We are down to days before I leave America again. Ok…I started writing this weeks ago, and now i’m leaving for my flight tomorrow. That’s beside the point. Two more days until I arrive in my favorite country for the next eight months. Hold on, Ashley, did you just say eight months? It is pretty difficult to believe for myself as well. The first time I was preparing for Italy I was nervous and excited and could not imagine living in another country for even four months. Four months became six as I arranged plans to stay even longer in my favorite place. Here I am one year later preparing to return. For those who have not figured out what i’m doing, I have been teaching English this summer and when I arrive in Italy again I will be teaching English at a high school in the city of Varese and living with host families. I am beyond excited to return to the place I feel comfortable and at home, so naturally I have messaged all of my Italian friends telling them how I am so excited to be back and see them all. (Even having been traveling throughout Italy this summer.) Everyone asks “come stai?” (how are you) and my usual response is, “sto bene, sto preparando per ritornare in Italia e non vedo l’ora!” (I’m fine, I’m preparing to return to Italy and I cannot wait!) But as the days by which I will return approach closer and closer I am asking myself *Am I actually preparing?*
At this point, it is more of a mental preparation. I keep saying to myself, I have traveled how many times and lived abroad twice…do I really need to create another packing list? Eight months is seeming to be a lot longer than my original six months in Italy even though it is only two months more. However, It is starting to settle in my thoughts that I will be missing my birthday, my sister’s birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, new years, my mom’s birthday, Easter, and so much more in the states. My relatives in Italy have already invited me to Christmas dinner and two of my best friends from University are visiting for my birthday yet the idea of missing out on all of my favorite holidays with my family in America is starting to sink in.
This flag is backwards…why did no one tell me.
Part of the reason I’m always jumping for joy about leaving again is that I start to hate the place I’m in. And while I’ve been having some angering moments in America, things feel pretty okay here.
What I am ready for again:
- THE BEST PASTA AND AMAZING MEALS
- vino, always
- learning and speaking the language again
- Being around Italian people
- If I don’t want to drink a lot I don’t feel pressured to and I still have an amazing time
- Drinks rarely get spilled on me and no one is out of their minds drunk to have a good time every single weekend
- working with Italian kids!
- meeting all of my friends again and my past host families!
- people who deeply care and show it, and are not afraid/embarrassed to show/witness others emotions.
- To see my family in Vasto again
- Spending the holidays traveling
- visiting all of the amazing people I met during ACLE this summer
- having two of my closest friends visit me for my birthday
- To discover myself a little more, learn to love again, fall in love with myself
Things I’m ready to leave in America:
- Drunk and rude Americans that I don’t know and don’t want to know
- American coffee
- Road rage
- Feeling like I’m overdressed
- Ignorant people/Trump Supporters/People who don’t have any idea what they’re talking about ever regarding politics and the state of our country
- my eating habits
- difficult emotions/guilt/regrets/sadness
Notice how I said to discover myself more, not discover myself completely. I don’t think it would be right to have that high of expectations for myself. The reason for this journey is to discover what I want to do later, to see what will happen, throw myself abroad again and this time be alone. (And by alone I mean my closest friend is one hour away) But I mean, I am really alone this time! I am ready for whatever the universe wants to throw at me. This is not your “study-abroad get drunk on weekends and sometimes weekdays and meet a bunch of americans during your lessons that are taught in english” kind of experience. This is a true-life moving abroad, working to teach English in an Italian school surrounded by only Italians and trying to make friends the good old fashioned way (by speaking and communicating to people who you otherwise wouldn’t talk to). I’ve been feeling kind of nervous, worried, anxious, scared even. This is a huge step, and i try to act like I have it all together but truth be told i’m nearly 23 years old and I have no idea what the hell i’m doing. (But it is fine.) Just going to see where the wind and the waves take me…con le onde e con il vento.