Wednesday, April 26, 2017
I write this blog post in complete disbelief that I am writing my eighth and final monthly update from Florence. I just finished reading my month #1 post, and it genuinely feels as though I wrote it much more recently than September 26. I am still sipping on many cappuccini, eating lots of pasta, pizza, and gelato, and loving living in Florence more than ever this spring.
You’ve been along for this crazy adventure, so you already know how happy I am to have embarked on this freshman year journey. It has involved many hours of study and writing papers, exchanges of letters internationally, planes and trains, checking in and out of foreign cities, trips to Conad and BNL, views of the Duomo, live music in Piazza della Repubblica, glasses of red wine, and memories that will make perfect stories. Naturally there’s been growth in terms of confidence, independence, and problem solving that I wouldn’t have experienced in Poughkeepsie this year.
This month makes previous months feel different, because I know Florence will be my home again someday. I’m nowhere near ready to say goodbye to it temporarily, and I tell myself that I will be back again for a longer period of time when my student days are over. Several occurrences this month made me feel as though I really belong here. For example, being asked in Italian if a woman could take an ashtray next to my foot at Cafe Murate where there were no Americans to be seen. Ordering a cappuccino at Ménagère and being asked “E cornetto oggi?” (and a croissant today?). Offering advice to people as to how they should spend a couple days in Florence. These little things make me feel as though I am a true expat. And I’ll tell you that it’s an empowering and rewarding feeling.
For the first time in 8 months, I got emotional today thinking about my imminent flight back to the United States. Don’t get me wrong; I am very proud to be an American, and I am very excited to see my friends and family. However, it is extremely difficult to think about saying goodbye to a place and a lifestyle that was once so foreign and is now so familiar. I am gearing up for yet another change, so of course I am going to be stressed and uneasy! I have to remind myself that “Life isn’t meant to be spent in one place.” So I’ll always be moving.
Looking back and reflecting on all these months though, I’ve come to the conclusion that Florence did its job. Florence reminded me that love exists, learning to make yourself happy is the best thing you can do for yourself, and curiosity is what gets you places. Grazie mille Firenze. Per tutto. A dopo. xo ~ e.