Skype, Translators & Back to the Grind

Greetings once more from Sweden!

What's an exchange student to do for the holidays? Nothing like using Skype to eat breakfast with the family on Christmas morning.

What’s an exchange student to do for the holidays? Nothing like using Skype to eat breakfast with the family on Christmas morning.

As always, the holidays seemed to have disappeared in a flash. I stayed in Lund up until the 26th of December and then headed southward to Italy. I arrived in Milan and took the train to Faenza, a small town close to Bologna, where I was greeted by an old U of T friend who drove me to her even smaller town of Brisighella.

You know you're traveling with a budget airline when no one even bothered to take the trees out of the boxes.

You know you’re traveling with a budget airline when no one even bothered to take the trees out of the boxes.

Brisighella is a quaint little town surrounded by rolling hills, and is home to a small olive oil and wine cooperative.  During my short stay, I met many lovely people who welcomed me into their homes and included me into their holiday celebrations.

Overlooking Brisighella.

Overlooking Brisighella.

However, one night definitely stood out from the others. I attended a party where I was given fair warning that no one else attending really spoke that much English. Regardless of this fact, I was warmly welcomed once more into a stranger’s home where a huge Italian style potluck was in full swing. The beginning of the night was a bit on the quiet side for me, since I had only been able to find one person who was willing to practice his English. However, as the night went on and the holiday cheer continued to be drunk from bottomless glasses, more and more of these lovely Italians began to speak English, and quite well I might add!

It ended up being a really fun evening. At the start they were giving me a bit of a hard time, but I was touched by the fact that they were trying so hard to include me. It was apparent that a few of these Italians were more proficient in English then the others, so they quickly became the “translators” for their friends. I was quick to catch on though, that these “translators” were picking, choosing, and perhaps bending, what was actually being said by the others. That is, I’m pretty sure they were trying to set me up with one of two men. Luckily my friend and I left before any dates could be planned.

Walking along the harbour front in Trieste.

Walking along the harbour front in Trieste.

After my stay in Brisighella we travelled to Trieste, a city in Northeastern Italy. Trieste is a beautiful seaside town which architecturally has been heavily influenced by Croatia. Here I met many more wonderful people, and we all celebrated the coming of 2014 together with champagne and fireworks in the center square.

More walking.

More walking.

 

Sunset on the 31st.

Sunset on the 31st.

I was back in Lund by January 2nd to enjoy my last few days of freedom. Refocusing back into my studies has been a bit of an uphill battle. My Fisheries Ecology class does not finish until the 18th of January, and we were half way through a group modeling project before the holiday break began. Naturally, no one so much as glimpsed at the project during the holidays, so we all feel as though we are starting back a square one…c’est la vie!

Until next time,

Abby

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