The time has finally come. The final week of my six week program here in Florence, Italy has come to a close and this means it’s time for me to head back to Florida. I knew that I would probably be sad, but I did not expect to feel so emotional and heartsick. It almost feels like I’m saying goodbye to a dear friend-that’s how much I’ve grown to love and appreciate this city.
This week was full of lasts. I had my last week of classes and took my final exams. Let me tell you, it was hard to study when I knew it was my last week and I was missing out on the last minute exploring I could be doing. But I pushed through the end of the semester.
On Wednesday, it was a huge city holiday: the feast of San Giovanni. I was lucky enough to be here on the day of this holiday to witness how all the locals celebrate. I have to say it was the first time the tourism in this city seemed to disappear and the true Italian culture really showed itself. There was a soccer game in the piazza of Santa Croce, numerous parades, people eating and celebrating in the streets, and the day wrapped up with the most amazing, beautiful fireworks display I’ve ever seen in my life. Me and my roommate gathered by the Arno river, along with the rest of the city, to watch the show. It’s embarrassing because I nearly teared up watching the fireworks and knowing that it was probably the last magnificent sight I’d witness here. But it just shows how much I’ve enjoyed my time here and how deeply it has changed and affected me as a person.
Thursday, my program had our farewell dinner at the same restaurant we had our welcome dinner on my second night in Florence. It was so surreal because at the welcome dinner I was in a room full of strangers, and now I knew every face and had wonderful memories to share with so many of the people there. Yet it almost felt as if no time had passed at all. It was the perfect, bittersweet end to a perfect six weeks.
Now it’s time for a 1.5 hour plane ride to Zurich, followed by a grueling 10 hour flight back to Tampa. I’ll be posting one more follow-up entry to reflect on my time here in Florence once I’m back in the states. Ciao!