Hello again! It has been exactly a week since I arrived in Sorrento and started the biggest journey of my life. It has already been quite an amazing journey and has gone so much smoother than I thought it would. I had so many exceptions coming into this, and so far, they have already been surpassed. In today’s blog, I am going to explain what I did everyday for my first week. Get ready!
Saturday: The beginning of it all! I left my home in NJ at about 12:20pm and drove to JFK airport in NY; it took us about an hour to get there. After finding short term parking, my family and I went inside, found Alitalia (my airline) and I checked in. The check-in process was super quick and easy, they took my checked luggage, and printed my boarding passes for my 2 flights. From there, I had to say goodbye to my parents which was AWFUL and go into the security lines. I stood online for maybe 30-45 mins but it went fast. Through security, I found my gate and sat there for awhile before realizing I forgot a portable phone charger and snacks! My flight at 4:45pm got delayed until 7:30pm. At this point it was probably 4:30pm so I decided to get up and walk around to see what I could find, there were no outlet plugs ANYWHERE! I decided to get a sandwich at a little market in my terminal and a portable charger at a vendor (just in case). I found a charging station so stood there for awhile and eventually met up with Amanda and Lily both going to Sorrento too! We all waited together, changed gates together, and shared our nervousness with each other! At around 6:45pm we started boarding for our flight and took off for Rome, Italy around 7:30pm.
Sunday: Since our flight was delayed 3 hours, we missed our connecting flight from Rome to Naples. All 3 of us were pretty nervous about our flight and this delay and missed flight wasn’t helping! When we landed in Rome at about 9:20am (Italian time!) we found a guy holding a sign for Naples so we talked to him. He said that since many of us missed the flight, and the next one wasn’t until 6pm, they were going to bus us to the Naples Airport instead. We all followed the man to Alitalia baggage claim and waited there for everyone’s bags to come out and then headed to the bus. The ride was about 2 and a half hours long and I slept for a decent part of it. We got to Naples Airport at 12:45pm, found the other Sant’Anna students and went with them to a second bus from Naples to Sorrento. This ride was about an hour and I slept for some of that too! We finally got dropped off and had to walk a far bit to the school. Up and down hills and stairs with 80lbs of luggage, a pillow, and 2 jackets was NOT fun! But, we finally made it and had a brief orientation where we got our room keys and a tour of the top 2 floors of the building. I got to my room with Amanda, and we met our other roommate Cristina. She had already been here so we just unpacked our stuff, showered and talked a bit before I fell asleep.
Monday: We all woke up around 9am and got ready to go to orientation at 10am. The staff went over all the important things to know and explained how Sant’Anna works. They also gave us things to do around town (and nearby towns) and recommendations of places for food and groceries. After orientation, a few of us went on a walk to a bar so they could get some coffee and a quick snack before heading back to a welcome reception buffet. After eating, we split up into 2 groups and went on a tour of Sorrento. It was super cool to see where the locals go and what was open and not since it isn’t tourist season. Once we got back from the tour, we grabbed our backpacks and went grocery shopping which was much needed! After that, I relaxed the rest of the night and eventually fell asleep. Jet lag is real and awful!
Tuesday: We woke up today and headed to an early morning meeting. After that, we went for a little walk around and I bought the best sandwich i’ve EVER had! Fresh tomato and mozzarella with oregano and olive oil on fresh bread… so good! When we got back to school, I relaxed a little and then went to a cooking class Giorgia, the study abroad advisor, had for us! When we finished making our pasta, I ate it quick and then went to my first class here, Italian 101! I was so nervous going into class but once I got there my years of Italian slowly started coming back to me! I was so excited to remember some things because I feel like I could be having conversations with people at the end of this trip. After class, I went walking around town, got some more groceries and then came back to the dorm to unwind. Everyone was sitting around in the kitchen talking so I joined them and we sat there and talked for hours about everything and anything. It was so amazing to get to know so much about people so quickly.
