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Buona Sera!

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Life has been quite hectic in Paderno del Grappa these past few days, and I actually mean the program LIFE. As I mentioned in the last entry, I signed up to do this very vague leadership training called LIFE, a 48 hour retreat that was highly recommended. I'm a huge sucker for those trainings and thought I would sign up and try it... I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

The program is really hard to describe, but it was basically an intensive leadership boot camp, one day we went from 7am-12:30am with small 10 minute breaks... had 5 hours to sleep... it was insane! I cannot describe the activities of the program, they asked us to keep it under wraps, but basically we spent 48 hours straight recognizing our strengths, completely escaping our comfort zones, exposing our weaknesses and learning to overcome them, and focusing on how to give yourself support and others support. I know it sounds extremely lame, but it was one of the best experiences of my life. I have never learned so much about myself and gotten so close with a group of people in such a small amount of time. There were so many opportunities to plan goals and figure out how to achieve them and push yourself along the way.

The only details that I will give away is that I was able to punch through a 1" board with my bare hand! Pretty impressive. I would highly recommend the program if you ever get an opportunity to do it. It was such a great chance to focus on myself for once and reflect. It was so hard and at times I hated it, but in the end it was worth it and I would do it again 100 times.

After the LIFE program, I have never been so exhausted. I think it was a combination of jet lag, being in a new place, and this program that just drained all of our energy. And the vino may have contributed too I guess. Today we woke up and had a "Survival Italian" class that basically gave us all of the Italian we will need to travel to the nearby towns next week. I am taking Traveler's Italian so it was really just a condensed version of that. In it, she recommended tons of flavors of coffee, gelato, cheese, and sweets for us to try. I'm anxious to do my research. We also had a travel seminar that gave us wonderful tips for our upcoming travel breaks. We are starting to research places to go for next weekend, Milan is looking like a possibility. I learned from Venice that I really need to invest time into planning these trips so I can get the most out of them, so we will spend the week figuring out where to go, but suggestions are always welcome if someone has them.

I have been a little homesick lately, wondering what everyone is up to. I got to skype with my mom for like 2 hours today which was so nice! I also got to skype with Melissa (my best friend) and catch up with her. It was very comforting to see people from home and not feel so far away and removed. I think I will feel much better as I get to know people here and find a place. But I suppose that is part of the experience, right?

Tomorrow morning we will be walking to a market in Crespano, a small town about 15 minutes away. My Italian professor recommended it and said we'd find a lot of fresh food, clothes, and unique gifts. Guess I get to practice my bargaining skills!

I really appreciate how many people are taking the time to read this blog! It means so much to me. Your comments have been so sweet and I love seeing how many people have read and subscribed. There are lots of pictures on Facebook! Thank you all so much. I love you and miss you!!!

Posted by stephgrebe 15:29 Archived in Italy Tagged living_abroad

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Yay Love you! Have a good day tomorrow!

by Melissa

Hi Steph,
Thank you for keeping me up on what you are doing and where you are going. This trip is like a dream come true. I know it's hard to be so far away and you will get homesick at times, but it is such a worthwhile experience. The program sounds awesome and I wish I could do some of what you're doing (not the LIFE program). Grandpa and I were in Venice in 1979...a very long time ago and our hotel was on San Marcs square. We loved it but it looks like you saw lots of things that we didn't see. I love your pictures of the colorful buildings and streets. We did ride in a gondola. We never got to Milan. Keep writing. I miss you and love you.

by Lynn E Klowden

Steph, what an adventure you are having!! Laura showed me your blog and I am enjoying it immensely!! It looks and sounds breathtaking. At some point when you are sitting in an outdoor cafe',raise your wine glass and have a drink for me!! Have fun! XOXOXO

by Barb Barnes

I am so jealous!

by JGold

What a perfect match for you! Already you have taken advantage of programs that are SO you and which will add to your already amazing talents. The LIFE program sounds very interesting; I look forward to hearing about it when you return. And I'm with Barb -- have a glass of wine or two for me!!

by Lisa Lambert Snodgrass

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