- Driving- I miss my car. I miss being able to go anywhere without having to check time tables and deal with the person at the ticket counter or bus driver who may or may not speak English.
- The weather- Coming from Florida to Northern Italy wasn’t bad at first…in September. But it wasn’t long before I started seeing my breath in the cold winter air. I miss the sunshine and the beach.
- My own place- I went from living alone to living with 6 other people between the ages of 7 and 47 in a 4 bedroom house. They are the best Italian family I could ask for and they always respect my space. BUT, sometimes I just want to walk around without pants on or leave my clothes in the dryer for 3 days or sit on the couch in a robe all day and watch movies.
- The gym- The number of times I’ve worked out while being in Italy I can count on my hands. I have tried to do some basic bodyweight workouts either in my room or at the rugby fields. But it’s not the same. I can tell I have lost some of my strength. I have been running periodically. I (thankfully) haven’t gained any weight. Actually I have lost a little bit. But I attribute that more to the QUALITY of the food I’ve been eating and muscle loss than to diet or exercise.
- Wi-Fi/Mobile Data- This has been my number one struggle for the entire time I have been here. There is no internet at my house. I bought a wifi hotspot but I have to stand outside to use it (which is obviously inconvenient and was terrible once it started getting cold). There are some hotspots around the city, which is nice but again inconvenient and not fun in the cold. I wake up in the mornings and cannot check the weather/Facebook/Instagram. Or I think of something that I need to Google (lesson plans, train times, or what to do in various cities, usually) and I have to make a note to look it up whenever I have Internet access again. I can only talk with my family and friends through Whatsapp or Google Hangouts whenever I happen to be connected to the Internet. I haven’t even watched Netflix in months (even though they FINALLY have it in Italy) since any wifi I do find cannot stream anything. It has been one of the hardest changes and I cannot wait to be home to spend at least a week catching up with Pinterest, any new shows that have been added to Netflix, and any funny cat videos I might have missed.
1. Public Transportation- It is cheap, sometimes runs on time, and is very efficient. The entirety of Europe is out my front door and I can get anywhere in a fairly short amount of time. At home, I can barely make it out of the state of Florida in 4 hours. In Treviso, I can take the train/buses to Slovenia, Croatia, Austria, or Switzerland in that same timeframe. Most trains I have been on are fairly comfortable, safe, and are equipped with outlets for phone charging and sometimes Wi-Fi.
2. Autumn- Living in Florida, it is practically summer 90% of the year. I have been to the beach on Christmas Day before. Here, I was able to see the leaves change gradually from a hardy green to vibrant yellow or red before covering the ground. I even picked up snow when I visited the mountains. Having real seasons was a nice and welcome change.
3. My Italian Family- They have truly welcomed me into their home. They all love taking me on outings to show me not just the town but the entire Veneto region. They are always giving me recommendations on things to do or see with every new town I visit. They don’t laugh when I ask stupid questions (ex. “how do I use this bus ticket?” “how do I start the washing machine again?”) They invite me to family events (anniversary parties, birthdays, etc). They love teaching me about Italy’s rich history. Leaving them in two short weeks will be difficult. But I know I will see them again someday. It’s not an option.
4. The Food- I feel like I didn’t even know what food was until I came here. Everything is so fresh. There are things that I NEVER eat at home that I can’t get enough of here (ex. milk, green beans, and olives). There are things I always ate at home that I feel like I’m eating for the first time (salad, olive oil, and grapes). Why is everything so good?? Why can’t it be that way in America? I can find the farms that all my food comes from if I wanted. And I guarantee I wouldn’t travel more than an hour or two. Some of it even comes from our own (or a neighbor’s) backyard!!
5. Experiencing Life- Without my aforementioned Wi-Fi connection, I have been able to take everything in. I’m not up late sending messages to my friends back home (since there is a 6 hour time difference), I’m not late for work because I was too busy scrolling through Instagram, I don’t spend my downtime binging on Netflix. Instead, I spend time doing arts and crafts with my Italian sisters, or people watch at the square downtown, or I read books (*gasp*!) or I…ya know…travel around Europe. Don’t get me wrong, I always have my phone on me for pictures and whatnot. But actually the best moments I have had here, are not documented in pictures.
Just sitting in the square, listening to a man playing the accordion (in between the buildings), kids playing, people riding their bikes, others walking around or spending time with friends and I’m wondering how this is real life?! I feel like I’m in a movie!! #jentravelstheworld #italy #treviso #greenhearttravel A photo posted by Jen Sirois (@jenrunstheworld) on
All in all. I can say that I love Italy. I left my home, my job, my family, my country behind to follow my dreams. Not everyday has been easy but every minute has certainly been worth it. These next two weeks are going to fly by and I am both excited for and sad about heading back home!! ….Till next time!