Oh, the places I’ve been. Oh, the artwork I’ve seen. Oh, the food I’ve tasted. My time abroad is coming to a close. Viterbo has become a home to me. I realized I fell in love with it when I got back into town after being on a week-long field trip through southern Italy. While walking up the cobblestone road to my lion knocker embellished apartment door, the same joyous feeling overcame me that I get when I go back to my home in California after being gone for a while.
The places I’ve been have varied from tiny medieval hilltop towns to large metropolitan cities. Of them all, I will miss Viterbo the most. I’ve grown to love the slower pace of life here, which was hard for me to do at first. As an American, I’m accustomed to constantly being busy. Living in the Tuscia region has forced me to practice patience. I needed to learn how to be okay with shops being closed all day on Sundays and between 1:00pm and 4:00pm for pausa pranzo on weekdays. I now admire how much Italians value their relaxation time.
The artwork I’ve seen has varied from Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel in Rome to frescoes on the walls of apartment buildings in Viterbo. How truly marvelous it is to gaze upon the world’s most famous masterpieces in Italy’s museums! And how equally marvelous it is to tour a tiny coin museum right here in Viterbo! The fountains around every corner draw my gaze every time I walk by them. The worn stone structures show off the rich history of this country. The frescoes add a precious touch to the walls they cover. I’ll miss being surrounded by this historic beauty.
The food I’ve eaten has ranged from white chocolate croissants from my favorite caffe to pizzas so large that they have to be served on two plates. I’ll miss going to the Spaghetteria where they serve over three hundred types of spaghetti. I’ll miss having a gelateria around every corner. Most of all, I’ll miss aperitivo. At this point, it’s hard to imagine life without it.
I’ve been to the loveliest places, admired the most astonishing artwork, and eaten the most scrumptious meals I’ve ever had the pleasure of feasting on. I’ve grown to love this country and it’s culture. When I leave, I won’t live in an apartment that’s built into a medieval wall, I won’t get to admire frescoes on my school’s campus, nor will I eat pizza on a daily basis, but I’m thankful that this opportunity was presented to me. Studying abroad changed my life. This culture has been a joy to experience. I will be seeing you again soon enough, sweet Viterbo. Well, not soon enough, but soon. I’ll make sure of it.
*Student USAC (University Studies Abroad Consortium)