Between Athens (Ohio), Springboro (Ohio), and Milan (Italy!) by Spencer Smith

I leave for Milan in less than two weeks.  To put it another way, in two weeks I will be sitting in an Italian cafe, probably sipping coffee and reading philosophy that I don’t completely understand.  And it’s starting to be scary.

It’s been a very, very short summer.  Most of the preparation is done at this point, although there are a couple of important things left to do, like obtain euros and electric outlet adapters, and of course, I have that odious chore of packing.  But I’m feeling pretty confident with my preparations…and I should be, because I’ve spent my entire summer stressing out about the big things.

Like plane tickets. The tickets were the first major hurdle I had to jump over.  If I had to do it all over again, I would have thought about it less.  I would have been less concerned with price and more concerned with what my needs were.   As it was, I (and when I say “I,” I really mean my mom because she’s wonderful) spent almost a month going back and forth with a travel agent who was trying desperately to find me a deal.  She never found me a deal.  Instead, she found me a bunch of cheap flights that weren’t what I wanted.  I finally came to the conclusion that my comfort was worth the couple hundred dollars, especially when I was already droppin’ a G on the thing anyway.  So now all of my layovers are in the U.S. (Newark, NJ to be exact), and I have long layovers, so I have plenty of time to find my flights.  And I’m happy!

Then a visa. I applied for my passport long before I came to college because my parents speculated that I would want to study abroad.  I’m glad I did that.  It made my life slightly less stressful this summer.  However, Italy requires its foreign students to also have student visas, so I had to do that this summer.  I think that applying for this visa was perhaps the strangest experience I’ve ever had.  I did some research on the internet and found out that the Italian consulate with jurisdiction over Ohio was located in Detroit.  They require that you apply for the visa in person so my mom and I begrudgingly scheduled a day trip to the Motor City.  We found the consulate rather easily; I signed in, and then I waited around for someone to call my name.  A woman called my name less than ten minutes later, I handed her my paper work through a window and then she told me to have a nice day.  I was shocked.  I had no idea it was going to be that easy.  I got my visa in the mail two days later.  And that’s how I spent twenty minutes of my summer in Detroit.

Lastly, the luggage. I bought a really big duffel bag.  It’s really big.  My dad says he wants to hide away in it and come with me.  He could, and I would still have room for clothes.  My dad is 6′ 2″.  That’s how big this duffel bag is.

So I am prepared.  But when people ask me if I’m excited about the trip, I find myself thinking more and more that I’m more scared than excited.  I think that’s alright.  If I wasn’t scared about this whole thing, I would be worried about myself, and I know I’m going to have a great time once I’m there.

And I will be able to wash all of that fear away with Italian coffee in two weeks!

4 thoughts on “Between Athens (Ohio), Springboro (Ohio), and Milan (Italy!) by Spencer Smith

  1. Pre-departure always freaked me out, too. But, if you’re anything like me, pre-return will freak you out even more. And that’s a good thing!

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