A lot has been happening on this side of the Atlantic. Two Saturdays ago we went to Ravenna for the day and had a great time. After eating an amazing lunch at this really cool enoteca Ca’ di Vin (an enoteca is kind of like a neighborhood restaurant that specializes in serving local wines) and spending the day checking out dozens of perfectly preserved Byzantine mosaics, I parted ways with the rest of the crew and took the train to Florence to visit the Holy Cross group there. Traveling here is so easy (and cheap)! For less than 20 euro, I was able to wake up in Bologna, have lunch in Ravenna, and spend in Florence. Getting in at about 8 at night, I checked into my hostel, ate a quick dinner of ossobuco and rice at a street side trattoria, and then met up with everyone on the steps of the Duomo to enjoy the local nightlife. It was really great to get together with the other kids and having the chance to spend some time with my good friend Whitney made me feel a little less homesick.
This week our hours at the language center were cut back to coincide with the start of our university courses (which begin on October 1st), so we only had two hours of class a day opposed to the usual four. On Friday Alessandra met with us to discuss our schedules. Because of the novelty of the program in Bologna, we really had no idea what to expect. Most study abroad programs at Holy Cross require students to take a lighter course load the first semester (because the language programs are more intensive); however, because we are still working out the kinks here, Alessandra was only able to get us into the classes we need this semester so most of us will be taking the bulk of our course load this fall (seeing as everything is in Italian, the prospect of this is incredibly intimidating!). Alessandra assures us that although it will be difficult, we will not be overwhelmed and that our tutors (of which we have one for each class) will make sure that we understand the material. I will be taking two-sixty hour Italian literature courses, so I am sure that by Christmas I’ll be so immersed in the language that I’ll be speaking it in my sleep.
This past Saturday, following our weekend routine, we went to Ferrara (a small city about thirty minutes north of Bologna) for lunch. I ate Pumpkin Tortelloni al Ragu, which sounds odd, but the sweetness of the pumpkin filling perfectly complimented the meaty ragu sauce – absolutely amazing on a fall day. After eating, we walked through some of the local marketplaces and saw this pretty cool castle complete with a moat and drawbridge. We’re definitely not in Worcester anymore!