It’s been a while since I have written about my adventures in Italy. Couple big events I want to talk about are: Snow Week and the Stramilano 10K race.
Snow week: One big advice I can give everyone who studies abroad is: take part in the organized trips! It’s the perfect opportunity to meet tons of new people and make some good friends. Also, the people who organize the trips are usually local full-time students so you also get to interact with some locals. 🙂 Anyways, during the Snow Week trip, a group of about 50 students went to the Italian Alps, to a town called Bardonecchia. There, some of us skiied, and some, snowboarded. I have never done either one, but for my first time I chose the snowboard. Long story short- it was the best, and I really mean, the best trip I have taken during this year in Italy. We spent five days in a log-cabin style hotel, just 10 minute walk from the slopes. A couple of my friends taught me the basics, and by the end of the trip, I snowboarded down the Olympic Slope. Did I mention this all happened in one of the most beautiful and famous mountain ranges?! It was a real special experience, especially having come from Texas, where we don’t have a chance to witness the beauty of towering, snow-covered mountain ranges. At night, after very long days of hitting the slopes (and being extremely sore), we went to family-owned Italian restaurants and then out for a night of dancing! Yes, I was broke after this trip, but every penny was worth it!
Stramilano Race: I ran a couple races back in Austin, so I decided to continue on the tradition in Milan. There isn’t a big tradition of running the 5K and 10K races in Italy so it took me a while to find this specific one: the Stramilano Race, held for the 40th year in Milan. The buzz around this race was huge; I was really excited to be a part of it. The mayor was there, accompanied by the military and numerous camera crews. Everything went smoothly until the point when I realized there was only ONE water stand throughout the 10 km, and when you arrived at this water stand, there was no queue, just a mess of people fighting for some gatorade and energy bars. But I thought, no problem, just a little organizational hick up. What I didn’t see coming was that I would end up walking across the finish line of 10K race that I spent a good two months training for. About 200 meters before the finish line, I hit a wall of people. There was absolutely no way around them as we were running on a dirt road surrounded by metal fences on both sides. I was confused at first. I thought, maybe I had already crossed the finish line? But I didn’t see a clock or anyone cheering us on or announcing the finish. This was it, we were walking across the finish line. In we I mean the people of all ages, plus their babies in strollers and of course their dogs, and a huge bird mascot of the local radio station. This is when I realized this was just another social event; everyone was chatting, laughing, taking photos of their proud accomplishment, and carrying on as if they’re simply taking a walk in the park. Although I was disappointed I didn’t have a strong finish, I had to laugh. This is Italy- relax and don’t take life too seriously.