Whew I haven’t posted yet mostly because of laziness and indecision on what to write about, but I figured hey I might as well just dump some of the things floating in my brain into writing. There’s just been so much happening these past two weeks, and I can’t believe my time in Italy is already halfway over. I’ve been trying to soak in as much as I can since I don’t know when I’ll be back (though I definitely plan on returning some point in the future), and I’ve finally had a little bit of time to decompress and organize my thoughts.

The Facade of Liceo Govone in Alba
Although the school was founded in 1887, my host family mentioned that the building itself is much much older and used to be part of a monastery complex

If I had to summarize my experience so far in one word, it would be adaptation. I’ve had to adapt to a lot of things (most of them related to my teaching), and as a biologist, I especially appreciate how this adaptation is driving my evolution as a teacher (sorry no more nerdy jokes from here onwards). The school I’m teaching at, Liceo Classico Govone, is a classical lyceym, meaning that the students hear typically focus on classical studies such as Greek, Latin, Italian, Literature, and History. Unsurprisingly, most of them don’t have as strong of a background in STEM nor do they want to ultimately pursue a STEM career in the future. As a result, I’ve had to teach from the ground up and make use of a very sparse and old lab. It’s been fun so far, and I know some of the students are at least interested in what I have to say given how diligently they take notes on my lectures 🙂

Some delicious gelato I got to enjoy while catching up with Abhijit in Milan (featuring 3 flavors: stracciatella, fondente, and pistacchio)

The rest of my time has been spent adapting to the laid back Italian lifestyle, which I honestly could get used to. I love how there are so many snack breaks and a post-lunch naptime, making the late meals much more bearable. I also think I’ve drank more coffee and sparkling water in Italy than I ever have in the rest of my life. I’m also just eating so much gelato, cheese, and bread (especially focaccia omg) – which has been fantastic for my mood but terrible for my waistline. Also, I’m a huge art history nerd, so getting to see all the works I’ve read about in person is a dream come true. There have been some negative aspects though, such as being stranded at the Turin train station for over three hours in the freezing cold late at night because of a train strike that cancelled the last train back to Alba. Overall, I’ve had a fantastic time though, and if you want to see pics of my travels you should follow me on insta @siddarthvader97 (shameless plug hehe).

Michelangelo’s most famous work in the flesh (well actually marble)
Pro tip: If you go to the Academia in Florence at opening time, there’s basically no one there so you get to enjoy all the art (including the David) all to yourself 🙂

To conclude this post, here are some random observations that I thought were kinda interesting: 1) The most common English songs I hear on the radio are Happier – Marshmello ft. Bastille and Nothing Breaks like a Heart – Mark Ronson ft. Miley Cyrus 2) Italian coffee is basically just a shot of espresso. Also, you can get a cappuccino and really good pastry for under 3 dollars (compared to Flour where the same thing would cost you more than double) 3) A LOT of people here have dogs and they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. I’ve seen just about every breed, and I am blessed that both my host families have had cute dogs for me to play with 4) The most commonly used Italian word is allora, which roughly translates to “so then” – it’s a really commonly used transition and it seems to be versatile in its usage as well 5) Italians use bread as a sponge to clean up all the leftover sauce and other stuff on their plates, which kinda similar to what I do at home except with naan and curry

Luna – my first host family’s doggo and a big borker despite her smol size

Until next time,



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