I have now been living in Florence for just over a month! Throughout that month my roommates and I have been traveling around Italy to see all sorts of different popular sites! We went to Venice, as I wrote about before! We’ve been to Pisa, Verona, and the Italian Riviera. It was not until recently that we traveled outside of the country! Our first trip was to Vienna and Salzburg, Austria. It was such a great time to see a culture that is so much different than Italy’s. It was especially great for me since they speak German there and I am proficient in German as well! Typically, my roommate helps me out with Italian, so this time I got to help her out with German; it was a lot of fun! Although we spent the weekend traveling through Austria, we did miss Florence quite a bit.
While sitting on the train on our way home, I was saying that, home doesn’t really feel like home until you leave and have to return back to it! I think this is when we really started to feel at home here in Florence. You can continuously return home after a long day, or after a day trip an hour away, but once you leave the country entirely and enter a completely new culture, you begin to miss your home – your new home for the next four months.
When leaving the country you are living in for the semester, and visiting a new culture, you begin to compare different things and figure out what may be different from what you are used to. When it Italy, you compare almost everything to America. You decided whether you like those things that are different, or whether you do not like those things that are different. A simple example of this is that Italians do not use dryers after the washer, they hang dry all of their clothes. This is quite different than the American lifestyle because you’ll have to wash clothes in advanced to activities and give them a day or two to dry as opposed to an hour drying session. There is also only one drying rack to be shared with six people! Simple things like these are constantly being compared to what you are originally used to. When going to another country from Italy, you begin to now compare everything to Italy, and not America, since Italy is now your home and it is what you are used to. An example of this would be ordering a schnitzel at a restaurant instead of a pasta dish! I think this is another example of how leaving one place makes you realize how much another place is home to you now.
Leaving your new home for a weekend trip to places such as Austria or Monaco, also leads you to encounter a data-less cell phone area. While trying to find the places you want to visit, you only have wifi since you are out of your home country. It is extremely difficult trying to find wifi in order to map out where you need to go to find those beautiful destinations that are within the country you are visiting. Once you have them mapped out from place to place, you must follow screenshot directions to your destination which is also difficult; but makes you feel accomplished once you find your destination on your own with street signs, asking locals, and looking for helpful hints! I believe this also helps you feel appreciative of your new home because once you are back in Italy, you have your data and wifi and you feel connected with your surroundings again! You learn so much about your new home and their culture in general, once leaving and realizing you must return! I am now finding comfort in my new home here in Florence and I cannot wait to be here for another three months!