I just did that. It’s weird and crazy to me because I feel like so many people go abroad, when in fact only about 4% of students study abroad. And here I am, part of that 4% and I am so grateful that I got to live in another city, another country. WOW. Yep, I did that and it feels great.
Overall, I’m simply grateful. I know the whole “I’m blessed” saying is annoying and overused, but I can’t help it when it’s true. I’m lucky that I got to do this. I got to live somewhere else and travel Europe. This is something I will remember forever and will always be a highlight of my life.
Part of me is happy to go home. I am thrilled to see my friends and family again. I am eager to see my dogs. My jobs bring me joy and I cannot wait to teach dance and yoga. I crave a variety of foods: chipotle, sushi and Chinese takeout. I’m excited for the water at restaurants to be free again. I am ready to say goodbye to my shared apartment and have my own space again. I’m excited to drive with the windows down and radio on. Oh and I cannot forget about my bed. I am so excited to sleep in my comfy bed with blankets and pillows galore!! I have so much to look forward to and all of these things make me miss the idea of Florence just a little less.
…A bigger part of me is sad to leave Florence, and it’s a bigger part of me than I expected. I kept thinking that I’d be content, but on this last day I’m not content. I’m sad. I don’t want to leave because part of me feels like every other young woman who comes here. I feel like I’m just a little bit more “cultured” and like I was meant to be here. I feel like I could live here longer and wish I could stay. The culture is so different and it became a part of my routine. I have a new respect for Italian culture, especially when it comes to the household, food and fashion. It’s hard to wrap up everything I’ve learned into a few sentences. I can’t quite explain it, which is why this post is more like a rant. Most importantly, being here has taught me the most about my own culture, about American culture. Which is another reason I don’t want to go back. There are parts of American culture that I’ve realized I don’t care for: the lack of looking presentable, processed foods, and oversized buildings. I know coming home will be hard and I’m expecting to go through reverse culture shock.
As I said, today is my last day. I went on an early morning walk before the tourists got out so I could enjoy the view from Piazza Michelangelo and the Rose Gardens one last time. I began to tear-up as I walked, snapping millions of polaroid-pictures. I am currently sitting at my favorite pastry shop sipping on my last cappuccino and eating my final favorite chocolate pastry. I know I’m going to grab my favorite sandwich and one final pizza later today. I’ll sit in front of the Duomo and stare in awe, wondering how I casually passed it for the past 5 months. I’ll watch one last Florentine sunset on the beach and probably cry again. It’s going to be a day full of emotions and lasts.
An update: I am not as sad as I was. After I said a final farewell to the pastry shop, I got a sandwich, stared at the duomo, and then went on this ledge above the beach and had gelato in a cone. I sat there and listened to a little music for over an hour. That moment of solitude and stillness made me feel calm. It made me feel content as I looked at the Ponte Vecchio from afar. So now? Now I am in another cafe, drinking tea and re-thinking everything I wrote earlier. I thought about changing it since it does make me sound dramatically sad, but decided to leave it because it's honest. That's how I felt. Now I'm ready. I'm doing everything I want today and taking time to enjoy this incredible place for the last time. I'm ready to have my favorite pizza in the whole wide world for the last time and then finish packing up my bags. It's time to go home.
...then again, ask me in a few days and I might think differently. Ugh, being conflicted sucks.
There's too much to say and no words that can capture everything. You know, they say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but even a picture cannot describe everything I'm feeling right now.
As always, thanks for reading and for following me along on this journey of mine. If you ever have this chance, DO IT. It’s worth it.