I have been in Italy now for several months, and it has been quite the journey so far. I have met some incredible people, learnt a new language (although I am still not very good) and studying new and interesting fields.
Yesterday was a milestone in my journey for two reasons, firstly I watched my first full-length classic Italian movie, without subtitles and I actually understood it! I even laughed at some of jokes without any external translator explaining why it should be funny. The film was called Rocco i sui Fratelli, based in post-WWII Italy, it followed the life of a family as they tried to reconstruct their lives in post-war Italy.
Secondly, I finished the first part of my data thesis collection yesterday. For the past few weeks I have been in the South of Italy working on organic farms and learning about Italian culture and agriculture. I have done everything from running away from roosters trying to peck me to death, to building a herb garden, to chasing pigs to making a gravel road and learning about medicinal plants.
In addition to this, I have been part of an Italian cultural project in Umbria, helping out at a little gallery in Umbertide – I had my ever first gallery opening whilst staying here for a few days, it was very exciting.
I attended my first ever (and probably not last) Italian style graduation – “laurea” – which was just wonderful. It included dressing up the ‘graduate’ in a sumo-wrestler suit – or anything other ridiculous outfit you can find. Then getting them to do stupid, and embarassing dares, drinking (A LOT) and wondering around the streets of Bologna in complete merriment.
Whilst in Bologna I have tried to get involved in projects with refugees and also social campaigns regarding the migrant crisis, I attended a mass demo in the centre of town which saw around 1000 people come out in solidarity for refugees and called on italian, european and indeed world leaders, to come together to find a humane and just solution for the crisis.