This morning I spent some time reading and not immediately reaching for my phone to scroll through instagram or Tik Tok as soon as I wake up. Because I do have to spend a lot of time traveling on the metro to and from school everyday I definitely more time to read on the ride. I love Mondays because I do not have any early classes. I got a chance to take my time when getting ready while I debrief from whatever crazy adventure I went on that weekend.
This past weekend I stayed in Milan and decided to check some of the different areas for dinner and aperitivo that I have no been to yet. I had a great time catching up with some friends from France and some of my friends from school. I really did enjoy my company with my friends from France, they are actually from New York but I met them in France which was so odd but I am so glad it happened. I was at a hostel joining so group event to make friends and a random man from Belgium came up to me and said “Do you know that girl over there? She talks funny just like you”. At first I was very confused and had no idea what this man was talking about but I went over and said hello. As soon as the girl said hello back I knew exactly what he meant, we both have strong New York accents. We ended up laughing about it and introduced each other to our friends. We come to learn we are both studying abroad and planning on traveling as much of Europe as possible. I was so happy I got a chance to see her again in Milan this weekend. I am hoping I will catch up again with her soon in New York.
However, multiple dinners in one weekend means a lot of outfit changes and makeup being applied while always results in a trashed apartment. Sometimes I feel like if I lived at home with my parents yelling at me to clean because at least I would keep my room clean. So, I spend the morning giving my apartment some love and care before I headed to the center of Milan.
When I first got to Milan it was hard to have free time with no plans because it feel as if time was being wasted. I only have such a short amount of time abroad I wanted to fill it with as many planned things as I possibly could. Now I realize I like days where there is no plan just see where the day takes me. Once I got to the center of Milan I walked past the Duomo di Milano, which I do almost everyday. And every single time I stop and smile because it never gets old. I truly can’t imagine walking past it on my phone without looking up to admire its beauty. I actually think my next tattoo is going to be a small sketch of the duomo. Similarly to New York there is always someone playing some type of instrument or singing or dancing. Today someone was singing this is This is me by Kesha. I admire the talent that fills this city as I throw a few euro in the singers cup and smiled. There is something that never gets old about it.
I did a little window shopping for things I will not be able to afford until I am about 30 years old. I looked at all of the pretty displays of the windows of Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Montclair, Chanel, Tiffany and a million other brands I don’t even know the names of. I picked out the bags I will eventually buy myself maybe by then they will be considered vintage. I even sat down for a cup of coffee in that area just to watch all of the tourists walk by and take pictures in front of the duomo. I drank my boiling hot Americano just admiring everything this city has to offer. I did have to cut my coffee short because I had class this afternoon.
I was super frustrated with my class this afternoon solely because it is so different then class in America. I am really not used to being graded on group presentations rather than just exams. When completing a group prevention so many things can go wrong and for so far they have been. Oftentimes you are places in a group of students who are from all over the world which is really cool to learn about different cultures but this also means students have a different system of grading and expectations. The expectations from the students in America and in Italy are fairly similar but they are waaaaay higher than the expectations in other countries. So when working with other students it is very difficult to make sure all of the project gets down on time when most of the other students do not care. I was going to present my presentation and one of the members just didn’t show up because she “felt she was ready for the presentation” it is crazy to me how little grades effect students of other countries. At the end of the day it is only just a minor inconvenience and my professor did work with me to ensure I get the proper grade that I deserve.
As much as I love studying abroad and living in Milan, this experience has taught me to be grateful for every simple things in the states. I was complaining about the minor inconveniences to my friends at home and after every complaint I would get the same response “You’re in Italy suck it up”. My Grandma’s advice was to write down all of the silly things that bother you I decided to keep a list so when I come home I know not to take things for granted. Looking at it today really made me laugh because they really are such minor inconveniences. Some examples are people don’t say God bless you, metro strikes, no ketchup, every airport in the world having different rules for airport security, all of the doors here are push not pull, the hairspray is watered down and like 30 more other things so far. Again I understand how in reality it is so minusclue and I really am so lucky to have this opportunity. Some people in my immigrated to New York when they were 10 and have never had the opportunity to leave and travel again. I have learned so much about myself and about how other people operate while abroad I truly wouldn’t change it for anything. Maybe I wish my family was here or that I could go home and see them for Thanksgiving. I will never take the trek back from New Paltz to long Island (usually in the snow and traffic) from granted. But I think this truly puts a new meaning to “The year without a Turkey”. My best-friend from New York is coming to visit me and we are planning on keeping one of our thanksgiving traditions alive….Black Friday shopping. There are still sales in Italy but they are way less than the ones in America. We are also planning on making “struffoli” which is a tradition Neapolitan dessert that is typically served on Christmas. One year when we were really little her grandfather was sick and we were afraid of losing the struffoli recipe and didn’t know if he was going to make until Christmas. So, we started a new tradition and made our favorite dessert on Thanksgiving.
Another thing that is hard when abroad is when family members get sick. Even though it feels as my old life in New York is on pause everyone else is still living there day to day life and things happen. This month my dad got really sick and it was super scary not knowing what was going on. It was truly really making the decision on if I needed to leave the program early. Thank god he is now out of the hospital and getting better everyday it is still unsettling that I am not home making chicken soup and tea while he’s sick in bed.
I am about to start cooking a meal I learned to cook in class for my friends that live in the same building as me. Even though this sounds silly that we are 20 years old and still just cooking and hanging out at home it truly is my favorite activity. We can all wear sweatpants and slippers without being judged we can laugh over card games or a movie. I get to learn about their lives they used to live before being abroad and talk about mine. These are friends that I hope to have for a lifetime although we live all around the world we have created some of the most amazing memories together. I feel like I have my Long Island friends, my New Paltz friends and my study abroad friends. I do think I can explain how truly grateful I am for the new category of people I will now have in my life forever.
Some of my friends I have made a abroad 🙂