by Courtney Bettin, CCI Greenheart Travel Exchange Student in Italy
Over the past month I have found myself engulfed in the Italian way. At the beginning of February, it was Carnival, which was created so people could go crazy before the restrictions of Lent and the holy time of Easter. There were a lot of parties, a lot of masks, and a lot of tricks.
Lasagna is the typical food of Carnival and I think I had enough to last me a life time over the week. My host mother is such a good cook. Too good! My host family took me to see the Reggia Palace last Sunday which was brilliant. We took a tour through the palace and then walked out in the huge garden behind it. The weather has gotten so warm and it was beautiful to walk around outside.
I’ve been spending a lot of time with my new friends, going out for coffee or hanging out at the local park Belvedere. My best friend Rossella invited me to her house for lunch last week so I could meet her family. They are the sweetest, funniest people I’ve ever met! I wish I could have lunch there everyday. After lunch she took me for a walk around the little shops and we talked. She is the person I feel closest to next to my host sister and I am so grateful for her friendship to me.
This exchange has been full of surprises for me, most of them personal. My favorite part of being here is that no one knows me. The most treasured thing about travelling is that you are what you are right then and there. No one has your past to hold against you. If I want to wear a leather jacket and hemp bracelets or dress head to toe in Prada or every color of the rainbow no one will know the difference. You have the opportunity to try new styles and listen to new music and hang out with new people and become the person you always wanted to be but never had the chance to. There is no drama here, no schoolwork to worry about, no parents to please, just you. It’s incredible and exhilerating and I highly recommend it. It’s like rehab for the soul.