Milan, Italy is my new home for the next 4 months. I’m hoping that I grow to like this city and my first experiences don’t reflect the rest of my adventure.
I, along with three other girls from The University of Texas, are studying abroad here at Bocconi. We got two airbnb’s to stay in before we move into our apartment. The first night it was me, my boyfriend, and one of the girls who shared a tiny little apt. It had no hot water, no air conditioning, and no wifi. It was missing everything that millennials need. It was only one night and we said to ourselves, “oh it’ll get better.” Well no it didn’t.
The next apt was closer to our school and to the north of it, but is also the ghetto. The two other girls arrived by taxi and the taxi driver told them it was in the red lights area and there was lots of drugs. Also that one night you’ll be fine, but the next the police will be there. Sure enough that was true. This was a really poor area. The complex was full of hood people and Arabs. Lots of kids and apparently a lot of refugees there. Nothing against them entirely, but when cute little white girls are walking up the stairs…. Everyone stares. It was scary. We locked the door meticulously. We saw a fight happen down in the courtyard. Bottles were broken and someone was about to get stabbed. That same guy was seen carrying a lead pipe later. At night they would yell and fight… I felt so bad for those kids down there, having to grow up in such a rough environment.
Then the Airbnb owner came home. Things got worse. He thought the house was a mess, destroyed. He didn’t tell us he was gonna get back so much earlier than he told us. We weren’t done packing and weren’t done cleaning. We had a lot of dishes to do. We had a lot of stuff. Since I booked it, I got yelled at. And I got yelled at again. And again. This hipster journalist turned into a hood thug right before my eyes. The damage was done, nothing I could say would stop him yelling. I suffered through washing the dishes. I suffered through the last stage of packing my bags while I was being glared out, I could feel his wrath on my back. We all rushed to make sure we grabbed everything. The bench was “broken” because one of the panels was twisted out. I thought it was supposed to be like that. When you sit on a bench, it’s not supposed to break like that immediately. The IKEA sofabed had the wood chipped off where the screws were. It’s IKEA what do you expect?? When you’re getting yelled at by a thug in his own house, in his hood complex, you can’t yell back. You can’t argue. You feel like you’re going to get murdered. Either by the guy or one of his friends. I swallowed his words and took the beating. And that beating is going to cost quite a bit of money.
I can accepting pay for some damages and for not cleaning up fast enough. I know we were in the wrong. If we had cleaned up before he had gotten home, things would have been a lot different. We didn’t and I can accept that. It’s a sunk cost. Money isn’t the biggest problem though. It’s the trauma. I’m traumatized. I’m scared to go to another Airbnb. I don’t want to book in the ghetto, thinking it is safe simply because it is close to my school. I’m just glad it wasn’t in America because someone down in that courtyard probably would have gotten shot.
After we got out of his hair we walked away quickly. We were all scared. We tried to get a taxi big enough for us for so long. We had so much luggage. I only had my backpack, daypack, a bag, and some of Jake’s stuff. Moving into the apartment was so nice. Taking everything out of my backpack and putting it away for the last time was so relieving. Even putting my toothbrush in a holder and not in a case was a wonderful feeling! I’m pretty nervous and traumatized still, but I’m going to do my best to move on and make this an amazing semester.