Author’s Note: the main content of this post was composed before my departure. Perfectionism has delayed the submission of the post, but c’est la vie, or whatever the equivalent Italian phrase is.
“When do you leave?” he asks, quietly.
“May eleventh.” I reply, equally as quietly.
We sit in a stunned silence, realizing that my departure date is a few days away. Six. The day is May fifth. I exhale. I just turned twenty two days ago. Life is coming at me fast. My finals are coming at me fast. I just have to make it over those hurdles, Friday-Monday-Tuesday, and then I’ll be free. Just have to make it through the passage of time. A second still occupies a second no matter what is happening.
I chose to go to Cortona to study abroad because, simply, my boss, Dr. Brannen, said it was a good idea and would be a great experience for me. Not like I didn’t want to go beforehand, but he was basically the one who brought the trip itself to my attention one year ago when he hired me. After all, he is one of the professors for the trip, and he’s one of my favorite faculty members at the university. Plus, I had liked Spain a lot when I toured with a group from my high school back in 2014. Maybe Italy was similar. I also have been known to casually enjoy wine, so it seemed like this was the study abroad trip for me.
Part of me is truly, truly excited for this opportunity. I’d wager that at least eighty-five percent of me is preoccupied with trip preparations, mind buzzing with “what do I need to pack” and Facebook stalking everyone on the e-mail list, and looking over the dozens of documents we all had been sent: assignments, itineraries, flight ticket, packing list. The other small part of me is apprehensive. What if I make no friends? What if I get terribly terribly homesick and stop eating? What if I eat too much and gain twenty pounds like that one friend-of-a-friend did on her study abroad? I shake the intrusive thoughts away. I won’t let it happen.
I am brought back to Earth by the boy I am sitting with, the boy who I don’t know what to call in this blog post because that’s just how it is, sometimes you form weird relationships with people where you’re more than friends but less than more-than-friends and when you talk about these people in front of your friends you stop, mid-sentence, and try to explain your relationship with them but there’s no word in the English language for it. Maybe there’s a word for it in Italian. I need to learn more Italian. I’m going to Italy in six days oh my God and I don’t know that much Italian even oh my God how will I survive and-
Brought, crashing down to Earth again. I look him in the eyes to let him know that I’m here this time.
“It’ll be okay. We have fall semester.”
I sigh, knowing three months stand between now and seeing him again. The passage of time is bittersweet, because on one hand the passage of time grants me sweet, sweet Italy, but on the other hand, it whisks away Boy, because Boy has an internship up north-ish for the summer.
“Enjoy Italy. Drink wine. Eat pasta.”
“Enjoy the internship. Make money. Buy me things.”
We chuckle, and my apprehensions are put at ease. Six days.