Hello everyone! I'm finally in Bologna and so much has already happened!
I should probably begin, you know, at the beginning. Which in this case would mean Logan airport. After I bid my family farewell (for now) and made it through security and boarded the plane that would take me to France...I still didn't realize that I would actually be in another country--on another continent--in fewer than 24 hours. Things started to sink in when I realized that the guy sitting next to me was German and I, after psyching myself for about half an hour, struck up a conversation: "Wohin fliegen Sie?" ("To where are you flying?"). I shortly realized that speaking to a native speaker with no knowledge of English on an airplane is difficult because of the ambient noise and my limited vocabulary, but I managed to hold my own. For a while. Then I just put my headphones in and pretended to sleep for a while.
After what seemed like an endless flight, I arrived at de Gaulle with less than an hour until my next flight, which would apparently be leaving from (of course) the opposite side of the airport. So I ran. Until I reached the very long line for customs. Then I ran. Until I reached the very long line for security, which I apparently had to go through again. Fortunately, I also met up with Juliana, another girl on my program, at that point. Unfortunately, I was covered in sweat since I had just been running through the airport with my sweater on. Ma la vita è così. Then, since our flight was leaving in twenty minutes, we proceeded to climb over people in the security line only to be stopped for a sweaty pat-down (me) and a pillow-inspired bag search (Juliana). Eventually we made it through and arrived at our gate with mere seconds to spare...only to find that there was no plane. Instead, there was a bus. So we got in the bus and drove around in the dark for ten minutes or so before actually reaching the plane.
Two hours later, after a fairly uneventful flight, we arrived in Bologna...only to realize that Juliana's bags had been lost somewhere between JFK and Paris. In fact, they still aren't here. For her sake, I hope they arrive soon!
Once in Bologna, we got our keys from the Brown office and , after some confusion, made our separate ways to our apartments. Mine is wonderful! It's almost in the center of the city, about a two minute walk from the main square, la Piazza Santa Maggiore (con la fontana di Nettuno/with the fountain of Neptune--pictures to come eventually). I have three roommates, but one is currently in London so I haven't met her yet. Benedetta and Cecilia are Italian and don't really speak English, which will be great for my language skills since speaking Italian won't be optional. Charlotte is American and goes to Brown, but she was here last semester as well and consequently will be much more fluent than I. She also won't be here for about another month.
After a brief moment of panic when I first walked into my new room to find it dark and mysteriously full of fake flowers and another brief moment of panic when I realized that I couldn't open the door from the inside (have no fear--after about 10 minutes I figured it out), I've been settling into my new apartment without incident. Once I have some time I'm planning to take some pictures of a few fun details (like the door) for you all, my audience. I also plan to find myself a bollitore (tea kettle) sometime soon. Since conquering the stove (like the door, it is also unlike anything I had previously seen), I have returned to drinking tea nearly constantly. You will be pleased to know, then, that one can find tea nei negozi (shops) in Bologna. Although mostly herbal.
Anyway, my time in Bologna since that first day has been a whirlwind. Brown has certainly been keeping me busy! Notable highlights include:
1. Spending two hours in TIM (the phone store) with four other kids from my program trying to buy phones and making friends with Fabio, who worked there. In fact, he was the one who taught me the word bollitore (but only after mistakenly assuring me that I was looking for a scaldabagno, which is a boiler).
2. Seeing the only original anatomy theatre left in Europe. It was damaged by Allied bombs during WWII but was later reconstructed using original materials. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera when I was there, but below is a painting by Thomas Eakins of a similar anatomy theatre as it would have appeared while in use. Crazy.
|Thomas Eakins, The Agnew Clinic|
3. Meeting my language partner/mandatory friend Matteo! He seems fantastic, which is good seeing as we have to spend so much one-on-one time together.
4. Dinner with Diego the first night I was here. He is an Italian student living in one of the other apartments and the first night we were here he cooked dinner with several of us Americans and put up with not only our marginal Italian skills but our jet-lag induced pazzia (craziness). The conversation may not have been smooth (you try explaining cooties in Italian), but it was certainly molto divertente (a lot of fun).
Well, that's all for now as my computer is dying and the plug doesn't appear to be working anymore (which is very strange, considering the fact that my desk lamp is currently plugged into the same power strip). More to come a presto!