The Final Stretch

It is so bittersweet to be saying goodbye to Florence, a city that has welcomed me with open arms. Over the past three months, I can truly say that Florence has become my home. I cross the Ponte Vecchio, stroll through the Piazza di Santa Croce, and admire the duomo not as a tourist, but as a person who loves my home and dreads saying goodbye. Florence has given me a sense of independence, as well as making me more adaptable. When you study abroad, especially in a country with a language barrier, you do not realize what you’re getting into quite honestly. I have gotten used to walking into a store or restaurant anticipating a hurdle in communication with the owners or employees. While this used to scare me and maybe prevent me from doing certain things, I now embrace the opportunity to practice my Italian. I am going to miss the charm of Italy that shines through everywhere you look, through the beauty of buildings or the character of the local shop owners. Italy is the type of country that you really benefit from getting to know, rather than simply visiting for a few days and hitting the tourist sights. While these are popular for a reason and they are definitely necessary to check out, the personality of the city is often overlooked.

By the time I return to the states, I will have been away from my friends and family for nearly four months. I often wonder how different life will be when I return, since everyone’s lives have continued for four months while I was on this adventure. I lost touch with some, keep in contact with others, and met so many new people here. This is a scary thought, to lose contact with people you once saw so frequently. When graduation rolls around we will all be accepting jobs across the country, maybe even internationally, and I will have the same outcome. You can love people and care about them, but life gets away from you. The time difference doesn’t make it easy, either. I am very much looking forward to seeing all of these people and exchanging stories from the past few months, as well as making new memories at Pitt for my final year.

I love Italy and it will hold a special place in my heart forever as a place that helped me grow into the person I am today, but I am ready to be home. There is a lot I miss about life in the states, even though there will be even more I miss about Italy when I leave. I miss my cat, Tomato Pie Cafe, a strong cup of my mom’s coffee, the sense of togetherness at a college sporting event, the Cathedral of Learning, and the list goes on. My life will change drastically again when I leave Italy, but I have learned to welcome change. See you soon.