This morning I woke up and felt like I was actually in college. Before today, life in Bologna had been pretty easy. I only had to worry about one class each day, left with most of my waking hours to explore the city and travel. Real classes started this week, though, and I am feeling slightly overwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong—the program classes at the E.C.C.O center are great. I’m taking a theater class and an Italian literature class, and I love them both. What’s freaking me out a little is navigating streets packed with university students and taking a lecture class at the University of Bologna with at least ninety-nine other native Italian speakers. I’m excited to be in the middle of it all, but I’m also nervous that I’m going to forget to do something or miss out on some important piece of information.
Today I tried to buy my first textbook, which I’m supposed to read by the end of the week. When I went to the bookstore, the woman I asked said that the store doesn’t carry any books published before the year2000. Needless to say, I was very confused. I returned to my apartment for lunch because, in stressful times, food is always the cure. I also emailed my professor in the most formal way possible about where to buy books; in Italy, professors and students do not communicate in casual terms. As a rule, I’ve learned that it is always better to keep correspondence professional.
I know that I will find my routine sooner or later, but for now I have to settle for living in a perpetually frazzled state. I guess I can’t complain too much, though. While I do have to read a different book every week for the university class, it concludes on October 30, and don’t have to take the final until November or December. In some ways, the Italian university system definitely rocks.
After my mini freak-out session, I calmed myself down and headed to my university class on contemporary Italian literature, which I am really enjoying. I sat next to a girl from Sweden who is also studying abroad. We talked about how awesome the professor is and how weird it is to be taking a class taught entirely in Italian.
I really needed to treat myself after such a trying day, so I went with a friend to some of the amazing vintage shops in the city. There are two stores really close to my dorm, and I’m in love with them both. My favorite one is called Zenobialand, where the owner brings her adorable dog to the store every day and specializes in clothing from the 1940s and 70s. Needless to say, I’m in heaven. After shopping, my friend and I went to the fruttivendolo and bought a ton of vegetables for 5€—produce is so cheap here! From there, we returned to the dorm and made a delicious antipasti platter with avocado, tomatoes, prosciutto, and olive oil. Ok, so maybe the avocado is not a traditional part of antipasti, but I was really craving it. We watched America’s Next Top Model: British Invasion and ate everything on the plate.
Of course, the antipasti platter was just the start. For some strange reason, I still had not bought myself a slice of legitimate Italian pizza since arriving in Bologna. As such, my two friends convinced me that we had to go to a pizza place down our street, and I am so glad that we did. We split two pies—one with tons of veggies and another with mozzarella and what looked like mashed tater tots. Those pizzas disappeared no more than thirty minutes after they were delivered to our table. It was, hands down, the best pizza I have ever eaten, and I have the food baby to prove it. You only JYA once, right?