Time has flown by, hasn’t it? I have been here in Italy now for a month and I suppose now is the time to…yes, fellow Augsburg alum…reflect.
I have experienced some extreme highs here. I have also experienced some extreme lows, and those who know me well understand just how hard it is for me to admit that. At the beginning it seemed that the experience changed hourly. I could cry, celebrate tiny victories, hide my head under the covers, be amazed by my courage and marvel at my stupidity all before lunch. As the days have gone by this rollercoaster has slowed down and now I am back to good days and bad days, not minute to minute changes. Let me amend that statement to say that I have good days and not so good days. I haven’t had a bad day yet.
I am adjusting to life here in some very unusual ways. I have always been a morning person and I thought that this was something that I was, not something that I had learned. I may have been wrong. In Minnesota I would wake up early every single day without needing to use an alarm because I had work, or sometimes just things to do that I didn‘t want to waste time on later in the day. Here I actually use an alarm to get up by 7:30 so I can get to class by 9:10.
I drink coffee anytime during the day. I drink Italian coffee, which is actually espresso. It is hot and dark and strong and served in tiny cups. There is no lingering over this coffee, Italians drink standing at the counter on their way to somewhere else. What I find most strange is that even with all the coffee I am drinking I fall asleep almost immediately and sleep through the night. I haven’t done this in years. And when I say years I mean 10 or more years. Combine that with my new found ability to sleep in and it is safe to say that I feel rested and renewed here.
Another pleasant surprise has been that I can eat here. What I mean is I can eat, and eat, and eat without gaining weight. Actually I am losing weight. I’m not sure what to attribute this to. Part of it is certainly the fact that I walk everywhere, everyday. Part of it may be stress from living in a country where I still don’t understand the language and customs. Maybe it’s the food? We eat so much pasta prepared with fresh vegetables and olive oil, bread, fruit and wine. Last night may have the heaviest meal we have made at home…garlic, eggs, cream and provolone cheese with angel hair pasta. Note to my sister, this will be my comfort food here.
I started Italian lesson this last week, and now I can understand much of what is being said to me and given enough time I can formulate a response. It might not be right, but I am in there trying. I hear from my Italian friends is that trying is the most important part. I really didn’t want to sit in a classroom again after 7 years of college, but (and if you are in the college system, please don’t take this the wrong way) this feels relevant to my life. I will use this language every day, unlike some of the classes I took that fulfilled mysterious requirements from my college.
When I left the US for Italy four weeks ago I don’t think that I had really thought enough about what my expectations were for myself or for the experience of living here. After these four weeks I have a better idea about what I can expect from myself. I can expect great things. I can fail with great gusto. I can succeed beyond my wildest dreams. And between those two extremes I can enjoy a life filled with rich experiences.