Final Week Reggio Emilia: Gianna Calderon

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Ciao da Reggio Emilia, Belgium, Amsterdam, & Chicago!

Last weekend, I took a weekend trip to Belgium and Amsterdam with my friends. Originally, it was extremely hard to plan due to flight cancellations because Belgium workers were participating in a national strike. But, after lots of communication with our professors, we were able to schedule a flight and make it there in one piece.

On our first day in Belgium, we learned how to take the Tram. We had a wonderful dinner, and we asked the locals where we should go on a Thursday night. We ended up at a super fun place called “The Lounge,” and they played hip hop and reggae music.

During our second day in Belgium, we took a chocolate making class. Although we only made dark chocolate, it was delicious and super fresh! We were able to add toppings of our choice, such as peanuts or caramel. After our class, we walked around and discovered the “Manneken Pis.” It is a statue of a little boy urinating (where the water comes out, like a fountain), and the legend is that he put out a fire with his stream. So, he was a hero. After that, we had to try a flight of traditional beer (gross), and we ate lots of waffles!

On our third day, we took a bus trip and tour to Amsterdam. We were able to walk around and see the Anne Frank house, see the Red Light District, and maneuver through lots of bike riders. We returned back to Belgium around 8pm, and we participated in a pub crawl around 9:30pm. It was so much fun!

On our last day, we returned back to Italy. It was so sad to think that this was our final week in Europe. On Monday, we had our final Italian Cuisine cooking class. Our starter was “Gnocco Al Forno And Salumi.” It was similar to bread with fresh cut meats! Our first course meal entailed “Tagliatelle” with mushrooms. Our second course meal was “Green Tortellini with Parmigiano and Thyme.” Then, we had “Bolognese cutlet,” which was a piece of breaded/ deep fried pork. Finally, for dessert, we had “Zuppa Inglese,” which was extremely similar to pudding.

On Tuesday, I had a final lunch with my host family. It was heartbreaking to say goodbye, but it was bittersweet because she emphasized that I was welcome back anytime. Later on, I had a final dinner with all of my friends. I already miss everyone so much!

On Wednesday, I took a taxi to the airport with a friend. After waiting for our flight, we were told it was delayed. We were supposed to go from Bologna, Italy to Munich, Germany. Then, we would fly directly from Munich to Chicago. However, we were delayed an hour. Once we were fully boarded, an older man was yelling that he had to get off the plane. So, we had to wait an additional twenty minutes for a bus to pick him up and escort him away. As soon as we landed in Germany, my flight to Chicago took off. I had to run to the service desk, as well as many other passengers who missed their connecting flight.

While in line, I received a notification that my new flight was rescheduled for Friday July 1st. After many tears, I composed myself, and I talked to a representative. She was so adamant to help me. She was able to book me for the next day at 9am, and she even upgraded me to business class. It was extremely nice to have leg room and choose food options from a menu.

Thank you for joining me alongside my study abroad journey. I truly created memories that I will never forget, and I can not wait to travel around the world more!