Having had time to catch up with my close friend Angela over this last week and with the wonderful and hard-to-nail-down Shelly for about an hour in Florence, I’ve come to realize that this whole Italy experience hasn’t just been a dream of some sort. Every waking minute is definitely real. My mother has touched down in Italy and will be within arm’s reach by the end of the week. Sarah just ran her marathon yesterday in Florence, a race she has been training for since we arrived. Thanksgiving was a feast and a fest, an evening I’ve been logistically organizing for a few weeks. The last week has made me realize the light of the now sinking sun on my Italian sojourn. Within three weeks, Chris will be finished with his semester abroad and be back at home.
The semester, which at times seemed interminable and depressing but now seems to be flying, escaping very fast, has shaped me in new ways, given me new life experiences, etched the path of my growth and existence over the past few months. I realize, spending time with Angela and Shelley, that my friendships can just pick up where they left off. The random encounter with Tascha and her boyfriend in Florence with Chris, threw me off guard, prodded me back into the shy tacit self. When I go back, I don’t want to open the closet and continue to wear the coat I used to wear… time has gone by, it is too small even though the temptation will be routine. I need to come back with the same me that is living this right now.
When I leave this bubble of Italian, I wonder what will become of my reflective writing, my daily thoughts, my daily rhythms. I tried so hard to adjust to this place, and now I have locked in, but as I realized in the beginning, it has been temporary, an experience with an expiration date from the beginning. Within a few weeks I will be home with family and friends, reevaluating the emotions, speaking about the ups and downs, trying to verbalize a ride that has been so hard to phrase. I will be back in other languages that I know. I may miss the constant challenge of self expression; being back in the states and mono-lingualism I may not be as challenged and as cultured as I would like to be. I wonder if back in Cambridge, I will just shirk out of the whole experience and go back to wearing the old me, pensively looking down the calm waters of the Charles towards Boston. Regardless of who walks in and out of my life, I am but a person, a point in constant motion, relating to those around me, continually rediscovering what it means to be me.