Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Getting ready...

This morning is a typical late-August morning: crystal blue skies, lush green everywhere, bright sun bursting through the trees, and the temperature not quite as warm as it had been all summer.  All these are signs that a new school year is rolling around.  But this semester is a special one.  I am not packing up my mother’s minivan and making the drive to Connecticut College within the confines of campus and my best friends.  Tomorrow I leave for the biggest adventure of my life thus far.  I am flying nine hours to the homeland of my ancestors: Italy. 

I am embarking on one of the most memorable and exciting experiences I will have in my lifetime.  Therefore, I want to share my journey with all my family and friends through this blog.  I’ve always been against blogs, thinking they were just so pointless.  But this is the most logical way to update everyone back home and friends abroad of my life in Italy and share some amazing pictures.  Okay, so I caved.

In preparation for my three and half months abroad, I have watched Eat Pray Love and Under the Tuscan Sun only familiarizing myself with the lapse of luxury and deliciousness of the country.  Both movies take place in Tuscany, the most beautiful and picturesque views of Italy.  I will be studying at the Umbra Institute in Perugia, the capital of the Umbria region, which borders the Tuscany region.  Perugia has been described as a small college-town where the old and the modern overlap.  I have also read excerpts from a cookbook my grandmother often refers to in the kitchen: Ciao Italia by Mary Ann Esposito.  I can’t help but relate to how she describes the role of food and cooking in an Italian family.  It’s almost as if she was standing in my family’s kitchen, especially around the holidays, talking about us.  When she talks about how food is way of “keeping alive the Italian trait of openness, caring, and respect”, I guess all Italians are alike in that way.

To be honest, knowing that tomorrow starts a whole new way of life for me in a foreign country freaks me out just as much as it excites me.  The language barrier is one thing.  I’ve perfected the art of saying “grazie” or thank you.  But I’ll get over that quickly as next weeks classes are strictly language classes.  However, I think the thing that is driving me the craziest is the mystery of the unknown.  But then I remember that everyone who is studying abroad is experiencing the same emotional roller-coaster.  Because that’s what it is-I’m happy and excited one minute and then a nervous wreck the next. 

So, with my imaginary glass of vino at this present moment, cheers to an extraordinary semester abroad!  What an incredible learning and growing experience it will prove to be. 



  1. Good Luck Melissa and have a grand time!!!!!!

    i have signed up for your blog and am looking forward to reading about your adventures!!!!

    Love Mark

  2. Melissa, just to make sure my text was clear:
    Trattoria, now Ristorante, Dal Mi Cocco,
    Corso Garibaldi # 12
    075 573 25 11
    is just down the hill from Arco Etrusco.
    Popular with students, it has a set meal, big portions, for about 14-15 E, according to Lonely Planet. Lunch and Dinner, wise to make reservations.
    I'm so excited for you, this will indeed be one of the most significant experiences of your life!
    Enjoy the Vino Rosso. You know Umbrian wine is the best in Italy....just ask a native. I agree.
    Buona Fortuna!
    Keep breathing. Lots of Love, Tim

  3. Thank you Mark and Timmy very much!! I am beyond excited to be here and I can't wait to share stories with y'all :)

  4. Melissa, I'm breathless from digesting your initiation into the life and culture of Perugia. You've even become a witness to history...can't wait to see the TV footage. Your comments are so candid and telling, I see a bit of journalism in your future!
    Assisi was cold, icy, and snowy the two days I was there, but I loved all of it, could feel the spirits of the past everywhere. Did you get to go underneath the Church of Minerva and see the Roman ruins it was built on? Awesome. I have illicit photos to show you! I think the Italians don't approve of having a single glass of wine, so you've been introduced to "un quarto", which is actually the perfect amount.
    By now you must be deep into work, but enjoying every second. I want to be 20 again!Ciao, amore! Tim