Mi mancherai, Bologna!

The view from San Luca
The view from San Luca

Four months have come and gone. Tomorrow, I set out from my apartment bright and early, leaving Bologna and making my way to Boston via Paris (and racking up a whooping sixteen to eighteen hours of travel, barring delays and Boston rush hour traffic). This past week with the end of exams and some time for some last minute exploring and checking off bucket list items (a giant croissant from Antica Rosticceria Borghese, a caffè corretto from my bar di fiducia, and a run up the longest portico in the world to San Luca) has been a rush of emotions and feelings: excitement for celebrating Christmas with my family and drinking an Iced Robin from Coastal again, relief at knowing that I can really sleep for the first time in four months and also watch TV without feeling guilty, and sadness about leaving my friends here and the city that I’ve gotten to know very well. I’m not going to sum up the last four months in a post here, because that would be silly and impossible, but I will be working on my Bologna city guide once I’m home, so, ironically, all of my Bologna posts will be coming around once I’m home from Bologna. Like I’ve said before, I’m not a good study abroad blogger.

My last visit to my trusted bar

At any rate, there’s a lot about Italy that I will miss when I go home. While I’ve lamented the lack of American coffee time and again, I truly love Italy’s thousands of renditions of it that you find throughout the country: caffè shakerato, cappuccino, caffè macchiato, caffè del nonno, caffè pedrocchi, bicerin, caffè d’orzo, even a cappuccino canadese which is a cappuccino with maple syrup. At any old corner bar you can find good coffee and a trustworthy Nutella brioche.

The habits surrounding Italian coffee will also be something I’ll miss. Yes, it’s nice to hole up in a cafe or the student union for hours at a time with a big iced coffee and headphones droning on in your ears, but there’s something really special to Italy’s bar culture as well. Classes frequently have breaks for five or ten minutes in the middle, and that’s enough to run down to the nearest bar (and there’s always a bar nearby) and throw back a caffè macchiato and refuel before the last hour of the lesson. While I probably drank way too much coffee this semester (sometimes four or five a day), it never felt like too much, while American coffee quite frequently does. While you can still get “espresso” at coffee shops at home, the practices of drinking it aren’t the same, and that’s certainly something I’ll miss.

The language is another big thing that will be different. My backpack for the plane rides back tomorrow is loaded up with a couple of Italian books (ranging from a couple titles by Bolognese authors to Harry Potter) in an effort to find more practice once I get home, but watching Italian movies and speaking in class for three hours a week won’t be enough. The language is, in my opinion, the most vibrant and emotive there is. It’ll be weird hearing English everywhere and not much else. While Italian is obviously dominant here, it’s common to hear Spanish, German, English, and even Japanese on the streets of this university city.

IMG_5008I’m already resolved to go back to Italy long term and have invited some friends to come visit in the States, but it’s really been a wonderful and challenging experience living somewhere completely different for four months, and I would love to do it all again. The next couple weeks at home will present some new surprises. Not having to convert money in my head every time I pay for something and suddenly feeling richer. Asking about when the next pausa is and fiddling around with a moka in my kitchen to get my coffee fix. Trying to go on gite the way I did here (Princeton, NJ, I’m looking at you). Being allowed to drink water with ice and walk around the house barefoot without raising eyebrows. Not eating pasta at least once a day and substituting that with, in all likelihood, buffalo chicken. No longer referring to Family Guy as Griffin. Looking for Norwegian brown cheese, squacquerone, and piadine in the grocery store. It’ll be a readjustment, and I’ll miss Bologna, but I know that I’ll be back.

È stato un vero piacere, Bologna. Mi mancherete voi amici e grazie mille per tutto questo semestre. Ci vediamo molto presto!

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