Monday, 27 August 2012

Ciao Bella: Relaxed and Renewed

Hurtling myself into relaxation on the first day.
The last time I visited Italy was in 2009. I had just completed my A-levels and the start of university loomed on the horizon, daunting and scary. I was happy, very enthusiastic about my future but also quite terrified. Zoom forward three years and I feel as if I'm running parallel to my younger self. After a turbulent year and a half of struggling with my mental health, having to take a year out of university to fix myself, the endless job hunt which pretty much ended in failure and not having much money to do.. well, anything with myself; it was safe to say that a trip abroad was definitely needed before returning back to 'reality'.

Still, this is not a post for gloominess. I am very, very lucky. In fact, I'd easily say I was blessed. Compared to 2009 Holly, I feel as if I am more mature and resiliant against whatever life throws at me. I've had a troublesome time and at the start, my only resolution to such problems was to hide under my duvet and cry. Now, I definitely feel as if I can decompartmentalise any issues I have and tackle them one at a time, instead of feeling overwhelmed and helpless. This rationalisation is leaps and bounds ahead in terms of progress.

The start to this post is a little more personal than I would normally wish to disclose but I suppose if I can't look back on my past self, scrutinise and improve, how would I develop as a person? I'd remain a scared little mite, unable to ever advance forward. It took a while but my life is on the up: I'm restarting university next month for my third and final year, I'm laying the foundations for my social life in London and I've started a voluntary role to help advise young people on sexual health. I did not imagine my life at all to be this way three years ago but when does anything go as planned? If anything, it feels like it's turning out for the better.

Such great heights.
I digress. At last, I was to finally return to Italy. The holiday did not cost me a penny thanks to the generosity of Luca and his family. Sometimes people are far more generous than I could ever imagine and again, I'm very lucky to be surrounded by such a kind and loving family. The flight only took an hour and twenty minutes from London to Milan. It boggles my brain slightly for it to take so little time when it takes twice that amount to reach Newcastle via train!

Luca's uncle Luigi picked us up at the airport and we stopped for a mid-trip espresso. This was to be the first of many, many cups of coffee in my 9 days. I believe I drank at least 40 shots of espresso during my stay despite my intolerance to caffeine. I can't help it, I can't say no to a good cup of coffee. My poor stomach.

As soon as the car reached the mountains of north Italy, my heart swelled with happiness. It makes all the poetry I have read on the wonders of nature make complete sense. I only had to stare up at the vast terrain to feel my soul flutter in satisfaction. I could almost convince myself that I was at the edge of the world.

Luca's family do not speak much English. This is not a problem at all for me as I'm in the process of trying to learn the language, so to submerse myself in the words helped me improve my vocabulary far more than reading from textbooks. I'm still a total beginner but I hope one day I can be fluent to express my gratitude to everyone.

I won't go on much more about my holiday because this ended up being very long-winded and fansical. I always begin an entry not knowing what to say and sometimes the words just pour out! So, I'll just list my highlights quickly:

Locarno, Switzerland. Just a short train ride away from Italy!
  • the countless flavours of ice cream (the best being Kinder, in my opinion!)
  • playing mini golf for the first time, even if I lost
  • reading six whole books with ease
  • exploring Switzerland for the day and indulging on chocolate
  • the potato festival which is a huge gathering in Domodossola where everyone gathers to eat gnocchi and party
  • swimming in the crystal clear waters of the lakes

All in all, I had a perfect time. I'm suffering terribly from post-holiday blues but I'm trying to focus on what's ahead. Life seems just as phenomenal as the giant mountains; who knows what's really around the corner!


  1. Great post and I can't wait to stalk all your photos on Facebook when my laptop behaves a bit better! xxx

    1. I wish I could bless you with a brand new laptop, lovely. xx

  2. what a lovely and honest post, thank you for sharing your experience with us.
    Good luck with your final year at uni, I hope it goes really well & that your gorgeous holiday will set up well for it.

    Poppy xxx

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! xx

  3. Holly I am so so proud of you! It sounds like you've really come so far in your journey to overcoming lifes problems. I hope you had an amazing holiday, it certainly looked like you did. And I wish you all the luck in the world for your final year of uni, you'll do great and be able to look back at the less than great time of your life as a learning curve!

    1. Thanks so much. It took a while but it's been worth the wait. :3 x

  4. Italy/Switzerland look so blissful, I'm so jealous! I have everything crossed this year turns out to be all you hope, you so very deserve it :) xx

  5. Holly, i'm really happy to hear that you've come so far since we "met".

    also, i love your blog in general. ;)