Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Turnaround

It happened again. I had another good day. It may be the fact that I was busy reading, going to class and meeting new tutors. I also came to the realization that I don’t have to think in Italian, English is my mother tongue and that won’t change. I find myself smiling, dancing at random moments, making my strange noises, my soundtrack has returned. In all my classes today I chitchatted with my classmates. After 10 weeks, I feel like I belong finally. Or at least that, really, I can do this. And finally the workers came to lay the tiles for the rest of our floor, laid open for over a month.

Last week things were still up and down. Low moments would bring me down like a dead weight and I couldn’t understand why the hell I was here and what the hell I was doing. My week had been sprinkled with the most intense moments of longing I have ever felt: almost tasting my Bubby’s chicken soup, sprinkled with dill, longing for someone to just hold my hand, wanting to hug family members, to see familiar sights, to breathe English.

My roommate Sarah had a realization last week: she doesn’t belong. With her light-coloured curly hair, her early morning routine of training for a marathon and her thirst for learning, she finds herself clashing with Italian culture to the utmost. In fact, I too find that I don’t fit in all that well. We shouldn’t. We are from the United States and Canada respectively and we can’t just change our upbringing, our tastes, our cultures. We are studying abroad, away from home, in another culture.

I have hundreds of pages to read, classes to attend, tutoring sessions to prepare for, little events and trips to look forward to, and the whole Italian ‘casino’ (mess) to live in. And it’s great. Here’s to the beginning, it starts now. Really, it does. This week has been the first complete week of classes since the beginning of the semester. I may still be waiting for a textbook that was supposed to arrive 10-12 days ago, but, finally, like Marina said I should, I am just choosing to laugh.

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