I’m writing this with two purposes:
1. To finally start my study away reflection paper.
2. To update my blog with a promise to still write about my final month in Italy.
I honestly haven’t had the emotional strength or the time to sit down and process the first four months of 2012 in order to do either of those things. But realizing Sunday that one month ago I was sitting in Piazalle Michelangelo saying “see you later” to some of the greatest people I now have the honor of calling my friends — my family — has forced me to do just that: think.
And with that comes my energy to hopefully start writing about April in Italia!
As of yesterday I have been back in the United States for one month. Even as a Journalism major, I don’t think words will ever be able to capture the life-changing experience I had in my four months abroad. I miss it every day.
From a week exploring Greece with some of my best friends to a weekend in London with my parents. From a new Italian city every weekend to jumping off a canyon in Switzerland during another. Nothing can compare — yet. I think that’s the most important thing for me to keep in mind as I try to resituate my new self into a life in the midwest. The best advice I got while there came from a lifelong friend who backpacked through Europe last summer: “Keep having the time of your life (but don't let that make you think you wont once you come back home:))” That’s always the biggest hurdle to overcome for any study abroad student. I didn’t peak in Europe. I just began to climb.
Nor is Europe over. It never will be. My Italian semester will always be with me. A month after returning, I can see it became a part of me without me realizing it. Italy is what allowed me to be my own rock.
It is in the way I approach challenges with a newfound confidence. It rests across Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania with my CCI Florence Family. It is in my enthusiasm for life. It is in my sturdy independence. It is in the pasta sauce we learned at Il Tavolo that I still make on a weekly basis. It is in every single one of my “certo” and “prego” responses when I hear “thank you.” It is the memory of feeling free I draw to the surface of my mind every time I’m overwhelmed. It is the snapshots of clarity that flash behind my eyelids in moments when I know who I am.