Ciao Bella! Milano week one.

Buongiorno! I cannot contain my excitement! I am in Italy, living in an apartment, on the 9th floor of an amazing building, right near the biggest shopping street in Milano, the fashion capitol of the world. It is incredible, unbelievable, breathtaking and so terrifying that I find it difficult not to scream every time someone talks to me in Italian. I want to learn the language so bad, but I feel like I have auditory dyslexia! Not being able to understand someone is probably the most frustrating part about being abroad. In any case, I digress.

Life in Milano is, well, epic. In the morning, Italians have either espresso, or cappuccino, plus some type of pastry for breakfast. THIS IS SO DIFFERENT. For one thing, I’m used to a very hearty breakfast, full of grains and protein, and some type of fruit. It’s no wonder the Italians are so skinny! They eat 3 times a day – tiny, tiny, tiny breakfast, medium sized lunch, small dinner. How? How is this possible? I don’t understand. I get famished after about an hour of having my cappuccino and croissant, and I have to wait a good three hours before being able to eat – by this time, there’s no way that I can concentrate on anything that anyone is saying, let alone what I’m supposed to be doing.

Classes haven’t started yet. Today (Sept. 7) was the first day of our intensive Italian language courses, that go through next week, before our actual classes start. The past week has been mostly orientation. They literally had us doing things from 8:30 in the morning until 6:30 in the evening. Combined with the jetlag, it was killer, but incredibly, incredibly fun. On Tuesday, we had our first orientation meeting in the Universit√† Cattolica – one of the oldest and most prestigious Catholic Universities in the world. We had a tour of the campus, and by-golly-wow, is it amazing!

On Tuesday night, my program brought us out for Aperitivo, which is where you go to a bar/club, and pay maybe 6 or 7 euro for a drink, and get unlimited finger food for the night. Every drink costs the same at Apertivo, so a really cheap cocktail is about as much as a really nice cocktail, and vice versa. IES took us to this place off the yellow metro line in the middle of the city called Bobino – very elegant, very fun. There was a water fountain in the middle of the seating area – way cool! My housemates and I got Moscow Mules as our first cocktails – even though we are all only 20 years old. Unlike in the states, there’s technically no drinking age in Italy, as is the same with smoking – if you’re old enough to pay for it on your own, then cheers! Drink up!

On Wednesday we did some boring paperwork type things. We had our first trip to the market in the evening though, and made pasta with our Community Assistant! It was delicious.

On Thursday, we had a tour of the city of Milano, starting from the Duomo which is in the heart of the city. We didn’t actually get to go inside the Duomo, but we were told about it’s origins, as well as many other interesting facts about the city. The Duomo is the THIRD LARGEST Catholic Cathedral in the ENTIRE WORLD. At the very top, there’s a huge golden statue of the virgin Mary. It’s absolutely spectacular. In the evening, IES treated us to a spa. It was relaxing – the sauna was a train car! And after relaxing in the sauna for about 10 minutes, you wash off in a cold shower, and dunk your whole body in an icy bath seven times – it is SOOOO refreshing! After relaxing at the spa, a few of my friends from my program and I went to Vogue’s Fashion Night Out in the designer district of Milano. We went to Versace, Swatch, Armani, and a few other really expensive places – I regret to say that I didn’t buy anything, but it was absolutely magnificent! Apparently David Guetta and Bob Sinclair were playing in the big square outside of the Duomo. I would have killed to go see them play, but my friends wanted to go find a place to eat and have something to drink, so alas, we ended up at a place about a mile or two north of the Duomo, in a MEXICAN restaurant called Damas. It was so much fun. Here are a few photos of the masses of people at Vogue’s Fashion Night Out –

Alright well I think I’m done for now! As I said, today was the first day of my intensive Italian classes – they go for three hours! I’m pooped. I’m gonna go to the market and see if I can get some pasta or something for dinner tonight. Ciao ciao!

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