Athena Study Abroad students share their experiences with amazing blogs.
Hello! My name is Olivia Thomakos and I am studying abroad in Paros Island, Greece this June and July 2015.
A little bit about myself:
Well, to start my first post on my first blog ever I should start out by saying a little bit about myself. My name is Erica Flesher, and I am a 19 year old sophomore attending Florida Gulf Coast University. I'm a Child and Youth Studies major with a double minor in art edu and music edu. (Seems like a lot but I have so many passions, it was hard to choose just one) But, apart from school, I am a avid mountain hiker, a passionate musician and a colorful artist. I love the feeling of salt between my toes, and the sea on my skin. I get antsy when I'm in one place for to long, my favorite food is movie popcorn, and the word explore is stamped all over my dreams.
As many of you know, I am leaving the Gulf behind this summer and traveling to new waters and new adventures; all the way to Paros Island Greece. A big hello to the Mediterranean :)
Having never left the country before I am nervous but also excited. The plane ticket has been bought, my stuff is beginning to be packed away, and the days are slowly counting down until the day I finally set foot on that plane and give Florida a big salty kiss goodbye.
How does one start an Ending? My spring semester in Italy has reached it's final days. My luggage is gathered by the door and patiently waiting to return to the states. My last class was four days ago and since then every day has been a bittersweet walk down the streets of Florence and taking in the final smell of those delicious pastries and the final taste of homemade Spaghetti Carbonara. My parents and my tia also joined me during the last week in Italy and I'm so glad that they came to visit and experience the beautiful Italian culture. My father especially enjoyed the art and the architecture and we shared artful conversations of the Renaissance paintings. My tia helped me pack my luggage and sculptures and haul them down the cobblestone streets of Florence to their hotel. My apartment check out day was Saturday so I spent the weekend nights with my tia in a nice hotel overlooking the Piazza Della Repubblica.
I feel like I'm going home with more than what my luggage can carry; Italy and Florence have changed my perspectives of life, art, history and people. I've experienced some differences between the American culture and the Italian culture which are both astounding and beautiful. I really felt like I was at home during my semester in Florence; like a part of me was always Italian and I didn't realize it until I lived here. The pieces to my life's puzzle began to fall into place and the image of who I am became clearer and clearer; an American with an Italian soul. I'm going to miss Italy soooooo much, and I bet I will experience some form of reverse culture shock when I return home to the states.
I cannot believe I will be home in less than 48 hours.... I am not ready to leave, I have made such great friends and will miss them all terribly. I have made plans to visit the friends I have made in the states, but that most likely will happen during Spring Break at the earliest, as for my friends in London I have no idea when I will see them again. We had a goodbye party as well as a goodbye dinner, and I cried at both. London has become my second home, I have a family here now. I am truly going to be broken hearted when I return home. Do not get me wrong I absolutely love my family and friends in the states, and I am beyond excited to see them. I start working almost immediately, I move into my own apartment in august. I start my senior year. It will all be great, I just wish I could live in both my worlds at once.