I was getting into bed in my sparse hostel room outside of Siena, Italy a week and a half ago when it suddenly struck me: in a matter of weeks I will be back in the United States, and I'm actually going to miss this - this lifestyle, this experience, this place. Those with whom I have not corresponded closely might scoff at my use of the word "actually." I realize that spending a semester in Europe might sound romantic and exciting and wonderful - it certainly did to me, before I arrived here - but it really isn't what you might expect.
On top of Siena's bell tower. 'Twas quite windy.
A friend recently e-mailed me to ask a physics question, and then later apologized for bothering me during my semester in Europe, when I really ought to be "turning inward and becoming self-reflective" rather than doing physics. I laughed. I feel like spending a semester in Europe is more about traveling and hostels and miscommunication and having tickets or reservations for the wrong day and showering in strange configurations and ordering food when you aren't quite sure what it's going to be and running into random friends and friends of friends and seeing cool stuff and spending a lot of money to climb up things and take pictures. My abroad experience in particular has been more about struggling to make friends, missing Olin, and longing for some really good tofu pad thai.
I hadn't expected to be so homesick. I hadn't expected my roommates to all be best friends and have such little interest in me, my friendship, or what I had to say. I hadn't expected to meet so few Italians. I hadn't expected to start taking Rome for granted so quickly. But I had expected it to end very quickly, which it is certainly going to do. I have roughly three weeks left before I fly back to the US.
At least I was right about one thing, eh?
Now is the time for scrambling around and trying to do everything I haven't gotten to yet - and trying to finish all my final papers and projects (read: one paper, one project). Oh, and move out of my apartment. :) It will be a busy three weeks...
Best of luck with all of your college decisions, finals, papers, etc. Or, as the Italians say, in boca al lupo! (It means "in the mouth of the wolf." It's a reference to "Little Red Riding Hood," in which the grandmother ends up escaping - alive - from the wolf's stomach, clearly after having gone through his mouth. It's sort of a "good luck for the challenges ahead" sort of thing.)