Mi dispiace per non ho scritto nel mese! (I’m sorry for not having written in a month!)
Things have been absolutely CRAZY. I realize that I haven’t written a blog post in about a month or so, but it’s been difficult to find the time to actually write anything that ISN’T related to homework!
So, here it is: what I’ve been doing for the last month in Milano, and what is soon to come! I hope you’ll forgive how LONG this post is – I promise the next few ones won’t be, because I hope to write one per week if I’m lucky. Hopefully every Monday so that ya’ll aren’t starved for information about life in Milano!
FIRST: I’d like to call to attention that I received a few emails from students that want to know about life in Milan. NO, I AM NOT IGNORING YOU! Things have just been really crazy, and I will email back ASAP! And by ASAP I mean hopefully within the next week. Milano is so wonderful that you barely have time to read your emails, let alone check if you got any new ones – and if you’re like me, then you have about a gazillion from clubs on campus that you signed up for at the LAST LogJam. In any case, I digress.
Back in September, my housemates and I went to a place called Cinque Terre – which literally means “Five Lands”. It’s a vacation destination along the north-western coast of Italy, and it consists of five separate towns all built into the mountains. There, we stayed at the southernmost town called Riomaggiore, and let me tell you, it was absolutely MAGNIFICENT. Every day was clear and beautiful along the Mediterranean. On the first night we drank wine on the rocks and watched the sun set in the distance. Here’s an amazing photo of the sun as it’s setting, taken from my iPhone!
After watching the sunset, my housemates and I went and ate at an amazing restaurant that had some of the best seafood I have ever tasted – Cinque Terre, and Riomaggiore specifically, are renowned for their seafood and for their PESTO (fave)! We then went to the rocks to just chill and talk, and met a group of Italians from La Spezia who sat and chatted with us at the local bar (which was open until 1am, as most “bars” are). They informed us that we could get to the northern-most city, Monterosso, very easily: the tickets were €2 each, and trains came every five minutes. So, the next day, our group was off to Monterosso to go swimming!
Suffice to say, swimming in Monterosso was an amazing adventure. The waves would take you out and out and out and then you could ride them into shore if you caught them at the exact right time! I would go out as far as I could, until I couldn’t see my housemates, and then ride them in to shore within a few minutes. It was exhausting, but thrilling at the same time! The water is so clear that you can see the bottom – which scares me to no end because eek! Sharks! Haha.
Alright – you guys get the gist, Cinque Terre was a hoot and a half: filled with cheap wine, cliff jumping, and parlante con begli italiani ragazzi (speaking with beautiful Italian boys).
Onward! The next weekend was the weekend of the IES abroad field trip to Sicily – I did NOT go, mostly because it was too expensive for my family to pay the extra $500 it would have cost, but man, looking at the photos, I wish I had gone!! I mostly stayed in, and went shopping on Corso Buenos Aires – which leads me to my next topic of discussion….. FARE SPESE!! (shopping)
Okay, so I know that in my last post I didn’t really get a chance to talk about WHERE in Milano I was living. Now that I’ve had a chance to scope that all out, I figured I’d explain it. Within the city, there are “districts”. My housemates and I live in one of the BEST districts of Milano. YES, it is far away from the IES abroad center, meaning it takes about 30 minutes via metro and walking (’bout 20 via metro and a bus if you want to take that route) to get to class every morning, but man, the area is absolutely beautiful. I live about ten steps away from the BIGGEST SHOPPING STRIP IN THE CITY. And for those of you that know about Milano, that’s a BIG DEAL. A WAY BIG DEAL. Milano is the fashion capitol of Europe, so you can imagine what living next to the biggest shopping strip can be like – shopping. All day. Erryday. Holla atcha girl okaayyyyyy.
I cannot stress enough how much I love where I live. You name it, we got it (except for Forever 21, which is fine by me). There are three H&Ms, Nike, OVS, Mango, United Colors of Benetton, Guess, Guess KIDS, Stradivarius, two Kiko’s (makeup: MILANO), LUSH Cosmetics, PimKie, Accessorize, Dolce & Gabbana, Emporio Armani, Vivienne Westwood, Levi’s, Hollister & co, and SO MUCH MORE! All of the international brand companies just thrown into ONE BIG STRIP. It’s absolutely incredible. It goes on for about five metro stops on the red line – San Babila being the first one, then Palestra, Pt.A Venezia (my stop), Lima, Loreto, and probably more (I just haven’t had a chance to walk the entire thing yet!). It’s beautiful and kinda intimidating at first – the shopkeepers yell at you if you put things in the wrong place, people are always trying to get something before you do, and the prices are comparable to those of New York City or San Francisco. Non è economico, ma non molto costoso! (not cheap, but not too expensive!)
Okay, before I ramble on and on and on about everything about the city, let me pace myself. Here are a few things, in bullets, that I have learned about Italy and the Italian lifestyle.
- Every. Single. Woman. Has a Louis Vuitton purse. Whether faux or real. It doesn’t matter. They have one.
- “Un caffè” is a staple. “Un Cappuccino” is only acceptable in the morning. “Un caffè” you can have ANY TIME, and they do, even after they eat dinner, which is at like 10pm.
- Siesta. Every day. Between the hours of 2pm and 4pm, the city shuts down – except for public transportation, and local bars (bars here are places where you can get food and coffee, NOT a drinking pub). Italians close up shop, go home, and sleep or chill out for two hours. You are SILENT. It’s wonderful, but also annoying when you want to go buy something but the farmacia near you is closed.
- Eggs are disgusting by themselves. You love scrambled eggs in the morning? Gross. Do NOT tell Italians you had that in the morning. Say “Ho mangiato un brioche e ho bevuto un caffè per la colazione” (I ate a pastry and I drank coffee for breakfast)
- ITALIANS. LOVE. AMERICANS. When you meet an Italian, they WILL ASK “Di dove sei?” (where are you from?) You reply: “Sono di Americana” (I am from America). Their reaction, ALWAYS: “AAAHHH AMERICANA!! MOLTO BENE!!” and then they hug you and ask what city. Guaranteed, if you say New York or San Francisco, they will give you their phone number and want to talk to you. Every. Single. Time.
- Italians will always talk to you in English if they know it. They’d rather speak to you in their patchy English than listen to your botched Italian.
- You WILL get looks on the metro if you try to fix your hair in the window. You have to leave the house looking presentable, and cannot futz with your hair, makeup, etc, in public.
- There ARE redheaded Italians. Not many, but they do exist.
- It is expected, if not encouraged, to drink wine every single day. And maybe a shot or two.
- Air conditioning and deodorant are luxuries. €300 Italian leather shoes, designer suits & handbags, and cigarettes are necessities.
- Gelato comes before red meat on the food pyramid. True facts.
- You can get everywhere via public transportation, UNLESS there’s a transportation strike (which happens about 4 times a semester, tbh). Good luck getting anywhere on time during one of those.
Okay. I think that’s it for now. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT MILANESE LIFESTYLE please email me!
Until next time, ragazzi! Ciaociao, arrivederci, buona sera.