Saturday, May 12, 2012

Arrivederci, Italia

Well, this is it. My last blog post in Italy. My bus to Florence leaves in less than 6 hours, and I will be seeing my family in less than 36 hours. I am so incredibly grateful to have had this opportunity, and I will cherish my memories of it forever. 

I leave you with a quote, and a picture of me contemplating my wonderful semester with a view. 

"Well, here at last, dear friends, on the shores of the Sea comes the end of our fellowship in Middle-Earth. Go in peace! I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil."
-- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

Friday, May 11, 2012

Feelings: I Have Lots of Them

On this, my penultimate day in Siena, I'm sitting here packing and trying not to cry every time I think about what I'm doing. I leave for Florence tomorrow evening, since my plane leaves at the unholy hour of 7:20 am on Sunday morning, meaning I need to spend the night in Florence. Thus, this is my last full day in Siena. Sadness abounds, with Rachel and I each occasionally shedding a few covert tears as we realize just how little time we have left. 

However, I thought I would post a picture of what packing for home looks like, versus packing for Siena.

Alas and alack!

Remember my very first post, when I was freaking out over how I was going to fit everything in my suitcase? Yeah... it's the same this time, except now I know exactly what needs to go in the suitcase. I just need to figure out how to make it fit, seeing as, whoops, I bought some stuff while I was here.

It's interesting to compare how I felt packing 4 months ago to how I feel packing now. 4 months ago, I had no idea what Italy would be like - I hoped very much that I would love it, but I was scared and stressed, as well as excited beyond anything I'd ever felt. I couldn't believe that I was going to live in Italy for 4 whole months.

Now, on the other side, as I pack for America, I feel some of those same emotions, but I also feel some very different ones. I have, in fact, loved Italy, and so I am incredibly sad to be leaving it. I've fallen in love with Italy and with the Italian people, and I can't believe that I'm most likely never going to see any of the people I've met here again. I don't want that at all! So, I'm telling myself that it's not an option for me not to come back to Italy - I *have* to come back. I'd be too heartbroken if I didn't tell myself that.

But it's not all bad feelings; I'm also very happy to go home and see my family. I miss them, and it's been weird not to be able to talk to them as much as I do when I'm at school. Plus I miss Trinity horribly - it's been harder than I thought it would be to see my friends have their lives at Trinity (facebook: the creeper's helper since 2004), while I've been away. Granted, I've been in Italy so I can't really complain, but I do still miss my friends greatly, and I cannot wait to see them again!

Finally, I am once again feeling some of those same scared emotions that I felt coming over here, this time because I've been in a completely different environment, doing completely different things since January, and I'm sure I've changed a lot during this semester. But I live with myself, so I can't actually tell how much I've changed - I have to wait until I go home until I discover how I've changed. As a result, I'm a little worried about reverse culture shock. I was expecting Italy to be very different than America, so my culture shock upon coming to Italy was very minimal. However, I am now returning home, to a place that should be familiar and comforting, but my perception of the world has changed, and I am both worried and excited to see what that will be like.

And now, it is a beautiful, perfect, gorgeous day here in Siena, and I plan to go outside and spend some quality time on the Campo, soaking up that Tuscan sun - packing be damned!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Where Has The Time Gone?

Ciao ragazzi! Ti sono mancato? It turns out that the last few weeks have been a little busy for me, what with going to Sicily and Amsterdam and just generally having fun, and now I have finals. WHAT. When did that happen? How can I be having finals? Where did the past four months go? Is it really May? Do I really leave in a week?

Hold the phone, y'all. I leave in a week. In fact, in one week at this very moment, my plane will be landing in Houston. I have many conflicting feelings about this. On the one hand, I am ecstatic to see my family again - 4 months is the longest I've gone without seeing them! I also miss America - Target, chocolate chip cookies, Tex Mex, English... all of these things (and let's not forget Trinity! I had no idea I would miss my beloved university this much). However, on the other hand, ASDLFASF PLEASE DON'T MAKE ME LEAVE ITALY! I DON'T WANT TO! Beside the gorgeous, peculiarly Tuscan sunlight, the fields of lushly green, rolling countryside streaked with yellow and dotted with red, the crooked stone paved streets, and the architecture so medieval it's almost unbelievable, I will miss the Italian people - particularly my Italian family. 

My family! (L-R bottom: me, Natascia, Cosimo, Marta, Francesco. Top: Rachel, Stella)

In fact, I would go so far as to say that my Italian family has been my favourite part of my experience in Siena. I adore the way that they have taken me into their lives, putting up with me as I struggled my way into knowing a semblance of Italian, letting me love on their darling baby, Cosimo, and just generally making me feel loved. Italians have a unique ability to make one feel part of their joyously raucous family life, and I'm incredibly grateful that I was able to experience this. I hope that our relationship lasts after I leave Siena - I know that I at least will be sending Stella all the tacky souvenirs I can find in Texas, to add to her collection of tacky souvenirs from all over the world.

Picnicking with the best homestay mother I could have asked for

Here's to one week left in Italy! Let's hope I can soak up as much Siena as possible in these final 7 days.