I have now spent one week living in the bella land of Italia, so it seems about time that I stay true to my self-promise of blogging my experiences. And for only one week, I have a wealth of experiences already.
But what is a shy, pale, English girl doing in the vivacious, sunny Italy you may wonder? I was asking myself the same question as I waited at London Gatwick, having just said goodbye to my dad after security and feeling the most terrified in all my life. I even cried when my dad had to go, something which I hate allowing anyone to see, let alone travelling strangers and a man who is proud of me…not exactly a way to earn that pride. Thankfully – or I guess the opposite could work – those tears were a waste, and if I could go back I would slap that bubbling mess in the face and tell her there was absolutely nothing to be afraid off: she would be seeing her parents only two days later via Skype, and she should believe those friends and family who told her she was “so lucky”, “would have the best time”, that it was “once in a lifetime”, etc etc. True, it was not at all like her, and something she hadn’t seriously seen herself doing until less than a year previously – but what are your early twenties for if not testing yourself?
The first few days were certainly a test, primarily due to the language barrier. My brief knowledge of Italian was wiped from my head the moment I landed and heard it all around me; it was so fast and fluent I struggled to make out a single recognisable word. Fortunately, the mother of the toddler I’m aupairing for is an English teacher, and speaks almost perfect English, whilst her husband speaks plenty well enough for us to understand each other. And though I’m certainly not confident in it, after only one week I can hold a basic conversation in Italian, for which Francesca (the mother) can take most of the praise; not only for instructing and practising with me, but introducing me to others who I must converse with in Italian. Thanks to her I’ve made friends here already, some of whom I’m hoping will accompany me in exploring Italy. Although it’s not home, I don’t feel completely out of place…and home doesn’t have a balcony looking out onto Lake Garda and the surrounding mountains.
I understand this post hasn’t yet detailed my experiences here, but have no fear – they will come soon in separate posts. I am new to travel writing (other than some happy times with Bill Bryson’s books), so this will be as much a venture into the genre as it will be into Italy itself. Apologies, therefore, if it takes me a while to get into the swing of things. But rest assured I have a list of topics waiting, here’s hoping I can make them read as interesting as they have occurred to me.