Sunday, March 3, 2013
Laying here in my bed right now, I am absolutely exhausted. Italy is kicking my ass. But it's only because I'm trying to have so much fun and well, I do need to sleep some time. Friday was my friend Marissa's 21st birthday so that led to plenty of festivities both Thursday and Friday night to gear us up for a busy weekend in Milan. We left Saturday morning and arrived early afternoon on a beautiful to realize that no one had a map. I had written down directions from the hostel to the stadium without realizing that no one had communicated about this very important aspect. But nevertheless we got some maps from a hotel and started a ridiculously long trek across the city to our hostel. We were on a time crunch to get to the hostel at our designated check-in time and alas, I was unable to visit Via Albertini, but it does exist! I saw it on the map. After a brief respite in the hostel, we grabbed a quick dinner and walked to the stadium and it was finally all worth it. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, the whole point of going to Milan was to see the AC Milan vs. Lazio soccer game. It was an awesome experience. The stadium was beautiful. Our seats were really high up but we had an awesome view of the field. Behind one of the goals is the Milan super fan section. Some people have these massive flags. Some people light pyrotechnic red fires when goals are scored. And the entire section has choreographed cheers complete with hand gestures. It was unreal. I don't think there was a single Lazio fan in the whole stadium. Milan won 3-0 and two goals were scored by Pazzini - which is literally my dream last name. You take Pazza and Albertini and smush 'em together. It can't get any better than that. In the morning we were smart and took the subway into the center. Checked out the Duomo, some other touristy stuff, the rich fancy shopping district and meandered through this castle. In the afternoon, we were about to bite each other's heads off due to hunger but then we finally stumbled upon this open (because everything is usually closed on Sundays) little place in the park. After eating my sandwich I went back for a crepe (with Nutella, one of the greatest food inventions on Earth) and the guy was asking where I was from and such and we had this great little conversation. I told him I was here til the end of May and he told me that if I fell in love with a boy in Padova then I would never need to return to Massachusetts! He told me "In bocca al lupo" which is a phrase that means good luck, although it literally means "in the mouth of the wolf." It's always tempting to say grazie, but the guy got really excited when I responded with the correct phrase "Crepi" meaning "may it lay dead." Don't really know the history behind the phrase, but people say it all the time. Anyway, those moments are the best. When I can have a conversation with someone in a different language in a different country. I've been struggling a lot with travel plans because I feel like my other friends who study abroad go to a different country every weekend, and I feel like I should be doing that, but I know I don't have to. Sometimes I just feel like I should, but in all reality it's those little moments in Italian that are truly the greatest victories and richest experiences. We then strolled through the park. I know my friends probably think I'm krazy because I was excited enough by the ducks, fish, lizard, and turtle that we saw when all of a sudden there were pony rides!!!! But I was way too big for the ponies which was sad. We then sat down and just people watched for an hour. Apart from the soccer game, it was probably my favorite part of the week. We were quite proud of ourselves as we are now able to eavesdrop on little kid conversations. It was just so interesting to see the hustle and bustle of the park. The dogs chasing each other, the moms pushing strollers, the kids crying or running around, plenty of people running, the shin shining. It was awesome. An ambulance came and parked next to wear we were sitting and the guys were letting kids sit in the ambulance and try on the jacket. It was so cute to see the joy on the kids' faces. We decided to hit up some gelato before we left and it was finally warm enough for me to be happy to have some. I mean I have been eating gelato, but it's just not my favorite thing in the winter, so I certainly look forward to more warm days. After a long 3 hour train ride home plus the half hour walk back from the station, it was so overwhelmingly wonderful to come home to a dinner of pumpkin risotto, two types of fish, stuffed calamari, and breaded mussels. I was definitely in heaven. I was so happy to talk with my family. I asked Tommaso how his weekend was and he said "Che palle" which essentially means "balls" and I joked that it was because I was gone and my host mom thought that was really funny and she said if she ever needed to know where I was, she could just ask Tommaso. So it was quite nice to return to all of that. I shall now to sleep because I have quite a busy week ahead. I start my Marine Ecology course (taught in Italian) at the University of Padova, and I am so beyond excited to have a taste of science again!