A sneak-peek into Junior Tori Whaley’s study abroad journey:

Hi all :)

     I left Charlotte at three o’clock and made it to JFK by five. At six, your time, I took a red eye direct to Milano Malpensa (MXP), which landed at 8 a.m. my time, 2 a.m. your time. I didn’t get much sleep on the plane (partly because of excitement, mostly because of terrible airplane seats), but I’ve made it through the day without a siesta. Tori: 1, Jet-lag: 0. From MXP I took a train to Milano Centrale, where I took a taxi the rest of the way. My landlord, Paolo, was on vacation with his family this morning, so our cleaning lady, Maria, showed me to the apartment. I’m staying in a four-bedroom, three-bathroom apartment. It is a co-ed dorm, but by chance, the three other students are girls (two are Italian, one is Japanese). The girls are still on vacation, so for the next few weeks I have the house to myself! According to Paolo, it is a very safe neighborhood, next to a park that is good for running.

    Around one o’clock, Paolo and his family arrived to greet me, and help me settle in. One of his daughters and I went to the local supermarket to stock up on some good Italian greens (and maybe a few baguettes). By the time we got back to the house, I received a call from a woman at MXP – I had left my passport/visa at a sim card kiosk an hour from my house. Parents, teachers, friends, if this doesn’t come as a complete shock to you…. good, it shouldn’t :). It wouldn’t be a true Tori Whaley adventure if I didn’t misplace something valuable at least once a day. Fortunately for me, Paolo talked to the woman and arranged a time for us to meet back at MXP.

     Before I left to retrieve my passport, Paolo’s daughters helped me arrange a try-out with a local club volleyball team. This coming Friday afternoon, I will try-out at ProPatria Volley under head coach Vanni Benenti. I won’t be able to play for Pro-Patria, as they are a U18 team and there are some legality issues with foreigners playing on national teams. However, Vanni has offered to set me up with a team at my skill level, close to my apartment, if all goes well at try-outs. Wish me luck – I am super excited for this opportunity!

     Anyway, I made it back to MXP, and with a little asking around, my passport and I were reunited again! On my way back to the apartment, I got off the metro a few stops early and walked back to the apartment. I pulled out my camera and snapped a few photos. I came across some cool graffiti, a nice park, and the remaining photos are some shots of my apartment and the neighborhood. The photos do not do the apartment justice; it once belonged to Paolo’s father, who was an avid art and book collector. There’s at least fifty portraits here, and enough books to fill a library! It’s quaint, cozy, and definitely my cup of tea.

To follow Tori’s adventures please visit her blog: Thru My Shabbey Lens