I arrived in Milan via Katowice, Poland on August 13th after attending an International Christian Youth Conference in a small village nestled in the mountains in Poland called Male Ciche. I spent two weeks traveling in Poland, visiting old friends, practicing speaking Polish, and enjoying the Polish food.
A month earlier I had found a great price for my ticket (WizzAir) from Poland to Milan. Flying from Katowice to Milano cost me only 130zl (around $40)! Since my flight was scheduled to leave at 6 AM in the morning on the 13th, I had my friend bring me to the airport at 4:45 AM, thinking that it was early enough. The line for security took so long I had to sprint to the gate and barely made it on the plane. I believe I was the second to last person to jump on the bus waiting at the gate. Welcome to the little European airports! In case anyone ends up in a small European airport in the future–make sure you get to the airport 2 hours before the gate closes!
Once I landed in Milano Bergamo I took the shuttle bus to Milano Centrale. The ride from the airport to the city center took about an hour and cost me 5 euros. I met a funny little Romanian man with a little nose and a small round face, wearing a little fedora, sitting next to me on the bus. After a conversation in broken English, I learned that there are a lot of Romanians in Italy because the languages are very similar. I soon dozed off and took a much needed nap.
My friend Gianni, an Italian born Chinese boy whom I had met at the conference in Poland, came to meet me at the Stazzione Centrale. At first, he couldn’t find me because we had miss communicated our arranged meeting place and I had no phone. He eventually found me and we headed to the hospitality that he had arranged through his church group. I soon found myself eating some home cooked Chinese food in a little clothing store, speaking my rusty Chinese, in the middle of the large China Town district in Milano. As I walked down the narrow streets in that district, I was amazed that 80% of the people I saw were Chinese or Pilipino. I could actually survive here without speaking a lick of Italian!
The rest of the day consisted of taking the tram to the city center, seeing the famous Duomo cathedral and town square, buying a monthly student public transportation card and a sim card for my phone, traveling around town, learning a little Italian, noticing that there were no public restrooms anywhere except in McDonalds, walking through an assortment of famous stores and marveling at the high prices, getting a headache from lack of sleep and dehydration, and falling into a deep sleep at midnight. Overall, it was a tiring, yet satisfying first day in Milano.
Every day here is jam packed with exciting new experiences. My brain is screaming at me to stop speaking three different languages (Polish, Chinese, Italian). I could share a lot more, but I think that’s enough for now, stay tuned for more adventures to come.
Ciao, ci vidiamo! (See ya!)