Being here in Italia for about three weeks now, there are many highlights associated with my travels. It’s difficult to choose just one, but the most daunting–yes, daunting–was my arrival. I had never imagined traveling alone to another country, and I was hardly prepared for what I would encounter after having landed in Bologna. My first time in another country, too overwhelmed to remember how to speak the language that I had been studying for two years, and inconspicuously terrified that I would inevitably get myself lost. I was anxious at every waking moment since I had no idea what I was doing!–anxious being in foreign airports, anxious getting on the bus to the train station, anxious taking two trains to my final destination in Arezzo, etc., all the while growing increasingly frustrated and paranoid. My paranoia was clearly owed to my disbelief that I had, for the very first time, been outside of the United States, immersed into what seemed to be a whole new world; I just could not take it all in at the time. But by the time I had arrived at the Accademia dell’Arte, I was in awe. I had made it! I was in Italia! I survived a journey for which I was clearly unprepared. I couldn’t believe it…I didn’t end up in Germany somewhere. Looking back on it, I guess the journey was not that difficult; I was just slightly delirious. But the real Italia–one where I’m not stepping off a plane into an alien world for the first time–is hardly scary. In fact, it’s everything I had expected: great food, scary drivers, breathtaking landscapes, friendly people, the word “magari” coming out of an Italian’s mouth every other word, etc. I am finally living the dream is all I could say now. One things for sure: I will be back someday.
-Jackson (Painting and Italian)
These weeks here in Arezzo have been an amazing experience because we all have the chance to explore a culture different than the one we originate from. The openness and compassion of our European instructors has taught us to not only explore internally, but externally as well. We get to see a different side of the world through the variety of eyes we have access to.
-Lana (Painting and Mask Making)
Every weekend during my time at the Accademia Dell’arte has been spent traveling. Every weekend, I have been homesick. Not for my apartment in Richmond, my roommate, my friends, my family, or my accustomed life. Not for taco bell, bad radio, my co-workers, or my favorite food: feta cheese. By the 35th hour of my intense weekends I grow homesick for the yellow villa, for the shaded patio, for my bed with a striped blanket in the corner of room “G-10”. I grow homesick for my new friends who have quickly become family, for dinners in the Mensa, for the aqueduct arches, which let me know I am almost there. Homesick for sunsets on the terrace. For advice from those I have grown to trust so quickly. For the community that we created in days, a community that thrives on shared secrets, shared troubles and triumphs, shared dreams. I miss the Accademia on the weekends when we all leave to discover the other cities of Italy; the other jewels, the other gold. As my time here has been so fleeting, so quick, I can only imagine how I will miss it when back in my American home. When there will be no Commedia class to challenge me; to make me feel uncomfortable, silly, supported, and sometimes proud. When there will be no creative writing class to inspire me; to make me feel bold, honest, vulnerable, and sometimes found. When there will be no close clouds, no midnight jam sessions, no 3 mile walks with gelato as the sweet sweet reward and destination. Back home there will be loving. There will be a new excitement that I bring back with me. There will be rendezvous with these lovely Americans I had to cross an ocean and countries to meet. There will always be thoughts of this place, thoughts of these people, thoughts of these times that have been so fleeting, so quick, so incredibly important.
-Anneliese (Commedia and Creative Writing)