Finding Comfort in the Uncomfortable

I’m sitting at my favorite cafe in Ariccia, Antico Caffè, having my Ciambella (donut) and Cappuccino. Sadly, I caught myself counting down the days left till I get to hug my family, and friends at home. Now, this may seem ungrateful, but I ensure you it’s not.

Coming to Italy I was over the moon with excitement about what was to come this summer. But now, I sit here wishing I was where I know, but also wishing this experience of a lifetime to never end. I’m still trying to find how to be in this moment and enjoy it completely without missing what I don’t have.

Every day in Italy is a beautiful, new experience for me each day poses a challenge in its own way. I remember the first day we arrived, and someone told me to learn to find comfort in things that feel like they have no familiarity. During the first three weeks in Ariccia, I was so excited to live my dream Italian summer. What I did not think to consider at that moment was how homesick I would feel at week eight, or how difficult it is to find comfort in an environment that’s not my normal. As silly as this sounds, I never anticipated missing peanut butter or lemonade with ice so much, not only because they taste good but because they are what is comfortable. This summer has taught me that throughout life there will be some periods that are more uncomfortable than others, and I must find ways for myself to find comfort in them.

Being so far from home has taught me that it is okay to miss these things but to embrace the new and exciting things a new country has invited to my life, as they won’t be in my life forever. So many experiences good and bad, new amazing fresh foods, and people of a completely different background than I, yet, have become some of my favorite individuals. This summer I could have sat in my uncomfortableness and counted down the days till I got to go back to America. Instead, I embraced the challenge and emersed myself in the Italian culture! I will always remember my time in Italy because it was uncomfortable and that’s what made my memories here.

Being out of my comfort zone is a vicious cycle of continually longing for the comfort of being in Auburn but also being so excited about my experiences here. I know that as much as I want to feel a sense of familiarity now, in two months’ time I am going to desire things from Ariccia and all over Italy that are not accessible in America.

Best Wishes,

Julia Barker

Here is a picture of Paolo teaching me how to make a cappuccino! One of the many skills I picked up this summer!