The time is finally here! Today, I leave to study abroad in Florence, Italy for the Fall semester. As I sit at my gate contemplating how I feel, I am almost numb. I don't think the reality that I'll shortly be leaving the country for the first time ever has hit me yet! I'll be studying alongside students I have never met while being engulfed in a culture I have never experienced -- but I'm excited, and incredibly blessed.
It's been a long time coming. I began my quest to study abroad over a year ago, and now the moment is here. All of the paperwork, meetings, visa application struggles, email communications, packing nightmares and other miscellaneous hurdles are now in the past and I can't wait to see what this semester holds for me!
I've made it to Florence! Going through my first overseas travel experience has been incredible! I flew out of Atlanta's international terminal, and the fist thing I noticed was how nice the bathrooms were (I know, I'm easily amused)! Then I moved through security, which was business as usual, and made my way to my gate. My flight from Atlanta to Paris was far from restful though, what with the screaming children and narrow seats. But, the flight from Paris to Florence was a much more enjoyable ride. I went through my first customs experience which I was expecting to be a big deal but was actually incredibly underwhelming and now I'm sitting in my hotel room readying myself for our orientation and opening dinner in a few hours!
I can't lie, it still hasn't hit me that I'm really here. Even while driving through the city and witnessing the beautiful architecture, interacting with Italian locals and meeting my fellow API study abroad students and faculty, I can't seem to fathom that this foreign city will be my home for the next four months. Rather than saying I feel numb to it all, I can say that the moment so far is surreal. To think that after wanting to travel, especially to Italy, since being a little girl, that I would one day be living here for a semester is so meaningful to me. I have the opportunity to challenge my views and perspectives, learn exponentially and overall transform myself while here, and all I can think about is how grateful I am.
Now, as I write this blog trying not to succumb to my exhaustion in an attempt at overcoming my inevitable jet lag, it's all beginning to feel more real. With my sleeping roommates just a few feet away, and my itinerary for the next few days to my side, I'm beginning to feel overwhelmed, yet excited, nervous, but also ready, even uncertain, but more than anything eager!
A presto! (Talk to you soon!)