I’m discovering that writing blog posts isn’t the easiest thing in the whole wide world ever. I have been advised to write down whatever comes to mind to get started, but I think I’m developing writers block, though perhaps I never had ‘writers flow’ or whatever, in the first place. It’s a challenge because I see this post going one of two ways; in option one I prattle on about the amazing experience that I had and the amazing things I did and the amazing food I ate (all true by the way) which I imagine isn’t particularly fun to read about. You’ll be left thinking, well, she had fun, lucky her, because nobody wants to read about how perfect someone else’s weekend was. On the other hand I could turn it into a lavish description full of poetic phrasing and delish descriptions, but I’m not sure I’m up to that. So what am I left with, I’m not sure, I had originally entered four categories for this post, so I ought to be able to come up with something. I’ve just remembered that it has to be understandable and interesting from the perspective of someone who doesn’t know anything about Third Space. Oh dear. Perhaps I should start again.
I have been feeling recently an increasing desire to fully understand what third space might actually mean. I may have just lived in Italy for 6 months, but did I really ‘live’ there? Was I a tourist on an extended holiday? Or did I live a slice of the real Italian life for a few short months? I went to University, I rented a flat, I caught the bus, I hired a bike, I babysat for a wonderful family, I went to the dentist, I almost had my own radio show, I went to the veg shop across the street, and I borrowed an iron from the nun across the hall! But my flatmate still as good as called me a tourist at the end of my stay. But the Erasmus student is superior to the tourist, we speak the lingo, we have semi permanent residences, maybe even native friends! I even had a loyalty card. However, my only post was postcards, my wizened cranky nonna didn’t live around the corner and I went out for pizza far too much.
There was a pretty lively Erasmus scene in Verona, but I never really got too involved. I would like to point out that I did however have friends, thank you. It was very partehpartehpartehbeerponglet’sgothebeacccccch #erasmus and my favourite #lovelovelove. They all had a good time but it wasn’t for me, it might sound dull, but I just wanted to do normal things, to escape that third space void and experience a lifestyle that is so different to my own. So I went to the cinema, I wandered around, I even went to Catholic mass a couple of times, trying to capture those quintessentially Italian vibes. But you always have too much fun to really live there, there’s far too much living life to the full for any normal person. That many life changing experiences is simply not sustainable! It must take years to full integrate yourself into a new culture, to adopt it as your own. However I do believe that after a few months you can gain an understanding and an appreciation of a place and its cultural differences, and I hope that that is what I achieved.