This past week I have been able to get back into the swing of school. My feelings have been up and down as we are quickly approaching the end of the semester. I am surely not ready to leave Florence, but I am more than thankful for this journey. I encourage everyone to take the opportunity to travel if it ever presents itself. You can read about new places and even see beautiful places on television, but absolutely nothing can replace the feeling you can get from traveling.

Reflecting on my journey is eye-opening for me. I am so thankful for my path as I became comfortable with being uncomfortable. The first few weeks here were scary for me. I have never been away from my family and friends from home this long. Thank goodness for my best friend Melissa as she made the adjustment much easier. We have a bond that I will never be able to forget due to learning how to function on our own in a new country. We have failed many times together and figured out how to make it work. I think that it’s hard to understand how precious moments are while they are happening, but when you reflect on pictures you realize how amazing moments really are. I am feeling extremely bittersweet about these next few weeks, but I am going to try and take every last moment in. I am already excited thinking about coming back to Florence someday.

Nonna helping me out

Our next round of visitors have arrived to Florence, and we have been enjoying them tremendously. Melissa’s Nonna and Aunt Debbie arrived in Florence on Saturday afternoon. This has been a special time because Melissa is full Italian. Her sweet Nonna grew up in Abruzzo, Italy. Nonna moved to the states when she was nineteen years old. It’s been a fun experience as we go out to restaurants and bars with Aunt Debbie and Nonna. We have been treated with great respect, especially when Nonna breaks out her Italian. We went to the Academia to see David, then we followed up with a quick afternoon lunch. The evening was the highlight of the day for me. Melissa’s Aunt Debbie and Nonna took us to a cooking class for Gelato and Pizza. There were about twenty other people in our class. When we went to look for our table, we were greeted with a smile by a fun couple on vacation. The wife was pregnant with their first child and the father was very entertaining. We laughed the entire time as we started making our pizzas and chocolate gelato. We were able to make connections with the couple from Atlanta. They were so curious to know about our experience thus far in Florence. When they both said how much they would have loved to have this same experience when they were in college, Melissa and I looked at each other and smiled. We really do realize how lucky we are to have been able to have this experience. This coming weekend we are going to Cinque Terre. The following weekend we will go to visit Melissa’s Italian family in Abruzzo. I can’t wait to take in these next trips and to take in these moments as much as I possibly can.

Guess who got their cooking certificates?


Maggie Laughlin

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