As you’re reading this, I will have just arrived in Florence, and will most likely be completely out of my depth. I still haven’t found anywhere to live, and have had to book a hostel for the first week to allow myself to view some apartments in person.
I feel like now is an important time to review my time in Paris and what I will do differently now that I have moved to Florence.
I really really hope I manage to live with Italians, though I know that there is a fair chance that I’ll get so stressed looking for houses that I’ll let this requirement slide. Whatever happens, I want to be speaking Italian at home. I found that I barely ended up speaking French in Paris, because at work I’d be mostly on the computer and I lived with English speaking girls. Although this living arrangement was lovely and my housemates were great, I cannot afford to do this in Italy, my level of Italian is shocking and I need to do everything in my power to improve it.
Similarly, I need to stop getting embarrassed by the level of my language. I know in France whenever I was at a restaurant with another year abroad student I got embarrassed when I had to speak French in front of them. Not only is this pointless, it gave me a bit of a complex about my language skills, making me less willing to speak French in front of anyone. I have to focus on the achievements (for example in France my French listening improved dramatically, even if the speaking didn’t) and stop being so self deprecating. Fake it until you make it!
I will also make more proactive steps to improve my language skills, keeping a vocab book and learning the vocab once a week.
This time I want to make sure I do not go to England as much. I don’t really think it was avoidable for the first six months- there were so many celebrations from birthdays to Christmas and I don’t regret any of my visits. However, I found that for most of September and November and even quite a bit of December I was not actually in Paris at the weekends. I want to make sure I make the most of the location, my friends and family will still be there when I finish!
In terms of making the most of the location, I hope to travel all around Italy in these five months. I’m already desperately want to see Venice, Rome, Siena, Milan and Pisa, and I’m sure there will be many more!
I’m also going to not only take every opportunity to meet people, but also make my own opportunities. I hope to set up a tandem partner when I get there, where you get partnered with an Italian person in order to practise your respective languages.
This time around, if the year abroad blues hit I will make sure to delete the Facebook app on my phone. I didn’t realise how much of a detrimental effect it was happening until I was forced to delete it when I ran out of storage. Apparently I’d been subconsciously comparing my year abroad to others whenever they uploaded photos, even though I was well aware the photos aren’t indicative of how good a time they’re having.
I will also understand that it will go so quickly. It feels like Paris passed in the blink of an eye, but in October I remember feeling like I had a lifetime left. Five months is nothing.
I was going to call this section “Miscellaneous” until I realised there was a running theme underneath it all.
Firstly, I need to organise meeting with people in the morning, as I found that in Paris it was the only way to get me out of bed before 11am at the weekends!
Secondly, I have to eat more healthily. I fell into the baguette and brie trap big time in Paris, but I did also have a stupid number of colds so it can’t have been the best for my immune system. A lot of it stemmed from being too tired after 9 hours at work to cook a proper meal, so this time I will make sure I have a routine going. However, I won’t feel as bad for constantly resorting to pasta, I mean I’m in Italy what better time to feast on pasta everyday?!
And finally, and this is a big promise haha, I will update this blog every Sunday night. A few of my friends blog about their year abroad weekly and this seems like such a good system. A routine will hopefully ensure productivity, and it will be lovely to look back on my blog being able to see what I got up to each week. And you’ll get weekly updates from my life, what more could you want haha.
So, I’ll see you next week, where you’ll find out how my week of house hunting went (keep your fingers crossed for me!)