White Girl on the Run
Dazed and confused, Kenzie wakes me up to ask when my bus leaves for Venice.
Me: “9, what time is it?”
Panicking, shouting, and throwing on clothes, I asked Kenzie to message the trip leader, Tiernan, for me as I ran out the door. Crap, I have only been to Santa Maria Novella Train station once; at night and lead by my friends. I asked a few people on the street for the train and sprinted toward their direction. By the time I reached our meeting area, I was sweaty, blistered and alone.
I create a lot of facial expressions when I’m overwhelmed with emotion. For about 30 minutes I pouted like a puppy. But I was determined to go to Venice. I bought a train ticket and espresso shot and waited for the platform number to Venenzia.
During the two hour ride, I wrote, practiced Italian with my seat mates, and talked to the barista over a cup of coffee. I so badly want to have a conversation with a native, though my blonde hair and American accent has everyone respond to me in English.
Hopping off the train I was thrilled yet terrified. I needed money and communication, which I had neither. After sending a few emails at a Wifi hotspot and attempting the pay phone, I decided to put away my puppy face and enjoy the day.
I was lost without a clue of how to get home.
But I was in Venice, I might as well make the most of it.
Yes, I Need a Beer
After roaming a few minutes and soaking up the city of romance, my mouth instantly watered when I walked by a prosciutto wrap. Standing by a take-out stand, I pointed at a massive sandwich and a Heineken. The worker told me I had to order inside for alcohol and pay a cover, so I passed. By the time my wrap was toasted she asked if I still wanted a beer. I thought about it and replied, “Um, Ya… I think I need a beer”.
I zipped up my purse, sat on the side of a canal, and finally became at peace.
The Most Expensive Day of My Life
When arriving to Venice, I immediately needed to take out cash, buy a map, buy lip balm, and buy postcards and jewelry for my collections.
If you ever visit Venice, buy all the blown glass you can. The island of Murano creates the most beautiful beads. I couldn’t help myself buy earrings, bracelets, and a pendant necklace from various stores. Artists sell their work on every block. It is my duty as a tourist to support the economy.
I spent the rest of the day discovering the San Marco, the picturesque Venetian square filled with massive churches and an amazing view of nearby islands. I walked into a few free galleries, ate gelato, shopped, and ate more gelato.
Can You Hear Me Now?
I repulsively shouted “yay!” when I heard a man speaking English on the pay phone. I stalked him while he talked, waiting to ask how the hell to work those things. You must buy a card at a Tabaccheria (Tobacco Store) to make calls in Italy from any orange pay phone. Frustrated because I had tried one earlier, I picked up a card from where the man bought his and dialed my tour guide’s number six times before hearing a ring tone.
The voice of an angel picked up the receiver. By 4pm, I had found my tour group and a safe ride home.
I spent the rest of the day with the Bus2alps crew; Brigid, Julie, and Tiernan. Brigid had finished her undergrad and her recent master’s thesis in Italy studying art. How inspiring. I burnt myself out with school last year but suddenly have a drive to enroll for grad school knowing my possibilities to study in Europe.
Julie was in my position: a senior studying by herself at the Lorenzzo school in Florence. This lucky girl is spending the semester working for Bus2alps through her AIFS study abroad intern program.
I wish I would have looked into internship opportunities when applying to ISA, but talking to these girls have made me realize there is still time to find jobs. There always is.
We ended the day with a spritz, a common cocktail of Venice. Apertivo was all I could ask for after this day’s adventure.
Venezia, I will return. Next time I will arrive stress-free on a gondola with my lover.