I honestly don’t know where the past three months have gone. Yesterday a friend told me that we have less than 50 days left in Italy. How did that happen?
On the bright side, I do have about two months left of my stay in Bologna, and I definitely plan on making the most of them. Future excursions include sightseeing in Milan, spending the day in Ravenna, and maybe even returning to Rome. A lot of my friends in the program have been making trips to other European countries, but since coming to Italy has been a life dream of mine, I’ve been trying to see as much of it as possible. There are so many Italian places to visit, and most of them are only a short hour away by train. I’ve also been taking the opportunity to discover new spots and visit different places in Bologna. There are so many fun things to do in this city.
For instance, the other day my friend Sam and I took advantage of the nice weather and went for a stroll around Bologna. During the weekend, the streets in centro are closed down so that pedestrians can walk and hang out in them. Sam and I browsed through the stores in the area and did a bit of shopping ourselves. We then visited Cremeria Funivia, which is, in my opinion, one of the best gelaterie in Bologna. I get the flavor “Alice” every time, and with good reason. It is an amazingly creamy mascarpone gelato. The real kicker about this one, though, is that when you order it, the lovely people at the gelateria pour Nutella into the bottom of the cone. Nutella! I don’t think you can get any closer to heaven than that.
Some of my best, non-gelato-related experiences this month have related to Halloween. In Italy, Halloween is a relatively new holiday, and is only really celebrated by young children. However, their enthusiasm for the holiday is quite adorable, and I am sure that the celebration will become more popular in upcoming years. Two weekends before Halloween, my friend Lily and I volunteered to work at the children’s Halloween party held every year in a local park by a group that teaches English to Italian kids in the community.
The night before the party, Lily and I met up to create the different activity stations and make the park look spooky. The next day, we all arrived in costume (Lily and I were glitter fairies because we thought loads of glitter and fairy wings would make a good combination) and went to our respective stations. I got to paint faces, which turned out to be a fabulous experience. The kids were incredibly cute, and I loved speaking Italian with them. By the end of the party, I became pretty fantastic at painting la zucca (pumpkin), il gatto (cat), and la ragnatela (spiderweb). I was quite the artista, if I do say so myself.
After the party wrapped up, we all stayed around to clean up and eat the leftover food. However, Lily and I ended up playing and running around with some of the kids who were still there. All in all, it was definitely one of the best things I’ve done in Italy.
On Thursday (Halloween), I had a cena (dinner) for my Italian housemates and a few of my friends from the program. My roommate and I decorated the kitchen with some cutesy decorations that I found at the 99 cent store. Later, we all sat down to an amazing dinner of Gorgonzola-stuffed tomatoes and pasta with broccoli, breadcrumbs, and anchovies. For dessert, we ate sugar cookies and tiramisu. Then we all sat back and watched Jeepers Creepers to get us in the Halloween mood. By the end of the night, the food was gone, the decorations were drooping slightly, and we were all scared that something was going to jump out at us from around the corner.