Friday, July 20, 2012

It's about time

After what felt like an eternity (seriously, pretty sure I have grandkids already), my housing assignment finally came in! I nearly dropped my phone when I checked my e-mail at work, I couldn't contain myself. I'll be living in a small, quaint apartment in the historic center of Arezzo, five minutes from the university and the train station, with three other girls. The decor of the apartment totally screams European and I'm in love with our entry way and dining area. Although I had requested a single room, I'm looking forward to the learning experience that will come along with having to share a room with someone else. I've been living at home since I was a child and I've had my own room for as long as I can remember, it's going to be such a drastic change (the idea of having to wear pants in my room is daunting). But I'm going into this with optimism and the hope we all get along and don't have to deal with any conflicts, but I'm pretty sure that's setting the bar high in terms of expectations, no? One can always...dream, right? Just kidding, my roommates are texting me right now about what we're going to pack and if we want to meet up for coffee before we depart, so far so good!

Being on my own is going to be the most exciting and uneasy part. Although I've been pretty independent a majority of my life and can take care of myself, it's going to be strange not seeing my mom every day. The first time I move out would be to another country. If I leave something behind that I'll absolutely need, I can't just call my mom and say, "Hey mom, I forgot so-and-so, can you bring it to campus?" I won't be able to indulge in her home-cooking either, but I'm sure Italy will graciously take care of me in the food department. And the exciting part to this conundrum? No crazy curfews or third degree regarding where I'm going or with who. It's going to be the ultimate test to see if I can take care of myself, manage my time properly, and handle adult-like affairs such as finances/bills. This semester is going to be a roller coaster of emotions, ranging from exhilarating to stressful to eye-opening. I've booked my flight, picked my suitcases, and gotten my housing assignment and I'm still in denial about all of this. It's definitely going to be a life-changing experience and with 29 days left to go, I'm getting restless, nervous, and excited all at the same time!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

"See you in Rome! Wait...oh my god."

That's the line that stopped everyone dead in their tracks Tuesday night at the getting-to-know-everyone study abroad dinner I went to. It his us like a truck and our facial expressions were priceless, I wish someone had taken a picture. I was a nervous wreck before I left for the Italian restaurant (how appropriate) because I was worried it would be one of those painfully awkward dinners with dry conversation and unpleasant moments of silence, but it turned out to be the complete opposite. Everyone who showed up got along nicely and there was a variety of personalities present. There was an incredibly sassy guy named Kyle, who asked some of the funniest questions, "What kind of shoes do they wear in Italy? You better not wear Vans, because I will burn them, I hate them." There was also this hilarious guy named Craig, who joked around about being our bodyguard if we ever went to Amsterdam. As for the girls, one of them, Jenny, is a total party animal who's sarcasm is parallel to mine, I can tell it's going to be the start of a beautiful friendship. It was nice to be around people who will be experiencing the same things I will: edginess, excitement, packing/flight stress, all that fun stuff. Many of us came in that night with worries of not having others to travel with and we left with informal plans of places to visit together. Jenny already told me she'd be down to see a soccer game in Barcelona and we all discussed going to Germany, France, and possibly Morocco (I didn't even know we'd be able to do that). I'm definitely not as anxious as I was before and the linguini I had might have been the reason (lol let's be real, food can make any situation better).

I also ordered all of my books for my classes and they've been showing up on my doorstep! Not having to deal with accounting and math and fancy calculators and wanting to burn my books is going to be a breath of fresh air!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

35 days and counting

Airport Sign
Photo credit to Faz the Persian
until I board a plane (by myself for the first time, let's hope I don't take the wrong flight and end up in Australia or something) to Italy for four months. The reality of it all hit me pretty hard this week and the anxiety has set in. This will be the first time I'll be away from my family for more than a weekend and although I don't have a problem with that, it's going to be incredibly different being on my own. My sister came up to me and said, "You have 35 days until you leave and it's freaking me out, please don't leave." 35 days. Something I've wanted to do since I was a child is going to happen in almost a month and my stomach is doing cartwheels and a million questions are running through my head. What if I can't figure out how to get to the right terminal? What if I forget to pack something I really need? What if I hate my roommates? What if I can't visit all the places on my list? What if I'm so horrible with time management that I forget to turn in a major assignment? WHAT IF I GET PICK-POCKETED OR MUGGED?? We're talking about me here you guys, one of these is bound to happen, I have to prepare  myself.

