I can't believe it's already been a full week since arrival. It feels like time is alwaaays just slipping from our fingers. You walk into one store to look at one thing, you come back out three hours later. A quick bite of gelato? Say good-bye to an hour and a half. Life in Verona is a constant time warp. Or, maybe we're just having too much fun that time is flying by. (; I don't know which is more of the logical conclusion. Anyhoo...
School is now in session so this week was less of the leisure walks and four-hour meals and more... I don't know, school. A very rude awakening that we're not here on just vacation but to "study" abroad. Oh, yeah. Now my days are preoccupied with a four-hour class of Italian 101 from 9am to 1:15pm, followed by a second class from 2pm to 6pm — depending on the day. Classes range from art history, painting, and photography; and each class (usually) only meets once a week. If it is a full day, by the time we get out, the sun has already set and it's time to make dinner and go to bed.
But even class tends to fly by. First off Italian 101 is less of a college lecture, and more of a continuous game of charades fused with pictionary. Can you even imagine such a thing? I mean, it's a room of fourteen people — who are still hungover from the night before and can't communicate in the same language — trying to formulate their thoughts into sentences. Picture that, and you got yourself Italian 101. But really. There's a lot of funny hand gestures, drawings on the white board, exchanges of confused looks and blank stares. It's because the teacher, Elena, speaks solely in Italian as a teaching mechanism to students who don't know a word of the language (minus vino and ciao, of course). Although there is a lot of time spent on guessing more so than understanding, it is pretty effective because it forces us to THINK in Italian. Sometimes it gets confusing because my brain tends to pull together all my random knowledge of Latin, Korean, Spanish, and English, and then attempt to spit out an Italian answer. Yeah, that doesn't work out too well. The second the languages seem to have distinct rules separating each other, they share the same word for bathroom or cat, tricking you all over again. Over all though, it's a really enjoyable period because everyone in the class is eager to learn the language and is pretty cooperative.
Despite all those hours of sitting in class, no worries, we still manage to have our fun. Something new is always going on — a birthday, a special at a nearby bar, a burning of a witch, a chocolate festival, etc. It's like we're in Italy or something. For example, this week, our teachers took us to a random cafe in between classes for spritzers which was definitely a change of pace. And on Wednesday I took a class on how to make nutella!
My friend Debbie, back at home, told us that she hates words — and the English language in general — so I should stop vomiting now and just throw in some pics for her easy eyes to enjoy. Here we go, Debbie.
Highlights of the week:
Attended a witch burning, which is a tradition in Italy, symbolizing a new year — along with a really long back story.
We went out to dinner to celebrate the lovely Lauren's 21st birthday. Birthday girl below.
La pizza in its maximum glory. MMmmMmMmMm.
Attended the chocolate festival where all these local shops set up booths to sell their different slabs of chocolates and products.
The most delicious plastic cup of strawberries + nutella + cream. I've been deprived of produce for so long that these juicy, fresh strawberries shocked all my taste buds because they forgot what anything besides carbs or chocolate tasted like.
Truffels on hard bread.
This man was doing his own little live infomercial. Quite entertaining because really, who would buy this. It costed like 100 euros or something.
It wouldn't be Italy if vino wasn't offered somewhere within a 2 mile radius. Or, should I say kilometers.
I was THIS close to buying these beautiful chocolate covered heels. But then, I knew I would never be able to eat it because it was pretty to look at, and I would try to bring it back home four months later, whether it was in a solid form or not, and then it would melt all over my suitcase and I'd have to clean it later. And I hate cleaning, so. Just kidding. They were like 20 euros.
Hot Dog ordered one of these things and they were.... the most delicious thing ever. Yup, you got it. You're catching on.
Bought myself a custard-filled croissant because it looked soft and chewy.
My face when I found out it was actually hard and crumbly.
Hot Dog and I went grocery shopping together to cook our first dinner. (: Eurospar is the local grocery store, comparable to a small Jewel.
Literally the most delicious sad we've ever had in our life. Made from scratch, might I add.
Because I'm blogging so much later than the actual events took place, it's getting much harder to recall different things that happened. Hopefully the pictures of the delicious chocolates kept you interested and distracted you from the lack of (poor) writing. Well, at least now that we have wi-fi in our home, we can expect for some more regular posts with relevant insights!
Thank you for following along on my first week here in Verona — and thank you to those who have been continuously praying for my time here. It's sometimes hard to find time to reflect and meditate when there's always something to do, but the Lord has been placing different issues onto my heart that need to be prayed over.
Show grace, seek Him, keep fighting.
They're the same prayers, but in a much different context.
It's definitely been a roller coaster week for me, spiritually — I'm wrestling with thoughts that are so new and different to the stuff that I'm so used to, and I'm learning I need to depend on Him in ways I've never thought of. Being without a Christian community, things feel a little unstable as of late. But regardless, I know that God will really expand my heart and eyes to new and better things. I can feel it already, and I get pretty excited.
Thank you again for praying for me and this trip. And let me know how I can pray for you. (: