One of the first things I’m going to do when I get home is eat an entire box of Kraft mac & cheese.
Well, probably not. I’ll say hi to my family first, and generally bask in the wonderful feeling of being home after a long time away. However, as soon as that’s done, consuming a box of chemically produced cheesy goodness is my next priority.
It’s hard to believe that home is only 9 days away. I feel like it’s not really going to hit me that I’m going home until after I’ve landed, just like in August the fact that I was leaving for the semester didn’t hit me until I hugged my parents goodbye at the airport. Here we are though, 4 months later, and it’s definitely a bittersweet goodbye. When I first got here, December felt like a lifetime away. It’s cliche, but it really does feel like it all passed in a blink of an eye. 4 months ago I had never been to any country in Europe besides Italy, and now I’ve been to 8. I had never stayed in a hostel before, or been on an overnight train, or experienced a Ryanair flight. 4 months ago I had a journal with a couple of plans written in, and now I have a journal filled with memories and experiences.
While the aforementioned mac & cheese is cooking, I’ll probably be thinking about how I miss Florence already, and how I miss the people I met. At the same time, however, I’ll be thinking about the friends in NY that I’ve missed as well. I’ll be thinking about how much I have to tell them about all of the places I went to, the people I met, and the different kinds of food that I ate. I’ll think about how it’s almost Christmas and blast holiday music.
Words cannot express how thankful I am to have had this semester. There are a lot of things I’m going to miss about living here, from the abundance of gelato, the beauty of the buildings, and the family dinners my floor has every Monday night. I’ll miss having an actual campus (and a beautiful one at that), the 90 cent cappuccinos, and the ability to drink legally (in a responsible manner and in moderation, of course!!! It’s for the culture!!!). I definitely will not miss the mosquitoes, but that was probably pretty obvious.
One thing I definitely want to do more when I get home is travel. Here, I feel like every weekend we were jetting off somewhere or figuring out a weekend trip. It’s much harder and more expensive to do an international weekend trip from NY, but when was the last time I visited a nearby state just because I hadn’t been there before? Why don’t I ever drive over to Boston for the weekend? I doubt I’ll ever travel as often and as intensely as I did this last semester again, but I could absolutely make more of an effort to explore the country I live in, instead of staying in my little New York bubble. This goes for exploring the city more as well. If I can get up at 3 am to catch a train, then a taxi, and then a plane to go to Spain for 2 days, then I can put in the effort to go take the subway over to a new part of the city for a few hours. There is so much more traveling and exploring I can do from New York, and I definitely plan to start taking the opportunity to do so.
This semester has really given me a lot to think about in terms of new experiences, perspectives, and people. I definitely think I have grown over the last few months for the better, and I could not have been happier with my abroad experience. However, I will say it is definitely time for me to go home.