As my semester in Florence comes to an end, I’m filled with emotions reminiscent of my high school graduation. Things that were once mundane and unexciting are now filled with nostalgia. I’m constantly met with “this might be the last time I…” The things I walk past everyday and have never done (like the Bargello Museum) are suddenly a pressing matter. Walking past the Duomo and Santa Croce once filled me with so much awe that I had to stop and take a picture. Now they are part of my daily commute and I can’t imagine walking to class without passing Renaissance architecture. I complete one thing on my Florence bucket list, which I wrote a few weeks ago, only to add two more things.
If you had asked me a month ago if I was ready to leave Florence, I would have said “Yes, but I’m not ready to leave Europe.” I have spent the entire semester trying to make Florence my home, trying to find the balance between being a tourist, student, and citizen. I feel as if I’ve finally found the balance. I go to weekly dinners at the house of my Italian family. When I want a panini or gelato, I get it; I don’t worry about the money, knowing it might be my last time to grab a snack at that specific place. I flash my International Council of Museums membership card for free museum admission at least once a week; finding a new museum isn’t a struggle, even though I’ve been here for four months.
I’m excited and nervous for my next adventures. When I leave Florence on May 10, I’m not going home. The best advice I was given before my semester abroad was to book my flight home a week or so later. I felt so sneaky when I searched for the cheapest flight and booked my flight home from Amsterdam. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made–I truly can’t imagine going right from living in Florence to living at home. Planning my journey from Brussels to Bruges to Ghent to Rotterdam to Amsterdam has been a welcome distraction from the “I’m leaving” thoughts. I’m hoping that after a week of solo travel, I’ll be missing my friends and family even more, making goodbye a little easier.
When I arrive home, I don’t have a plan and I do not like not having a plan. An internship could lead me to living in Philadelphia or New York City for the summer. At this point, I don’t even know in which state I’ll be living.
I know that my adventure in Florence is ending so a new one can begin, but I can’t say I’m fully ready to move on. Then again, I don’t think I ever will be.