21 7 / 2014

The grey skies and English accents that suddenly surround me can be proof of only one thing. I’m home!

I’ve spent the past week in a wildly fluctuating emotional state, but have successfully managed not to cry actually on anyone, apart from a little bit accidentally on the poor man sitting next to me on the plane home. He pretended not to notice, and we were fine.

 

Having lived in Italy for 10 months, I really thought I would have more of a grip on the insanity that is Italian culture, but there are still many things that confuse me. Maybe someone can help me out by explaining these.

 

1.       Everyone is called Marco. Are there no other names?

2.       Literally All music sung by Italian females is about heartbreak and unrequited love.

3.       I’ve been wondering this since week 1 but seriously, why can’t I have a cappuccino after 2pm without being judged?

4.       It takes 12 hours by train to get from Naples to Catania when Milan to Naples is the same distance and takes 4 hours. (Southern Italy problems…)

5.       Why does everyone think that if I leave the house with wet hair I will be dead within the hour?

6.       Instead of ‘touch wood’, Italians grab either their left boob or balls to counteract bad luck. I was slightly taken aback when one of my friends spontaneously grabbed his balls in the middle of the street after seeing a black cat.

7.       When asked what your favourite flavour of ice cream is, the only correct answer is pistacchio.

8.       You are allowed to start yelling irrationally at your flatmates, partners or complete strangers, but when they get your order wrong in a restaurant it’s rude to say anything at all…

9.       If one of your Italian friends gets a new boyfriend/girlfriend, it is at least plausible that you will not see them for around 2 months.

Despite these minor issues, I somehow managed not only to survive Italy, but have the best year of my life. Italy is an insane place, but it is also a beautiful one, and is full of people who will not only tolerate your complete bafflement at their customs but also welcome you warmly into their lives, comfort you when things are tough, and probably feed you a lot of food (I am so afraid to weigh myself having not done so for 11 months).

 

Coming home is strange. You are happy to be back, but at the same time you miss all the amazing people you met, you miss having such an exciting, crazy and international lifestyle, and it almost feels like you left a part of yourself in the country where your Erasmus was. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. For one thing, it’s a great excuse for free holidays all over Europe. But you also realise how much your exchange has given you. You really feel how much more open-minded and confident you are, and you cherish memories that you will hold onto for the rest of your life. You also realise that this is only the beginning – the fun is just starting, and there are plenty more adventures to come.

 

I don’t really know how to finish this as it has been a pretty big week, and I think part of me still hasn’t accepted that I’m home for good, so I’d just like to thank all the people who have followed my ramblings all year, as well as everyone who has helped to make my year abroad so special. It’s been fantastic and I will never forget it.

10 7 / 2014

I passed all of my exams! About time too. And as I went to the international office today to sign out, I can now say that my Erasmus is officially over.

 

I did my retake and got 100% along with many judgemental glances from my Italian counterparts, accompanied by occasional hushed comments of ‘But, you’re voluntarily doing a written exam instead of an oral? Did you know that’s actually harder?’. No, my friends, no it is not. I am so relieved to be out of this system. My professor was 90 minutes late to the exam. But anyway.

 

Now that it’s finished, the lengthy and emotional farewell to Milan has started (as has the nostalgic and retrospective blogging, PREPARE YOURSELVES). I have attended far too many goodbye parties. Vanessa (who is great, and may have asked for a mention on my blog) and I have devised a drinking game for The Sound of Music. We have also been around Parco Sempione on a Segway, and to the Terrazza Aperol overlooking Duomo for drinks. I am poor but happy.

 

Wandering around insane modern art exhibitions at HangarBicocca, or having discussions on the steps of Duomo until 1am, or getting free coffee on the Frecciarossa to Florence, I realise that I still haven’t quite pinned down why it is that I love Milan as much as I do. It’s probably a combination of things – the ease of travelling with the lakes being an hour away and the trains running as far as the south of Sicily, the incredible amount of cool things to do and see in the city, and the bars, piazzas and restaurants where I have made so many fantastic memories and met so many great people. The fact that I spent a whole Saturday playing the viola in the Castello and only stopped for a brief lunch break and Dante discussion, or that Italian boys can even manage to make tram stops romantic, or that a bus ride out of the city can quickly take you as far as Bergamo, Gardaland Waterpark, or Lago Idroscalo where you can spend a whole afternoon in the sun walking around and playing volleyball with Max who is also great and may have also asked for a mention on my blog (I feel like a famous person).

 

Last night I had my last ever orchestra rehearsal, and it couldn’t have happened without a large amount of crazy impromptu singing, inappropriately being winked at and help from my friends when the conductor started saying pointlessly confusing things. I think that’s a pretty good summary of my whole year here, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

30 6 / 2014

magidthomasina:

genderqueerrosalind:

magidthomasina:

somebody remind me how to fall out of love

you fall out of love the way you fall out of sleep

peacefully if you’re lucky but most of the time because some fucker is yelling under your window

but one thing is for certain: it’s always sooner than you think

you’re the first person to make me laugh about this <3

thanks, I needed this so much this evening </3 <3

14 6 / 2014

[This is the post in which I stop complaining about the professor on whom I still wish an untimely death, and actually talk about fun stuff.]

There’s just over a month to go of my time in Milan and I honestly have no idea where the time has gone. Wasn’t March last week or something? I’M CONFUSED.

Much crying has already gone down. I said goodbye to one of my best friends two weeks ago, who has gone back to her home in central Italy for the summer, and another of my best friends leaves for good on Sunday – the reality of post-Erasmus blues is starting to feel very close, and I don’t like it at all.

This, on the other hand, has led to a lot of “Panic upon realising that the year is nearly over and hurriedly attempt to organise literally everything” planning. Recently in my life: I finally went to one of the few nightclubs I hadn’t yet been to the other week (imaginatively called ‘The Club’) which was possibly the funniest night of my life and left me to wake up the following morning with an unexplained lightsaber on the floor next to my bed. A couple of nights ago I went to a mozzarella bar on top of the Rinascente and watched the moon rise over the statues of the Duomo (whilst eating mozzarella, IMAGINE HOW GREAT THIS IS). At the weekend I even made it to the Certosa di Pavia – about time too. In a bid to make the most of every remaining day, Vanessa and I have already planned trips to Padova, Como and Cinque Terre despite the fact that we both have exams until early July…

On another note, the weather has suddenly become almost unbearably hot. The first couple of days of this heat left me feeling grumpy enough to seriously consider spending 300 euros on an air conditioning unit for the flat, but instead spent 30 euros on a fan and have now suitably adapted myself to the heat. It is also an excellent excuse to eat more ice cream and drink frozen daiquiris. Nothing changes.

05 6 / 2014

I JUST FOUND OUT I’M NOT GETTING KICKED OUT OF CAMBRIDGE IF I CAN’T RETAKE THIS EXAM AND I HAVE FRESHLY DELIVERED INDIAN FOOD LIFE IS GOOD AGAIN