“Wow,” they all exclaim upon hearing I come from California, “America! That’s incredible!” It’s truly surreal to hear awe in people’s voices when I talk about my home because to me, Italy is the true dream. Italy is a fantasy vacation that I’ve come to familiarize with; at this point, I hardly know how I’ll bear to leave at the end of my year abroad!
I feel infinitely lucky every day to live in Bologna. Last week, I was thankful for the beautiful portici that shielded me from the rain (something we seldom see in California). Yesterday, I was indebted to the caffè that gave me a burst of energy before my class in the heart of the city, under the magnificent frescoed ceilings. Today, and every other day, I am especially gratified by la lingua italiana for all of its poetic vocabulary.
Choosing to live in Bologna has been a most fortunate decision for me, and I’ve found amazing experiences in every sense. I can smell the fresh pizza coming out of the wood fire oven as I walk down Strada Maggiore; I can hear the street performers singing magically down Via Rizzoli; I can taste the elegant flavors in Bologna’s traditional lasagna as I feel the dry sangiovese red wine warm my belly, accompanying the cuisine exquisitely; but most of all, I can see the beauty in Bologna for all of its enchanted culture, rich diversity and lively routines.
Emilia-Romagna is a region like no other. The city-center of Bologna is small enough to walk between any two places in under 30 minutes but also large enough that there is always a new bar or pizzeria to explore. The cultural immersion I’ve experienced while here has been indescribable. The people are genuine, kind, and more than willing to answer all sorts of questions, pleased to share their wealth of knowledge of the region with everyone who would like to know! I am blessed to live in the center of one of the most diverse cities I’ve ever visited, mingling with students from all over the world and working with Italian families who show me the true meaning of the word famiglia. Living here is an experience I wouldn’t ever give up, not even for all the gelato in the world!