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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Moving to Genoa

I had heard, even before I arrived in at Clemson, about the architecture school's program in Genoa.  Everyone who had been or had heard of people who had gone said it was amazing - something I must do - and that the villa was awesome.  So from the beginning, I had my heart set on Italy.

At the first study abroad meeting, my junior year of college seemed so far away.  And I liked it that way.  Italy was something to look forward to, something to dream about.  And then it crept up on me.

I, by no means, felt ready.  Even though I'm 21 years old, I still feel very much like a child.  How can I be this old?

Packing was my biggest concern.  And none of the meetings we attended were very informative about packing.  At the meeting where a student who had been to Genoa in the spring the year before attended, I asked her questions like, "What are you glad you brought?  What did you wish you brought?"  But I could tell that this girl wasn't that similar to me.

I am not one size fits all.  I'm 5 feet tall, size 32DD bra, size 00 jeans, and size 2 (yes, children's) shoes.  I'm basically Dolly Parton, except with no one to custom  make glitzy clothes for me.  It took me years to learn where to shop and what to buy in the US, so you can only imagine the lack of comfort I feel when I'm told, "Oh, you can buy clothes and shoes while you're abroad."

So I didn't stress too much about packing light.  I packed enough clothes to get me through at least a month without washing anything.

I Packed:
  • A ton of sweaters and tops
  • T-shirts and cardigans for layering
  • 2 pairs of jeans (wore 1), black pants, black metallic pants, and gold pants
  • 3 knit dresses
  • A nicer high-low dress
  • 2 dressy shorts
  • 5 skirts
  • 5 jackets (warm jacket, trench, military jacket, leather jacket, and raincoat)
  • Lots of shoes (3 pumps - black, nude, gold; 2 ballet flats - black, gold; brown mules, black oxfords, black sweater Uggs, natural canvas Toms, black oxford heels, and brown boots)
In my defense, shoes are rather difficult for me to find, so I brought a lot.



As for toiletries, I brought all of my travel necessities, as well as smaller bottles of my regular shampoo and conditioner.  What I really wish I would've brought is body wash and a washcloth or loofah.  We were told that we could buy toiletries here, but the only toiletries I've found are pretty expensive (it's cheaper to buy a bottle of wine...).  We also weren't given washcloths.  I assumed that since we were given towels that we'd receive washcloths, too, but I was wrong.  A shower caddy also wouldn't have been a bad idea because we have to take our things out of the showers everyday to make it easier for our housekeeper to clean (can't really complain...).  There are a few in the closet of things left behind by previous students, so if I get desperate enough, I'll take one of those.

Another thing I wish I would've packed are Command hooks.  I actually almost brought some just because they were already in my suitcase, but I took them out.  We could really use some hooks to hang our purses, belts, and bath towels.

I didn't bring a hairdryer or a hair straightener because I had heard the horror stories of people blowing theirs up.  There are several European hairdryers in the villa, so that hasn't been a problem, but no one has left behind a hair straightener.  I'm going to need to purchase one ASAP.

I checked two large rolling suitcases, as well as a rolling carry-on and my camera bag.

Our plane arrived 30 minutes late at the gate in Charlotte, so our flight was terribly delayed.  When we got to the airport in DC, we had to run 40 gates to make our connection.  Yes, we were those people hustling through the airport.  I would say it's not funny when it's happening to you, but I was laughing the entire time, so I suppose that's a false statement.

When I realized how soon we took off after getting on the plane (I believe we were the last people on), I had  a sick feeling that our luggage wasn't with us.  But I refused to think that.  I had never lost my luggage before.

When we got off the plane at the tiny Genoa Airport, we waited for the bags to come.  It was very strange how they did it.  They started one conveyor belt which was apparently just to mess with us because everyone looked very disappointed when it stopped - and then they started the other one and everyone hustled over there.  Then that conveyor belt stopped about as quickly as the other one.  And we didn't have our luggage.  We stood around for a minute until it was apparent that there was no more luggage to be found.  So we made our way over to Lost & Found.

The woman working there was of course Italian.  She did speak English, but with a strong accent.  They were having trouble with their system, but she was able to locate our bags... they were still in DC, but were going to be sent on a plane to Munich that night.  They could be delivered to us tomorrow morning at 11:30.  We then had to each describe our bags to her, and she wrote us each receipts.  It took like five minutes per person to get this done.  I think we spent over half an hour at lost and found.

She fussed at us for taking this picture... no photos allowed.

The next day, we waited and waited for our luggage.  We finally got a call around noon that our luggage would be there at 4:30, and we had to wait for it because there isn't really any parking outside the villa.  4:30 came and went... no luggage.  Finally, around 7:00 PM, it arrived!


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