A Letter to the Future “Chigi Babies”

Seven weeks down and a lifetime of memories made. When will time stop? The past seven weeks have gone by in the blink of an eye, yet again, it has felt like eternity. However, that is the beauty of this experience. Just the other day I was dragging an extensive amount of luggage out of the airport filled with excitement but chained down by fear. Little did I know what was in store for me. 

 To the future “Chigi Babies,” it is essential that you use this time to truly understand and find yourself. While it took 21 years of attempting to understand who I was as an individual, in just seven weeks, I have grown as a person and learned more about myself than ever before. There are two primary takeaways from my experiences abroad that I would like to share with you: 

  1. Make it a priority to understand yourself and your needs: While there is so much good during your time here, many will also face confusion or uneasiness during this “experience of a lifetime.” However, that is a part of this experience, and you should embrace it. To cope with the confusion and uneasiness you might face, make sure to practice self-care. On the “not-so-perfect” days, take time to evaluate what you can do for yourself to improve your day-to-day life in Aricia and make this a priority. While this may not come easily or naturally to so, take time to figure out if your version of self-care is putting on a Netflix series, reading your favorite book, going for a walk, or all the above. Ultimately, do what feels right for yourself. 
  1. Step out of your comfort zone: This might sound contradictory to my first tip, right? However, the truth is, you will likely get a little too comfortable watching Netflix or reading that book that you just never want to put down. Instead, reflect on your levels of self-care and dictate what you might need to adjust for yourself. From this, live life to its grandest potential. Is there someone you want to get to know more? Spark up an exciting conversation. Do you want to go meet more locals but are too nervous you may forget the essentials from the Italian survival guide? This is the perfect time to practice and immerse yourself in the culture. Your comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing grows there. Take one step out of your comfort zone and notice the new sense of beauty you are overwhelmed with. 

Chigi babies, with all this being said, embrace this once in a lifetime experience, embrace yourself, and live and love every second. You will look back and cherish the memories and the people of this trip, as well as how far you came. Take ample care of your needs and make more memories than you can fathom. There will be a day where this experience seems so long ago, but what will be close to the heart are the memories.  

Sending love, 

Denisse Pena