When I found out that I had the last blog of the semester I must admit I was excited. I knew that having all semester to get to know this group of young women would make writing this post easier.
In these last twelve weeks there has been laughter, tears, singing, sweating, and most importantly bonding. One can never be quite sure what to expect when living with 21 other people under one roof and it was an experience I would never trade or probably repeat.
This summer has opened my eyes to new cultures and stretched my patience further than I ever thought it could go. As the TA for this semester I had an interesting position within the house. Not only was I a figure of authority, but I had to learn to also be a friend; a fine line I had to learn to maneuver. I think the best way to achieve a level of respect is to give respect. None of these women were ever going to take me seriously if didn’t take them seriously.
This summer has been a complete learning experience for me. I come from a very independent family, taught to always take care of my self. This has somewhat hardened me and made me not so sensitive to others feelings and needs. I quickly learned that this would be a challenge for me this summer when on the first night my insensitive nature hurt someone’s feelings. I am pleased to say that at the end of twelve weeks I head back home with a new outlook and a new way of looking at others.
When in the palace often girls are giggling and talking about plans they have for when they get back home: food, family, friends and pets that they miss. One thing reigns above all others – “I didn’t spend all summer getting to know you not to hang out when we get back.”
To me that defines it all. This program is as much about friendship as it is about learning. I have been blessed with amazing European adventures and experiences this summer, things I never want to forget. I leave a small piece of me in Italy, but I take 21 new pieces back with me. We may be leaving, but we will never forget.