It has begun, my journey has started. It began when I first started with the plane rides with my professor over to Rome where we met up with the rest of the students. When we first got there we had to wait for another plane to come in with them on it, so John (my professor, he asked us to call him John) and I went and had a cappuccino at the bar (bars are different here). It was the most glorious thing I have ever tasted, the milk was steamed properly, and the coffee was just beautiful. They really do have a totally different culture here when it comes to coffee, I have been experiencing it every day since I got here. After a while the plane came in and we all grouped together to get our train ticket to go to the bus depot where we would then catch the four hour bus to Urbino. During the trip I told the story of my relationship to Cecilia and we had a nice conversation about what laid before everyone and how it was going to help and change us all. Once we made it to Urbino, we went to the university where we got dinner and our dorm rooms. The room is alright, it has the essentials: bed, desk, chair, shower, and toilet. We all ended up in the studio after everything so we could all use the internet and contact our loved ones and family. Well part way through Camelo plugged something in wrong and basically blew up the internet. I’m not kidding, there was a loud pop when he plugged it in and it just killed the whole socket he tried and the internet, all in one go. So after that we all started to fade and drift off back to our rooms to sleep for the night.

The next day consisted of a lot of tours around the actual city of Urbino, guided by John and Eugenia (one of the providers) and her husband Mirko. This introduced us to the hill we would be going up and down most of the time we wanted to do anything in town. It is a steep, slick hill that does not lend itself to high heels, and gets really annoying after the first billion times you have to go up it. We looked at the art store in town first so we would know where we could get supplies and stuff for our classes to come. They took us around the city to see what all there was to do and what the city had to offer us. For lunch they took us out to a local restaurant where they served wine and pasta and just so many amazing dishes for us to enjoy while we talked amongst ourselves. After dinner we continued touring the city and finding out so much about it and seeing all of the different amazing buildings that the Duke was a part of. Once we finished our tours and everything, we were left to our own devices. We ended up having gelato in the main piazza, which is just beautiful might I add. The day ended with us having dinner together in the cafeteria and going to the studio to once again mess with the internet. It’s interesting to see how much we all depend on it, and it is a little depressing that we depend on it so much now.

The next day we went on more tours (we were starting to get tired of tours at this point, and because our feet hurt so much) of the city except with a woman who may be giving us Italian lessons later on so that we can better understand and talk to people. We took a break in one of the bars to have a cappuccino, though I had an espresso to help keep me going. There was a woman working in the bar who wanted to practice her English and basically told us about when people go out in the city, which is Thursday here, and how they would love to see us there again.

Well we actually went out on Friday because we had been too tired the previous day. This was my first time actually going out and drinking socially with friends, and to go out with drinking at all with people, so it was an interesting experience. We started off at the bar in which we encountered the woman who told us about going out during the week. I started with a nice glass of scotch, but after that we had what they told us was “Tequila Boom Boom”. This was basically just a bit of a mix of tequila with something else to lessen the strength. It was also my first time doing tequila shots, but it went well for the most part. Once we finished up at that bar went looking around for another and ended up in one that was just across the piazza. I tried to order a scotch and soda, but they just couldn’t get and I couldn’t help them, so I caved and just got a gin and tonic. After a bit I started to loosen up and talk more to people about things that I was thinking and feeling. I ended up telling Sofia that I wouldn’t mind getting to know Britta more, but that I figured I didn’t have a chance for two reasons: one being that she was twenty-seven, and two being because she was vibing up another guy in the group. Once the night was basically over we started to head back to the dorms, but on the way there I just instantly sobered up and became really self-conscious about everything I had said and done while out with everyone. So I hung back for a bit and then just walked at the end of the group not saying much until we reached the dorms.

Now we come to the weekend! John took us to Pesaro and basically just stuck around long enough to show us the beach and how to get on the train if we needed to or wanted to so we could travel. After that he helped us figure out hotels so we could get that taken care of before we went off to the beach. So once John parted ways with us we all grabbed a bite to each at a local café, this time it was a café, though it did seem pretty close to a bar. We had an amazing meal there of some sort of penino or something, which had uncooked ham, cheese, and tomatoes on it. Afterwards we walked along the beach until we found the free section of it and set up camp for the day and play in the water. It was so beautiful there and so much fun. The water was perfect, the sand felt amazing, and everyone was having a blast. There were parts, though, where I just kind of sat and thought about life and where I was going and where I had been. I was a lot quieter than I had been the previous night because I was still self-conscious about it all. I decided to stay the night with a few people that were staying, which was an alright choice. The next day we went shopping in the market they set up each weekend in towns to sell things. Here markets are different, they sell EVERYTHING, from socks, to vacuums, to cars. We wandered around while a couple of people went to the beach. We ended up not getting much of anything, though I did get the most amazing donut thing ever created by human beings, it had a lemon taste to it and was covered in sugar. It was so delicious. After a while Sofia, Cecilia and I headed back to the bus depot to grab a bus back to Urbino so we could relax, have lunch, and start on our homework for the first day of class (which confuses me, but whatever). The end day descended into my usual indulgences, a warm shower, and dinner with everyone in the cafeteria. I finished up my summary homework right after dinner, and rewarded myself with some well-deserved internet time.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Exile

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