Padwa. Włochy. Padua, Italy. Padova, Italia. It was a random choice.
Things I knew about Padua before my arrival: it is located in Italy. The university is famous. They offer a scholarship for 10 months. It is next to Venice.
Things I did not know about Padua: I would meet friendships of my life. I would learn Italian. I would start a blog. I would be back.
Padua in numbers:
+60 friends on Facebook
+ 1 language more.
2 universities at the same time.
24 flights Poland – Italy.
+ 1 one sister.
+ 3 dishes I know to cook.
+ 3 kg on weight
+ 70 blog posts.
Do you really think it is possible to describe love?
But we are humans.
And we always try.
I found the apartment on Facebook group. Hot July afternoon, the air condition of the room in Florence. Firenze. Si pronuncia Firenze. My Italian teacher did not leave a space for doubt. I had to memorize the words if I wanted to study in the language of Dante. July, the month of hell. 35 degrees, the room with the view to picturesque piazza and bus stop where tourists took last chance to get some sleep before the next day with Lonely Planet book in their hands. Florence never hides its beauty. The love arrived sooner I expected .
Skype with future Brasilian flatmate: “our neighbourhood is lovely. We’re looking forward to meet you!”.
I am going to Padua, I thought.
10 months seemed impossibly long.
Semptember. Hola, como estas? Estoy bien, gracias. Spanish family was not able to understand how could I travel that much. Me neither. Back from Florence, I repacked luggages and flew directly to south of Spain. Sun did its job: I forgot about the Padua project.
- Mum, are you able to describe love?
- What do you mean, my little girl?
- Love, mummy. I love you. But I don’t know how to describe it.
- Don’t worry darling. It’s important it’s inside. You will in the right moment.
Fresh air in the lungs brings Padua to life. A small grocery shop is about to open. I’m biking as hell, gosh, I’m going to be late again. Buongiorno, sigonra, come sta lei? She smiles, good sign. I take the dog and we go. One hour later the dog is happy, me only hungry. I rush to my favourite cafeteria. Ciao, bellissima, cosa ti preparo oggi? The waiter knows me but asks to cofirm the every day routine. I take my usual-boring-order: a small cornetto with cappuccino. The rest is silence.
Let’s meet for a coffee. A random Italian who by accident decided to participate in the same project with an Erasmus student. A Polish girl who talks a lot about everything. He prepared a pasta carbonara while studying. It was enough for a good start. They were talking for two days about one law case. Her in English. Him in Italian. Ten months later she speaks mainly Italian but still does not know how to cook carbonara.
Professore, non capisco, puo’ ripetere? The classroom is not enough for the students and the heat that arrived in June. I attend classes in Italian language so my notebook is a battle field with the pronunciation mistakes I am making. I don’t listen to teacher thinking about the amount of work I have ahead of me. The list of exams is never ending story, my friends in Poland are literally forgetting about my existence and I dream about summer moment on the beach
Coffee break at Balentes’ Cafe. A second cappuccino taken in the moment of disaster. The exam did not go well, I must say. Tears have the taste of sea. I am dreaming of holidays more than ever. The hug of friend, the call to my parents. Shoes, music and just run. Sun is incredible beautiful at eight pm. What am I the hell doing in here, this country of pizza, pasta, cappuccino? “It was your choice, babe”. Sometimes I hate the reasonable voice in my head.
I took my camera to the city of love. First Saturday of Erasmus, I just bought a ticket to Venice and went with hope to like canals more than the smell of supposedly – bad water. The facial expression of anger and sadness when I realize the memory card remained at home. 3 kilos of camera carried for nothing. Sun beams put a new perspective: there is a reason to be back. I will never suspect how many times I will be back.
We are biking. The sun prevents me from seeing things. Red car that passes has a music on, Despacito, popular Spanish piece that haunts every bar of Padua. I am smiling to the houses that at the late hour took intensive red colour. Is it possible to crying with fear? I am counting days till end of Erasmus. “Are you ready?”,my German friend texts me with smiling face. Answer includes a lot smiling emoji and one word: “No”.
I am trying to cross the road with the bike. Cars never stop, in the suburns of town they don’t even include bike as an object. We are transparent I suppose. The temperature must be over 30. For me ,as a Polish, it is hard to decide if I despise the heat or I love it. 800 meters are lacking, informs us Google Maps assistant. Bikes go smoothly on the road, we are laughing as gossip never finishes, especially when Italians guys are included. There is no doubt: we are sisters. Gosh, the smell of the chlorine, I love it. We are already in the swimming pool, covered up to neck with the water, wearing weird caps to cover hair but not to cover lack of time. We’re runnign out of it. As fuel. We are silent for a second only. At some point we just start hugging as if we were not to see each other for a long time.
Incredibly hot evening. I am at home studying for an exam. The window next to my arm is a prototype of air condition, fresh air does not enter though. I have strong impression of something that will happen. Click, click. The mobile phone demonstrates extra amount of energy in that humid, warm evening, contrary to my body apparently. “wanna go out?”, friends ask to meet. I don’t know what to do. Smell of flowers from outside that push me to click the fingerup. I am putting make up quickly as if it was a mask to shadow the tiredness. I am biking fast in order not to start convincing myself to remain at home.
Luggages are almost packed. For one week I’m dealing with them. I am packing and repacking and changing and adding and closing and opening. Things trying to enter in my future life.b Me not. I don’t fit. How to pack two years of memories in one luggage and one backpack?
Chilly night in Poznań. Clock shows almost 11 pm. I am still in library, eyes are observing the lack of rumour outside, the patience, the silence that covers big city life. We go out, me and Natalia, we laugh, crossing the road without a notice. Long legs and short ones. Blonde hair and dark ones. 25 and 24 years old. Lawyers to be. Friends already. “The night is amazing. Why not to go for a beer?”. I quickly agree. Staying over at friends’ place is an every-kid -dream. We are just a bit bigger children. We are mature, immature wherever we want. Chatting until morning plans and cup of hot tea and blanket. We walk in the empty streets of Poznań, we sit in random pub, order a glass of wine and then you send me a message. Song you listened to. I miss you already. “You found a substitution”, you text. I look at the sky where a late airplane finally is about to arrive to park in a garage and let tired people go home. “No way”, “there is no substitution.”. I know they are different, my friends spread around Europe. They are somehow inside me, me-the patchwork of people who happened to become my friends during last two years. Praying in silence. Chattering till 5 am. Sun covered with clouds, I close a window to fall asleep.
Dont’ go abroad. Once you do, you are never back.
Back to the same place, the reality is changed though.
- What are you writing, Bella?
- It is going to be about Padua.
- Wow, I’m already curious….
- .. It’s actually hard. To express everything. Almost impossible. But let me read you a beginning: “Padwa. Włochy. Padua, Italy. Padova, Italia. It was a random choice…”