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Halfway There

As tired eyes and sore feet descend back “home” to Perugia, stories fill small Italian kitchens over boiling pots of pasta. Umbra Institute’s Spring Break 2009 has come and gone, leaving little undiscovered and even smaller amounts in our bank accounts [eek!].

We ventured everywhere, you name it, we saw it – London, Paris, Dublin, Croatia, Istanbul, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Sicily, Greece, Portugal, and our beloved Italy…. but aside from all the adventures [and the list above just touches the surface] what we gained was more than cultural experience and a new found appreciation for a decent cheap hostel, what we found most was in ourselves.

If Spring Break was anything it was a wakeup call in the best way possible. WAKE UP EVERYONE! This experience is half way over, its funny – I feel like just yesterday all of us were bleary eyed and overly sensitive barely uttering things like “ciao.” Now, not a day passes where I don’t see Umbra students fully immersed in true Perugian culture- lunch on the steps, strolling at night, cappuccino’s and conversation with locals, and no one is still wondering if this whole “la pausa” thing is a joke. We’ve acclimated and learned, taught one another and more importantly allowed Italy to change each of us.

Half way there, after this week it’ll be officially more than half, while some may be eager to head home and see loved ones, I know that undoubtedly most of us will be sad to say goodbye to the city that we fell in love with, the country that stole our hearts, and the continent that changed us.

We’ve made new friends, been new places, spoken new languages, and done things that most will never be able to say they had the opportunity to try – and while ‘half way there’ may surprise you, above all else I hope it wakes you up tomorrow morning with a little pep in your step, a little bit more Italian accent in your voice, because after all… the Italian compositions, business presentations, the papers and flashcards won’t be what we remember most, what we remember most about what we learn, is how we learned it, used it, and ultimately – where it all happened.

So make the most of your final weeks in Perugia everyone, and to our loved one’s back home- we miss you, but we will always have you – we won’t always have Perugia.

Written by Kalin Franks of Columbia College in Chicago

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