Ferrara / Italy / Language / Modena

…And that, chaps, is a rap!

Here we are then, who can believe it? The final post from yours truly on this blog.

A year ago to this very day this was me; jittering with fear and excitement about packing up my life in the UK for a year of new adventures in Italy. Little did I know what was in store, the endless places I’d see, the beautiful people I’d meet and the incredible things I’d get to do (cringeeee!).
I’m not going to list these things or people here for various reasons, one of which being that this blog serves as a memoir anyway so if you’re interested, go and have a delve in the archives. However, I am feeling a little bit reflective today, as I’m sure many new post-year abroaders (am I really one of them already?!) are too, so fancy doing a bit of a round-up. If that’s not really your thing, then stop reading now.

The best place to start, I feel, is the Year Abroad Bucket List.

Not a bad effort, I’d say. What about the ones that haven’t been crossed off? Let’s see…

4. Learn to ski (together?! Road trip to the mountains?)
Ohhh this makes me so sad that we didn’t manage this. Something I really wanted to do but also one of the most expensive, in terms of money and time, to achieve. We did play with the idea a couple of times but unfortunately nothing every came of it. This will, however, be transferred to just a general bucket list. One day I will learn to ski!

6. Go to the Venetian Carnival
Another thing I sadly missed out on for various reasons. I have, however, seen pictures and given a presentation on it (!!) but having seen what Venice is like on a normal Saturday afternoon, I dread to think how manic it would be in carnival week. I’ve heard stories. They weren’t pretty. Experiencing the Venetian Carnival would have been a fantastic experience but unfortunately not in 2015. It’s an annual thing though so there’s always next year.

9. Learn which pasta goes with which sauce
I’m going to call this one “work in progress”. I bought a book. So I didn’t meet some fancy Italian chef to teach me the ins and outs of the Italian kitchen BUT, a pasta cookery book in Italian will have to do. I’m on page 10. Like I said, I’m working on it.

18. Keep this blog up-to-date!!!
Well it’s 15 months in and I’m still posting so I think this can be ticked off, right?

Through writing this blog I have learned a lot. Firstly, it’s actually a huge effort. Not an effort that I didn’t enjoy, but it’s not easy, as you can probably tell by the declining frequency of posts as the year went on. I also haven’t blogged about absolutely everything I did this year; there are trips and events and things I’ve learned that I consciously decided not to include. The nature of a blog is that you have no control over who reads it; it’s on the internet for everyone to see at the click of a button. Since starting it I’ve learned that not everything needs to be public and that you have to keep some things for yourself. I have however tried to give a good balanced view of the year, with a mixture of working, linguistic, academic, cultural and travel posts, so as I wasn’t just boring you with my personal linguistic improvements nor did this turn into a just another travel blog, which is easy to do.

So without further ado, bucket list item number 18, check!
18. Keep this blog up-to-date!!!

24. Read at least three Italian books
This was always a little ambitious. I’m half way through book number 2 though, so we’re getting there. Number 24 will not be completed within the year abroad but rather one day in the (hopefully) near future.

25. Offer private English tuition
Well not exactly. I helped many people out with their English, be that reading over documents or the odd conversation here and there, but did not feel in any position to charge any kind of money as they were equally helping me with my Italian. Also, I found that when I had spare time, the last thing I really wanted to be doing was speaking loads of English. I’m also not a huge fan of teaching either, so this was a bit of a non-starter. Ah well, can’t win ’em all.

26. Get an epic tan
Ferrara was pushing 35 degrees towards the end. Every day. And there was an open air pool. Enough said.

26. Get an epic tan

Ma lei è italiana, vero?

Oleeeee!! That man at Expo has no idea how much he made my day by asking me this!

(trans: But you’re Italian, right?)

On a side note, I had not really said very much to him at all and if I had continued a little I’m sure he would have realised I am not….my Italian is not THAT good. However, if you’d told me someone would genuinely think I was Italian this time last year, I would’ve said you were bonkers. But there we go, a year of immersion and a genuine Italian thought little ol’ me was Italian. This will go onto my list of achievements along with the time I convinced an American for 10 minutes that I was American…but that’s an entirely different story.

But on a linguistic note, which was kind of the whole point of the year out, it would seem I have come quite a way from the Span-talian the Italians I first met in September were forced to endure. Missione compiuta.

The last goodbye

When I first started this blog, it was only ever designed as a way to document and share my experiences from my year abroad. As much as I have enjoyed writing this over the past 15 months, now is indeed the time to stop. Mainly because my life has been pretty exciting for the past year and although I do not doubt that fourth year will be a blast (exams, dissertation, essays, readings, library woo woooooo!!), I don’t plan on blogging my way through. I know many people get the “blogging bug” after their year out and decide to turn their blog into a lifestyle blog or whatnot. I think I’ll leave that to the experts (…check here for a personal favourite of mine).
So chaps, over and out from me. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this and thanks for sticking with me. Equally if you didn’t get the memo this time last year and are just discovering my little corner of the internet, welcome! I’ll be leaving this live so if you’re just about to start your year abroad, I hope you find this useful, even if it is just to find our where the best wine tasting place is in Umbria (see here!). And if you’re not just about to go away and just fancy a nose around, go right ahead.
Baci, besos and bisous,
Harriet x
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