Always on the road, bucketlist checkoffs, couchsurfing and endless nights, gap years and summers abroad, random weekends/random weekdays, smiles all over, adventures for all, treestreestrees, international hugging, one thousand goodbyes...the list goes on forever. But essentially? These are the tales of my adventures around the globe.
Tuesday, 17 May 2011
After an 11 (or so) hour train ride, I [very] gladly hopped off in Verona, where my host family for the next 6 weeks was waiting for me. Erica, 17, and her dad, were a happy sight. After a refreshing drink of water, we got into their car, and began the one hour journey to their home in Mezzocorona. Happily chatting away, Marco missed our exit and the journey took slightly longer but it was quite a laugh. We arrived in their quaint hometown of Mezzocorona, which is situated abou a 20 minute car ride from Trento, between the mountains. Completely (completely) jetlagged, I was in awe. They lived in a 3 story building, first floor was their place; second, the aunt’s; and last, the grand parents—so lovely. I met with the mother, Emmanuel, and younger sister Laura. I was super happy to have arrived, and incredibly grateful of their hospitability, I knew that I was going to spend a wonderful time with them already. Emmanuel and Erica insisted on me getting some rest, so after napping way longer than I had planned to, I woke up to Erica asking if I was up for going out for dinner. After a quick shower and a change of clothes, I gladly joined them on the outing to Trento, for my first pizza in Italia! Yum, yum. After a nice stroll around the center of town, we returned home and had a bit of fun playing on Wii. Although I was awefully quiet and shy, I already felt like I had been there for ages.
The next morning, I woke up early to join the family to Monte Bondone, where they had a second apartment in the mountain (mostly for ski every weekend). Because Erica had injured her hand and couldn’t ski for the rest of the season, we went to the spa at the nearby hotel. We had a relaxing afternoon, and Erica began teaching me a bit of Italian.
“Io Sono, Tu sei, Lui/Lei è, Noi siamo, Voi siete, Loro sono....Io ho, Tu hai, Lui/Lei ha, Noi abbiamo, Voi avete, Loro hanno...."
I had barely been in Italy been in Italy for over 24 hours, and I could already say a few sentences, and understood a bit when spoken to. Having never learned Italian before, I was extremely proud. Laura spoke next to no English, and Emmanuel none at all, so over the next few weeks, I improved immensely just by conversing with them daily. I hadn’t found any cheap Italian lessons in the surrounding area, but having Italian friends and family, taking lessons was of no use. I would definitely recommend this kind of experience as the best if you want to learn a new language. By the end of my stay in Mezzocorona, I spoke more Italian than my friends who spoke Spanish back home (and who have been studying it since high school).
Wednesday, 4 May 2011
Having about 24 hours to pack, I came across a dilemma. Would I travel with my backpack like last year, or would I give in and take a suitcase? There are Pros and Cons to both...but in the end, I decided to try out the suitcase. I figured that staying in one place for more than three months was a good enough argument.
I was wrong.
After sleeping off the jetlag for a few days, I immediately started planning my trip to Central America. For months I researched volunteer projects, flights, travel plans, couchsurfing, scuba diving, weather, government and visas....I had it all down to three months. I would fly into Honduras, stay a few weeks—enough time to receive my PADI certifications up to Advance Diver (with possible add-ons), then I would find my way to Nicaragua, where I would remain for at least one month, living and working in a Hostel, doing community work with children (teaching English) and learning to surf...and then I would spend a minimum of 4 weeks in Costa Rica, working in a turtle conservation project.
I was going to find my way to New York through rideshare, where I would board a flight to La Ceiba (Honduras) by the end of January. I would fly back at the end of April—but instead of coming back to Montreal, I would fly into Calgary and explore the west for a while.
Everything was set.
I was getting in contact with volunteer agencies and Diving companies and applying for jobs and saving up the money. I had all the security measures covered and convincing my parents that all was going to be fine.
...So why am I writing this from my apartment in Italy, instead of an internet cafe in Costa Rica?
Sunday, 1 May 2011
Having left Camp in the U.K. without official goodbyes, I felt weird about leaving Europe altogether. Hélène and Alain, who had been more than generous during my 10 days in Paris, drove me to the train station, where I would journey back to the airport. Corsair may offer cheap flights...but they are never (ever) on time. In any case, there I was...sitting at the airport—thinking about the 3 months that had passed by so quickly...and thinking that when I got back, I wouldn’t have much to do. Having deferred my entry to McGill, all that was left at home was to work and save up for my next big trip (which, at the time, was to Central America). I think I must of stood up three or four times, ready to run out of the airport—forget my luggage—and find my way back to the U.K., or to any other destination.