For number six, I'll rewind to the spring semester of my Junior year in college. I was 20-years-old and living with a family (a single 29-year-old woman) in Florence, Italy. For six months, I attended classes in Jewelry making, Italian cinema, Italian language and literature on the weekdays and spent my weekends traveling the countryside.
It was not the first long period of time I had spent abroad. My freshman year in high school, I spent a summer in Brazil. Later, I spent a summer in Costa Rica in an intensive Spanish program. My first semester of college was in London. But I was 14, 16 and 18 on those trips. At 20, living abroad was a new experience. It was sort of the last hurrah and the least structured of any of the programs through which I had traveled. There was no "adult supervision" and I was old enough to appreciate it. In Brazil, I was terribly homesick, in Costa Rica I was mostly just partying and in London, I was overhwhelmed by the start of college. Italy was just for fun and learning.
I spent a lot of time alone, writing in my journal, reading, going to the opera. But I also spent a lot of time with good friends (Ciao, Stephania), eating, drinking Chianti and going to cheesy clubs. It was not life altering. I did not discover myself on a mountaintop in Fiesole. But the sememster was an exercise in total body enrichment. Intellectual stimulation from my lit and film classes, fun at cheesy clubs, adventures in traveling, crushes all around, weight gain--pasta, pesto, mozzarella, oh my-- and good friendships.
On the weekends I traveled, I spent a week with Auntie K in Paris (where she was living that semester) where we saw porn opera and the ever-important Paris sewer museum; I got my tongue pierced while staying two weeks in London and almost decided not to leave b/c of a brief, but intense romance with a law student/Sid Viscious wannabe; I stayed out until 8 a.m. every night for a week in Salamanca, Spain, ate tapas and tried to let my swollen tongue heal. I was about as 20 as I could be--immature, rebellious and totally free. Good times.