Wednesday, September 20, 2006


The calm has settled in quite deep. Bells chime at odd time intervals. Bike traffic escapes no small alleyway. Everything closes for three hours for lunch. Most everything closes on Thursdays (it’s the law). Local specialties include a bread that looks like a bulbous man with outstretched limbs, a pasta that encloses sweet pumpkin, a pastry that hides a meaty macaroni and a chocolate fruit and nut cake covered in chocolate. The streets here aren’t narrow but wide. Savonarola was born here. The Italian language still reigns. This is Ferrara.

I couldn’t be more content with my choice of town for study abroad. I had avoided picking big cities because I feared I wouldn’t be fully immersed in Italian. I chose well. All I hear is Italian. In the quiet before the start of university, I have plenty of time to write and reflect. So I am monopolizing on that time. Monopolizing on that time also to take small trips, planning a small escape to Florence to visit Chris this weekend and a three day sojourn in the Cinque Terre at the end of next week. I have wild dreams of making it to London, Paris, Sicily and Barcelona, but those plans may be thwarted once school kicks in and the wild optimism of summer washes away. I am in a wonderful region, close to Bologna, Modena, Padova, Venice, Ravenna. I will at least have the chance to take daytrips to these spots. Maybe friends will visit…

I’m not sure I will enjoy life when I cannot write to the world every day. I started writing great daily missives this summer and that hasn’t really stopped. But it might. I may be deprived of sleep, be burdened with reading, be struggling with classes. I have no idea what to expect. I enjoy hearing from friends so much, exchanging correspondences, hopes and thoughts. I don’t want that to stop… it just might cease a bit. I stand before a giant crevasse of unknown possibilities. I keep making up the next few months in my head.

…I will work hard during the week and accomplish all the reading I have to, continue writing my weekly emails and daily blogs, travel on weekends, do yoga every day, cook. I will not travel at all, only taking a daytrip to Bologna, my writing will fall to the wayside, people will wonder what happened to me, I’ll start eating pasta for every meal. My classes will leave me swamped and unhappy, with a pile of books I could never read in a life time, chained to my desk and to the library, hoping for a way out, Chris and I will only see each other this weekend…

There are too many possibilities; I have to keep in mind what I am here to do. I am here to learn through reading lots of Italian, going to class, hanging out with the locals, writing and reflecting, traveling when it is economical and feasible, finding time to connect with Chris. Ultimately I will leave with an appreciation for Ferrara, a few people I call good friends who accompanied me along the way, confident results from final oral exams, and a well-traveled suitcase. If I keep this in mind and live day to day, Europe will be my oyster and I will be its spinning forming pearl.

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