Last Updated on September 15, 2014 by
August 21, 2013: Sometime around noon I packed the last of my oversized duffle bags into the trunk of my car and prepared to leave for Logan Airport, where I would soon catch a plane that would bring me to the beginning of an unforgettable adventure. I closed the car and approached one of my best friends, who watched me intently before spreading his dragon-like arms and picking me up in a crippling embrace. He held me for several moments before setting me down, looking me in the eye, and sternly saying, “Don’t blink.”
August 21, 2014: I woke up terrified to log on to Instagram and Facebook because I knew what would be waiting for me: overly sentimental photos and recaps from everyone I grew to love during my semester in Florence, accompanied by tear jerking captions about our best memories, and some of our worst moments. I logged on anyway, and became guilty of playing into the game by looking through my own photos and picking out the very best ones to reminisce over. But I simply had to pay tribute to an anniversary which will forever hold a special place in my heart. Those who traveled with me, lived with me, adventured with me, got lost with me, fought with me, danced with me, tried new things with me, grew with me, and loved with me don’t need an explanation. They know exactly what kind of power the photos have.
I’ve heard people say, “There aren’t friends like the ones you meet abroad.” It’s true. The friends I made in Italy are a special breed. It’s something about traveling the world and conquering the unknown that brings people together. We found out on our very first night that we would become something special. And we did.
August 27, 2014: The hardest part is long over. Readjusting to life back in the US was difficult. There were times when I fell asleep by 6pm, unable to shake the jet lag from a 13 hour travel day. There were also nights where I would lay in bed staring at the ceiling, begging to go backwards in time to when I ate the world’s best gelato on the Ponte Vecchio.
However, life moved on with new stories to be written, I slowly learned that those were just memories, and the most important thing to remember was at least I made them. Now, as I reflect that exactly one year ago I was on the beaches of Marina di Pietrasanta, in what was to become the best two weeks of my life, I’m forced to see pictures of other students living that life. My life. Secretly I hate that they have the city that was once mine; but even more secretly, I love them for it. I want them to travel, live, adventure, get lost, fight, dance, try new things, experience, grow, and love, and if I could talk to them now, I’d tell them not to blink, but rather stay awake for as long as humanly possible, and then stay awake some more. This life is an adventure; never let the hunger die.