It’s hard to believe a year has passed since I began my study abroad experience in Florence, Italy. During my time overseas, I fell deeply in love with the Italian culture, and fully realized the potential and importance of travel for a young student. My time abroad brought out inner passions I never realized I had, and helped me grow into the worldlier person I am today. And I miss it so much. Since returning to the United States, not a day has passed that I don’t reminisce my time in Italy. The food, the people, the history, all the vespas, everything! The best part about falling in love with a foreign destination, though, is that you can always return. In fact, as you read this post, I’m making my way to O’Hare. Today, I’m hopping a plane back to Italy, the country that still tightly holds my heart.
Flooding thoughts distract me as I prepare for my trip back. I daydream about the monuments I have yet to see, the food in which I will indulge, the culture in which I will re-immerse, and the old memories I will reminisce upon. Bittersweet feelings sway over me when I get lost in these thoughts, and I’m curious to know how I will actually feel once I’m there.
Will I feel grief? Will experiencing the wonders of Italy once more make me long for the memories of my study abroad semester? Or will those old happy feelings will resurface? I know revisiting my old apartment building, school, friends, and my favorite square that overlooks the entire city of Florence will bring back memories that truly changed my life. I spent countless moments discovering myself at these places and with these people, and experiencing them again, with a year’s perspective, will be…what, exactly? I’ll let you know when I find out!
Regardless, I am beyond excited. I can’t wait to tour the Sistine Chapel, a long awaited visit I can’t wait to see in Rome. I burst with happiness when I think about reuniting with friends that still live in Florence, as well as indulging in my favorite delicacies from the local cafes and restaurants. I plan to fill my days with Italian fashion, cooking, scenery, and culture to recall on all of the intense amounts of joy I felt during my study abroad experience.
Above all, I hope to spend time reflecting upon the way my study abroad experience has helped define who I am. I hope to come home even more grateful for my time spent studying and sightseeing in Italy, and as motivated as ever to continue to my travels of the world.