First week in Italy!

I’ve now been in Italy for about a week, and have done lots of exploring in and around Milan. The city is huge, and there’s so much to do and see! I’ve visited the city’s famous Duomo, being it’s most recognizable point of interest, and La Scala, the famous opera house. Several days ago, there was a dedicated performance to a composer that recently died, where the opera house’s doors were open and the orchestra played from within, allowing for the music to radiate into the streets for the people to hear. This is the third time in 300 years where this has been done to commemorate a famous musical artist.I’ve also been to several of the different areas in the city, including my favorite,Brera, which is full of cute cafes and art museums. On Friday, I visited my University, and walked in and around the campus. It’s full of picturesque,old buildings and green courtyards, with students all around. They all seem to wear dark clothes, puffy jackets, and smoke. I’ve noticed that most Italians are smokers and are all very thin…even though there’s so many goodies to eat :D

The streets surrounding much of my school and a majority of the city are so ‘Italian’ looking. The buildings are all warm colors, such as yellow or peach, having ivy covered walls, and small terraces overlooking the city. Nothing is really very modern looking, compared to the States, which makes you feel as though you are in another time. Also, the food here is to die for! One of my favorite places to stop in and have a dessert is Cioccolat Italiani, The store itself looks like something out of Rhode Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with several chocolate fountains and pastries piled high! There are so many flavors of gelato, not just chocolate, which are all amazingly rich and creamy. Today, I order a scoop of white chocolate gelato with warm,liquid chocolate filling. It was so delicious!The shop is close to my apartment that I know I will be going there too often.
 
The city’s public transportation is great! At first I thought navigating my way through a foreign city would be very challenging, however, the transportation system is very easy to learn. I’ve only been here a week and I’ve already gotten my metro card ,and have figured out how to get around by tram, metro, and bus. The only thing you have to know is where your stop is. The card itself was pretty inexpensive because I’m a student and it allows for travel in the city without having to buy a one-time ticket at 1,50 euro all the time.

 

At first when I moved into my apartment and began exploring the city, I found the language barrier to be incredibly challenging. Getting simple things done, such as exchanging money or changing the SIM card in my phone, to be very difficult. Not very many people here speak good English, so it was pretty overwhelming getting anything accomplished. However, now that I’ve been here for a week I realize that I just needed time to adjust to this foreign city and the language. I find it easier to communicate with people now that I’ve accepted that not everything is going to be as easy to get done as in the States, and it’s all part of the experience of traveling abroad.

 

Why?

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

-Mark Twain