Wednesday: By the time I woke up, most people were already in class so I went down and ate breakfast. It was super nice outside so I took my camera out onto the terrace to play around and figure it out a little bit. Everyone had a bunch of classes but I only had one at 4pm so I stayed in bed all day to catch up on much needed quiet time. I worked on my blog, talked to some friends and family and watched some youtube. I finally left for class and after waiting with the other students enrolled for about 30 mins., someone went to ask the staff if they had any idea where our professor was. Giorgia came in and explained that our professor thought our class started on Monday the 13th so we got to leave! Because of this, Mary, Amanda and I treated ourselves to our first gelatos and then met up with Cristina to go to a new fruit store she found. Guys, when I tell you the oranges here are like no other I am not exaggerating! They are so amazing it is insane. When we got back everyone had been in the kitchen already researching trips for the upcoming weeks so some friends and I looked into it too. We ended up finding really cheap airfare and a hostel in Vienna, Austria so we booked it. I am so excited!!
Thursday: My photography class started and it is at 8:45am. I haven’t had to wake up that early in awhile! After class, I had breakfast and then laid in bed catching up on some shows and eventually fell asleep. I woke up around 1pm, straightened my hair and then went to my second Italian class, this time it was ALL in Italian… and I killed it! I had a pretty good idea on what was happening and what we were learning, so I got to help some of the people around me which was nice. When class was over, I waited for my friends to get done and then we sat in the kitchen and talked some more. One of my favorite things about my experience so far is sitting in the kitchen and talking to everyone who comes and goes. It is so fun to talk to new people! (Something I was BEYOND terrified of!)
Friday: Giorgia had a cute little coffee talk set up for us at 9:30am so Amanda, Cristina and I went. We talked about how our first couple of days went, what we liked and disliked so far and she gave us a bunch of recommendations for things to do in Sorrento and some nearby towns. After the meeting, I showered and did my hair and then made some lunch in the kitchen. I am still not used to doing groceries in another country yet so I’m not going to lie I have been having A LOT of pasta and sandwiches! But, I am slowly getting the hang of it and will start branching out soon. After lunch, some friends and I planned a night out in a neighboring town, Sant’Agnello. After everyone got all dressed and ready, we walked about 0 minutes to the train station and tried to figure out how it worked. Eventually we found where to buy our tickets and waited for the train… accidentally missing the first one! We got on the next one about half an hour after and it was very interesting! The ride was about 5 minutes so when we got off we walked right into town and explored. Every bar and restaurant we passed was closed since it is the off season and the ones that were open for dinner didn’t actually open until 7pm (it was only about 4:45pm at this point!) We walked around town and made it to the most beautiful overlook view ever so we ended up having a mini photoshoot. After that we stopped at a mini bar so we could get a drink and it happened to be ‘aperitivo’, Italian happy hour! So with our drinks we got 2 whole plates of snacks which was just enough to hold us all over until dinner. We ended up sitting there for an hour talking, laughing, and having so much fun. At 7pm, we finally went to dinner and it was sooo delicious! Everything here is super fresh and so good. After dinner, we took the train back and walked back to the dorm.
Saturday: The most amazing way to finish my first week, and my favorite day by far since being here. I accidentally slept for 12 hours 🙂 so when I woke up at 12pm, I got ready and went downstairs to get breakfast. After eating, some friends joined in the kitchen and we planned to take a walk to Bagni della Regina Giovanna (Baths of the Queen Giovanna). We all made lunch and packed our backpacks and headed out. The walk took about 50 minutes because we stopped and took pictures of everything. Literally the most beautiful sights I have ever seen… until we got there! Once we got there at around 2:30pm, we explored the baths, walked round the cliffs and rocks, and took pictures of everything. I have never been so in awe in my life. It was so peaceful and amazing up there. After pictures, we walked onto huge cliffs and found a spot to have our lunch picnic. We all ate, talked and took in the views. At 4:45pm, we started our walk back, stopping less times but still stopping to take everything in. The walk was super long and hard but it was SOO worth it! After getting back to the dorm, we all sat around in the kitchen and talked for hours and started planning spring break! At around 11:45pm, I finally went out with all my friends to a bar and had a fun time!
It has been a more amazing first week then I could have ever imagined. I made so many friends, have seen so many things, and I still have 4 more months! I can’t wait to see what else I do and explore, and can’t wait for more and more memories to have for life.