Six weeks ago I did the boldest thing ever, I traveled to another country by myself without knowing a word of the language. As I had mentioned in my first entry, traveling to Italy was my first traveling outside the country since I was four and it was my first time traveling by myself. It took three flights and seven trains, YES !! SEVEN TRAINS!! to arrive in Florence. It was tiring and uncomfortable however, as I sit here back in my room I can say that it was well worth it and it is an experience that I will take with me to my grave.Coming to Italy, I did not expect nor did I want to change, my mind was narrowly focused on simply attending and passing my classes. I already had anxious nerves about being by myself and so I had plans to keep to myself but as the saying goes, ” If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans”.
For the better, Italy taught me how to enjoy how to live. Seeing how it was part of daily routine for Italians to take breaks and take time to enjoy themselves, I was forced to take breaks and be in the present. I’ve always prided myself in being a person who has structure and self-awareness and in being Florence I saw the limitations of my strengths. The structure and self-awareness that I had when moving through my daily life in the U.S was the same structure and self-awareness that was not allowing me to enjoy my time in the beginning. From my professor to the restaurant and bar waiters, I was gently being pushed to be spontaneous. For the first time, I didn’t think, I just “did”. To be honest, each day I was scared of making mistakes, looking dumb but it was through those moments of making mistakes and “looking” dumb that I learned something about myself and I learned how to appreciate a different way of doing something. I wanted to breeze through my time in Italy so I could I just tell people that I studied abroad but I couldn’t. Beyond learning a new language and a culture, I learned how to truly be independent and how to live. Going to Italy made me ask myself the question of who am I outside of my studies.Like many college students, I’ve been studying in school for over a decade straight and during that time I’ve defined myself by my GPA and future career ambitions, but being on the cusp of graduation and feeling the calmer and less formal Italian lifestyle, I started to question what would give me fulfillment outside of school. Questions that need answers but, I wouldn’t have known to ask myself the questions if I didn’t step into a “whole new world”. I am truly happy that I got the chance to go Italy, it was bold move but my eyes are more open than ever before. I’ve caught the travel bug so I am currently in the process of planning next year’s trip and I am hoping it brings just as much thrills as Italy brought.