Quirky insights to science, art, studying abroad, & other miscellaneous happenings.

Quirky insights to science, art, studying abroad, & other miscellaneous happenings.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Am I ready to go home?

This post may seem premature, since I don't return to Ohio until May 23. My school, however, ends on May 9, so discussions center around plane tickets home and summer plans. It didn't help that one of my closest friends here left yesterday (she took the picture above at my school), as her program already finished.

The big question is: am I ready to go home?
or, from the other perspective, am I ready to leave Florence?

To a certain degree, yes.
Each passing day, I am more conscious of the fact and reminded of one more thing I'll come back to. This entire time, I haven't thought about the clothes I've left behind, and now I'm having visions of certain shirts in my wardrobe in Italy. I'm suddenly remembering all the cool things I own, including Italy-themed gifts from my friends, because to be honest -- I've completely forgotten about my things, after living like a minimalist here in Italy. Remember how much (or little) I packed? (Read about it here). Sadly enough, I'm also looking forward to fast, reliable internet. Walking into a cafe that advertises free wifi that's actually there. The affordability of food and clothes. Free bathrooms and water. Food variety. Chocolate chip cookies. Pancakes.

But most importantly, my assured readiness mainly comes from some major epiphanies I had recently about science and art. If there's only one thing I could share about what Italy has done for me, this would be it. Having this said epiphany facilitated my awareness and preparedness to return home -- because ultimately, I've gotten what I've come for.

On top of that, I've something to come back to -- and I'm beyond excited, to say the least. I'll save the details of grad school applications, summer plans, and gap year ideas for another post, but basically, I'm ecstatic about all the opportunities that await me: including the variety of jobs and ways I can spend my time. I have so many different cool experiences to look forward to (we can call the first part of my gap year: life in applications, since that consists of 97.5374% of it).

I'm ready to start another adventure when I return, because apparently, when you're out of school, you are FREE. Want to work full-time? Do it. Start up a new painting series by staying in your studio for 3 days? Why not. Work night shift? There's no class in the morning. 'Tis a strange transition that I've yet to wrap my mind around. I suppose society entrusts that I'll do well with my time.

But then the worries always sprout up: I won't be able to walk everywhere, I can't speak in Italian anymore, I won't eat as much (we'll see about this), or eat out as much (those handy meal tickets have spoiled me); I won't have a painting class, and I'll have to seek out where to satisfy my gelato cravings. I'm afraid I'll fall back to routine, and that my memories of Italy will fade away in some dark, distant corner in my mind. I cannot fathom how that's possible, as I think of my life now as before Italy and after Italy. I'll miss the fresh pastries, walking across the Ponte Vecchio, seeing the Renaissance that lives on here. 


To be honest, I'm almost scared to come back. Everyone else, I'm sure, has been undergoing their own changes in life, and I'm fearful of the term we call "reverse culture shock". I hear it's worse than culture shock, which describes the experience when you first are immersed in a new culture. Coming from someone who didn't experience immense culture shock coming to Italy, I'm truly afraid it'll be so much more difficult for me to adjust back. I think of Italy as my home, and the other day, we received a talk about what to expect for reverse culture shock, and I almost got emotional in class. I'll share more on this in future posts, because it's truly helpful for y'all to understand my perspective and for me to understand yours. 

Nowadays, my feelings consist of relief at coming home as well as nostalgia for Florence. I look forward to days when I don't have the hovering thought that this is a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity; I must make every moment count; I need to try something new today. There's a subconscious pressure of constantly budgeting (hello, no paycheck right now?), constantly learning, absorbing, taking in new things, and making the most of it. It sounds like a great problem to have, but 'tis stressful
But on the other hand, I can't imagine not being here anymore, and that makes me into a more desperate person. The other day, I got up at sunrise to sit on the column of the Santa Trinita bridge (which may or may not be illegal), pulled out my watercolors, and painted the Ponte Vecchio with a frenzy I didn't know existed. 

So am I ready to come home? Yes
But am I ready to leave Firenze?
Not quite yet. 
I'm getting there, and my brain is adjusting, but we will just say that it's good thing that my time's not over yet.

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