Albano Laziale – Roma Termini – Milano Centrale – Milano Malpensa Airport – Singapore Changi Airport – Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport – HOME

Italia. I miss it already. Even though there are so many things I’m looking forward to back at home, like seeing family and friends, SUMMER+not having to layer up…these short, yet two unforgettable months in Italy have probably been one of the best, if not the best time of my life.

As I write this on the plane from Milan to Singapore, our current ground speed is 1082km/h, cruising at an altitude of 10667m with an outside temperature of -42˚C.

By far the longest leg of the journey, my attempts (in vain) to re-adjust back to life in Sydney as quickly as possible by following [GMT+10] ended up in watching Suits, so now I thought I might as well take this sleepless flight hitherto in updating the shenanigans of the past few days.

The last day of school itself was paradoxically a joyous yet sad occasion. In the first sense, it’s so satisfying to think that I was able to fully integrate myself into a class of people who’d already been together and known each other really well for several years; at a local Italian ‘liceo’; entirely in Italian.

On the other hand, the fact that I was able to assimilate made it all the more harder to do everything for the last time, and say goodbye to the lovely people I’d come to know so well. We went out together as a class for my farewell party at a ‘fraschetta’… which was undoubtedly one of the best nights ever! It was SO much fun, and definitely the best way to end off my last night in Ariccia with the nicest people – LOVE.

Every day over the past two months, I think I’ve learnt something new or done something really exciting, and so for yesterday…I went for a spin in a Ferrari. Sure, might I mention here that I only just recently found out that my host family owns 6 cars, one of them being a Ferrari. It was SO cool, it was an old, almost collectible Ferrari…and we definitely got a few glances around town!

After wasting a lot of time with unnecessary bureaucracy at the post office to send off my parcel (including filling out the same form three times!) we finally left for Albano and caught the train to Termini. I think the reality of nearly being at the end of this amazing experience somewhat registered as the train slowly pulled out…oh the nostalgia!

Meeting up with the other exchanges from Australia in Milan was really cool, and over dinner at the hotel we chatted about our Italian experiences and adventures. I shared a room with Eliza for the night, and it was really nice that we could get to know each other, and just share random thoughts and memories together in Italian.  Surprisingly enough though, it was mutually agreed that at this very moment it’s easier to think and speak in Italian rather than English! Sure, we had our sporadic spurts of English words and phrases, but it was actually really fun – such an enjoyable night!

Morning of departure: From the beginning of the trip, I must say one of the moments I’d seriously been dreading was seeing the weight of my luggage on the check-in scales on return. So thanks to two months of being (very) wary and somewhat paranoid about it, in the end I only clocked in at 21kg. It was so good though, because I was somehow able to get a lot of shopping done here as well – oh yeah!

Transit in Singapore wasn’t actually too bad, party because Changi Airport is seriously one of the best airports ever. So during the few hours of waiting for our final flight back to Sydney, we ate heaps of food, went shopping, updated our social lives…and even visited the beautiful ‘butterfly garden’ inside! Running down the travelators with our trolleys (just for the sake of it, not because we were late or anything) towards our gate was SO much fun haha – and of course, done with the lovely Tessa and Christine among others.

The flight from Singapore to Sydney was SO packed but fortunately I was sitting next to good people so it was alright. I guess I didn’t previously realise how much I enjoy long aeroplane conversations with the random strangers next to you – fun times! There came a stage where there weren’t any movies left that I still wanted to watch, moderate turbulence, and a cacophony of screaming babies in the row behind…but for times like these, noise-cancelling headphones are definitely the best thing ever.

So in the end after about 30 hours of continuously being awake – I finally made it HOME. Welcome to Sydney, casa dolce casa!

xxxxxxx

Serena

[Liceo Classico Statale James Joyce – 3˚LA]

[A bit of time zone confusion – where am I?]

They say ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’

After about 30 hours of travelling, I’m finally here. In Ariccia!

Currently its 2:51am in Sydney (hurrah, loving jet lag) but it’s 4:51pm here in Italy. The flight from Milan to Rome was surprisingly really enjoyable, I managed to have a really good chat with a guy from Rome who gave me a quick crash-course on conversational Italian and ended up giving me his book which was SO nice of him.

Once I got out of the airport, the first thing I noticed was the weather. Dare I say, from my last impressions – the weather in Rome is better than it is in Sydney (at midday-afternoon at least), even though it’s winter!

After meeting my host parents (who are lovely by the way), we drove to their house, followed by lunch after Valerio (my host brother) got home from school. Lunch itself was alright, I did try a shot of espresso for the very first time, it was actually pretty good!

Italian though! Ah it’s so hard, everyone speaks so fast! The urge to just speak english is unbelievably overwhelming, but I just have to keep reminding myself that english is not the reason why I’m here. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. But after all, I’m in Italy – and as they say, ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do.’ I hope it soon gets a bit easier though!

Afterwards, we abbiamo fatto una passeggiata around the town centre, which was really nice. Italy is such a beautiful country, I love it already!

A domani,

xxxxxxx

Serena

[Ariccia town centre]

Departure in 48 hours

Alright, so here it is – my official blog following my adventures in Italy on exchange for two months. Inspired by Ceren (check it out here!) and spurred on by many others, hopefully I’ll be able to document and share my journey and experiences with you all every now and then.

I’m really, really excited, but being my first time in Europe, I’m not quite sure what to expect. For those of you who don’t already know, I’ll be living in Ariccia, a town within an hour’s drive of Rome which should be amazing!

At the moment, I’m just finalising my packing, finishing off my Christmas cards and crossing things off my extensive to-do list. I guess it really hasn’t yet hit me that I’m leaving in exactly 48 hours; Italy is still the distant, foreign place I’m going to at the end of this year.

While I hope to make the most of this incredible opportunity in experiencing the culture, learning the language and meeting so many new people, right now just thinking about being so far away from family, friends and the people and places I love most for two months makes me really upset.

So while I’m really keen for take-off, I don’t know how I’m actually going to survive by myself for that long. I guess everything changes once I actually get there though!

A dopo!

xxxxxxx

Serena