When I was eight years old, I wrote to Girl Talk (a comic for like-minded eight year old girls across England), telling them that I had loved learning about the Romans so much at school that it was my ultimate dream to learn even more about the Romans, in my own spare time. The editors at Girl Talk HQ clearly took pity on me and decided to help me realise my dream by taking me to a Roman museum in Dover (of all the places), where they dressed me up in a hessian tunic and gave me a tour which was featured on a full page spread on their ‘Dreams Come True’page. I was pretty disappointed about the hessian tunic if I’m honest as I’d worn my lime green Spice Girls dress and knee high socks specially for the occasion, but the rest of the day really was a dream come true. Good one, Girl Talk! Anyway…the point that I’m getting to is that eight year old me would be so ragingly proud of the fact that I JUST GOT BACK FROM REAL LIFE ROME!! At long last, I actually got to visit my childhood land of dreams, my own personal Disneyland. Continue reading
Marche is one of the least-visited regions in Italy. That’s not to say that nobody ever goes there, it’s just that people have far more pressing matters to be getting on with when venturing to Italy, like seeing Rome, or Pompeii, or Venice, or basically any of about twenty other must-see-before you die locations. It sits on the right hand side of the country, between the Adriatic Sea and the Appenine Mountains, and all I’m saying is it’s full on, big time, beautiful. I knew absolutely nothing about Marche whatsoever, until the actual day that I arrived there, but…it is incredible, and you should definitely go there, particularly if you like to explore locations that are a little less touristy.
1. What it feels like to be homesick.
I have never been really, properly and truly homesick. But after spending a week with my lovely host family in Mondavio, it was time to up sticks and move to a new family home in nearby San Lorenzo, and weirdly this is the first time in my life that I have ever properly emotionally missed a home. Admittedly having had approximately three hours sleep and a ridiculous quantity of alcohol the night before meeting my new family can only have exacerbated my emotional state, but it was a pretty terrible feeling nonetheless.
Somehow, with no interview or even a whiff of a TEFL qualification on my CV, I had been offered a job teaching Drama in English to Italian kids, IN ITALY. I booked myself onto a flight to Bologna and only the night before leaving did I begin to panic that this whole thing was an extremely bizarre and elaborate prank. I mean, I’d never actually spoken to these people…they could actually be the Mafia for all I knew. AND WHY DIDN’T THEY CARE ABOUT SEEING A DBS CHECK?? After umming and ahing for some time I decided to board the plane on the off chance that it would be a worthwhile experience, and oh Lordy am I glad I did.
After two weeks of hard graft teaching kids in Marché, I decided the best thing to follow would be to stay in Italy a little longer and explore Venice before I set off home. The main objective for my time in the city (aside from having a bloody great time), was to spend as little money as possible. This is mainly because my two weeks teaching work- as amazing an experience as it was- paid absolute pittance, and I really didn’t want to end up leaving Italy with less money than I’d come out with. Know what I’m saying?
Many people had warned me of the extreme drain that Venice can be on one’s pocket- but I am a crafty old bean and in the words of Jessie J- ‘It’s not about the money, money, money.’ Nice one, Jessie. This is my life mantra, these days. Continue reading