Now that the end of the trip is in sight, I have had time to think back on what I have experienced. I could rattle off all the fun places we, as a group, have been, and all the memories that go with the journey. However, Italy has given me more than just that crazy time we climbed seventy five flights of stairs for the view or the times we ate at our favorite restaurant down the street more than four times in a week. Italy has given me a different perspective on life. It is not just the slow pace of day-to-day life or the great food, but it is the people.
The Italian people have a very innocent way of life and by innocent I mean trusting. I can order a café and a pastry, walk outside, eat it, and they trust that I will pay for it when I finish. In the States, you pay before you receive due to the lack of trust. The people are also very kind as long as you attempt to speak Italian. They will laugh at you in a loving way but then help you find whatever it is that you need. Once you talk to a local for a couple minutes you feel a connection with them that is pure and genuine. I have befriended a lady named Clarissa at the local food market. I love to buy produce from her because she teaches me Italian as I teach her English. She doesn’t speak any English and my Italian is very poor. However, together we have created a friendship.
Another way Italy has changed the way I look at life is through the enriching history. I have seen all the pictures of the Colosseum and the Forum in texts and online, but whenever you have two professors with a never ending wealth of knowledge about ancient Italian history the experience reaches a whole new level. Instead of looking at a rock sticking strait out of the ground, I am learning that it is a Doric column that was once part of the temple of Hera (a Greek goddess). It is simply amazing to look out over an ancient civilization and walk exactly where its citizens did. Italy has been an amazing experience and I know that all the lessons I have learned will help me in my future travels and throughout my life.