Finding the Balance Between Awe and Adjustment

I am writing this blog post from the comfort of my very own desk. I say
“claimed” because it quite literally has my name on it; though this act is primarily a COVID-19 caution- it still gives me a sense of ownership. What I forgot to mention is that this comfort found from “my very own desk” is a comfort found in Ariccia, Italy. It just so happens that this comfort is found over 5000 miles from “my very own desk” in Auburn, Alabama. Over the past 5 weeks I have became used to this sitting here everyday and doing my work. I have settled into this new place and now find comfort in the familiarity. I often catch myself feeling guilty for this sense of comfort; for who am I to feel comfortable in such a magnificent place? 

This internal struggle has become more prominent as the days progress. I am constantly shifting between being in awe of my situation and being completely adjusted to my current life studying abroad in Italy. On one hand I feel as if I should not let myself feel at home so that I do not take for granted the splendor of this program. On the other hand, I feel as if I deserve to adjust to this pace of life. For example, everyday I wake up and get ready for class just as I would on a normal day in Auburn. How do I become adjusted to living in Italy but also not become numb to the environment around me? 

This has been a recurring conversation lately and I believe that I have made some progress in finding my perfect balance. The first step is to practice gratitude everyday. A way I have begun doing this is moving my journaling to the morning; this way I am able to start off my day by refocusing on the amazing opportunity I have been given. The second, more difficult step involves accepting that I am worthy of this circumstance. All of us who are a part of this program have worked to be here and deserve the luxury of adjusting. Though we are in Italy, we are still entitled to the comfort of feeling at home. 

Ever since we stepped foot in Italy, we have been told to make strides towards adjusting. Whether it be trying to beat jet lag, trying and failing at Italian, and many other examples that may seem small but all work together in order for us to conform to the Italian. So today, as I write this blog from “my very own desk” in Ariccia, Italy, where I am sitting after my daily walk to get my Italian cappuccino… I am reminded that though I am constantly making efforts to find the balance between Awe and Adjustment, I may never find the perfect mix. This is not a complete loss because, while trying to mesh the “once-in-a-lifetime experience” with the everyday life that I live, I find myself growing in admiration of my current situation and it leads me to be more appreciative of the little things throughout the day. It leads me to love my life… not only my life in Italy, but my life that just happens to take place in Italy at the moment. 

A picture of my daily cappuccino that I no longer savor, but rather slurp down quickly because I know I will be able to do the same the next day.

From the desk of,

Molly Grubb