit on the edge of the water and see all of Venice. I think I’m going to make it a goal to find a place in every city where you can oversee the city or just look at it from a different perspective.
Sunday we went to an Opera, which was super hard to understand but it was a basic love plot, so it was easy to follow and cool to see. Monday night, we went to a SPAL game. SPAL is the local soccer team here and people are FANATICS for the team. We had aperitivo, which is basically a bunch of appetizers and spritz (a disgusting drink). The game was so rowdy and everyone was passionate about the team. I told Ricardo Rossi, the CIEE advisor who took us, that I’d like to come to another game in the future. I could tell he was super happy, and he started telling me how soccer is his passion, that during the week, he’s an accountant and a lot of people there have different jobs and different problems, but at the stadium, everyone has one passion and that’s SPAL. It was a beautiful thing to hear him say, and it truly shows the passion of a home team that doesn’t really exist in America.
And we got pretty cute scarves – Azzuro e Bianco.
Didn’t do much else this week, besides going out to Renfe which is fun but I am missing my Rutgers frat basements. The cool thing here is outside of Renfe is a piadina truck, kind of like a fat sandwich truck at Rutgers. For 5 euro you get this amazing piadina with onion and pepper and steak (and it’s going to start burning a hole in drunk Sophie’s pocket but it’s so worth it). Friday there was a chocolate market in Ferrara, so I ate a cannoli the size of my head, naturally, and eight macaroons.
We shopped around and stuff, nothing too super fun but we had to burn off the calories from all the chocolate we just ate. Also: hot chocolate here is not the same as in America. It’s literally melted, hot chocolate. Not hot chocolate milk. You think it’s going to be really good, but you can’t get halfway through a cup. Don’t do it, save yourself the 2 euro. Saturday I went with my host dad to Modena where he had a book talk, and I got to hang out with his journalist friend Georgia, who seemed to be super interested in Donald Trump, as all Italians are when they find out I’m American. I realized while speaking to her that I’m getting a lot better at Italian. if i can’t find a word, I can usually explain what I want to say which is a step in the right direction. A couple days ago was one month here, which means I only have three months left, a sad thought, but this first month has been amazing.