I realized the other day that we only have about a month and a half left of this trip. Since we didn’t have much to do this week, I’ve used my free time to complete assignments, eat gelato, try a new latte, and reflect on all that we’ve done so far. The new gelato flavor I tried is called nocciola, which means “hazelnut” in Italian. As many of you know, hazelnut is in Nutella, which is very popular here in Italy. Eating the nocciola gelato made me think about all of the Nutella crepes I’ve eaten.
Specifically, it reminded me of the first one I ate towards the beginning of this trip. I had gone out with two of my roommates and a friend of ours to get gelato. While we were standing outside, I was looking at the different types of crepes the gelateria offered. One was Nutella, something I used to not care for back in America. I made a game-time decision and instead of getting gelato, I got a crepe for the first time in my life.
Since then, I’ve done and accomplished so much: I’ve made more friends, eaten more Nutella crepes, tried new gelato flavors, visited Rome and Sardinia, drove jet skis, and discovered my love for lavender lattes ( the best thing to have ever been created, by the way…). I’ve also done a lot of growing as a person, which is something I was hoping to accomplish on this trip.
For our Life and Culture class, we have to complete “Seeing Reports,” which is where we talk about the things we’ve done and what we’ve learned. For the most recent one, I was able to talk about my spring break in Cagliari, Sardinia. I also talked about my growth and being able to push myself past my limits. I’m becoming more comfortable with stepping outside of my comfort zone, and now I’m discovering so many new things I love, like driving jet skis at 70+ kph and lavender lattes (seriously, saying I’m obsessed is an understatement).
Letting myself push out of my comfort zone also makes me see what I can actually do rather than letting myself see my “limits.” A few months ago, I was second-guessing my decision of even studying abroad: I knew it would be way out of my comfort zone, I barely knew two people going, I’d never been this far away from friends and family for this long…it was a lot. But I took the first step in growing and didn’t let myself back out no matter how apprehensive I felt. It was the best decision I’d ever made.
Now, I’m literally sitting in Italy trying a new flavor of gelato and taking the time to reflect on everything I’ve done so far. Too often I find myself feeling rushed and in a go-go-go mindset. It doesn’t leave me much time to sit and absorb what I’ve done and learned. But with this little bit of downtime I have, I’m able to hit the brakes and just take a moment to breathe and process.
While I eat my yummy nocciola gelato, it’s hard to believe that we went from saying “it’s only been a month and a half” to “there’s only a month and a half left” in what seems to be just a blink of an eye. While I wish I was more careful to live in the moment and soak up every second here, this has been the most incredible time of my life, and I don’t think anything will ever top this experience.
There’s a month and a half left, but already I know it’s going to go by too quickly. Today we have an all-day wine tasting tour of the Chianti wine country, and this weekend we’re heading to Venice! After taking this time to think about all I’ve done and learned, I’ll be sure to take my time, eat plenty of gelato, and make even more unforgettable memories. And, of course, drink plenty of lavender lattes (I did find a place near my home that makes them, but the experience of drinking a lavender latte in Italy… I need to soak it up as much as possible).