The End of All Things/New Beginnings Are Hard

Monday, May 14, 2012

I'm afraid we're coming to the end. I've taken my last final, my bags are packed (sort of), and my year in Italy feels like a kiss and a dream.

I was asked not so long ago, by a well meaning professor, how I have been changed by this year. The truth is that I don't know. I may never know. I know only that I came here to escape the insurmountable things, and instead of an escape I found beauty, passion, and life. What an entirely cliche thought, finding those things in Italy. But sometimes, I think, cliched thoughts are the ones with the most truth.

I am changed. That is something I know. Maybe it's the one substantial thing I can express from this journey. Somewhere in the midst of this crazy year, laughing with my homestay family, crying because I couldn't give directions, I found a life. I found happiness without complacency.

I remember now, looking back on that blog post from Camaiore. It was the faintest hope that I would feel I belonged here. Something like a prayer to my ancestors to give me their strength. They must have given it to me.

Now, I find myself asking for strength again. As foreign as Italy seemed to me then, so my own country seems. But I've seen insurmountable things, and I know what's best for me. So for now, I'll pull myself away from this Tuscan soil.

But I think I have a different safe harbor now.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” –Mark Twain

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