Three days. Three days are all that stand between me and the comfort and convenience of America (and one exam, but that’s not important right?). Three days until I have to leave this place that has become so dear to my heart and has given me so many sweet memories.
How will I be able to jump right back into American life, as if nothing has changed? I have gained a larger perspective on the world and on life, I’ve learned to love the Italian people, and I’ve adapted to their way of life. Now I have to throw those lessons by the wayside because they aren’t necessary in America.
This week I’ve been worriedly bringing my camera everywhere just to make sure that I don’t miss one last photo opportunity. I’ve been trying to document all the little things that I’m sure I will miss once I’m back in the States. I’ve been trying to make sure I spend as much time with my friends as possible, because who knows when we’ll see each other again? I’ve been trying to make the most of my last moments here.
I always heard everyone saying that: “make the most of your time because it will fly by.” I had no idea what that meant. “Make the most of my time”? Shouldn’t I always be doing that while I’m alive on this earth? This semester specifically made me appreciate life so much more because it made me aware of the abundance of things to see, places to go, languages to speak, people to meet, and lessons to learn. So in that case I can see how you would want to make the most of it and take advantage of that experience you were given.
I just think I need to step back and realize that I may be focusing too much on “making the most of my time.” I feel like I’ve been gauging myself (making sure I am having the most fun, doing the most things, spending the most time with my friends, taking the most pictures I can before I have to leave). I need to just step back and realize, I have made the most of my time here. I have had fun, done many things and seen many sights, spent so much time with my amazing friends, and taken albums upon albums of pictures. I need to relax and just enjoy it, instead of stressing out about how there are only 3 days left.
Over the past semester, I have realized so many things about myself, how adaptable I can be, how logically I’m able think in a stressful situation, and how to live independently (I can actually cook food now!). However, one of the biggest things I’ve learned, and I guess the Italians have indirectly taught me, is the importance of strong relationships and social interactions.
I’ve made some truly lifelong friends that I admire and respect so much, and I’m sure I will visit when we’re back in America. They have constantly been there for me and I’m so thankful for that. They’ve been my travel companions, my movie night buddies, my shoulders to cry on, my fellow cooks, my roommates, my dance partners, my encouragement, my faith-builders, my models for my unending pictures, my advisors, and my sources of joy. It’s an understatement to say that they will be sorely missed when I’m back in the States. Without these relationships I don’t know how I could’ve made it through this semester in one piece. Not only have I made it through, but I can safely say that this was one of my favorite seasons of life thus far, and I’ve definitely made the most of it. Special shout out to Jess, Alea, Tracey, Mariah, Danielle, and so many others that have made this semester so amazing.
It will be so difficult to return to the mundane daily life of work, school, papers, and less travel. However, this experience has given me a spark of ambition that I haven’t really felt in a while. I’m determined to make the most of my time, but not only in these last three days. I want to make the most of every moment in the next few weeks when I’m home celebrating Christmas with my family, next semester as I take much more difficult classes and have a much busier schedule, and this summer even though I don’t know what I’ll be doing. I want to take this perspective of life home with me and savor the little things as I’ve learned to do here.
For now, I will just appreciate the beauty of the city I’ve gotten to live in for three and a half months, enjoy all the lights and decorations in the streets, walk through the Christmas markets, laugh with my friends, and thank God for all that He’s given me.
It’s bittersweet, but all good things must eventually come to an end. I wish I could stay here longer, but at the same time, it just feels like it’s time to go home. As Dr. Seuss says, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” See you in three days Mom, Dad, Zach, Rachel, Natalie, Tom, and all my friends in RVA! I’ll be back in what feels like no time at all.