“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.”
Well, we've made it. This is last post for BuongiorYES. I chose to save this post for Christmas to write about the gift of exploration.
When I started the journey on August 11, I had grand hopes and dreams of what my study abroad experience would be. If we are being completely honest, I thought I would be mistaken for an Italian pop star and whisked away to perform at the Italian Grammys or that I would fall in love with a Tuscan winemaker and never come back.
Needless to say, as I write this post from a flat in San Francisco-- neither of those things happened. Instead, I had the most amazing four months of exploration. Exploration of art, language, food, wine, culture, countries and myself.
I had the opportunity to travel to more places than I ever thought would be possible in the short time period of one semester. Leave it to cheap airlines and good friends that hosted my nomadic self to fulfill my wanderlust dreams. For those who have been following, you know that I saw Van Gogh in Amsterdam, biked in Copenhagen, snorkeled in the Amalfi Coast, danced the night away in Sicily, drank Guinness in Ireland, had high tea in London, attended class lectures in places like St. Peters and Villa Borghese, ate stinky cheese in France and drank the wine of my dear friends Giovanni and Barbara in Orvieto.
I worked for an amazing company that taught me more than any internship has. I learned a new language and by golly, spoke it everyday to every Italian I encountered. I lived with 7 amazing women in a tiny Roman apartment that showed us the true meaning of sharing. I made friendships that I know will last a lifetime. My passion for art grew more than it ever has before. And, I ate pasta carbonara at least 2 times a week.
When the adventure first started, I was so impressed with the glamour and excitement of European life that I stayed on a high for the first month. In the middle of my experience abroad, I faced doubts and uncomfortable situations that made me wish I was back home in California. By the end of my adventure, though I was excited to come home, I knew that I didn't want to leave.
Packing up your life and dropping everything to move to a new country is an experience that everyone should have. There are challenges and there are amazing, unbelievable moments. It pushes your comfort zone in the best ways possible and reveals things you never knew about yourself.
I've learned that the world is a lot smaller than it seems and that you'll only regret the things you didn't do.
I thank everyone who made this gift of study abroad, of exploration, possible.
Thanks for reading.
Merry Christmas. Buon Natale.