People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character- Ralph Waldo Emerson
I wake up slightly earlier than I would usually like for the summer, but I jump out of bed because I have another day in beautiful Milano. I have to take public transportation, which would usually be the death of me, but I absolutely love being surrounded by voices speaking Italian. I have class every day, but there’s no where else I’d rather learn a language, than in that very country. From my first cappuccino in the morning to when my head hits the pillow, exhausted, at night; I feel pure happiness.
These following “rules” (and I use that term lightly) I have found to be the reasons why I am enjoying every minute here in Milano.
Ten Ways to Fall in Love with Wherever You Travel!
1. Get Lost. Get off the beaten path; find little nooks and crannies, even some the locals don’t know about. This is where the best memories will be made, the biggest laughs will be shared and the moments that take your breath away will occur. Get off at a different metro stop, ask locals for directions, go and don’t look back.
2. Eat Like a Local. One of the best pizzas I’ve had so far here, was from this hole in the wall Pizzeria called Pizza the King, which my Community Assistant Francesca told me about. From the outside, I probably wouldn’t have stepped in myself, but it was seriously worth it. These are where you will find the diamonds in the rough, ones they won’t mention in tour books, but your trip would not be the same without them.
3. Learn the History. Everything comes to life when you delve a little deeper into the past. Milan has been ruled by the Celts, Romans, Lombards, Spaniards and Austrians through its history. It’s ruling by the Sforza family during the renaissance can be seen through the beauty of Castello Sforzesco and the Duomo (Cathedral). Now the Capital of the Lombardia region, it has always been an important city, once being the Capital of the Western Roman Empire. You can even see a few scattered ruins such as the Roman columns in front of Basilica di San Lorenzo, as proof of it’s past grandeur. Milan0 is an especially unique place when it comes to being able to see architecture and art from century after century.
4. Meet the Locals. As many as you can and as often as you can. The ones that speak english almost better than you do and the ones who don’t know any at all. There is a thrift store near my apartment, that my roommates and I like to stop in every once in a while. The owner there speaks very little english, but has taken to teaching us small phrases and words whenever we come in. The true way to get to know a place, is through the people that live there.
5. Learn the Language. Whether you’ll be there for a week, a month, two months; it is so rewarding. One of the most amazing experiences so far for me has been practicing my italian with my friends in little cafes and having workers come up and start helping us. These moments make me feel that much more connected to this city.
6. Find a Piece of Home. For me, it’s the small things that make me feel at home here in Milan. It’s the cappuccino I have every morning. It’s the Italian woman who asks me for directions at the metro station. It’s the morning walk to class that I know by heart. Don’t take these little things for granted, because it’s these that turn what was once a far away dream, into your life.
7. Don’t be Afraid to be a Tourist. While for the most part you want to treat the place you’re ‘living’ like home, there is something to be said for seeing all there is to see. The main sites are tourist spots for a reason and will be the majority of where your pictures are taken. The often hold the stories of worlds long past. Take advantage of the fact you can revel in something different and unfamiliar to you.
8. Become a regular. There’s nothing better than having a local remember you and greet you, beside having them see how much you’re italian is improving. Whenever I walk into a cafe where I visit probably more than I should, it always puts a smile on my face to hear a cheerful “Ciao!” of recognition.
9. Set Off on Foot. Yes, you might be walking for hours, but if you take the public transportation everywhere, you could miss seeing the city for what it truly is. This is not the time in your life to just go from Point A to Point B and back again. Explore! Walk until you feel like your feet might fall off (or to the point you need to go back home on the metro because walking back is impossible). So get out of the fast lane and take a stroll down the unpaved streets.
10. Let Your Destination Teach You About Yourself. Being in a foreign country (especially one where I can barely speak the language), has taught me how friendly I can truly be, how studious I am capable of being and how unique I am. I urge anyone studying abroad, traveling, or maybe just staying in the state you grew up in, branch out and find yourself. Have an ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ moment, let the journey be more momentous than the destination.
Ricordate, la vita e bella <3
Ciao! And happy reading
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Christina Guzman from Ithaca College in New York, although I am originally from California. Being half Italian I was more than ecstatic for the chance to get to spend a summer in Italy, to learn more about the culture and history. I have always been in love with traveling and I'm excited to embark on new adventures and make lasting memories.</span></p>