This guest post comes to us from current Florence API student, Libby Nichols. This post was originally published on Libby’s blog that you can follow here. Libby is studying abroad from Drake University.
As the countdown dwindles, the more that my excitement grows for the journey that lies ahead for me this semester. I find myself spending time daydreaming about walking home from class and casually stumbling upon on a side street coffee shop. As I drink my espresso, I sit there finishing up some reading for my next class. Beats doing homework in Cowles any day. I picture myself eating my way through Italy with dinners filled with authentic Italian cuisine. Bye bye bye, Hubbell. My Pinterest is full of pictures of Florence, Venice, and Rome. I look at every picture and put myself in the photographer’s shoes. I wonder what lead up to them taking the photo and make up stories in my head of their time there.
It all most feels surreal that in less than a week I will be across the Atlantic studying in the country of my dreams. I won’t have to live through anyone else’s photos since I will experience everything through my own lense and will be creating my own stories. My hope for this blog is that it gives me a platform to share these stores with you, so you will also be inspired to find your own adventure. Trying not to quote the Lizzie Mcquire Movie but… “This is what dreams are made of.” (You know I will be secretly hoping to be falsely identified as an Italian pop star at the Trevi Fountain and ride off with Paolo on a Vespa) Italy has always been a place I have wanted to visit since my dad came back from a business trip from Milan and gave me an Italian version of my favorite childhood book Spot the Dog. For fourteen years, this dream has grown as I watched movies like Roman Holiday, Under the Tuscan Sun, Romeo and Juliet and of course the Lizzie McGuire Movie. In just a couple days, the movies will bring new meaning to me as I travel to these stories’ settings.
*cues Why not? by Hillary Duff* -Don’t know it? Look it up on youtube…banger
Along with my excitement, there also comes a level of anxiety. I am going to a country that is completely new to me where I don’t even speak the language. I have lived in Des Moines all my life and even ended up going to school here. Never have I lived in a place where I was a stranger to the city. This will truly bring me out of my comfort zone and teach me self-determination. My hope for this trip is that my main goal, to become more confident in being independent, will be achieved. I knew in order to attain this goal, I had to leave Des Moines and “take a crazy chance“.
My planning process for weekend trips has already started with already booking two trips. One is going to be a solo trip to Budapest, Vienna, and Salzburg. “Hello! The Sound of Music Tour,” said by my Inner Julie Andrews fangirl, and the second is to the French Rivera to Cannes, Nice, and Monte Carlo with a fellow Drake friend. This alone sounds amazing but the travel bug in me wants to see more. At the current moment, I am planning trips to Paris, Munich, and Barcelona. Then for spring break a possible trip to both the Amalfi Coast and Greece Islands where I will be singing Mamma Mia the whole time. I already can tell this 2018 is going to be a year I will never forget and hard on my bank account. I know in my heart it will all be worth it and the experiences will be priceless. Des Moines was a wonderful place to grow up but I am outgrowing my charming Midwest city. It is time for me to see the world in a new light.
Des Moines and Drake, I bid you a goodbye. I will miss you and the people that you hold but like a wise Mama Nichols says “Distance makes the heart grow fonder.” (She even has it embroidered on a pillow, no joke) Can’t wait to see where this journey will take me, and can’t wait to share it with you all. See you next spring, Ciao!