One More Month

As of today (May 27th), I have one more month before I return to the US. Most of my friends in other study abroad programs have already written their wistful Facebook statuses and hopped on flights back to America. BCSP is a bit different because we are working from Professors’ schedules and have housing flexibility since we live in apartments. Some students have already left, many will stay to the end of June (as I am), and some found jobs here for the summer or plan to travel around Europe. Due to my exam schedule, I have not had class for weeks, but my last final is not until June 10th. I am frantically reading Italian literature (currently starting my second novel by Sciascia) and researching Italian authors. Thus, it is easy to slip from studying into procrastination into missing America.

Facebook and social websites make it easy to click through friends’ pictures proclaiming, “Pitchers on the terrace!” or “Graduation!” Even worse are the pictures from my friends who had been studying abroad. They post pictures with friends and family, and with plates of food only found in America’s “melting pot” (I am craving Mexican food). When the options are slogging my way through difficult Italian prose or connecting with my friends and family at home with a few clicks of a keyboard, it is easy to slip away from living in the moment. It’s easy to forget I am lucky enough to be living in Italy, attending the oldest university in Europe and learning an entirely new way of communicating.

Fortunately, even as exams siphon away my soul and Italian stumbles out of my mouth only in awkward spurts, Bologna has finally come into her own. Our first weeks here were soaked in rain and the odd snowfall. The porticos formed a sanctuary from the weather but seemed to also be an infinite hallway—unending, confusing, and dirty. Yes, the architecture was beautiful, but it’s difficult to look up with rain in your eyes. There may have been fabulous fashion, but clothes were covered by bulky coats. I took comfort in Bologna’s delicious buttery food (as it is considered the food capitol of Italy) and along the way disproved any myths that people don’t gain weight while abroad.

Our attempt at making Tagliatelle al Ragu, or Tagliatelle Bolognese; a traditional Bolognese pasta dish with meat sauce.
Our attempt at making Tagliatelle al Ragu, or Tagliatelle Bolognese; a traditional Bolognese pasta dish with meat sauce.

Finally, in April, the sun began to shine in Bologna. Piercing between porticos’ columns and heating the red roofs, Bologna slowly became beautiful. The drab peach painted on buildings became a warm orange, the streets seemed cleaner, and the people happier. Greenery suddenly appeared throughout the city, clearing the air of stagnant cigarette smoke and adding new vivacity. People now gather in piazzas to drink, kiss, and chat. Every weekend brings a new arts festival, market, or (as it did two weeks ago) a Lamborghini show. The city has come to life.

Giardini Margherita during an Italian national holiday, “Liberazione”.
Giardini Margherita during an Italian national holiday, “Liberazione”.
Bologna’s famous duo of leaning towers lit by the sunset. On Saturdays and Sundays some of Bologna’s main streets are closed, allowing residents to take a “giro” or walk around the city.
Bologna’s famous duo of leaning towers lit by the sunset. On Saturdays and Sundays some of Bologna’s main streets are closed, allowing residents to take a “giro” or walk around the city.
A view of the Lamborghini parade growling past my window.
A view of the Lamborghini parade growling past my window.

So yes, I am sad to be missing out on the new season of Arrested Development, Chipotle, and catering kegball. When my friends board their planes home to family and familiarity I can’t help but feel a pang of jealousy. However, Bologna continues to grow more beautiful and feel more like home. It’s becoming difficult to imagine a place where not everyone speaks Italian and where I might not receive judgmental looks for leaving the house without fully drying my hair. I only have one more month here, and a month has never seemed so short and so long at the same time.

A view of Piazza Maggiore from the top of Bologna’s tallest tower, Asinelli.
A view of Piazza Maggiore from the top of Bologna’s tallest tower, Asinelli.