Month #7

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

I’m quite saddened over the realization that I only have one more month post in Italy after this one! I remember writing my Month #1 post about settling into Florence like it was nowhere near seven months ago.

Month #7 (slightly delayed) included a weekend getaway to Copenhagen with Elaine, a stressful week of midterms, the landing of a summer internship, and a spring break for the books with Sasha in Amsterdam and Paris and with the Dauenheimers in Florence. The irritating thing about stressful times is that they feel like they drag on forever, yet they have the unusual power to speed up time. Since two weeks were dedicated to studying, this month passed surprisingly quickly.

Month #7 brought spring to Florence and Europe! Flowers are in bloom, annual allergies have emerged, and the sun has previewed its summer strength. One of my favorite things about Paris was seeing little French children play jump rope during recess, elderly Parisian couples read their daily newspapers in their suits and dresses, and dogs off leashes chase each other playfully in the park. That scene was the official announcement for me that spring had arrived. I’m never going to forget seeing the cherry blossoms bordering the Eiffel Towers in Champs de Mars. I think everyone dreams of spring in Paris. For me, it wasn’t just a dream; it was a beautiful reality.

I really like this quote. I recently saw it on a card of a luxury paper goods store in Amsterdam, and it struck a chord with me.

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I’m eighteen years old, a freshman in college living a ‘selfish’ year before my 20’s in Europe. I don’t think every eighteen year old gets to say that. Society has a tendency to glamorize one’s 20’s (rightfully so), because it is the time to live your life how you want to. Your 20’s are the time to explore the world, organize your dreams, be spontaneous, work hard, and live for yourself. Throughout this entire year, I’ve encouraged myself to do just that. This is one unique year when I’m far, far away from home and my typical habits. It’s the one special year that I’m not tied down to a job, paying loans, a mortgage, a husband, or other commitments I’ll face later on. I’m dedicating my time to the stuff that gives me joy in life. For me, that’s spending hours upon hours at cafés, traveling throughout Europe, cooking in my Florentine apartment, writing letters and in my journal, hanging out with friends, checking out the bar scene here and there. A big part of me feels like I haven’t been on ground, because ground has always been Vermont. And I haven’t been in Vermont for the past eight months. The time away has allowed me to search for the self-discovery many seek during their young adult years. My words can’t express how lucky I feel every day to be on this journey at this point in my life. Being held responsible for myself, attending classes with students who are 2-3 years older than I am, traveling frequently, and living without a dependent are all empowering aspects of this abroad adventure. This 20’s before my 20’s experience is one that will serve me well for my actual 20’s and one that will forever be the most adventurous, life changing, and happiest year of my life. xo ~ e.

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