Ciao!  Or should I say hello now that I’m back in the states!

Thursday after my last exam, I spent the day eating lunch with friends, grabbing last minute gelatos, and walking around the beautiful city we had been calling home.  That night CAPA had a farewell dinner at a restaurant and bar and after we headed out to celebrate late into the night.  I rode the carousel in Piazza Republica (the guy totally gave us a discount and we got to ride it TWICE) walked around the Duomo bargaining with the men who sell trinkets to drunk students, and made our way to the bars.  It was a late night filled with dancing and singing and resulted in a drunk girl spilling sangria on my cardigan but alls well that ends well!

The next day, Friday, was my last full day and it was spent cleaning the apartment before headed off to a last lunch of spaghetti and wine (how fitting).  After walking around the river and watching the sun set over Piazzale Michaelangelo with people I have come to realize will be life long friends, we went and got a last sit down dinner of what else but pizza.  The goodbyes were hard and we try to keep them light, no “goodbyes” just “see you soons”.  

The next morning I grabbed a cab with Katie, said my goodbyes to my other roommates and headed to the airport.  After her and I parted ways I flew from Florence to Paris, and had to hustle my way to a shuttle to take me to a different terminal to my gate.  From there it was a long, sleepless flight to Boston, but the woman sitting next to me was nice and the in flight movies weren’t too shabby.

Customs took FOREVER, but once though I immediately grabbed my luggage and walked through the doors to find Garrett waiting for me, flowers in hand, and a huge smile on his face.  It was the greatest thing I could have asked for.  We made our relationship work (and even made it stronger) thousands and thousands of miles apart  Countless skype sessions and weekends of not seeing each other due to traveling.  I could not have done this without his amazing support.

Landing in Boston was bitter sweet.  With all of the saddening events, I wanted to come be in the city I love, but at the same time didn’t know if I could feel safe.  Yet leave it to my city to catch the guy the night before I fly in… we really are Boston strong!

The two hour drive to Maine was interesting.  It was SO weird being in a car again, zooming past signs for fast food and 24/7 drive thrus.  Walking into my house and hugging my parents for the first time in 3 and a half months was so emotional.  It was so great to see the two people who have loved me and supported me not only through this journey but throughout my entire life.  It felt great sitting down and eating and laughing in my own home, not to mention seeing my cat and sleeping in my own bed were magical.

This past couple of days have been a surprisingly easy adjustment.  I’ve driven my car, gone to Target, taken a hot yoga session to detox my body of all that Italian food, and have enjoyed the simplicity of being home.  It has been quite relaxing.

Of course there have been some adjustments with more to follow I’m sure.  I keep checking my phone as if I am still in a different time zone, I feel the urge to say “grazie” instead of “thank you”, and tis 40 degree weather isn’t as delightful as the 70 degrees I was becoming acquainted with in the last week.  But overall the balance has gone smoothly!

So to wrap up my study abroad experience I am going to list the most important lessons I learned:

1.  Life is short- go do something that scares you and thrills you.  Live in a foreign country with no knowledge of the language and learn to be the minority for a change.

2.  Say yes to every adventure you can.  Not sure how to read a map?  Cool.  Learn.  It’s how you get saavy in life.  I navigated Paris with my roommate and a phone.

3.  Learn to love alone time.  Take time to walk the streets of a beautiful city by yourself.  Marvel in the surrounding atmosphere and listen to what your body and mind are saying.  All too often we drown out our own needs.

4.  Learn to laugh and know that things will always work out in the end.

5.  Indulge.  Don’t go crazy, but enjoy simple pleasure in life like food, wine, and story telling.

6.  Never doubt yourself.  I am so proud of everything I thought I could never go.  I am woman hear me roar!  I have tackled a good portion of Europe and I aint stoppin’ there!

7.  Love is possible thousands of miles away, romantic or otherwise.

8.  There is a huge world out there and you’re not getting an younger.  GO SEE IT!

 

To the beautiful people who made my study abroad experience amazing- thank you.  To my parents and friends back home who stayed in touch thank you.  To my amazing boyfriend and best friend in the entire world who stuck by me (even if not physically) thank you.  And to the beautiful world for letting me explore it- THANK YOU!

 

Grazie Mille for reading my blog and being apart of my study abroad adventure.  The ramblings won’t stop here.  I’ve decided to use this blog for everyday thoughts and for future endeavors!

 

Ciao, e cheers!

 

Shea, xoxo

 

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