Published: July 19th 2005July 19th 2005
So here I am, looking out my 7th floor window and thinking how much I love this city.....also thinking I have six weeks left here....then having the jolting realization that it is really 4....and so I must get everything I have yet to do done really fast. That is going to include climbing the Duomo in Milan, trying my best to see an opera at La Scala, going to Naples this weekend with Francesca (yay for Napoletano food!) and of course wrapping up all of the things I have started/worked on here at my job. Things have been busy here but I really didn't think it would fly by this fast, and I really didn't think I would be so sad to leave! I have so much enjoyed the work environment here, I really like A LOT of the people I work with this city is just so much fun! This apertivi/Happy Hour thing that is really unique to Milan I think has been more fun than I ever have out at home and of course I love being able to speak the language. That is something I will really miss. There is something about the atmosphere here....having everyone I work with and am around be bilingual, so we are constantly switching between Italian and English, the way on clear days I can see the Italian Alps from my window at work....how everyone here is so nice, the people at the bar next door know my name and ask me how my weekend trip was.....you just don't get that at home (or maybe I just haven't in awhile). But I will really miss it here. I'm sure part of the reason I'm NOT excited to go home, despite all the reasons I am (family and friends mostly) is that I am going back to a rough semester of school filled with not-so-exciting classes and of course work. Working full-time and getting paid well is just SOO much better than working part time at a job anyone could do and going home to study every night...ughh! But alas I guess I've been in school to long to not power thru and finish (not that I was ever considering not finishing school...but sometimes you just wish it was done). But I have gained many friends here so I will always have an excuse to come back!
This weekend I am going to Naples with a coworker, Francesca. She is Italian and we are "taking advantage" of our Consular positions and getting our hotel through the Consulate in Naples. hehe...hey whatever gets you a discount right? I think Naples will be a great place to visit, I've always heard they have great food and there is so much history in that area....but it also doesn't have the safest reputation, which is why we're styaing in a hotel in the same piazza (I believe) as the American Consulate, which means it must be a pretty nice neighborhood. We are taking a 6 1/2 train ride but are taking off Friday after lunch and coming back Monday night (this is my one long weekend). So that should be fun. And the only other trip I have planned is maybe London. :( Sad, my summer of travel is almost up.....
Last weekend I met my friend Laura up in Chamonix, France, which is an absolutely breathtaking place! It is in Mont Blanc, a tiny little mountain town right on the border with Switzerland. I had an adventure getting there, missing hte 6:25 am train so ending up taking an 8:30 train, then having a rather strange lunch in one of the towns I stopped in on the way....I thought I could read French because its similar to Italian and I know a little, so I thought I ordered a tuna salad, like lettuce and tuna....actually was just a whole lot of tuna with sardines and fish on top (for those of you not aware, the sight and smell of fish makes me a little sick) and some other random vegetables....so that was interesting but I just tried to eat what I knew and what didn't smell bad. Its funny trying to communicate in a language you don't know because over here I think, okay, you don't know English so I'll just try the other language I know...Italian. Of course the Swiss in this small town of Martgny also didn't know Italian, but its like second nature to keep trying to speak it. It was funny, Laura and I did the same thing when we were in Geneva. :)
Anyway, I got to Chamonix, made friends with a guy from Canada who was a mountaineering guide in Switzerland for the summer, and Laura and I had this amazing dinner of French fondue with him later that night. It was so much fun, we had this really great waiter and good wine and, like I said, the fondue was amazing! I think the majority of things I ate last weekend were cheese! So we had a great time, Laura and I walked around all the little shops there (its not a very big town so that doesn't take very long). Sunday we went on the gondola up to the highest point on the mountain...which is absolutely stunning! Its weird, its almost spiritual being that high, and just seeing the beauty of nature. But it got REALLY cold at the top, snow and all on the mountain. There is a gondola you can take from the top that goes down the other side of the mountain into Italy, but we didn't have time adn didnt want to do that. So we finished that and spent the afternoon in town, finishing up some shopping for Laura and having another amazing french meal of, what do you know, cheese! (Goat cheese salad and this bread baked in cheese and white wine and garlic.....oh my gosh it was sooo good!) I picked up a little French and realized that however much I can understand it I definitely cannot pronounce it at all! Overall a great weekend and a great farewell to Laura who goes home this week....
I wish I could describe better my environment here and how much I love it but I just feel like everytime I try it doesn't even come close. One thing I have noticed thought is that what you are doing and who is surrounding you makes all the difference. Like when I studied in Florence, I had a great host-family and was in a great city but really didn't like a single kid I was studying with, which made me miserable and lonely half the time. Here I am surrounded by people whose careers I find really interesting, so I am learning a lot about things I may want to pursue as a career, and besides that, there are so many people who are actually happy that I am here, that care to know about how things are going, what I think of all this etc. So that has really made this a fabulous internship, on top of the fact that I'm not in the very WORST place in the world! haha....well, better get going....I will post pictures of Chamonix and some other things soon.....ciao a tutti!