As a student here at CIMBA in Paderno del Grappa, I feel very grateful to have been blessed with two insightful and empowering professors. These classes in Italy can be rigorous, considering we are taking two semester long courses in the time span of less than a month. But during these last four weeks my professors have inspired me. My law professor's intelligence and passion for the law engaged me day in and day out. She really made me consider what sort of career I want to pursue and my interest in being a lawyer myself has only climbed to new heights. I saw a future for myself within her words and I began to anticipate a future where I did more than just sit in a typical 8-5 office job. She went beyond the scope of the law as she explained that we will often come across decisions in the business world that are legal but yet unethical and we have to decide what type of professionals we want to be. She emphasized that we must not be afraid to ask more for ourselves (just maybe don't go to another interview at a public lunch because it is possible your current boss will be there lol). She explained we have to be bold because we are the only ones who are going to be able to advocate for ourselves. Talk about a strong, independent woman....
I want to do something that allows me to see more of the world in an attempt to leave bigger footprints throughout all aspects of my life. My Italian professor is evident of this. She is fluent in English and Italian (and even knows a lot of French and Spanish). She attempts to connect with so many cultures and understand where they are coming from by partaking in their experiences. I sat in one of the local Gelateria's as I ate my ice-cream cone, as she explained how she met her husband. He was a professor from America teaching here in Paderno and he courted her by writing her letters, taking her on dates, and immersing himself into her culture. They commuted back and forth from Colorado to Italy for six years, but this year he finally moved to Italy to be with her at all times :) Their story touched me and her words inspired me to look deeper into cultures other than my own. By doing so, I have been able to conduct an enriched and profound awareness of the world around me. I have a greater respect for how other countries choose to live and I have a greater appreciation for my own country back home. When I ordered in Italian at the local cafe and the Italian woman beamed back at me, acknowledging my efforts, it felt as if I had just bridged a gap between us. Language connects us and when we dip our toes into another we are lucky enough to create a bond, even if it's just for a few seconds.
I love the relaxed style of the Italians where everything is much slower paced but more valued and cherished. I love how wine is water and dinners run far into the evenings because everyone is too absorbed in their olive oil, fresh tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, or bottles of wine. I have discovered the three main food groups here: pizza, pasta, and pastries. This is not an exaggeration. The Italians love their carbs but I love them even more for that. I learned that it is NOT common to have pasta with bread because that is essentially having bread with bread. This is actually a thing the Americans started because we watched them eat bread and watched them have pasta and thought why not have it all go together (hate to be the bearer of bad news Olive Garden). I learned that every meal begins with the white wines and ends with the red, usually closing with a sweet dessert wine. In Italy, cappuccinos are for the early mornings but coffee is rarely sipped at any other time throughout the day. An afternoon snack typically consists of uno cono con due palline (homemade, fresh gelato in a tiny cone). My favorite flavors have been fragola, cioccolato, e stracciatella (which is vanilla with fine shavings of chocolate layered throughout).
Paderno del Grappa is located in the Veneto region of Italy which is also the Presecco region of this country. I had this wine every time we ate at a local restaurant. To be able to say I drank wine from the region it originates from is a surreal statement. I leave for home in a few days and I'm not quite sure if I'm ready to go back to fast paced America where dinner occurs around 6 p.m, where ice-cream is closer to five dollars, where unfortunately there are no coffee vending machines to spit out a dainty cappuccino, and where I sadly have to say goodbye to having wine with every meal. La vita dolce has been too good to me. I haven't laughed harder (not yet at least), smiled more, and felt such passion within my own heart and lungs as I have on this trip. My friends have also pushed me as a person here. Along with my professors I have also met two of the strongest and kindest friends along this trip. Kayla and Sydney's strength and strong will have inspired me to be more confident, independent, and sure of myself. :)
Thank you Italy for reminding me of who I am and showing me everything you are. You are beautiful, your people are even more so, and you will forever be loved. Ciao.