Hello everyone! It has been a while since I have consistently written posts, and I attribute it to a couple things:
- I was exploring a new relationship
- I moved to Italy! — By myself — With no friends or family — with a program of complete strangers — and I’ve only taken Italian for two years.
So here I am, finally settled and comfortable enough to talk about how terrifying and incredible and hard and exciting this experience is.
Week 1: Tears. I cried when I said goodbye to my house (because we’re selling it and I’ll never again live in the home I grew up in). I cried leaving my job. I cried saying goodbye to my boyfriend. I cried with my mom in the airport. I cried every day for the first week.
The strong emotions and sadness I was feeling surprised me a lot–after all, this is supposed to be the most fun and incredible experience of my life, but all I was feeling was fear, isolation, and sadness, which were not immediately redeemed by the fact I was in a beautiful country.
Week 2: Acclimating and Frustration. Things got easier as I cried less often, but I found myself clinging to Facetiming my mom and boyfriend to get me through. I weighed heavily on their support, but was too stressed to try to talk to any other friends back home. I got more used to the people in my program, but felt more insecure as I learned how much more experienced with travel and language they are than I am. I felt happy when I could find a grocery store but then frustrated when I learned I had to go to a different store to buy meat. I was happy to find a park to run in but frustrated when I couldn’t communicate well enough to purchase a gym membership.
Week 3: Planning and Accepting. This week still brought frustrations of its own, but there was much more comfort as things became more familiar. I was able to start making the best of things by decorating my apartment, signing up for classes, and figuring out my schedule. I began cooking almost every meal, and feeling better equipped to live in my very first apartment.
Week 4: Energy and Excitement. This is the mood I am in this week. I find myself savoring the views as I walk up and down the city streets. I have a new plan where I aim to try/see/taste/experience one new cultural thing a day to help me learn more about Bologna, Italy. I am visiting museums, cathedrals, I got Italian books from the library, I went shopping for Italian clothes, and I am trying to eat healthily. I am actually happy to be here and I am excited to integrate and become more fluent in the language, and make friends and build a life for myself that is different from any version of life I have lived before.
This was my timeline of feelings during the transition, and it surprised me! I didn’t expect it to be as hard as it was, because these are things no one said. Sure they said “you’ll experience culture-shock,” but that seemed vague to me, and I was more focused on when they said “studying abroad is SO fun SO amazing you HAVE to do it.” So I wanted to share my honest experience with it. I hope you all enjoyed this, and I can’t wait to share more about Healthy Life Perspectives–IN ITALY! 🙂
Thank you for reading! xo