Now that I’ve been home for a few weeks, I’ve experienced a return to normalcy in my life. I’m over my period of sadness and wistfulness, and can properly reflect on my time there without my judgement being completely clouded by nostalgia and emotion.

Since returning home, my schedule has been steady and predictable, and I haven’t walked even a third of the monthly distance I walked in Florence. I’ve been working 8 hours a day at an internship, and when I get home I exercise, eat, and go to sleep. I will admit it’s been enjoyable having a more simple, relaxed schedule at home recently, but I haven’t gone a day without thinking about my time abroad. I still try to practice a little Italian here or there, and listen to a few songs in Italian on the way to work to help me retain what I’ve learned. I absolutely miss Italy and all the new friends I made over there, although there’s a part of me that still understands that I was there long enough to experience only the good things, and so if I spent more time there I probably would have been much more homesick.

Study abroad has definitely changed me and my perspective. I’ve grown to admire and respect people who can speak multiple languages more, because it is extremely difficult to master more than one, especially for us Americans. I’ve also become more patient with people who do not speak English as well, as I now understand firsthand the struggles of trying to speak the language of locals without having much practice beforehand. I haven’t really experienced much reverse culture shock since being home, but I did go to a few Italian-American restaurants to compare the food (it wasn’t half as good).

All in all, I am grateful to have been fortunate enough to experience studying abroad in Italy, and I look forward to returning back one day to visit where my family is from in the south.