Living in Italy for two months was the biggest step I have ever taken outside of my comfort zone. Everything I was familiar with – language, food, streets, cities – was on a different continent. I was forced to communicate with a severely limited vocabulary and find my way around a busy city with just a map and train pass. Now that I look back on this, I am amazed that I accomplished all of this as easily as I did. Prior to the trip I was completely lost when reading maps. Now, I am practically a professional. I knew next to no Italian and while my vocabulary is still severely lacking, I know enough to at least communicate the necessary phrases. During my solitary adventures in Paris and Rome I made my way from site to site without anyone’s aid. It may not have been the quickest or most efficient way, but it was mine. I forged the path and walked it confidently. Even if I wandered a bit, I knew that I would never be truly lost.
With my many steps around Italy and Paris I felt I was forming a new life path. I grew to love the feeling of experiencing something new. Each day brought a fresh discovery and site previously unseen. I was constantly awed by the beauty around me and the information I gleaned at every museum and monument. After living in a place with so many new experiences, I began to wonder how I could spend my life anywhere less diverting.
Another part of life in Europe I quickly grew accustomed to was the constant beauty. Even on rainy days, Rome looked gorgeous. The cobblestones were difficult to walk on but gave the city a vintage charm. The buildings and sidewalks showed their age proudly and I could tell that they held many stories of times long passed. Not far into the trip I decided that I would have to live in Europe for part of my life. I don’t much care where, I just know that I need to return to that beautiful continent. I have always been envious of people who were able to live abroad but thought I wouldn’t be able to do that because of being so far from my family. During my stay in Italy I began to wonder, “Why can’t I live here?” With all of the fabulous new technologies like Skype, Face Time, and iMessage, the miles that would separate me from home do not seem quite as vast. If I was able to live in Europe for two months, who is to say I couldn’t stay for two years? I think the next time I am in Europe I will take off my coat and stay a while.