Hello Italy by Jeff Tolman

I’ve spent the last few days trying to cover all the necessary preparations for my 7-week study abroad in Florence.  That means getting all the documents ready, saying goodbye to my friends, sleeping in, and practicing for the longest plane ride of my life.  I spent 12 hours in the car yesterday driving from Cleveland to Boston to visit family and go to a wedding.  I’m trying to live it up the American way one last time before I head overseas – that means two baseball games in one week (consuming several hot dogs), driving across country, and trying to relax as much as possible.

Bored and a little sleep deprived on the drive listening to an Italian phrase book on CD (“ciao è un piacere conoscerla,” I repeated to random passersby on the highway, and to each new state I entered), I couldn’t help but think of how the two yellow lines on the road took me all the way to Boston and will take me all the way to the plane.

Out of all the choices I have made up to this point in my life, from what I want to get for lunch,  where I want to go to school, to what I want to do with my life, none has been more surprising to me than my choice to go to Italy for a summer.  Firstly, I would like to say thank you very much for the opportunity to be participating in such an awesome experience.  And secondly, I would like to say “Wow,” to myself for mixing it up a little bit.  The last two summers I spent 8 hours a day 5 days a week painting fire hydrants green and white throughout my city.  To say that studying in Florence is a drastic change from painting fire hydrants would be an understatement.

Now that my flight is only 2 days away and a whole new world awaits me on the other side of the Atlantic, I can’t imagine my choice being any different.  I realize now that those yellow lines on the road were not there to take me places but merely to guide me along the way.  The choices we make, no matter who or what seeks to influence us, are nothing but our own.

I have to admit that I am nervous for such a life changing experience but excitedly so.  I am anxious to finally arrive in Italy with my passport and phrasebook in hand.  And what will I say to this new world? “Ciao è un piacere conoscerla” (Hello, it is nice to meet you).

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4 thoughts on “Hello Italy by Jeff Tolman

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