I’m back! It’s been nearly two weeks since I returned from the best spring break trip ever and I’m still weaning off of my Italian high. Before I left, I was anxious. In fact, I wrote about it. I was curious about how I would feel returning to where I studied abroad. But as soon as I arrived, I felt right back at home, like I had never left. The immediate love I gained for Italy during my semester abroad hit me just as hard the second time around, however things were a bit different returning as a tourist and not a student. I quickly realized that my spring break trip could best be described as a giant tease.
My 6 short days back in Italy consisted of seeing friends and new places. I spent the majority of my trip in Rome, visiting a friend who is currently studying in the region (I’m very jealous). To ensure I was able to do all I wanted during the week, I was forced plan out every minute of my trip, which was something I never had to do when I lived there before. Luckily I scheduled time to see the sites of the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and Spanish Steps. I also made sure to indulge in thin crust pizza, stracciatella flavored gelato, and even find time to purchase a fabulous pair of Italian leather shoes (I mean, how could I not?!). However, what I realized I missed most from my first time in Italy was the abundance of time I had. I missed the freedom of being able to wander the streets without any planned schedule. I longed to forget about the decreasing number of days I had during my trip, and hoped get lost and explore for hours like I how I used to.
The biggest tease came when I arranged a day trip back to the city of where I studied, beautiful Florence. As soon as I stepped off the train flooding memories of my days living within the Florentine walls danced in my mind. As I started going down memory lane, I wished I had more than 24 hours in the city that changed my life. I was able to visit my favorite squares, restaurants, and people of the city, as well as touch the door that led to the apartment where I spent the best months of my life. Emotions were present, and as great as it was to relive those happy days, grief struck when I understood that my spring break trip couldn’t compare to the time I experienced in Florence a year prior.
Going back to Italy for spring break was a gift I couldn’t be more thankful for. I was enchanted once again by the beautiful culture, and saying goodbye the second time around may have actually been harder than the first. Italy has a way of grabbing my hand, and squeezing so tight that I feel as though I cannot let go. Returning as a tourist was not my ideal way to spend time in my favorite country, but I’m confident one day I will be able to return again in future for a longer stay, and just like I used to, be able to wander through the streets for endless hours once again.