My Grand Tour in Reverse31 March 2015
When I decided to move to the Cardiff, I did it because I felt that something was missing in my life. When I was an undergraduate student in Architecture, in Naples, I kept telling myself that one day or another, I would have let my city, let my country, lived abroad. I would have followed the steps of Le Corbusier, Goethe, Lord Hamilton, travelled throughout Europe, change my mind and get lost among foreign languages. I would have started my Grand Tour in reverse.
What distinguishes me from the European travelers of the eighteenth/nineteenth century is the little (or enormous) difference that Italy is my point of start, rather than my final destination. What I share with them, is the desire of understanding better me and my culture, by comparison with other people and other cultures. And Cardiff is the right place to do this. Its university community is a patchwork of people coming from all over the world. Since I’ve been living here, I’ve learned to say “Good Morning” in Dutch, Chinese, Turkish, Caribbean…they are all written on the fridge, in the kitchen that I share with my six (one female, five males) flatmates. That kitchen is a mess, I confess, but what can I say…you cannot be a young Werther without any kind of sorrow!
On the other hand, since I’m here, I’ve also been speaking a lot of Italian, but it was to be expected. Do you have in mind all those clichés about Italians? All true: we love workmanlike pizza (and so, please, delete Domino’s from your agenda) and stay together and no one can do anything about this! The good side is that by shots of pasta and espresso, we have been able to conquer the heart of many not Italian speaking friends…Honestly, how can you say NO to a traditionally made Bolognese? This is how it turned out that, the second Sunday that I was in Cardiff, I had 20 people at lunch to my place and I learned to do Filled Zucchinis in Cantonese style…Lord Hamilton would be proud of me!
All this to say that since I’m in Cardiff I’ve never felt alone. I had the opportunity of coming here almost by chance. It was absolutely the wrong period to go away: I had a boyfriend, that I loved and a job, that I hated (but still a job). But the truth is that, since I discovered that I had been accepted to Cardiff University, a voice in my head kept saying: “now or never again!”. So here I am! Finally I jumped on that train instead of watching it every morning from the quay, saying myself: “one day I will go”.
I know that this feeling is trivial and common to many people. What I can say is that if you feel the desire to go, you should go. Just this. By fortune or by chance, Cardiff was my point of start and I am glad for this opportunity. If you want, you can follow me, and I will tell you more about my Grand Tour in reverse!