1253 hours of living the dream

So this is it – my last post. Reflecting on exchange as a whole, it has truly been incredible and one that I will never forget. I have to say I enjoyed every moment, every experience – and it was honestly all I could possibly ask for. Over the past two months I’ve come across so many new things and learnt SO much (both Italian and otherwise); it’s ALL been extraordinary!

I should also take this opportunity to thank my wonderful family and friends for supporting me the whole way through, without you all things wouldn’t have been able to turn out the perfect way they have…and also to anyone who’s been reading my blog. Sure, I’ll never know who you are and hence won’t be able to thank you personally – but it’s hard to believe that it’s been viewed a staggering 2000 times altogether!

Also to all my regà: grazie mille per tutto – vi manco già; ci vediamo presto, per favore! I’m definitely going to miss the Italian pronunciation of my name, as difficult as it was getting used to at first, and what everyone would call me in class given how much they love and thrive on abbreviations.

Although it felt so good to be able to wear a singlet, shorts and thongs this morning – I feel as though there’s a part of me still living in Italy. Walking the streets felt somewhat distant, and to concrete my musing, three shops on the main street have completely changed as of two months ago. But it’ll be okay – Sydney is still by far the place I call home and even though Italy was amazing in every way – it’s time to come back to reality. 1253 hours of living the dream. School starts on Monday, and I have a huge year ahead of me. But that doesn’t lessen the possibility of return next year, right? I know I’ll definitely be back…after all, I did throw my coins into the Trevi Fountain in Rome haha.

From day 1, my initial impressions were formed by immediately associating a new place I’d go to with one that I’d already visited in the past. In the end, the pastiche consisted of a little bit of Sydney, a bit of Katoomba, a bit of New Zealand, a bit of America, a bit of Canada, a bit of China, and even a bit of Mongolia. After all these signposts…I guess it’s time to make a new framework in my mind: Italy.

Grazie ancora, mi sono divertita. Fino a quando ci incontreremo di nuovo, arrivederci!

xxxxxxx

Serè

PS Just got back from the shops again – I actually meant to say seven shops had changed in some way instead of three…obviously wasn’t looking hard enough yesterday! [29/1/12]

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?]

Departure in 48 hours

So it’s come around again. Departure in 48 hours…only this time in reverse. I guess I don’t actually get home until Friday night, but without travelling, trains, planes, hotels and transit, in exactly 48 hours I would have just boarded my train from Rome to Milan.

I’m feeling so ambivalent right now, and packing is seriously the last thing I want to do. I can’t believe how quickly the past two months have flown by, and just when everything is perfect…it’s time to say goodbye. I’ve absolutely LOVED every moment spent here, and it’s so sad to think that it’s all coming to an end in just a little while.

There are so many things I’m going to miss, like FRIENDS, the experience as a whole, the food, Italian (the language itself), just casually going to Rome, school… and even trivial things like catching different phases on Facebook based on what time it is, putting my jacket on the fourth hook from the right each morning at school, hearing the sound of an iPhone charging at the same time each night and saying ‘pronto!’ instead of ‘hello?’ when answering the phone…among so many others.

It’s all getting a bit real, tomorrow is my last day of school. The friends I’ve made are all so lovely, and it’s sad to think that I’m not going to see the people I’ve gotten to know so well for a while. But thank goodness for the Internet though, we’ll still be able to ‘chiacchieriamo insieme’ and now this gives me more leverage to start planning (and save up for) a return trip back to Italy!

Buonanotte Italia (Good morning Australia…literally!)

xxxxxxx

Serena

Capodanno a Roma

2012 eventually arrived…happy new year!

Allora, una festa with friends from school among others was supposed to be held at home for NYE yesterday, and pretty much everything was set up and ready – however in the afternoon a few people bailed for whatever reason and subsequently the whole thing was called off. Vexing, yet as recompense I spent new year’s eve at the Colosseum in Rome.

As you’d expect, la metropolitana was packed with masses of people, but once we arrived it actually wasn’t as crowded as I’d expected. I guess the main difference was the fact that there wasn’t one centralised place where everyone gathered; rather it was just a huge celebration all around the city!

Vibe is definitely something I can’t describe adequately enough – all I can say is that the Romans know how to party! I fuochi d’artificio was spectacular, but to be honest I don’t think any city can ever rival Sydney. Given amateur fireworks are readily available from the shops everywhere, they were set off all throughout the night which was generally pretty exciting!

At midnight, we toasted spumante along with the rest of the city and once we got home, apparently it’s some sort of tradition to eat ‘cornetti’ (croissants), so in the end I went to bed after 3am. It was really fun though and a great start to the year, I’m really looking forward to 2012 and all that it brings!

xxxxxxx

Serena

Ps – as I mentioned briefly in my last post, we’re going to the mountains for a week so I won’t be able to update anything until I get back. Even though it looks so amazing, unfortunately I can’t go skiing due to restrictions with contracts, insurance and whatnot but hopefully it’ll be a relaxing time away!

[NYE ’11 at the Colosseum]