So, I'm feeling a little guilty about my lack of blog posts, and even though I'm exhausted and not thinking clearly due to roughly 10 hours on a bus today, I wanted to post a quick update.
I spent this past weekend in Vienna and Salzburg, and the one before in Rome. I love all the traveling I've been getting to do, but I also love coming home. I've become so familiar with the walk back from the train station that there are a few key moments each time that I just look around and think how good it feels to be home. When I pass the Duomo I always take a moment to admire how gorgeous it is and how lucky I am to be able to simply stroll by. Walking past the Piazza della Repubblica is always a good time to pause or at least slow for a quick break from hauling my inevitably overstuffed suitcase and listen to whatever live musicians may be out. And finally, every time I cross the Ponte Vecchio I find myself smiling and looking at the equally gorgeous views from each side of the bridge. At this point I know I am not just in what I now think of as my city, but in my part of my city, and I feel so at home and so grateful for the opportunity to live in such an unbelievable place.
Even though I am lucky enough to live in a beautiful city in California as well, it's always a little bit of a letdown to come back from a trip away and back to "real" life. But here, I'm just as happy to come back as I am to embark on a new adventure. The whole time I've been here has felt like one big vacation as I've had next to no responsibilities, and have had the luxury of just soaking in the city in addition to experiencing new and beautiful places outside of Florence and Italy.
In short, I am going to miss this place more than I can say. I'm going to miss walking around the corner to the best pizza I've ever had, Gusta Pizza, and being greeted with "Amore mio!" I'm going to miss spending free hours roaming through Boboli Gardens and discovering new paths and alcoves. I'm going to miss getting gelato from the best artisanal chocolate maker after school -- vanilla with cinnamon and chocolate hazelnut at Vestri is one of my greatest loves in life. I'm going to miss buying parmigiano reggiano, brie and a fresh baguette from the supermarket around the corner and devouring it with my roommates. I'm going to miss being overwhelmed by the beauty of the city with every step. I'm going to miss hearing this lovely language and understanding a little more each day. I'm going to miss the people who have made this experience what it has been, from my roommates to other friends both in the program and from Cal Poly to the Italians I've come to know and the ones I simply see and hear throughout the city (I will not miss the tourists). Most of all, I'm going to miss the feeling of calling this place home and knowing that simply stepping outside my door will put a smile on my face.