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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Ciao Bella

Giorno 24

Well this is long overdue, but better late than never I suppose. I’ve been very sluggish in getting this ball rolling. I haven’t been in the writing mood where I just need to document this shit stuff. Its almost like taking pictures. Sometimes the camera just can’t fully capture what your eyes can and all you can do is surrender yourself to the moment and take it in.

Well in a unnecessary metaphor, that is how my time here in Florence has been. There has been so much that has already happened and so much going on, even getting the time to write is a commodity. I’ve probably walked more than I ever have in my life, spent the most money I ever have in my life and started one of the most interesting times of my life.

My first trip was to Cinque Terre and Pisa. As my family has always told me, if you go to Pisa, go to the tower, take a look around, and leave. It’s no Rome trust me. And the crazy thing is, after all the architects had accomplished back then you’d think they would’ve mastered the level and or checking out the land before building over huge deposits of water, hence why everything at the tower is out of plumb. Then on the other hand they could’ve just been drunk and not cared so then again if that was the case, well played gentlemen you inadvertently created one of the most well known monuments in Italy. Cinque Terre was as expected, a smaller, less populated and a uniquely beautiful version of the Amalfi Coast. Cinque Terre was the epitome of a small Italian coastal town smack up on unbelievable cliffs that reminded me of the images in Jurassic Park of the Galápagos Islands.

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My second trip was to San Marino, Riccione and the Misano World Circuit, now known as MWC Marco Simoncelli, named after the amazing young rider that died recently. I went to see the MotoGP on Sunday and to see my dude Valentino “il Dottore” Rossi 9x World Champion ride again. Although he didn’t race like he did last time I saw him in Indianapolis, it was awesome being there on home turf. I don’t know what it is about it but hearing the bikes and watching them fly around the circuit is just awesome. Loved every minute and made me want to ride so bad.

That definitely is a huge craving I’ve had since I got here. I’ve wanted to ride anything on two wheels, even a bicycle and its so frustrating.

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So, now to everyday matters, old business. Life in Florence is interesting. I’ve never seen such a diverse population in my life, between tourists, immigrants living here now and street vendors, it’s ridiculous. I’d say even more diverse than New York City. There are literally like 15 different languages being spoken in Florence at any given time. The ambulances are so goddamn annoying, there are condom dispensers built into buildings like vending machines, I’m convinced the street vendors are being forced to sell the same annoying useless shit because nobody in their right mind would be selling the same shit the guy next to him is, like where’s the competitive advantage chief? I want to know who the hell is the supplier of all this nonsense because they’re making a killing, like where do you get roses every morning? I don’t see a big warehouse full of roses anywhere around here. And there are small closet like stores with random stuff from floss to your latest edition of Playboy, toilet paper, or fine Italian cheese or wine; I’ve now labeled these as 7/11s because I have yet to find one without an Indian employee. They formally have no name, simply “Cold drinks, beer, whiskey, aqua, pasta, wine, cigarettes” is always somewhere on their windows. So, 7/11 it is. There’s your shutout Singh.

I was lucky with my roommates, we are all different. And not to sound corny but I like that because you always need a dude with a third nut or something that’s gonna be the wild card and do we have some wild cards. With the apartment, not so lucky, great location, however too far from the rest of civilization, I call our apartment the IKEA apartment because it is the most bush league Mickey Mouse household I’ve ever had the pleasure of living in. Pot has a hole in it, faucet just falls off, fans don’t work, get replaced and last a week, broken again, shower has a door but instead someone decided a metal quarter inch cable with a shower curtain is much more chic, none of the appliances in the kitchen work and for some reason we have more security on the inside of the house when we’re home than when we leave because there are approximately 5-7 different dead bolts or chains, whatever.

Nightlife is pretty sweet. We’ve made some great friends and met some wild people that ill always remember. And a lot of people that one day I’d love to treat the same way they’ve treated us. It’s interesting how all the places split up the week, there’s never one solid place you can usually go and it’ll be good. You always have to know where the flow is.

School is school, always will be. Reading writing etc. classes are all good and interesting. I’m starting to notice some of the classes are overlapping now and it’s interesting to see how you can bring something from one class to connect to the other and seem outlandishly smart. Unfortunately I have a couple classes that are filled with airheads that either talk but never say anything or nobody answers the teachers questions and create the worst, most painful pauses when nobody raises their hand and I’m always that guy because nobody wants to put themselves out there. Like c’mon who cares if you’re wrong, you seem like more of a douche sitting there looking at the teacher like you just shit your pants or awkwardly avoiding eye contact like you just saw your ex. I feel like I developed that mentality thanks to BC High, literally never gave a shit about what people would think by answering the question and avoiding the painful silence of stupidity.

Nonetheless, anywho, comunque, hopefully ill be traveling a lot more soon. I have intentions of going to Munich for Oktoberfest, Croatia, London, Prague, Barcelona, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Amsterdam, and hopefully Copenhagen along with a couple domestic visits to family and friends. If anyone wants to come or meet up let me now, I’ll shoot you my tentative calendar. I know it’s ambitions but how many more times may I have the opportunity to do it? I don’t know maybe ill have ten more chances but I’m sure as hell going to make sure I don’t regret it.

Thank you for reading if you’ve made it this far. Tip my hat to you, thank you, grazie.

Ill be posting again soon.

Cheers & Ciao Bella.
M