I stumbled upon this blog in my bookmarks – I’ll have you know I scrolled back all the way through it to January. Being back in America, falling back into my usual routine of working/eating/sleeping – this has provided me with time to reflect on the first four months of 2015, which I spent living with 19 other wonderful people in a beautiful Italian Villa on the hills of the Ligurian coast.
Life in the villa was so fast paced, there was so much going on between travelling, deadlines, exams, and sports in the garden – I hardly had time to think about how awesome the experience was. It was only on those early-morning train rides to Milano Centrale where I could sit and think about how truly amazing of a time I was having with everyone.
To any future Villa residents – enjoy these four months while you can. It flies by faster than any four months in your life. I guarantee. Also, however different you may be, learn to love your housemates. They are all you have for sixteen weeks. Being able to enjoy those around you will make the experience in Europe ten times better. Don’t worry too much about studio work and the history classes – you do not want to find yourself pulling an all-nighter before you travel to Milan or Torino. Trust me, I can tell you from experience that it is not worth it. I pulled several all nighters – all of them not worth it in the long run.
Be appreciative of the staff at the Villa. Silvia is very willing to help you arrange anything from a haircut to Swiss train tickets. She has connections everywhere and with everyone. Don’t be afraid to ask. She will make your life easier – she is a great resource. Oh yeah, and her husband happens to work at Renzo Piano Building Workshop. But you will not see much of him. Despite the fact he lives three doors down, and that his nephew was in our group, he was only at the Villa once or twice.
Despite the language barrier, do your best to communicate your appreciation for all Lucia and Cristina do. Remember, for every unidentifiable quiche, there is a delicious pesto lasagna.
Your teachers are your best resource while you are at the Villa. Saverio, Luca, and Nicola are all brilliant minds in architecture, and they are all hilarious people in their own ways. You will learn to enjoy their company. Giuditta, your field studies teacher, is one of the most likeable people you will meet in your life. It is crucial that she is likeable, because she will have you standing in cold, wet alleyways talking about architecture for over an hour at a time. Field studies with her can be rough at times – but she has good intentions and is a wonderful person.
You will learn that your live-in professor becomes lot more than a professor. It is different every semester. In the spring of 2015, our teacher became a friend, mentor, teammate, housemate, and an impromptu poetry deliverer. I am sure the 16 other students and I will have a void in our life this fall that only a certain power could fill.
I am jealous of every student going to the Villa in the fall. Although I was happy to get back to America in early May, it only took a few weeks for me to start missing it. When I start picturing myself in class next semester, I picture myself back at the Villa. If only that could be reality. For now, I can only hope that I will find myself scaling the steps up from San Nicola at some point in the future.