The time has come to say goodbye to the experience of a lifetime. With only a short time left in Italy I must remember to leave time to reflect and appreciate the places I have come to love. The idea of living globally and out of our comfort zone is initially difficult but eventually becomes a tool to make us stronger individuals. I feel as though this experience has not only broadened my horizons but also allowed me to learn about myself. I discovered potential I never knew I had. Living abroad allowed me to learn about the world from a whole new perspective. This is what I believe Slimbach meant by “global learning” and how it can carry us into the “world within.” He is trying to explain that once you have experienced global learning, you no longer are an outsider looking at the “world around you” as if it is a whole separate entity. The world around us suddenly becomes ours. Interacting with the people that are native to my host culture have allowed me to understand the place I’m living in, but also have given me a newfound respect for these generous people. Slimbach emphasizes the importance of relationships when he writes in regard to generosity and hospitality, “such displays of warmth and generosity give expression to the natural human ability to recognize essential sameness, beneath and despite real differences” (57). I believe that this perfectly emphasizes the very idea that we are essentially one, we just need to open ourselves to the opportunity to recognize this fact. I have developed strong bonds with people that have assisted me in the separation, liminal and reincorporation phases, many of whom are local to Italy. I am very happy to have made these relationships, some of which I hope to keep for a very long time.
Saying goodbye to the country that so graciously hosted me for four moths was extremely difficult. Saying goodbye to my friends was equally as difficult. In order to have a proper goodbye, we decided to all go to a local bar by the name of Duane Bailo. This is a local Italian bar operated by two young men by the name of Alessandro and Vincenzo. These guys are both mid-20s and speak very good English. This was a key factor in forming such a special relationship with these guys. My friends and I came to this bar and had a large toast to say farewell to the city, the experience and the people we have met. The “affect” at this point in time is very emotional and solemn. I know it cannot possibly be goodbye forever but the unknown is always intimidating. This has led us to behave in a very reminiscing manner. We walk around Florence with a camera and a smile, taking as many pictures as possible to remember the experience, although they can never do it justice. I believe that reincorporating will not be as difficult once I return to New York. Leaving Italy was very difficult but once I begin the reincorporation phase I believe I will be okay. I must remember to thank those who made the experience possible and have supported me through the last semester. Without those around me I wouldn’t have had such a meaningful traveling experience.
A quote I have chosen to outline my experience is by Frank Sinatra, “Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention.” I find this quote perfectly emphasizing the mindset one must have when coming abroad. It is a great way to exit your comfort zone.