This is slightly embarrassing… my last blog post was nearly 3 months ago – oops.
How time flies. Well I say that, but being in Grenoble feels like aaages ago. So much has happened since then – I am now nearly completely settled in in Parma and I am loving it – but I will get to that later.
Au revoir Grenoble
My last few weeks in Grenoble really flew by. I had my exams, still don’t know how they went because I haven’t received my marks yet – I hope I passed..
As well as of my exams, my last weeks were mainly full of packing and lots of sad au revoirs.
(I won’t lie, I did just have to verify my spelling of ‘au revoir’ because it didn’t look right. Try not to judge me.. I’ve been in Italian mode for the past 3 weeks.. that’s a fair enough explanation right?!)
Christmas was lovely, I hadn’t been home in 15 weeks so it was great spending time with my family and loved ones again. It was odd though (and I think everyone who travels for a long time will experience this), after about an hour or so of being home, I felt like I hadn’t been away at all… everything just switches back to normal. I guess this is a good thing – it was quite reassuring actually!
Malaysia & Thailand
As my boyfriend is studying in Malaysia this year, I had to make the most of my 6 weeks at home and visit him once his January exams were done. In the middle of January I flew to Kuala Lumpur and met Daniel at the airport, the following day we flew to Surat Thani and got a ferry to Ko Phangan. We had the best week on the beauutiful island then flew back to KL and stayed at his uni as well as for a few nights in KL itself – which is a very cool place. It was the best holiday ever. After a very sad goodbye at the beginning of February knowing I wouldn’t see Daniel again till June… I flew home, giving me 4 days to get ready before going to Italy.
If you’re thinking that this was all very unrelated to my year abroad, you are wrong. Without my semester in Grenoble, there is no way I would’ve felt as comfortable and confident flying all the way to Malaysia from London as I did. Goes to show that this experience benefits you in more ways than you realize!
My emotions and state of mind leaving home for Italy couldn’t have been more different to what they were like when I left for France. When I left my home in September I was not in the right frame of mind, I didn’t want to leave my boyfriend, my family, my friends.. anything. I did not want to go on my year abroad.
However, after the wonderful experience I did have in France – and most probably the fact that I’d already said goodbye to Daniel – I was happy, excited and completely ready to go to Italy!
I must admit too, that I have been very fortunate this time round as I have two of my best friends here in Parma with me. I traveled here with Izzy and we stayed in an Air BnB for a week then Ellie arrived and we moved into our flat.
Our week in the AirBnB was nice but quite stressful as we had to find our accommodation. We arrived on a Wednesday, on the Thursday we had a meeting that I’d arranged with a local estate agent who showed us a lovely apartment for 3. Everything seemed perfect about it except the fact that it had no wifi – as 3 girls who would have be wanting to facetime our boyfriends and families, you can imagine that this was quite a problem.
So, on the Friday we spent all day trying to find shops that would give us wifi or at least explain our options. I won’t go into the technicalities of what the result was but basically, we would have been paying a lot for a very small amount of wifi..
After our disappointment with the shops, we headed back to the same estate agent to see what he could suggest. This is where things went wrong..
To our horror, he was leasing off the same flat we had visited the day before to other students! I must say that the 5 minutes we stood there watching this transaction happen were probably some of our lowest moments in a while…
It’s hard to describe to depths of our despair at this point so I will try using bullet points:
- It was a Friday evening;
- We were moving out of our Air Bnb on Wednesday;
- We only had one place that we thought was going to be right for us;
- We had now lost that place;
- Due to the weekend, we only had Monday and Tuesday to find somewhere else;
- Our Air Bnb was booked up for the next few weeks following our departure.
It got to the point where we were jealous of random people walking down the street because we knew they had a place to live.
I’m hoping you understand now..
Luckily enough, we had contacted our university and they had arranged a flat viewing for us, we didn’t think it was going to be at all suitable. However, it was perfect.
After all that drama, everything worked out in the end.
Università di Parma
The university is your typical city university in that it has several university buildings dotted around the city. We live a 10 minute walk from one and about a 35 minute walk from another. Parma is pretty small so these two university buildings are on complete opposite ends of the city yet only a 25 minute walk from each other.
The university buildings are beautiful:
Don’t get me wrong, Kent is lovely, but the buildings here are on another level!
In terms of my classes, I’m taking language, literature and culture modules. In a few weeks I’m going to start a teaching placement where I will go into primary schools and teach English. I am beyond excited for this. The placement was the main reason I chose Parma really. I hope it goes well…
I think I’ll leave it there for now and talk about my trips etc on my next post. So stay tuned for that..
In the mean time, here are a few more lovely photos of Parma:
Arrivederci a presto! x