It’s officially the start of my 4th and final week here in Italy and I am simultaneously excited and so sad that I’m going to have to leave this place for good in 6 days. I know I’ve said it time and time again, but I have had the most amazing experiences of my life here in Salerno, and I can’t believe that all this is about to come to an end. I wanted to write this post to talk about the “little wins” here in Italy that often scale up to feel like so much more!
In theory, the idea of studying abroad sounds like a grandiose fantasy world where we get to escape our realities, and earn college credit while doing so! Not to say that my experience hasn’t been all that and more, but behind all the glitz and glamour it’s important to pull back the curtain and realize that we far too often get caught up in the big picture instead of focusing on the small things that make the day go ’round.
First coming to Salerno, I would find myself using the infamous “ciao” and “grazie”, really taking the phrase ‘fake it til you make it’ to heart. I wasn’t confident in my speaking skills and it showed. After 3 long weeks of taking Italian courses and working on my knowledge of the language, I can go into a store and find myself having ~almost~ full conversations with shop owners (as disjointed as they may be- conversations they are!).
Even today, I ate a piece of cake for lunch! I walked into the famous Dolceria Pantaleone pasticceria and ordered their iconic Scazzetta, a cake filled with custard and wild strawberries and coated in a sweet strawberry glaze. Doesn’t get much better than that! It’s things like this that remind me that life is too short to not do the things that you love!
Coming to Italy, I knew things were going to be different, but I underestimated the difficulties of some everyday tasks that I take for granted in the United States. Even doing something as simple as ordering a coffee becomes a challenge. But, when you look past these challenges and allow yourself to embrace the discomfort, you’ll be able to explore a world far beyond the limits of what you once thought possible. Whether it be exploring new alleyways and corridors to get lost in, or letting down your hair and feeling the sea breeze run through it, take in every single experience and savor it for as long as you can. Take a few extra pictures, hop on that train, and eat cake for lunch!
Even now, I’m writing this as fireworks go off in the distance, for a reason that is unbeknown to me. Every night here truly is magical. It really is the little things in life that amount to the most later on!
Ciao a tutti!