I’ve been counting down the days until I arrive in Italy. Each day I’ve gotten closer but it has felt so far away. Tomorrow I will be in Rome, and it doesn’t feel real. It doesn’t feel real until the last seconds in your home country. It doesn’t feel real when you’re applying for your visa, when you’re shopping for new suitcases, or watching the Lizzie McGuire movie with your sister. It doesn’t feel real when you’ve picked up your visa from the consulate, or have all of your bags packed sitting in the corner of your bedroom, or having your last dinner at home with your family.
It’s still very hard to believe that I will be living in a place I only ever dreamed about for 4 months. My poppop used to tell me “Ashley, when I get better we will travel to Italy for 3 months, we’ll go for the whole summer.” I used to stare at the paintings on the walls of my grandparents house dreaming of that day. Unfortunately, that day for him and I didn’t come but now I will get to set out on my own and live the dream I had for us. I don’t mean to get too sappy here but I know he is with me, and I’ve asked him to keep me and my roommate safe while we are abroad. I’m taking his photo with me on the plane just like I did when I went to take my driver’s license test.
We don’t talk about it much in my family, and I think it’s because we don’t need to. We all know how everyone feels. I really want nothing more than to have my mommom see Italy again, and be reunited with her family. To see her face light up like that would make my whole world. We skyped with the family recently, and part of the reason I cry over the movie Avatar and dumb comedy movies is because of my family. They cry for hellos, they cry for goodbyes, and everything in between. They have enormous, strong hearts and are terrible worriers. That’s where I get that from too. I’m pretty sure my chest has been hurting all day, and i’m hoping to just knock myself out on the plane so I don’t have to think about it. Some pre-departure anxieties already have a hold of me, but I know once I’m settled they will pass. Something that has always kept me going is to just try to look on the bright side of everything, to be positive and optimistic but at the same time, realistic. I don’t like to have expectations. A self-help book I read when I was going through one of many existential crises in high school said “if you never have any expectations, you never have any disappointments.” I try my best to live by that but also to understand that the cup of life is not half empty or half full the cup is full!! It’s half water (or wine) and half air. These are the little things that are keeping me going.
It is also important to know (if we’re still thinking realistically) that my cup still has some room. In fact, when I land in Italy it will be empty – ready to absorb all of what Italy has to offer, to learn new things and experience the world. So, yes my cup is both full and it is empty. I’m ready to embark on this journey, I think. I’ve never felt more nervous than I am today, but if I wasn’t nervous I don’t think that would be human. We received our housing recently and I can’t wait to meet all 4 of my new roommates! That’s 6 girls to an apartment, and it will probably feel like freshman year all over again. One of my roommates is on my flight. This all is really so hard to believe. You wont believe it until you see it, I guess. I know how it feels to land in a place unfamiliar, but a part of me feels like I will land in a place feeling quite at home.
To continue with updates of my trip you can follow me on instagram @ashleyweimar and on my youtube account. My twitter is available as well but I wouldn’t guarantee frequent updates when I first arrive. Thanks for reading!