Today officially marks one month since arriving in Bologna, so how am I feeling? Well, honestly it feels like much longer than one month. I’ve done so much sight seeing, learned so much about bologna, and have met so many new people who I seem I’ve know for a lifetime. Part of me feels like if one month can feel this long, then 9 more will feel like an eternity and how will I ever be able to endure it here? However, the larger part of me is incredibly thankful and grateful that I have 9 more months to truly immerse myself in this life and do all the things I want to do here. Time certainly won’t be an excuse for not traveling and not trying all sorts of new things.
While time might not be an issue, the cost of living here is certainly always present in my mind. Yet, while debating whether or not to book a last minute trip for the weekend to Naples, I called my mom and she gave me the best peptalk known to man about spending the money and making every weekend count because gosh darn I have worked really hard to be where I am! Last year, I had three jobs and applying for scholarships practically felt like a full time job, and in all the essays I wrote, I said how much I would like to travel and use the money to experience Italy in all its glory. So this is my new mentality. New country, new woman. I’m a yes woman. If an opportunity presents itself (granted it’s not illegal) I’m seizing it and running without fear, anxiety, or over thinking things. I think this mindset will really prove to open some amazing opportunities for me, and I cannot wait for 9 more months here.
Things are really starting to fall into place. All of my roommates have officially moved in. I’ve chosen my classes (I think). I might be starting an internship with the Comune of Bologna (I have an interview in a week with the Office of International Projects and Relations!). I’m simply trying to carve out a spot for me here to living here rather than simply just being always an outsider, and while filling my time is important, the langauge component will be vital to my success.
My Italian is slowly but surely improving, but I still have many, many moments every day that completely shake my confidence. For example, I’ll go to a store, and maybe for the first time all day the person talked to me only in Italian rather than switching to English immediately after hearing me stumble through an Italian phrase. However, for the first two days of my very first class at the University of Bologna, I barely understood 35% of what the professor was saying. I just sat there watching her mouth move, and I could hear noise in the echo chamber of a classroom. Combined with the whispered conversations around me, my notes turned out to be just a list of nouns. This is a direct quote (translated into English) from my notebook:
After 50 years
The French revolution
If I was a sponsored blogger, I would absolutely give a prize to whoever could guess in which class I took these high quality notes. Anyways, my third day went much better! I’d say I understood a solid 60% and my notes were comprehensible phrases that might actually be of use to me!!
This month has really been about the little wins in little moments in which I feel that I’m here for a reason and actually making progress. Like using the congiunctivo properly in a conversation! Or successfully navigating myself back home in a new route without Google maps! Getting a nod of approval after cooking a meal from my amazing roommates who make food that could compete with food network stars. These little moments (just like my one second a day videos) seem to be adding up pretty quickly to something incredible. So, here’s to many more months in this magical city that reveals a little more of its beauty to me every day.