GET READY, dudes and dudettes. I, Isabella Crockett, Bella, Ol' Beller, a glorious yam, have flown across mother earth and have been living in MILAN ITALY for four weeks so far!!! There is a LIFETIME of details and advice and radical adventures I want to share, but I should preface that every study-abroad experience is what you make it. "Your vibe attracts your tribe"
For any student reading this who is stewing with that pre-travel anxiety and envisioning all the ways things could go wrong, you're not as unprepared as you think and things will work out, ya' paranoid lil' critter! (I was a nervous wreck, too. Tears were shed, y'all.)
I know you're all quaking in your loafers with anticipation, so...Now about me and my fabulous life and my glorious friends and all my travels and my feelings!!!
I got ridiculously lucky in getting a ride-share with my school from the airport to my apartment. When I landed I had no cell service, atms weren't accepting my debit card so I had no cash (all better now btw), and I am from the wilderness with no knowledge of navigating subways/cities.
So I scored killer-cool roommates and it feels like I've known these muchachas for years. (We eat family meals together most nights like we're in a frickin' coming-of-age novel. It rocks.) They all pitched in and gave me the most majestic 22nd birthday of 8am champagne-popping off our balcony, homemade pancakes, an extravagant dinner, a special-ordered CAKE, and delish cocktails! Good lord, I love the heck out of them. We have already planned a ton of trips to take together across Europe. I'll get back to you on our trips to Sorrento, Florence, Naples, Pompeii, Pisa, the whole of UK, Barcelona, Amsterdam, and Paris.
99% of online study-abroad packing lists just want you to become a minimalist/ pack light so you can buy items abroad, and I may have taken that to the next level. Yo' girl only brought one, I repeat ONE, pair of pants. And a coat? Nahh..... my butt only took a ski jacket from Goodwill. (I'm well aware that I'm a hot mess, but I am still reaping the repercussions from this.) Basically, the amount you pack should be based on how expensive basic things are in the country you travel to. So...Milan is not quite the best place to shop for a connoisseur of thrift stores like myself. Go figure. Pack more, that is all.
^^Yet I thought butterfly wings were a must-bring?? =Me at the top of Cinque Terre.
Milan is something else, man. Italians must know that they are thriving in the gene pool, because DANG are they foxy. It is humbling, to say the least. Hot diggidy dang, the food. These iconic places and ART are legendary for a reason, and did not disappoint.This place is a hub of culture, fashion, and MOSQUITOS. Not a single darn tootin' online source warns you about the evil zanzare (mosquitoes in Italian), but we literally had to buy jungle-grade bug repellent because we couldn't sleep without being eaten alive by Asian Tiger Mosquitoes. Our ceiling and walls are covered in their dead bodies, but smashing them is handy for when you need to take your aggression out on someone/thing. Check me out, finding the silver lining. I used to think, "Oh...every creature is a part of a collective balance in nature and contributes to a complex harmony in the animal kingdom".....NO BRO, not mosquitoes. Kill them with fire. I'll stop now.
< Ammu Cannoli Espressi Siciliani =
The best cannoli in Milan
Surprisingly, a lot of Gelato all around Italy was disappointing EXCEPT for a place called "Massimo Gelato Milano". It's right down the road from my apartment, the gelato is thicker than my thighs (as it should be), and it tastes like a gosh-darn DREAM.
Continuing on...My studly buds and I hiked the entirety of the Cinque Terre! A portion of the "easier" trail was closed due to landslides, so we BEGAN the ~11mile journey 96 flights up the first side of the first mountain. My toenails are purple, my calves feel like they were used as punching bags in fight-club, the thousands of stairs didn't immediately turn my body into J-Lo's, but I feel like a badass with new limits!!! (P.S. Can I say badass in these blogs? P.S.S. I complained a bunch on the hike because I felt like death and I regret it) = PROTIP: Whine less, you are blessed. Also, keep feminine products on you AT ALL TIMES, LADIES [and fellas if you're "woke".]
Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention the "study" portion of study-abroad. It's...school. I'm an art major whose unable to take any art classes, which is a bummer. However, that brings me to another tip: don't sacrifice all of your hobbies abroad, because it will be draining emotionally. Being busy with school projects and travelling, I've cut out drawing (which I've learned is my therapy).
This trip is the most marvelous way to go broke I could've ever asked for! I'M SO FULL OF LIFE AND PIZZA, ADVENTURE IS OUT THERE, THE WORLD IS SO BIG, THERE'S STILL SO MUCH TO LEARN!!! JUST DO ITTT!!!
I'm realizing this has become a novel, so If I ever want someone to read these things, I'll cut it short and save the millions of wicked details for my next posts. It's SO hard to not rant on about all the little beautiful moments and attach a ton of pictures of my new beautiful friends. Concerts in tunnels, morning walks in the Alps, touring castles in flowy dresses, dueling with Death-Eaters in London, LIFE IS GOOD.
Me @ the Uffizi Gallery in Florence; Oriana the Latina Princess @ Cinque Terre; Chrissy the True-Blue @ Pompeii