Not so sad that I missed Halloween
When we think about October in New York we think pumpkins, leaves, cold, football (the real football), sweaters, pumpkin spice lattes, and most importantly halloween. These almost all October traditions that are celebrated in America. I had an opportunity to promote SUNY New Paltz and the October activities were actually one of the things I was suppose to promote. Something we celebrate every year and most of us just assume the rest of the world celebrates halloween and autumn the same way.
October for me this year did not include any of those things and I can truly say it was the best October yet. I have finally started to feel comfortable navigating Milan as far us knowing where I am and knowing my surroundings. Which is making Milan feel more like home. With that being said I am not sure if I spent more time in Milan or more time traveling in this month. This month I’ve been to Florence, Pisa, Nice (France), Palermo, Cefalu and London. I also took midterms this month and I did well on all over them. At New Paltz I find myself reluctant to take on so much but being in Europe is teaching me how to balance my time. It is really something special to say I was able to manage making friends, traveling, and succeeding in school at the same time. The balance is something some people never find, I feel lucky to be able to manage it all.
In Nice I stayed at a hostel for the first time and I think I prefer it rather than a airbnb. There are always people around and everyone has the same goals as me, to travel the world on a budget. This hostel had a restaurant and events that led me to meet some many new friends, even some people from New York. Went we to dinners together, and the beach was a super unique experience especially because I was feeling a little homesick. People to relate about missing a “BEC” on an everything bagel and people who have the same funny New York accent as me. The French Riviera was super clear but I wasn’t expecting the beach to be entirely full of rocks, it was worse than the rocks on the north shore beaches of Long Island.
When I traveled to Pisa I went alone and it was an experience I will never forget. I have always been independent, self sufficient and out spoken but traveling alone brings it to a whole new level. Weather that be trying to navigate the train/metro system, deciding which tour interests you, buying souvenirs for family and most importantly taking a picture in front of the famous monuments there is a sense of confidence required and this gut feeling that you know you can do it. There was almost this sense of accomplishment that I was able to do something amazing that I really wanted to do no matter what even if there was no one available to go with.
Sicily was definitely top three places that I traveled to, mostly because of the food. I travel to Sicily with two other friends, Ben and one which had lived in Sicily. It was really cool experience to see a tourist city in the eyes through the eyes of a local. Of course we stopped at all of the tourist shops and spent most of our time on the main strip but were also avoided eating at the tourist trap restaurants and went to the down the coolest streets filled with bars and music. My family family is from Sicily and being there was the first time I truly felt that I have Italian roots. In the northern parts of Italy where I live everyone has super light hair, skin and eyes which is not what me nor my family looks like. In Sicily a lot of people have an olive complextion and dark hair which is what my grandparents look like. There was finally a connect for me in the sense that I am American but I have Italian roots. A lot of the Italian American food we eat comes from Sicily as well. When ordering the best cannolo of my life I realized that Americans say cannoli but that is really just the plural of the word “cannolo”.
Lastly, I visited London and I have to say I think London has my heart. This trip where I decided to meet my friends at our accommodations which meant I navigated the airport alone. It turned out to be the easiest airport experiences ever, easier that traveling to Florida from New York. The weather was not so great in London but I did not let that stop me from enjoying myself. I saw the Buckingham palace, the London eye, Big Ben, the London bridge (which is nothing special apparently) and the tower bridge(this is the really pretty one). We all grow up hearing the song about the London bridge falling down so we assume that the London bridge is the pretty one, it is in fact not. The actually London bridge was beautiful but fell at some point in the early 1800’s. I mapped out to the London bridge and once my friends and I arrived were we super confused and disappointed by the bridge after some research we foundMy friends and I walked over London which is a huge city. It was so interesting people so many people from the United Kingdom everyone was very friendly. We were even able to find people to critique our British accents and they show us their American accents.
Overall, there has not been one place that I didn’t enjoy. I’ve created memories and made friends during each trip. I have also had no so great experiences during each trip but far less than the good memories. Whether it be missing a bus, not being able to understand the street signs or something as silly as not being able to charge my phone in another country. That was actually a scary and a huge travel flaw that I completely forgot about in London. Now I know to be sure I have the correct adaptors and wires before I travel.
On Halloween this year I was on a flight back to Milan and spent the day doing laundry from my past trips. In the moment I was upset I didn’t dress up and I wasn’t at a party with all my friends in New Paltz. In reality I will most likely be doing that every halloween for the rest of my life. What is one halloween missed due to traveling Europe? Absolutely nothing.
For now, I am staying in Milan to new few weeks because I feel like I haven’t had a chance to explore my home city. There are so many coffee shops, flower stands, thrift stores and many more little things I have yet to explore.
I have about 300 pictures from this month, I’ll add a few of my favorites!