When I first told my friends that I was going to Italy, one of them assumed that it was through a family trip. This made me laugh, seeming completely absurd for a variety of reasons. One being that we don’t have that kind of money, two being that my sister will never fly over an ocean, and three being that I was the only one at the time with a passport. It was more a chance occurance that we ran with.
In Oswego, shockingly, there was a man named Joe. He was from Italy and continued to spend his summers in his home in Italy, usually spent his winters in Florida, and unfortunately found himself stuck in Oswego while college was in session. As an Italian professor, he was determined to find excuses to get back to Italy and to introduce all of his students to his wonderful home country. This man used to be my neighbor.
This particular summer, Joe was heading into retirement. With this in mind, he badgered my father, a man who very much loves traveling and allowing his daughters any opportunity they can get, to allow me to go with him on a summer study abroad program. He had done this in the past, trying to convince my dad that a sixteen year old was old enough to go on a trip with college students, but it had never worked. This time, with the hanging threat of it being the last trip he ever ran and me finally being in college, he was able to convince my dad that it was the best option.
Here’s the catch: I had never taken Italian.
The school I was attending at that point in time required up to the 201 level of a language in order to complete it. Given that I had three years of high school Spanish instead of four, I had received absolutely no credit (though four somehow got you full credit and that just doesn’t sound right). The trick was to register for Italian 101 and the culture course. Why? The culture course was a 300 level, which somehow overrode the other requirements.
Boom. Problem solved.
I paid for the passport and went through the process of applying. There were some rough patches in which I really seemed to just be sabatoging myself. Some issues involving the bill and the grades from that current semester that greatly irritated my father (rightfully so), but it was corrected enough to guarantee passage. Then the flight was delayed, which resulted in me sobbing in the middle of an airport, but we figured that one out eventually.
Honestly, it was all luck.
Thank you, Joe. If you ever need someone to come and be the uncivilized heathen that doesn’t attend any of those three churches in your small town and complains about having to cover her knees in the Vatican, I’m always willing to fly back over.