I still have a difficult time comprehending that this is actually happening. After years of wishing, planning, and dealing with tons of setbacks, the time has finally come and my mind can't make sense of it. I guess these feelings accompany dreams coming true? It probably won't hit me until I get on my connecting flight to Rome from Chicago. In a few weeks, it'll be crunch time and I'll have to start getting everything ready for my departure. Packing (I still can't fathom how I'll fit four months worth of things into one suitcase and have it weigh less than 50 lbs, that's not easy challenge for a girl), making folders of important documents, calling airlines, and meeting with my study abroad group for dinner. So much to do!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Stack 'em






My love for crafts cannot be put into words and I blame 1) being artsy as a child and 2) all those years of watching "Out of the Box." Every now and then, I enjoy getting in touch with my inner Martha Stewart (pre jail cell, of course). So when I saw this amazing bracelet tutorial on Honestly WTF, I made it a mission to find all the materials and put my craftiness to use because it's been ages since I've sat down to do something artsy. Hunting down the required materials was not an easy feat, it took me two hours to find everything I needed because they didn't have exactly what I was looking for (hence the reason I had to spray paint the chains gold) or I kept getting distracted by other craft ideas. I made these a week ago for my best friend's birthday and in order to keep them a surprise, I couldn't post about them because she reads this blog HEY, HI, HELLO BEST FRIEND! But the wait was worth it because she loved them and now we have incredibly cliched, matching bracelets. They were really easy to make and can be effortlessly stacked (which I love); I would definitely give them a go if you get the chance.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Excited for school....what?

I finally have my schedule for the classes I will be taking in Italy when I'm not stuffing my face with pizza and gelato. You can tell from my unsteady hands that the classes in red are the ones I will be taking. I don't have classes on Monday and some Fridays (thank the heavens above) you know what this means? I'll have plenty of time to be studious and finish work ahead of time travel to all of the places on my list! I was worrying (let's be real, when am I not?) I wouldn't have many weekends to see everything I wanted to see, so all the squealing that resulted from seeing my schedule was totally warranted. I guess waiting to study abroad my junior year is worth it because if I had gone one or two semesters ago, I would have been in class much longer and I would have known less Italian. I remember being devastated each time I had to push it a semester back and now that it's finally happening, I'm excited to see how nicely everything has come together. 

I have yet to purchase any of my books because the idea of staring at expensive book prices and imagining my bank account shrinking doesn't sound so thrilling. And then comes the perplexing question of, "how am I going to fit these books into my suitcase along with four months worth of clothes, shoes, toiletries, etc?" Just the idea of packing leaves my mind in a whirlwind and the fact that I'll have to pack in 40 something days? Insanity (yes, exactly like the name of the workout I attempted where I failed miserably).

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Student visa has arrived!



I was at work when my sister texted me and let me know that a package from the Consolato Generale d'Italia arrived and I'm pretty sure my heart jumped out of my body and onto the floor. One of my co-workers told me his friend was trying to study abroad to Argentina and his visa application was denied and ever since that moment, I had been apprehensive about my own visa. "What if they denied me? What if they said no? I mean I already paid for my ticket and paid my deposit, how could they do this to me?!! I am an outstanding member of society!!" After practically throwing my phone across the room because of my shaky hands (I love how dramatic I'm making this out to be), I asked her to open it and when my phone buzzed again I was preparing for the most profound heart break of my life but instead, it was a picture message of my visa and I had to refrain from screaming, YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND. I couldn't contain my excitement and some of the parents noticed and congratulated me, it made my day.

The midsummer evaluation at work that I was brooding over also went exceptionally well. My boss didn't evil-laugh maniacally, there was no thundering/lightning, or any suspenseful/you're-getting-fired kind of music playing when I walked into her office. I was a nervous wreck (I peed like twice before I went in) that she would critique every fiber of my being, but she didn't have any recommendations on what I needed to improve and told me I was very pleasant to work with. Today has been amazing and you know what makes this day even better? I have tomorrow off!