The last leg of my journey led me to Venice, Verona, and finally seeing a live opera production! Our trip to Venice was too short, but the taste we got was delightful. It is a stunning city with a fascinating history and even more fascinating architecture. Verona, like Bologna, was charming and boasted a Roman amphitheater and Juliet’s balcony, complete with a themed gift shop. The opera in Florence was an open-air production of Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville), and it was very exciting for me. Seeing an opera was on my bucket list!
Before I left Florence, I felt very disconnected from my friends and family. I had tried to stay somewhat in touch, but the time difference and all the adventures I was having made it difficult, and I usually wasn’t willing to sacrifice precious sleep time to text or talk. I worried that when I was back in the U.S., I would be so disgruntled and disoriented that I would take it out on my family and friends.
Fortunately, this was not the case. I had the opportunity to travel again immediately after coming home, which helped enormously, and although I had a few necessary rest days, I also had a lot to do to get ready for a busy school year. If I had to give one piece of advice on the readjustment process, it would be to stay busy and to find a routine. Staying in touch with the wonderful friends I made on my trip also proved helpful, since these people will never get tired of reliving the shared experience of travel abroad, even if your family does.
As I look forward to the next semester, I know that my time studying in Italy will affect my opinions, actions, and relationships. There may be moments when I feel alone or isolated because my friends are unable to relate to experiences I had abroad, or when I feel frustrated, like so many others, by the state of America and wish to just leave again. However, I wouldn’t give up the chance I had to travel to an amazing country and meet amazing people from UA and around the world.
Gondolas on a beautiful day in Venice.
The empty Piazza del Duomo after the opera.
Sunset over the bridges on one of our last nights in Florence.