My last night in Italy was hard because there was this air of finality around everything I did, even though I’m coming back. Mary, Erin, and I left for Florence, exhausted and sad, but at the same time happy. We all, regardless of whether or not we were ready to leave Italy, have had some pretty amazing times.
I recommend, for those who, like me, may lack the foresight to do so, to have at least a three hour layover between connecting flights. My Munich-Toronto flight was running late by about an hour or so and, therefore, I emerged from customs at a run, speeding towards my plane as the bemused man was calling “final boarding call for Taylor Baciocco…”.
Another tip: Whenever you are leaving to go home, I guarantee you there will be a boatload of other study abroad students returning on your flights. Do your very best to abide by the policies of the airline because, at that point, none of the workers at the airport feel like dealing with you, and they will charge you for a heavy checked bag, make you check a heavy carry-on, etc.
Being home these last few days has felt surreal. While the lights have been up around Siena for a while, it never felt completely like Christmas-time until I walked in and saw our tree.
I definitely didn’t want to leave Siena, but now that I’m home, it feels like I never left, like I’m never leaving again. Secretly, every time I get home after a long trip, my mind will automatically think that I’m back from a vacation, in high school, and now everything is going back to the ‘normal’ that was the first eighteen years of 365-home-living.
Now is no different. I woke up, jet-lagged and lazy on my first morning home after 18-20 hours of travel, feeling like college and Siena hadn’t happened at all.
The longer I spend away from the little city, the more I start to miss it. What I’m missing most of all, right now, is speaking Italian. I worked so hard for four months to be able to carry decent breakfast conversation with my host mom, and suddenly I have no outlet for those skills.
Often, especially with smaller words (but, however, and, etc.), I come up with the Italian word before the English one. Telling stories about Italy, I say what my friend said to me in Italian before realizing no one has any idea why what I’m saying is funny.
Basically, I’ve added a ‘home’ to my list. I had Pennsylvania and the University of Richmond. Now I have Siena.
I can’t wait to go ‘home’ next semester, and I sincerely wish anyone who does this program after me to have as much of an amazing time as I’ve had.
Happy holidays to everyone! Especially my IES friends and family!
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Hi! I'm Taylor and I major in English and minor in History at the University of Richmond. I am a novice traveler at best, and have never been anywhere a car couldn't take me, so I am incredibly excited to be studying in Siena, Italy for the next academic year. In addition to my major and minor, I also am incredibly passionate about music, voice and piano being my preferred instruments, and can't wait to see what musical outlets I find in Siena. I can't believe I'm spending an entire year in a city I know I'm going to fall absolutely in love with and I can't wait to share my perspective of Siena with you!</span></p>