EP #2: Right before and after a departure

EP #2: Right before and after a departure

Here it is, the second episode of “Blame it on Erasmus” on your screen right now! If you missed the first episode, the one where I introduce the Erasmus Generation, you can find it here.

RIGHT BEFORE THE DEPARTURE

Years of complains, human race awareness attempts, animated summits because of global warming…and what is ruining my plans and getting on my tired nerves? THE WINTER OF RECORDS. The one that has been waited for 20 years. The one that, in my opionion, could have kept on minding its f***ing business.

Fathers who bought me thermos bottle to fill with hot tea – to not die in the bus – Mothers, who were secretly praying that the Erasmus programme would be suddenly canceled and their daughter wouldn’t have to leave.

PANIC.

A couple weeks before my “alleged” departure, thanks to a memorable snowfall and family paranoia, I still had no flight ticket to Warsaw.

The bad weather alert was far from ceasing, thus better off spending my time with some shopping. Born and raised in Southern Italy, with very small experience (at that time) living in the Pianura Padana, I have never been in need of apres-ski boots. The possibilities to find a pair of those in a small city of Gargano, were very little, but let’s make the best of things.

Attempt n°1 – Shoes shop:

No, if you have to go to Poland, I really can’t help you. How old are you?

20

And after 20 years you still don’t get the fact that here is not snowing that much?

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Attempt n°2 – Sportswear shop n°1:

Apres-ski boots? I had a few of them, but in few days, weather will be good again, don’t worry!

Well, actually I’m moving to Poland…

Oh! In that case, let me suggest some of the best brands, so if you’re looking in some other shops…

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Attempt n°3 – Sportswear shop n°2:

Apres-ski boots for you? I don’t have any, you’re late

-sorrowful face-

Oh, come on! You’re not going to Siberia, don’t you?

In Poland, I am actually moving to Poland!

Oh, I see. However, how long do you plan to stay? Because there’s this good offer for mobile phone plans…

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Few days later, I am finally on that bus to Rome, paired with a flight ticket, apres-ski boots and yes, my thermos bottle filled with hot tea. Its content, at a certain point cold, will be spilled on my friend’s desk. This friend was hosting me one day before my departure because I had to meet a girl. That girl was my polish roommate that was giving me the key of the apartment while she spent her holidays in Rome.

The moment to leave to the airport has come: escalator out of order, two suitcases. In front of me an Asian girl in the same condition gives me a symphatetic glimpse. She speaks English. We split to find a lift, she’s faster than me and waves her hand to grab my attention. I catch up with her. In the elevator I tell her something funny, she looks not understanding my joke, gets out, never seen her again.

Two smiling flight assistants are welcoming me saying something not really understandable, like actually all the 120 passengers around me are doing. I feel a foreigner even still being in Italy.

Vistula river, February 2012

RIGHT AFTER THE DEPARTURE

-16°

My first days have been really hard. We left in Rome one of my two flatmates, the other one would have come from Germany a couple days after my arrival. Back to 2012 Whatsapp was not that popular, I didn’t have wifi in the apartment yet, neither a smartphone capable to fast surf the net (how things change in few years, eh?).

I didn’t know a person, I didn’t speak a word of the language spoken by the cashier in the shop close to my flat, day light was too short. I spent my first days completely alone, setting up my room, with one only sitraction: my daily shot of internet in the shopping center 10 minutes walking from home. When I wasn’t there eating doubtful meals (the result of what I was trying to order and what the waiter got from that words), I was in my room either crying or consuming the 50 euros credit on my phone that should have lasted a little bit more.

Getting a phone call from one of my best friends in those days was a relief: I really needed someone to share my emotions, fears and laughs with.

To adapt myself has never been a problem for me, but in that moment it seemed such a big obstacle! During those first days I was switching between “oh, so nice!” and “who the hell told me to do this”.

Ok, calm down: these are perfectly normal sensations. No, you overestimate yourself instead, and underestimate everything else. However if you come back home, you’ve lost.

Ok, I’m gonna take next flight to Italy.

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