I lay awake in bed that night. I hear the wind howling at my door. Although the night is cold, the thoughts in my head keep my warm. I can almost hear the church bells ring and can almost taste the sweet wine. Before I knew it, I would be indulging in this new and beautiful world.
I had been planning to study in Italy since I was a sophomore in high school. After nights without dinner and days without shopping, I had accumulated enough money to feel comfortable enough to leave the country for 4 months. I felt proud and happy, however there was no way I felt ready.
Would I ever feel ready? I pondered the question as I sat in the car that day driving to the airport with my stomach in knots. The day had finally come and I was heading to Sorrento Italy on the longest plane ride I had ever been on, as well as the longest I had ever been away from home. I gave one last kiss goodbye to both of my parents knowing it would be the last for quite awhile.
The hours dragged on the plane. I wanted nothing more than to just be there. Although it was an overnight flight, I got barely enough sleep to get me through the rest of my trip. My second flight was from Munich, Germany to Naples, Italy. I kept my bag tight to my side as I was reminded of the many warnings of pick pocketers in the area. After a few minutes of confusion and language barriers between German airport workers, I made my way to my gate and began the long await for my connecting flight. My eyes were heavy and as much as I tried to sleep I could not.
Finally, after a half hour drive to the Boston Logan Airport, an 8 hour flight to Germany, a 6 hour layover in Germany, a 2 hour flight to Naples and an hour drive to Sorrento, I had arrived. I had made it to the place I would call home for the next 4 months. The darkness of that night made it hard for me to see the area around me. But even in that darkness, I felt comfort. I was in the Sant’Anna travel bus with girls I immediately connected with and knew I would get to know better as the semester continued. I worried that I wouldn’t be outgoing but my fear did not get the best of me and I felt I made friends with the girls on our ride to Sorrento.
My landlord led me to our apartment and I walked through each room in awe knowing immediately I would like it here. I felt I could almost shed a tear as I looked out our kitchen window to the breath-taking view of Mt. Vesuvius. I was so proud of myself that I had made it here on my own and worked up enough courage to come to Italy on my own. I knew then it was something I would never regret. I also realized that fear was not something you could let stop you in life. Because the most beautiful things can result from ignoring your fears.
I unpacked a few things but was more than exhausted. I sprawled out on my bed and closed my eyes. The journey had just begun.