JC, Outbound to Italy

In two days I will have lived in Milan for two months, but let’s start from the beginning.

After leaving the airport with my host father and sister, the first thing we did was get gelato.

It was the best gelato I had ever had. I’ve lost count of the number of gelatos I’ve had since I’ve been here.

For the first two days I was suffering from jet lag which caused me a bit of homesickness, but I got over it quickly. My host mom was freaking out a little bit because the jet lag made me lose my appetite (food is very important in Italy so this scared her), I slept instead.

Once the jet lag passed, my exchange could really begin, and it did. On the third day my host family took me all around the city, seeing the famous Milano Duomo, the Santa Maria Delle Grazie church (which holds leonardo's “Last Supper”), the Scala theater, and handfuls of other churches and landmarks. This was my first taste of life as a Milanese.

Fast forward a few days and it’s the first day of school for me. For the first two or three days I was only exchanging pleasantries with my classmates and not really making friends with them, but I quickly became friends with three individuals, Davide, Niccolò and Giulio. Eventually I started speaking more and more with the rest of the class, and now I can confidently call just about all of the students my friends.

I’ve also been able to make close friends with other exchange students that are hosted here, in and around Milan. At the first orientation in Varese, I didn’t get to know any of the other students well, but recently I spent some time with them, thanks to the bi-weekly Italian class we all share, and now I’ve got some friends from all over the United States, as well as friends from Canada, Australia, and even Taiwan.

As far as my host family and club, they’ve been great. My family treats me just like I’m their real son and are always looking out for me and my interests. They loved the American treats I brought them, but they weren't used to the sour candy, so even one sour gummy worm was too much for them!

I also had the opportunity to visit Verona (the town in which Romeo & Juliet is set) with my host club. It was incredible. Verona is a beautiful city with an arena, a river, a castle, and Juliet's famous balcony. I was even able to get a Romeo & Juliet pin for my blazer!

I’ve also visited Turin with my host district and the other exchange students and we saw one of the most highly acclaimed Egyptian museums in the world! It was so interesting to peek into the lives of ancient egyptians.

And Finally, today, I went on top and inside of the Duomo. The inside of the gothic cathedral was breathtaking and the view from the top was too. Being able to see the Duomo, the city, and even the snow capped mountains in the distance is definitely something I’d like to see again.

Now I’d like to just say that none of this would be possible without Rotary and it’s wonderful members, so thank you.

Okay, ciao, see you at four months!

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