Now that it’s been almost a year since my France adventures, I guess it’s time for an update.


I had three weeks between the end of my contract and going home. So, I applied for a scholarship to go to an Italian Language school in Italy. I got placed at a school in Florence.

Of course I was really excited. But of course it was a disaster getting there. There were bad winds in Florence, and the plane had to land at Bologna. Then we took a bus to Florence. I was supposed to meet with someone to talk about a place to stay, but of course no one was there by then. Luckily I’d booked a hotel just in case. I got lost trying to find it though and didn’t get a chance to eat dinner that night.

The class went okay. I remembered my Italian and got into the habit of speaking it by the time I left. I also met some really cool people. Kat the Polish Canadian, Jessica from New Zealand,  Itai from Israel, and Alena (or Areana??) from St. Petersbourg. Alena/Areana the Russian has the most beautiful red hair I’ve ever seen, and she was hilarious.  I wrote down some of the things she said in my notebook; I’ll have to find it. I also met a Texan, but he gave me nightmares.

Italy is lovely. However, in Florence there is pretty much no green space. The Romans liked their piazzas, the stone courtyard-y places. Bellarmine, since it’s modeled after Italy, has one in front of the chapel.

I loved pieces of Italy, but overall I was so homesick (or just Seth-sick if I’m going to be completely honest) to try to re-integrate into another country, another language. Also, the lady I was living with scared me and her cat pooped on my floor. Most cats love me, or at least tolerate me, even mean ones. So I think this lady passed on her meanness and scariness to her cat.

DSCF6524But I got to see Siena and discover how much Bellarmine failed to recreate it!

Sorry, I didn’t really like the Siena dorm complex…

The return:

I stayed with Maria (the spanish assistant) and her boyfriend in Lyon for two days coming back from Italy. It was hard saying goodbye to her… Then I went back to Tulle, where I’d left my suitcase with Emilie, Alban, and the kids. I spent my last few days with them.

Leaving them was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

I spent my last night in a nice hotel in the airport with my fat suitcase. There was a pool, but when I went to swim there was a creepy guy and no one else there, so I ended up not swimming. I found out they changed the time of my flight when I went to the airport part of the airport that morning, so it was a good thing I’d stayed on the grounds.

On the plane, I was next to a woman who drank two or three Bloody Marys. I drank a ton of water. I was nervous to be back for some reason. And I’m pretty sure I had reverse culture shock pretty bad. I felt like I didn’t belong or something. But these things run their course and then I get over them.

The summer:

The first time I went back to TaeKwonDo, it was right after I helped my friend paint her house. She has one dark teal wall, and I put some on my face as war paint, and went to TKD like that. So the first time these people had seen me in almost 8 months was with paint on my face to match my pretty teal headgear. (Most people have white or black sparring gear; I wanted to be different so got teal… Alexander the 9 year old doesn’t like it.)

I applied for work to pretty much every place between my parents’ house and the water company. No one got back to me, and Leslie’s, the pool store of doom, called me without applying. So I worked there, the fourth summer in a row… I found out a month after I’d quit that they sent me $50 for winning some great customer service contest that I’d never heard of. So, in retrospect, maybe it wasn’t horrible.

Oh, but funny story. I got a phone call one day:

College age-ish dude: So, I’m opening my pool a little late [this is near the end of July, I think]. I was in Europe backpacking with some friends, and I just got back last week and blah blah blah Rebecca doesn’t care because this is not useful or impressive information, and I got your all’s opening kit. [box full of packets of chemicals] Now, they told me to get two of them because my pool is 20,000 gallons.

Me: uh-huh. That’s right.

Him: Okay, so they told just to throw it in the pool. But there’s a problem. None of that cardboard or anything is dissolving.

I was too shocked to laugh. I had to explain that normally you have to take the assortment of chemicals out of the box and follow the instructions on the box on how to put them in… ug.

Grad school:

I started looking for a place to live close to UofL pretty soon after I got home. It’s really hard to find a place for one bedroom… I’m renting a house now a mile away from campus so I walk. My sister found this adorable kitten with its eyes closed:


who actually turns out to be a wild child


Of course, she brings it home “for me, because it was my birthday.”

Sure, Ryann. It’s the third kitten she’d brought home in less than a year, and the second that she hid in her bedroom before telling my parents. I named the cat Kit Kat, and she’s wild and crazy, but she’s growing up. I’m learning how to be a parent. 🙂

I don’t know how well you can see in this photo, but She has leopard/jaguar spots on her butt.


I always said I wanted a wild cat.

I guess this is what they mean by “be careful what you wish for.”

So my first semester of grad school I was trying to put up with a wild animal as well as get everything done, as well as learn how to be a Teaching Assistant. Or rather, learning how to be a professor so I can teach those chillins something next year.

I hadn’t written French in almost two years by the time I got to school, so needless to say, it needed a lot of work. But of course, that’s improved a lot, and I’m probably going to get spoken improvement over the summer, even though I don’t really want to go on the program UofL suggests.

There’s always room for more, though.


One response to this post.

  1. Yayy, I’m so happy you updated! Great recap! Your descriptions are great. 🙂 I particularly loved the paragraph with the nicknames of people, like “Kat the Polish Canadian.” I think it is immensely brave that you went to France and Italy for that long!


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