Four Thousand Miles Away From Home

Last semester I had the privilege of studying abroad in Florence, Italy. The birthplace of the Renaissance, I am convinced Firenze, with its aperol spritz, Michelangelo’s ‘David’, and the gorgeous Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, is the most gorgeous city to exist on this planet (and that’s coming from a die-hard New York City girl). While studying abroad in Florence, I had to become accustomed to the feeling of being four thousand miles away from home; away from my family, friends, and the life that fit me so comfortably. Four thousand miles is a pretty great distance. Especially when you consider the fact that prior to my transatlantic flight to Italy last August, I’d never even left the continental United States before (unless you count Canada).

And despite it all, Italy felt like home the very moment my plane touched down on the runway. There was no adjustment period for me; something about living in Florence felt like finally finding a puzzle piece I’d been missing all my life. The city’s magical; maybe that’s why. Something about the terracotta colored rooftops and the ancient buildings stole my heart the moment I arrived and never really gave it back.

Of course, being abroad couldn’t last forever. It was a chapter of my college experience, not the entire book of it. I say it a lot, but leaving Florence was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. How do you say goodbye to an experience that you wish could last forever?

Now, back stateside, I find myself four thousand miles away from home again. Four thousand miles away from the city that I made my home across the Atlantic for four months. Everyone says going abroad changes you, and it does so in the most mundane ways. For one, going back to my sleepy college town has proven itself to be quite the task. After seeing nothing but the inside of airports all over Europe every weekend for the last four months, the familiar interiors of the few bars college students frequent are hardly exciting anymore.

They say home is a feeling. I felt at home when I was surrounded by my family this Christmas. I feel at home when I’m surrounded by my friends at our weekly Bachelor viewing parties. I feel at home when I’m looking at the photographs I’ve hung on my wall, memories I’ve made with family and friends in picture form during my months across the Atlantic.

So, home is a feeling. And someday, I’ll go back to my other home again. But for now, this is home, and it’s a pretty good one at that.