Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ciao, Belles

Well ladies and gentlemen of the nonsense, the time has finally come. After months of gestating, deciding, worrying, forgetting, (and roughly 4 hours of actual preparation), the time has come for me to pack my bags for Rome. My flight leaves at 3:35pm today (Wednesday) from O'Hare airport. Then, 9 hours later, my life will likely change forever.

I promised myself that I would try and blog long before today came. Then, as per usual, life came. I worked and worked, my sister and mom came up to Chicago to visit/help me pack, I kind of fell for a girl (four days before I leave, well done bud), tried to throw an ill-advised and last-second going away party for myself and a couple of other Rome-ing friends (while seeing mostly people I didn't who know or didn't particularly care about my leaving), and more packing*.

*packing, n.: gerund form of 'pack': to identify large piles of things that you believe should PROBABLY be packed, opening a bag at the end of the table they are sitting on, and sweeping the lot into your carry-on bag with a prayer but no second glance.

Getting to this point has been....interesting. From not originally being able to decide on a locale (originally going to Spain, complete with immersive classes and a home stay, but then I remembered that I couldn't speak Spanish above a 3rd grade reading level) to always being about 3 months behind the rest of the group in my application process to getting my visa on MONDAY*, all of two days before I left the country for a semester. I really, truly, could not have handled it worse and still been accepted to go.

*A fun story in itself. Late last week I went to the Italian consulate after a night of poring over every scrap of paper in my possession that had the word "Rome" on it, going over and over the list I was given by our study abroad office that included all of the things I would need to get my visa. As I was at a friend's place (with the aforementioned girl, but different story), I didn't have my passport or my passport photos. I spent the night there after a long and intense game of Risk, knowing where both documents were and feeling confident in my preparedness.

The next morning, I went back to my apartment, showered, got all my stuff together, and headed over to the consulate. After a 30 minutes bus ride and 15 minutes of confused waiting around despite there being no one ahead of me in line, I finally got put in the right place. In front of me was a young gentleman about my age, talking about how this was his fifth visit to the consulate because he had kept having an incomplete application and all that...only to realize that he was still missing something having to do with finances.

"Ha, what a fool," I thought to myself smugly. "If only he had prepared like me and gone over his check list seventeen times, he wouldn't be in this situation!"



So that was fun, and really a perfect microcosm of my incompetence during the entirety of this process.

But by God, the Italians have let me into their country (so far - must not have looked into the Noodle Incident of 1999), and so I am leaving the country for the first time in my life aside from two visits to Canada for four months without knowing a lick of Italian* and couldn't be more excited/frightened/nervous/twitchy about it.

*For the record and in my defense, this was in part due to the fact that I was supposed to get Rosetta Stone from a certain ex-lady friend. %#$*er.

I don't know how the sudden change of continent will effect this blog (except for the fact that my late night blog posts will now appear normal for you all), as I won't have as many nerdy things to riff on. It may temporarily take a photoblog/personal exploration vibe to it, but I can assure you that it will continue to have the same low-quality, low-brow, and low-standard writing and humor you all know and love. Stick around for the ride, hopefully it will continue being worth it.

And tell your friends.


To wrap up the post, here is a list of things that I will miss whilst abroad:

-Hulu and Netflix instant streaming
-New seasons of the Venture Brothers, How I Met Your Mother
-Comic books - though I've decided that it is my mission to search for a Roman comic book store, if for no other reason than for peace of mind and to know there are dozens of us. DOZENS!!!
-Beginning of 'Walking Dead' series - wow...missing comic books, new shows, AND a new comic book show? About ZOMBIES?! Screw you life
-The newspaper - I'm hopeless...
-Free music from the radio station
-All the new friends I've made this summer - Not having a girlfriend has opened up new social opportunities, and I became much, much closer friends with a lot of people. Being the type of person who is always afraid of being the instigator of hangage due to my fear of being incredibly boring, I don't want to lose what little progress I've made)
-Chicago - I mean...come on. Who doesn't love Chitown?

But I guess Rome will be cool too...and London...and Cairo...and Greece...maybe Ireland...


Amber said...

You have no idea how jealous I am. I've always wanted to go to Rome. Studying abroad was one of the best experiences I've ever had and I know that you're going to have such an incredible time. I can't wait to read about your adventures and I hope you do post pictures of everything you're doing so I can live vicariously through you.

I actually took Italian in college but can barely remember any of it. If that horrible Julia Roberts movie "Eat Pray Love" is any indication, you'll be fluent in the the language in about 10 minutes.

Eleni said...

Whoa, have a great time in Rome! That's a real adventure. Good luck with the language. Start with the "I'm sorry, I don't speak Italian, do you speak English?" line. That was the (equivalent) line I learned when going to France and Germany. Though you'll be there longer, so it will be worth picking up a bit more than that, of course.

How long will you be there for? Man, that's rough that you'll fall behind on your TV shows.

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