This was something that I had been telling myself over and over for the first two months, it’s only now that I truly believe it. I feel that I have neglected my blog a bit, but that’s not because I didn’t have anything to say, it was quite the opposite. I had a lot of things to say, but a lot of these things weren’t positive. I hadn’t had the best start to my year abroad that I had hoped for and I found living alone a lot harder than I thought. But these were things I really didn’t want to share with the world, I wanted to talk about all the good times I had been having and in reality the good were very few in comparison to the bad.
Now that I look back on it though, I believe that it is important not to ignore the fact that my time here hasn’t always been easy. I’m only human and the time it takes for people to settle in a new country varies from person to person and situation to situation. So it might have taken me a bit longer to find my feet in Italy and feel comfortable in my new environment but I can now say that I feel happy. Of course homesickness comes and goes, but I have found that I am starting to enjoy my time here instead of just wanting it to wish it away. Don’t get me wrong I am SO excited to go home for Christmas (22 days!) but I feel now time is passing quicker because I am keeping myself as busy as possible and enjoying myself whilst I’m at it. The past few weekends I have spent meeting up with other ELA’s in Puglia, and it has been so much fun. Not only it has been a good opportunity to get out of Martina and travel, but also to be around other English people has made me feel at home. Having plans and things to look forward to every week really helped time pass quicker and I have gotten to go, and do things I probably wouldn’t have done if I was alone.
Last weekend was my first nightclub experience. Living in a small town like Martina Franca, there isn’t much opportunity to go out and it is something I really miss about my uni life in England. But a group of us went to Lecce to see what nights out in Italy were like, and let me tell you there are pretty different than the nights out I am used to at uni and home. Firstly, the club was very smart and stylish; I almost felt that we had walked into the wrong place when we arrived. Being used to student nights and student prices, I was shocked to hear that drinks were 10 Euros each, how can people afford nights out here? And I have no even mentioned the entry fee. Luckily, that night we were put on a guest list which meant we got free entry, and to our surprise we even got to meet the manager who gave us free drinks, being impressed that we had come to Italy to study/work. So our night out ended up being a lot cheaper than anticipated. The music wasn’t bad also; they played a lot of cheesy and old school music, which we weren’t ashamed to admit we knew all the words too. All in all it was a brilliant night a nice change from what I am used to back in England, we definitely showed the Italians how to party 😉
I can’t end this post without talking about crepes with nutella. Now just imagine that feeling when you have had just a little bit too much to drink and you start craving fast food, I am sure I am not alone in this. This was me too weeks ago, and I could go on to moan how Italy lack streets full of greasy takeaways (which in your drunken state of mind finds appealing) but I have found and Italian alternative. Whilst we were walking home after going to a few cocktail bars in Lecce, I found a man who sold all types of crepes you could ever wish for. I got a crepe with nutella, it was probably the best drunk food I have ever ordered. AMAZING.
So, these first two months have taught me that I may not always get things the way I wanted them, and to be grateful for what I do have because after all having the chance to go abroad for a year is an opportunity many people would give their right arm for. It has also taught me to have faith that things will get better even if it might take a little time.