The Last Time

“Is this the last time I’ll see you?”

This is all I’ve heard for the last month, and it seemed to be easy, until the last week arrived. Responses such as: “Yeah you’ll see me, I have a month!” and “Of course, I’ll stop by” have quickly morphed into, “Um…I guess it is” and “Well, crap, this is goodbye”.

I’ll be leaving for Florence, Italy tomorrow evening, and although most of me cannot wait to finally begin the adventure that has been awaiting me for what feels like years, it is still painful to let go.

I have lived in New York my entire life and seldom travel outside of the northeast. As a child, our vacations were mainly centered close to home, as our family all lives nearby. Not to say that there is anything wrong with where I live or the experiences I’ve had…however, I have always felt a need to step outside this little bubble that had held me for 20 years. So, I guess you could say that this itch for adventure is what led me to study abroad in Europe.

These past couples of weeks have been anything but relaxing. Packing has always proven to be a weak area for me. My friends all tell me that I live an “excessive life”. Packing four months worth of clothes in one suitcase seemed, and still seems, impossible to me. There is no doubt in my mind I have forgotten at least 10 things that I will find crucial to my survival once I reach Florence.

In addition to my packing debacle, I know that I will face an even bigger challenge once I reach my destination: communication. I speak absolutely no Italian; however, I have decided to take an intensive Italian class everyday for the next 2 months, which hopefully should lead me to be somewhat self-sufficient in my new home.

So I urge you to read along for the next semester and hear the tales of struggles that I know are to come, and more importantly, the ones I don’t know are to come. It should be anything but boring.

I’ll end as every good blogger does, with an anecdote:

While sitting on my suitcase, close to tears, trying to force the zipper shut, my mom lay on my bed watching me. I just sit there in frustration, explaining it is impossible for me to take out any more clothes or I would be literally naked after only four days in Italy. My mother just smiled, in that annoying way moms tend to do, and said: “This is so good for you…and for anyone. To learn that you don’t need everything you have. To learn simplicity”

And I guess she’s right. So tomorrow I begin my conquest to learn how simple and wonderful the world can be if you stop to look around.

Cassandra, a biology major with a minor in creative writing at New Paltz, chose to study abroad to quench to her crave for adventure and search for understanding different cultures.

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