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Friday, March 13, 2015

Bochum part 1

Tonight I'm gonna tell you about the best 6 months of my wonderful life.

As some of you may know, I study Translation. My study programme for this year included an Erasmus semester in Germany.

At first I was pretty insecure about spending 6 months in Germany without my family and my friends. I had never been away from my country for such a long period of time, and I had never lived alone before. The fact that I have a disability made me wonder if I would be able to do everything on my own in a foreign country. Deep inside I knew the answer was yes, and I wanted to show everyone what I can do. This was my chance to prove to my family and myself that I am an adult, and I am able to do so much more than I thought.
It was time to choose the university for my Erasmus semester.
 Because of my disability, I had to make sure that both the university and my accomodation are accessible, so that I didn't need an assistant.
Because of my passion for WCMX, I wanted to be as close as possible to Dortmund, where my friends David and Lisa live.
Bochum happened to be the perfect choice.
I fell in love with the university as soon as I got there. The campus is so big and full of nice people, and it is completely accessible! I was in heaven.
My students' house is 5 minutes away from the campus, and it is surrounded by supermarkets, doctors' offices, bars, bookshops and anything I needed. I finally had my own house keys, I felt free.
Lisa came to help me get all the documents I needed to start my physical therapy in Germany (thanks <3) and I was ready to start my new life there.

A few days later, David invited me to join a wheelchair training in Dortmund. On that day I rolled into the 4ma3ma (the place where David works) and I met some of the wonderful people who work there for the first time, and it felt like home. =)  I felt like it was a place where I could me myself, as "spasti", as clumsy, as crazy as I wanted and no one would judge me. I had so much fun and learned so much I will never be able to thank them enough. I used the escalator on my chair and went to the skatepark for the first time. I had a blast.

My next big adventure was the Rehacare, one of the biggest expos about disability related products. I was so excited about meeting Aaron and Mike again (I will tell you more about them in another post), Aaron was the first one to help me accept my disability and undestand that a wheelchair can be a toy, and I couldn't wait to spend some time with him again. A few of my Italian friends had come to Germany for the expo, and it was nice to speak Italian again. =)

I started going to university and I met a few exchange students, my Erasmus friends, the best neighbour in the world (I <3 u Vici) and a couple german girls I love, we went to a lot of parties and trips. My favorite trip was our trip to Berlin, when me and my friend got into the Reichstag without having booked a tour (I love my wheelchair!) and skipped dinner to visit it.

I went to an amusement park with Lisa and I went down a hill at full speed, a child got in the way and I tipped over so that I wouldn't run him over (I wish I had a GoPro on my head!).

My next adventure with David and Lisa was the trip to Hamburg, where I met Mutti (<3) and went to my first soccer game (St Pauli!). My favorite part of the trip was the skatepark, it was one of my first times skating and I crashed so many times, but then I made it work and I felt awesome! David pushed into the bowl (thanks!) and it was an awesome feeling.

I went to see the Gaslight Anthem with my friend Megan and we both got shoutouts!
My life was awesome, I went to therapy, to university, to the skatepark and to many parties, I had a lot of fun and I started getting more confident with my German.

I got a new wheelchair and finally mastered the wheelie, then I turned 21 and went to the skatepark to celebrate.
I taught David and Lisa to make real pesto and ate Lisamisu with peanut butter. I got addicted to Spezi and warm brezels at the railway station.
I met my tandem partner, a German girl who is learning Italian, and we only spoke German because she was not confident enough to speak Italian, but we got along very well. =P

At that point it was time to fly back to Italy for Christmas, and I did not want to leave...but I went to Italy, ate too much and opened my presents. I celebrated the New Year and I was ready to go back to Bochum. =)

Part 2 here


  1. Hey! It is so cool to hear about someone with CP doing an exchange trip. I am 23 and have CP too. I studied German in high school and had the chance to go on an exchange but I was coming from very far away (New Zealand) and we were homestaying and it was too difficult to find something accessible in time. So I never went. But I am hopeful I can visit Europe one day. Nice blog - keep it up!

    1. Thank you! It was an amazing experience and I realized I can be a lot more independent than I thought


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