Everyone who studies abroad I think has had some sort of romanticized view of what they envision their time being on their own outside of the United States and most of the time, reality instantly crushes the romanticize view and grounds the student back to the real world. I proudly admit that I am one of those students.
Originally when I saw myself studying abroad, I thought would have at least one familiar face on my side taking my pictures and roaming the streets with our strong American appeal. Not the case at all. I also thought I would know the whole country like the back of my hand entering the fifth week of my journey. For sure not the case. And lastly I thought I would be dripping in Gucci, Prada and all the other Italian designers. Definitely not the case !
Reality slapped me across the face instantly when I entered Italy. I had to learn on the spot how the currency exchange between the Euro and American dollar (could) fluctuate each day and five euros is not cheap for a drink as it means you could be paying six to seven dollars for a simple coke. I did not have a familiar or close friend during my ventures to Pisa or the Gucci museum and it was fun until I realize there was no one to smile with. And lastly I haven’t been able travel to many cities due to time and financial constraints. But it was ok because being slapped by reality only meant they were lessons that I would learn and my trip could only get better for what I have learned. It took three weeks, halfway into my journey for me to acclimated with Italy. It took me that amount of to make a routine for myself that encouraged stepping out of my shell but still brought some comfort. It took three weeks for me to accept that I don’t have my best friends or family with me and I have to make the most being alone in a different country. It’s an everyday process of trying to make the most out of my time in Florence but it’s worth because each day I am learning something new about myself and I am excited to see how this journey end in three weeks.