For those of you reading this before lunch or after dinner, no, I do not mean Milano cookies. I mean Milan, the fashion capital of the world (sorry Paris) located in Northern Italy and home to Universita Comerciale da Luigi Bocconi, the soon to be home of me.
Now, believe it or not, I did not just name my post so I could drop in a little comedic line about Milano cookies. (I thought about saying something about actress Alyssa Milano, but we can’t use up all of the good stuff on the first post.) Instead, it is supposed to be symbolic of the polarization between my life in America and the life I’m about to embark on in Italia. (Who says Richmond kids aren’t smart?) While the climates may be the same, the culture is not. The people, the language, the food (oh baby, the food!), activities, fashion… there will be a lot of adjusting for someone who steps outside of his comfort zone one foot at a time, with his finger on speed dial to call home to mommy. Okay, no, I’m not really that bad, but it’s going to take some getting used to, and my nervous excitement continues to grow into a ball of… we’ll call it uncertainty, best characterized by the word “duh.”
However, as my plans come together and the days get closer, everything is becoming real for me. Yes, I’m really going to Italy, yes, I’m going to be out of the country for 4 months, yes, I really need to pack. (Thanks Mom). However, I view the challenges with strength to overcome them, like the Marco Polo of my day, and I view the opportunities with something best described as jumping-off-the-walls excitement.
My head is spinning with questions like, when can I move into my dorm? Should I get an Italian phone? Do they deport Americans who forget important paperwork? But overall, I’m letting my excitement and optimism get the best of me. My friend who is somewhat of a study abroad guru, having spent a semester in both New Zealand and China and currently petitioning his University for a third semester in Spain, gave me some advice that I hold in high regard. It’s like getting home decorating advice from Martha Stewart (or maybe stock trading tips), golf lessons from Tiger Woods (well, I mean old Tiger… New Tiger is a different story), or hair care lessons from Mr. Clean (whether you like the clean shaven look or not, you have to admit the guy cleans up good… cheesy pun intended). Anyway, I digress. He said to be like Jim Carrey in Yes Man and embrace every opportunity, meet new people, explore as much as possible, and make sure to expand your horizons and blend into the culture and society where you are living. Finally, he said, take every action or opportunity like a new adventure to embark on, make a memory, good or bad, and learn about life and about yourself through new experiences. So consider me Dora the freaking Explorer. I plan on enjoying this once in a lifetime experience by being true to myself and accepting the changes and opportunities around me. So for those of you reading out there, I feel like this blog should be quite entertaining, and I can’t wait to share the next 4 months exploring the land of my ancestors with y’all. So goodbye for now, family, see ya later best friend & girlfriend, peace out friends from Richmond and New Jersey, ciao Uncle Sam, arrivederci hurricane Irene, and hasta luego Statue of Liberty (Ut oh… that last one was in Spanish… I’m in trouble.)