The last month has gone by so quickly! I’ve been to Venice and Florence, and even Paris. In December, I’m taking one last trip to Milan.
It’s had its ups and its downs and it’s been a great learning experience. There is a lot that I’ve learned about myself and my friends – I’ve made new friends, and drifted away from others. It became a reality that I’ll be graduating in the spring – I really have just five months left of undergrad; moreover, it became real that I’ll need to be making some great decisions in the next few months – where am I going after my years at St. Norbert College? Should I come back to Rome or should I try somewhere new for graduate school? The possibilities are really endless, yet they require significant effort from me. It really is stressful to look at where I was over three years ago, where I’ve been and where I am now, then finally putting all of that together to discover who, where, and what I am called to be in the imminent and new stage of my life. There is nothing in the world that would make me want to change my decision of coming abroad. Sure, it’s been stressful – I haven’t always liked it, in fact I really didn’t like Rome very much when I got here – however, it’s also given me a greater sense of independence; it’s allowed me to understand things from others’ perspective, and across cultures. I know that this semester has given me the ability to discern and choose where I will be less than a year from now. Will it be the right decision? Only time can tell; I can rest assured, though, that, with the experiences of the past semester now under my belt, I will have the confidence to know where I am meant to be.
One last update on the coffee here in Italy. If you haven’t guessed it by now, I’m a complete coffee snob. I only like the best coffee and if I don’t have the best coffee in the morning, my day is destroyed – perhaps and exaggeration? I was able to find two very good coffee shops here: 1) Cafffe Camerino (yes, there are three f’s) at Largo Torre Argentina, and 2) Bar S. Cosimato at Piazza S. Cosimato, in Trastevere. The coffee at both of these places is phenomenal and highly recommended by yours truly. They also have great atmosphere, which is essential for a great coffee experience, which is something else that I’ve come to understand. Coffee here is not just drink it and leave, as I thought; rather, coffee is truly an experience. If the barista is not fully committed to the cappuccino, then it is going to be a bad cappuccino, so it’s a shared experience. The attitude of the barista is reflected in the cappuccino and then is passed to the customer. A bad cup of coffee makes a bad day.
Finally, I’m sad to be going home but as implied above, I’m also very excited. I have many great experiences, challenges, and opportunities ahead of me but I couldn’t be more excited to face them. I’m going to miss Rome and the friends I’ve made here, but I also miss my friends and my family back home. It’s time for the semester to end, as sad as that sounds. It’s time for us to move on; it’s time for me to finish my four years at St. Norbert College. My school has done all that it can for me and I am eternally grateful. My time abroad with SAI and JCU has done all that it can for me at this point and for these things I am greatly indebted. Had they both not offered me this experience, I would not be the person I am today. I am more independent, I’ve grown in empathy, and most importantly, I’ve grown to understand who I am as a whole person. It hasn’t been easy, but nothing that’s worth it ever is. We live in this great world of endless possibilities and some of those can lead us to great things and the greatest is to know and love ourselves and then allow that to grow into love for others. This time abroad has given me a chance to see who I do and do not want to be; who I am and what in that I want to change.
– Zaccary, St. Norbert College