Italian Neighbors
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Today on my walk to class I witnessed the usual banter between Italian neighbors bumping into each other in the street, but for some reason I had the urge to turn and look as I walked by. One was a younger woman, about my parents' age, and the other a bit older. The two women ran into each other unexpectedly and exchanged the usual rapport, "ciao buon giorno" and then the younger of the two responded, "a posto?". Roughly translated, the older woman said "hello, good morning!" and the other woman responded, "everything good?" As they parted the older woman kept walking the same direction as me and she bowed her head to the ground and smiled. She kept that smile for a while. It made me smile to see the effect of the younger woman's kindness and the pure joy the older woman felt just by someone saying hello and checking in.

This is a common occurrence in Italy, or at least where I am studying. Every day without fail I see Italians walking or biking or even driving by and saying hello to everyone they know. I love the community here. At the cafeteria I frequent, conveniently right outside my apartment, the baristas know everyone by name and their order. I always get a cappuccino and a chocolate muffin warmed up. It is a testament to the Italian way how they interact with their neighbor. No fences, no awkward waves, no avoidance. Italians are genuine and community-driven people. I can only speak for the city center of Florence, but I can only imagine this is a similar practice throughout Italy.

I have come to love this country, not to the extent of admiration and affinity I have for the United States, but I will be sad when I leave. Usually, I dream that I am home again and I wake up homesick, but last night I dreamt that I had one day left in Italy and though I was excited to be home, my heart ached to be leaving. But those are just dreams. I have over a month left in this beautiful place. Six weeks of memories, cappuccini, panini, and all things Italian. I am grateful for this experience; to fulfill a dream that bloomed in high school. I am blessed to be able to study abroad, travel the country and those surrounding, have family visit, and all the fortunes that come with this experience.

I am thankful for my family and their support. Not a day goes by where I do not call or text them. While being away for holidays, parties, and birthdays is difficult, my family has kept me included and made this transition easier. Thank goodness for Facetime! To those who can travel, realize how lucky you are. To those for whom traveling is a dream that seems unattainable, I say save up and live it up. To travel the world is a gift and unparalleled experience; it is absolutely worth saving up for. If anyone needs a destination, come visit me in Italia! It is an amazing country with extraordinary people and even more spectacular food!

See you soon, America.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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