SHS student travels abroad…

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Lucy La Rosa

Gondolas are awaiting tourists alongside the main canal in Venice.

Over this year’s spring break, I was lucky enough to travel and visit  Milan, Italy for two weeks. There I was exposed to an incredibly different lifestyle, specifically the Milanese (originating from Milan) lifestyle. I also visited the city of Venice, and explored the mazes consisting of both canals and narrow streets. From the Italian hot chocolate ( thick as pudding) to the street vendors from Nigeria selling multi-colored hemp style bracelets, to the impressive architecture of the Duomo Cathedral, to the gondolas swimming the narrow canals of Venice, to the crowded shopping streets; I experienced the cultural differences in a variety of areas.

I went to a an opera performance of Macbeth, visited the many art museums of Milan, saw a symphony production of Bach’s Passion; thus covering both the musical and design aspects of the arts. Some of the differences that especially stood out to me were in the everyday life aspects of the Italian lifestyle. For one, dinner starts at around 8:30 or 20:30 as it’s called in Europe, and is typically composed of a starting appetizers, the main dish, salad, cheese and fruits, and then dessert in that order. It wasn’t surprising then that dinner usually took about 2 hours and revolved around wine and discussions ranging from politics to sports and back to politics again. Also, a night on the town with friends didn’t start at around 10 as I was expecting but at midnight or even 1 am, and ended around 5-6 in the morning just in time to sleep for 2 hours before breakfast.

My days usually consisted of walking the crowded streets, trying to not get hit by the many speeding cars that simply weave around pedestrians, only warning of their presence with angry honking. Pit stops at the many bars (what we would consider a cafe here) also became a daily occurrence, as I attempted to try as many different types of gelato (Italian ice cream) as I possibly could (Pistachio was my favorite). I even learned the complicated maze of the metro and bus transportation systems after a few times of ending up at the wrong station. These two weeks abroad opened my eyes to the prospects and opportunities of an entirely different country, and further expanded my love of foreign language and traveling.