It is currently Wednesday, the twenty third of July, and I have approximately a little over 48 hours left in what has been my second home for the past three months, Ariccia, Italy. Even though I was awarded the responsibility of completing the final installment of our summer blog, I had already found myself reflecting over this time for several days now. In my greatest efforts to avoid clichés, I want to provide a brief illustration of how this time has impacted myself and the nineteen other girls from which I’ve established life long friendships with.
Four suites, six bathrooms, one kitchen, one living room and twenty girls claiming their own little territory, this is the setup of the Chigi Palace. In an environment that mimics the summer camps we attended in our youth, this group embarked on a similar yet life changing summer adventure. Met with trepidation and excitement, our group embraced the culture of this historically rich town. We gained confidence through numerous failed attempts of ordering coffee, buying groceries and asking for directions. The constant interactions of our daily schedules taught us to be supportive peers and to not shy away from intimidating situations.
The individual growth that develops over the course of the semester is one of the most rewarding things I’ve acquired while being here, but nothing surpasses the bonds I’ve created with my peers. There is no escaping the forced intimacy that is required while living with others. The only solution to this, is embracing the situation at hand and accepting everyone, for who they are. This all being said, forcing everyone to love Harry Potter, One Direction, SOMO, dance parties, Parent Trap quoting, Segus Mundo Chigi and songs about cheese was a requirement.
It’s a funny how the time seems to slip away from us, and how it’s so easy to get caught up in the moment. Conversations around the table at night more frequently begin with “I can’t believe it’s been four weeks,” and then that four turns to five, six, seven and now here we are concluding the final week. I’m truly grateful for my time here in Italy. This is my second time doing this same trip; I didn’t mention this earlier because I truly feel every experience in life is unique. I think this will be my last big trip for several years and I’m forever indebted to this country, program and the people I met over the past few months.