Happy one week of Italian life to me. Here’s a few things that I’ve learned so far about myself:
- It’s okay to cry.
- I can miss home and still be happy where I am.
- God is faithful and constant. Always.
I think we, as humans, tend to only talk about the great things that we do. I know I’d like you all to think that this last week, for me, was all about seeing pretty sights, eating pizza, and drinking wine. You know, the great life. But it wasn’t all that. This last week was really, really hard for me. To anyone looking at traveling abroad long-term, I’m not trying to discourage you. I think you should do it. You know you should do it. But no one likes to talk about the hard parts. And I think that maybe we need to start talking about the hard parts.
I cried a lot last weekend. I skyped my parents Saturday for the first time and I could barely get out a sentence between tears. In those moments, I felt like a failure. I felt like this was supposed to be easier. I expected culture shock, but I didn’t expect it right away and I didn’t expect it to hit this hard. I thought that maybe this was a sign that I couldn’t do this. The peace that I had felt prior to this trip, was being overpowered by fear. But God showed up, time and time again in those little moments. As I know He will continue to do. [Psalm 46:5 God is within her; she will not be toppled. God will help her when the morning dawns.] My sweet boyfriend reminded me countless times a day that it would get better, he told me to give it one week. So here I am, one week later, ready to tell you all about Milan.
I flew in last Friday evening and arrived at the house around eight. I was very tired from having traveled since Tuesday evening and went to bed after dinner. My Italian family is so lovely. We live in a two floor apartment about a mile and a half from the center of Milan. The two boys go to school five days a week, both of which are within walking distance (most things here are in walking distance). Saturday and Sunday was dedicated to showing me around the city, learning the routes to the schools, and trying lots of food.
The Duomo, the second largest cathedral in Italy is the central part of the city. We visited it Saturday evening. I have not yet walked up to the top, but it’s on my list. The center square of Milan is crazy beautiful. Surrounding the Cathedral on all sides are shopping malls, cafe’s, bars, and more.
Monday I started learning the routine of my weekdays. The mom and I get the boys up and ready for school in the morning. Between the parents and me, we get both boys to school. After that I am free until late afternoon when it’s time to pick up the boys. Usually a grandparent of the boys picks up one, and I take care of the other. They are both involved in different classes multiple times a week after school so one day is never like the next.
My first day taking the boys to school was also my first day of class! Monday I started my Italian class which goes until the middle of March. My class takes place every Monday and Wednesday for three and a half hours (we get one coffee break which helps). The class is quite difficult (we had homework the first day) and the teacher speaks little to no English. One of the biggest advantages of the class so far has been meeting other English speaking Au Pairs in my class. That has been such a huge encouragement. I met up with one of my friends for lunch yesterday and one of the first things we talked about was our kids. It’s great. The picture to the right is a canal that runs in front of my school. Fact: this week I have had a LOT of moments of standing in complete awe at the beauty of this city.
This morning I was able to experience my first street market after dropping off the youngest, Dodo, at school. Every Friday morning they close up the main street next to ours and have an open market until late afternoon. There is literally everything. Produce, fresh fish, cheese, clothes, purses, jewelry, electronics, bread, and more. The one thing that is NOT at the market, let alone anywhere in Italy, is peanut butter. But the wine is plentiful and there is Nutella. All in all, I am really enjoying Milan and my Italian family.
Thank you to everyone who sent me encouraging messages this past week and checked up on me. It really is the little things that mean the most. To my friends and family in Lancaster- be safe this weekend and enjoy the snowstorm. Post pictures so I can enjoy it from over here. Happy Friday and thanks for reading.