Wow. I can hardly believe it. When I wake up tomorrow I can say, "I leave for Florence, Italy 3 weeks from today." At times I still can barely believe this is happening, and other times it feels just seconds away.
The process of preparing for this trip started so long ago--nearly a year. I have put so much thought, research, time and effort into preparing everything. When people tell you about the study abroad experience, they tell you about their fun times traveling the world and funny stories. No one ever tells you how much work goes into this process on the front end. Whether it be the applications, getting classes approved over and over again, filling out and singing endless forms, the visa application process, trying to make budgets while converting between euros and dollars or just the mental stress, it is always more difficult than I imagined.
As the final weeks of my time at home draw to a close, I realize almost all of the preparation is done. I have filled out and turned in mountains of paperwork, complied a ridiculously detailed packing list, researched Italy, and (almost) finalized my class schedule at Florence University of the Arts. The hard work is done, and I am left to dream about Italian adventures and European delights. I imagine buying un caffe as I walk to class in the morning and making delicious meals with the fresh fruits, vegetables and produce from the open air markets. I see myself taking in some of the richest history in the world as I enjoy delicious gelatos and endless Italian meals. I picture flying to Paris for the weekend and being dazzled by the City of Lights. I have these beautiful images in my mind, and I am excited to see how they truly play out.
I am definitely a little nervous. I am moving to a country where I will know practically no one and they speak a language I am still learning. I think I am mostly just excited though. I am so very grateful for the Lord to give me such an opportunity in my life, and my parents for trusting me and helping me to make this happen. I have known for quite a long time--at least 5 years-- that I wanted to study abroad in college, though I never knew it would actually be a reality. Basically, I'm super blessed and thrilled for this chance of a lifetime.
En tre settimane, dico "Ciao USA, Ciao Italia!"