All good things must come to an end…

The world is a book and those who do not travel only read one page.
Saint Augustine

A semester abroad…..4 months, 18 weeks, 126 days and a million moments I will never forget.

My Facebook status 4 hours before leaving Florence:
As I spend my last few hours in Florence, I realize how cliche this all is; how students come here step out of their comfort zones, live and fall in love with this city. However, I know one thing and that is that these buildings may or may not last a thousand more years, but the memories and friendships that I’ve made will. Thank you everyone and fly safe. Keep in touch and expect a visit from yours truly. 

I didn’t think this status was that good. But as the likes accumulated and comments came I guess it was pretty good. These last few months have been more than extraordinary. The people I met and the sites I saw will forever be ingrained into my mind. The utter grandeur and amazing people I met will walk with me for a long time if not forever. Going abroad is such a temporary “thing” with such a lifelong impact. It’s kind of crazy. My status in retrospect is perfect in explaining it. Living in a foreign or at least my case, barely foreign place, alone, forces you to step out, forces you to do things you usually don’t. It makes you take initiative. Mom isn’t there to wash your clothes or make your bed or feed you or do groceries or anything. You have you, yourself and the people you meet. I’ve been trying and trying to grasp or put my finger on what it is that could, in one simple thought, describe studying abroad in its entirety and I just can’t.

I think the sites and images in your mind eventually disappear. Everything you saw, smelled and heard. All that fades away, hence why pictures are seen as so essential sometimes even though they never do the scene justice. But what doesn’t fade are the people. The people you meet abroad, whether local or other students, are literally growing as you are. The moments lived with them….will change you. Knowing all these people abroad and all over the US now, opens so many windows. Oh I’m in California, let me see what ______ is up to or hey I’m in Baltimore, I wonder if _______ wants to grab lunch or dinner. Even better, hey I’m going to visit ______ down in Charleston or the Cape for the weekend, ciao! I don’t know what you think but that’s awesome.

I mean, I’ve never been the type to get soft and sappy over things like this because people come and go in your life but this was different. It was so cliche and everyone saw it coming everyone knew it was going to happen. Millions of students that go abroad experience this but it happens anyways. I don’t know, maybe I am overdoing this but, who knows.

All I have to say is I’m more than grateful to have been given the opportunity to study abroad. More than grateful to have met the people I have met, do the things I’ve done and experienced what I’ve experienced. I wouldn’t have changed a thing. And I promise you I’ll be back. AND you best believe I’m planning some type of reunion. Already have a standing agreement with some of the boys that if one of us makes it one day we’ll reunite and buy a place out in Tuscany and open a club in Florence and put all the others out of business. Haha….one day. Nonetheless, I’m almost at a loss for words becuase it hasn’t all happened  or set in yet. Maybe there will be a part II of this post. Anyways, thank you for reading.

Alla prossima.

Ciao

M

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Londontown

Late post but as always, better late than never.

It was funny when I first went to write this. I went to write, Cherrio! As in the English way of saying goodbye? And it auto-corrected to Cheerio’s like the cereal. Found that to be a knee-slapper.

Anywho, a few weeks ago I met my mother in London. It was awesome to see her again since homesickness was starting to set in. So I hopped on a plane, packed some clothes to send back with her and flew out to London.

Well, of course I had no service and found my way to the hotel. There she was sitting in the lobby, slightly uncertain that her 20 year old son that has recently traveled all over Europe would somehow not make it to the hotel. Nonetheless her face breathed a breath of air after she saw me walk through those doors.

First day we hit the city hard. Got on one of those classic red double deckers and hit the streets. Buckingham Palace, Westminster, Trafalgar Square, Tower Bridge and London Bridge just to name a few places. Had lunch and dinner in some pubs and a steak house. English food is pretty terrible but I lucked out on my selections. I actually found it nice that in many of the pubs (Silver Cross @ Trafalgar) you have to pay first then eat etc. So much easier and you’re not stuck waiting for the check like you usually are in Europe. Had a couple cheeky pints with Mom and hit the hay.

Day 2&3 were comprised of going on the Eye of London and the Castle/Fort of London, a still standing medieval castle that allowed London to be what it is today. View from the Eye was sick, basically was a Ferris wheel on steroids and the Castle was sick. Saw the Crown Jewels and some sweet English accents. At night we went to Harrods. That place is ridiculous, there is everything. When I say everything, I mean like everything. You can get a haircut, pick up some milk, a Louis Vuitton bag, some tea and crumpets and be on your jolly way in one stop. Literally redefined, “one stop shopping.” What was actually really interesting was the Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed memorial with in the Egyptian staircase in Harrods. As the owner of Harrods, I don’t know the specific details of their relationship but as some may or may not know they both died in a car accident years ago that was pretty controversial. Nonetheless, in the memorial there is a absolutely decked out ring that Dodi was supposedly going to give Diana from what I understood. Sitting there in a solid glass pyramid was this massive shining ring. Impressive, well done Dodi.

Overall the city was awesome. A great combination of old and new. Such an old city with such a new and wealthy history. London was definitely the most pricey, but I could see myself living there. Don’t know why but I just did. Maybe it was being with Mom that gave me that impression. Don’t know. But being with her, she does whatever, pretty go with the flow, was fun because she doesn’t complain when it comes to traveling. We walked in the rain, wanted to kill a couple people and possibly slash the tired to a couple of those double deckers at one point but laughed it off. After all, it isn’t London if it doesn’t rain. Overall great time, would do it again anytime. Can’t thank Mother enough.

 

That was London. This is now. Buona notte.

 

M