Wednesday, December 11, 2013
In a weeks time I’ll be packing up my belongings and leaving Florence, Italy. That realization has not quite hit yet. This semester in Florence has been an amazing experience to say the least. I feel as though I’ve just started to settle into the pace of Italian life and living and now its almost time to leave! During my time here in Florence as well as on my travels through Europe I’ve learned a lot about the similarities and differences between cultures, the importance of diversity, and how to push myself out of my comfort zone. However most, if not all, of my learning and experiences came from experiences I brought upon myself independently outside of the program and outside of school. While the program hosts amazing internship opportunities as well as numerous activities and field trips to neighboring cities there is quite no experience that can live up to traveling and relying on yourself. Even wandering the streets of Florence is a wonderful opportunity to get lost and explore where the winding cobblestone streets take you. The beauty of Florence is never-ending from the aerial view of Florence from the Piazza de Michelangelo to the countless museums full of beautiful works of art from Renaissance masters such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.
The food is a central component of Italian culture and that is one aspect that rubbed off on me quickly. I’ve always enjoyed cooking and when I discovered the central market bursting with fresh produce, meats, fish, handmade pasta, cheeses, and wine I was beside myself. I’ve enjoyed the process of cooking with only the freshest of ingredients and have found a passion for food! No big surprise there though.
One of the most challenging aspects of life was the adjustment to the slow pace of life, which challenges my speed walk to class daily. However, after realizing the relaxed nature of Italian life I’ve recently come to accept and even embrace this pace. I find myself noticing more of my surroundings and even letting myself wander if I have the time.
I can happily say that I’m forever sleep deprived from early morning train rides to our city or country of choice on the weekends and even busier weekdays filled with exploring the city of Florence. This semester has brought me on a whirlwind adventure tossing me completely out of my comfort zone into unchartered territory. However, this unchartered territory has led me to discover some of the most unbelievable food, works of art, and people I couldn’t have imagined possible. Its unbelievable my time here is coming to a close. Hopefully, I’ll be able to return in the future to the city that changed my perspective on so many things.