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Florence on a Friday afternoon

July 13, 2012

It is Friday afternoon, and I am in Florence. I am at a park — alone — away from the center of town. I have been sitting here for half an hour, and many people have walked by or ridden a bicycle through the park, which, by the way, has a carousel. The birds are flocking nearby, I actually hear the bugs, can feel the wind and can think. There are many thoughts running through my mind right now, aside from the typical topics about the “Today” show and general stress.

Let me describe my journey today. I woke up in an apartment on via del Pino, and my roommates and I walked to the bus stop; the bus proceeded to weave its way through Italian traffic, narrow streets and bikes until we reached our stop at Piazza Saint Marco. We departed and began the trek to school, which brings us to the heart of Florence and the Duomo. How lucky we are to get to walk by this piece of Italian history every single day. We then went to school for four hours (9:30 – 1:30), where we are taught grammar and conversations by native Italians. After school, we ate lunch — I had pizza, of course — and then split up. I decided to find the synagogue I saw on a map, which took all of 15 minutes — much of which I spent marveling at its beauty (though I must say, Beth Torah in Overland Park is no eyesore either). Anyway, after that, I just kept walking. I tried to follow Tuscany’s rolling hills to find potentially the best view in Florence, but then I stumbled upon this park and decided to sit here for a while, reflect and take it all in.

This park reminds me of KU and Virginia. It has beautiful green trees and a gorgeous blue sky. I don’t smell anything gross — just the natural outdoors. The sun is behind me, but my bench is in the shade. I’m at a park in Italy, and it is perfection. I have spent way too much time on this trip going a mile a minute or wondering what I’ll do next or thinking too much about speaking correctly or worrying about not taking full advantage of this trip — this adventure of a lifetime. I need to stop, and at 3:51, which is right now, I am making that decision. I am rejuvenated. This is my trip and my life, and while I have enjoyed myself so far, I am going to make the next two weeks even more unforgettable.

And a sidenote: I am grateful to all those who are helping me make this study abroad so memorable. To my host family, thanks for the dinners, welcoming atmosphere and genuine interest. To my professors, thank you for your kindness, patience, humor and understanding. To my classmates, thank you for making me look forward to class each day, for making me laugh, for advising me and for sharing this experience with me and allowing me to share it with you. To my roommates, thanks for being so open and letting me talk about the “Today” show and keeping me awake until 3 a.m. To my other friends here in Italy, thank you for your friendship through the highs and lows of this. To my family and everyone else back home, thank you for letting me do this and supporting me through everything. I know I am lucky, and every day, I find a new reason to be able to say that. Today? I am lucky to be sitting in Florence in a park, not worrying, not stressing, not overanalyzing. Just writing.

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From → Italia

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