I have been rather terrible in ‘blogging’ since september (was that really 4 months ago?!!!) I’ve been busy with the normal routine at Uni, plus extras with wedding organising. I was able to get a nice 3-4 week break at home over Christmas, filled with the usual intentions of getting lots of Uni work done, especcially as I am writing my dissertation this year. The problem is that most of my good intentions remain just that! I’ve been back at classes for a week now and thankfully getting back into routine, except that on Saturday, I all of a sudden found myself in Italy!!!
My friend Flora is on her final Masters year at Aberdeen University studying Chemistry and for this her last semester, she had a placement, which ended up being at a university in Torino (Turin) , Italy, doing something with chemistry and synthetic-bio-materials (thats all I can explain about it!!). As this was going to be her first trip abroad, ever, lasting a min of three months, and nobody else was able to go out with her, I’m accompanying her on her maiden voyage. We flew out on Saturday 15th Jan, and I’ll be heading back on Wednesday, hopefully leaving a slightly settled Flora. Our travelling was hitch-free. Valentina, a woman who is going to be working with Flora at the University, met us at the airport. We were so thankful for this, especially asTurin was shrouded in the thickest fog I’ve ever seen. It would have been so difficult for us foreingers to negotiate! Her father drove because of the fog, and it was difficult enough for him and their TomTom!
Things got slightly more interesting when we arrived at Flora’s accomodation. Valentina came to help translate which made things a lot easier for us, even though the staff seem to have varying degrees of English., probably to aid with all the foreing students at the residnece. We are not unique! Flora had booked space at one of the University’s student residences, and had said I should be able to just kip on her Flora. But she never got around to actually e-mailing and asking if that was okay- it isn’t. “Absolutely not” in the words of the guy at reception, for security purposes. Yikes!
Quick texts to see if Greg, a guy from Flora’s class at Aberdeen who is also on placement in Turin, to see if I could kip at his flat. And the residence staff investigating whether they could get a room for me in this ’emergency’. I should explain that the residence offers long and short term accomodation. Thankfully, they managed to find and prepare a room for me, but they would be unable to tell me how much it would cost until Monday, when there office hours opened and higher levels of staff were available. They gave me a estimate of maybe 35 euros a night. More expensive than an average hostel, but cheaper than a hotel thankfully. We’ve also since discovered that Greg has a problem with cockroaches in his flat, so definitely more pleasant than kipping on his floor!!!!
The staff were very helpful, but I guess they’d rather make some money out of me than see me go elsewhere! My room is pleasant enough, en-suite shower, a bed (!!) furniture for a student’s room, and a common room/kitchen for the floor. But Flora’s is a palace! The residence was originally part of the Torino Winter Paraolymipcs in 2006, so they’re recently new (although I’m not sure they’ll last more than another decade by the looks of things!) and tend to have a disabled aspect tp it. Flora has an ‘apartment’ all to herself (she’s special as she’s staying for a long time and they want to keep her happy to get her money 😉 ) She has a big bedroom, living room/kitchen, and bathroom with shower. Its a proper disabled bathroom- I’ve never sat on such an awkward, mountain-like toilet! I’ll appreciate the average variety at home so much more from now on!!!
So, I’ve bombarded you all with enough info for now, and I need to get off Flora’s computer so she can do some officail stuff. Flora’s internet at her apartment should be working soon, so I’ll share the next chapter in a bit. We’re settling in and safe and well and getting by even with our lack of Italian. I keep speaking Spanish in my attempts to communicate!!!
So, two days to go, ciao for now