The following post was written by current Umbra student Maria Papapietro, who is currently studying in Perugia through CIS. We also recommend highly that you read her entire blog, La Vita è Bella, which gives a honest and positive perspective on the study abroad experience.
I’m realizing that a lot of my writing in the coming weeks will be more for me than anyone else.
I’m in a funk today. At first, I thought it was just the cloudy, drizzly day (I shouldn’t be complaining, this is the first time I’ve seen rain in over a month). But it’s not the weather. It’s something else entirely…
I do not want to leave this place.
Today in my 3:30 class, the brief flash of leaving prompted tears that I actually had to wipe away. I don’t know what caused me to think, “the end.” Maybe it was receiving our predeparture handbook in my email yesterday. Maybe it’s the fact that people are starting to confirm their flights home. What I do know is that three weeks from tomorrow, I will be leaving Perugia.
And that’s scary.
Don’t get me wrong, not every single day was peachy. There was the afternoon I had a fever and just wanted my mom. There were the exhausting nights in the airport. There was the embarrassing wipe out on the cobblestone streets when the sole on my beautiful black boot decided to break off.
But my time here has been nothing less than absolutely magical.
There’s the amazing Umbra staff (who deserve and will receive their own entry). There’s Ciao-Ciao, the store owner downstairs who makes incredible lunchtime paninis. There are the steps where we sunbathe and people watch. There are three hour dinners, beautiful morning walks, and the life-changing feelings of accomplishment each and every day.
If you asked me even a month ago if I thought I could spend more than a few months abroad, I probably would have said no (only because I’m such a homebody). But in the past few weeks or so, something has really clicked. This city went from a long term visit to a home.
This realization is not so much about the individual moment in which it occurred, but more about how it made me feel. If I could spend a semester abroad and love it so much that the mere thought of leaving makes me cry, then it must have deeply affected me. I now realize that I can adjust to any place or any situation and flourish.
Which to me, means the world.