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3 Things I Learned in Italy

When I boarded my plane in Rome, set to arrive in the States in less than 10 hours, I already knew that it would be weird to go back home. I felt that, over the past three and a half weeks, I had changed dramatically. Italy had given me an opportunity to see what the world has to offer, a chance to get to know myself better, and a cultural experience that I will never forget. Its been a month since I arrived back in the States, and when I close my eyes, I can still see every detail of the view from Cortona. Every mountain, every town, every foot of train track, every olive orchard and every roll of the hills. I can still see it all.

The view from dinner at Tonino’s

Since being home, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on my trip. This came in many forms: flipping through pictures to remind myself how I felt when I was in that moment, replaying memories in my head to ensure I never forget them, and chatting with fellow UGA/Cortona students to reminisce on our time abroad.

Sienna

The streets of Cortona at night

1.) Take your time through life. Work hard, but not too hard. Enjoy every moment of your days.

Life in the small Tuscan towns where we spent our days is a little slower than what we are used to back home. Meals last two hours, easily. Every day, shops and businesses close down from around 12 to around 3 for lunch and to spend time with family. People are not constantly stressed, running from place to place. Running errands is essentially walking down the cobblestone street to the tiny supermarket.

This type of lifestyle was certainly an adjustment for me. I am the type of person who rushed from A to B, the person who is always running around doing something. In Italy, though, I had to slow down, I had no choice. Once I became accustomed to it, though, I really started to enjoy this more relaxed way of living life. Since being home, I have tried to incorporate as much of this philosophy into my every day life as possible.

Basilica San Francis de Assisi (Church of Saint Francis in Assisi)

View from Assisi

2.) The hummingbirds that pollinate the flowers around Cortona and especially outside of the Severini School are actually MOTHS (the Italian hummingbird hawk-moth, actually).

These “hummingbirds” that were aplenty outside the Severini School garden, and caught the eye of most, if not all, of the Cortona students. When I got home, I started researching them to figure out their species. Turns out, they are actually moths!

Italian hummingbird hawk-moth. NOT my picture. Source here: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/c8/48/3c/c8483c0beb9f3f4d221333b8a46dc243.jpg

3.) The world is huge, diverse, intriguing; and I definitely need to see much, much more of it.

This trip was my first time out of the country, and I could not have asked for a better travel experience. The locals, the food, the language, the history, the architecture, the music, the wine, the view, the plants, the weather. It was a 10/10, would definitely recommend trip. Before I left, I knew that I would have an awesome month. But I never, ever expected what I got. It opened my eyes to the fact that the world is so much bigger than the corner of the United States that I knew. I have found my passion in traveling, in learning about different cultures, in seeing all the beautiful corners of the world.

The majority of the Viticulture students, in the back room of Lion’s Well on our last day in Cortona. We voted for Superlatives for everyone in our program

Church in Sienna

I watched this sunset from the top of a tree that I climbed. It was right beside Santa Margherita’s Church in Cortona.