Monday, August 31, 2009

Little Bit...

"It is in the moments of decision your destiny is created." I wonder what Anthony Robbins' thought process was when he formalized that statement. Had he just made a weighty decision? Was he reeling from the effects of one made much earlier in his life? Perhaps he was purely commenting on life in general. Of course, we all know that what we choose becomes our reality. Our life is simply the culmination of numerous moments of doubt, moments of truth and moments of confidence; all the inner workings of coming to our decisions. We are what we make ourselves to be. Wow. Just think about that. The power we have within ourselves is limitless and awesome. I was watching the latest episode of True Blood (my guilty pleasure) and something that was being discussed struck me. The Queen Sophie-Anne was relaying to Bill Compton how every mythological and supernatural creature throughout time has willed itself into being. Whether out of necessity or out of desire, powers were obtained purely by sheer will. Fiction aside, that is an intriguing argument.

Now, you ask, what does that have anything to do with Florence, studying abroad, or even me? I would like to think it has everything to do with everything. Our inner drive, making us who we are, guiding our every decision, propels us to our next adventure, our next uncovering of meaning, of purpose. The capability to achieve our most sought out dreams comes from within. We have the power to be. Sometime within the next four months, I hope to gain a greater insight on what my purpose is in life, and how I am to affect the world. That is a mouth full. Perhaps I should take it one day, one experience at a time.

On to the updates: I received my student visa last Wednesday and have not let it out of my sight - the first night, I had my passport out on the dinner table! (It has been such a huge relief now that I have it - I feared that I would not get my passport and my visa before I left). On Thursday, I was emailed the housing and participant list from Arcadia University. You can imagine my excitement as I frantically 'friended' everyone on facebook - let the facebook stalking begin! (only joking - but not really). There are 21 girls and 5 guys in my program with Arcadia - I'm not sure how many students attend Accademia Italiania though. I will be living in an apartment a couple of blocks away from the Duomo! Perhaps a 20 minute walk to school (which includes a nice walk over the Arno!). I couldn't be more happy with my location! I will be living with Isabella (from Miami, FL), Allison (from Austin, TX) and Amanda (from Minnetonka, MN). It's crazy to think that these girls will soon be my support system and hopefully great friends. The closer it gets, the more I am able to breathe and consider what is actually happening. I was quite nervous yesterday. Today, I am not.

On Saturday, my parents graciously threw a going away party for me! We were in the kitchen Friday night cooking Grandma Grace's famous meatballs, wearing our aprons (my request) and listening to loud Italian music. (I'm sure when Sofia walked in from work, she was a little surprised to see Mom and Dad still up and functioning at 10 pm) The party was really enjoyable: two of my best friends came, Emily and Sadie, and my uncle Albert came with his kids and Dan - we all had great conversation and a fun time. My uncle Chuck and aunt Kate also came - it was so good to see them again! My friend, Chris made an appearance later around the fire and proceeded to grace us with his mad juggling skills (no, really, he juggled fire). All in all, it was a great night and I had a blast. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

Packing has not been started (should that really surprise anyone? :)) to the dismay of my parents. My mom has concluded that I just like the rush of waiting to the last moment for everything. I would never admit to that. It is simply an issue of my lack of gumption (as I so eloquently argued at Chipotle) - I am fully aware that the packing will be completed before I leave and therefore I am in no rush to finish it.

I am heading to Columbus tomorrow to welcome in a new school year with my two dear friends, Sadie and Emily, in our full of character, ever so dirty, house. I'm hoping Alfred, our little cockroach visitor, will decide to steer clear of the bathroom. That little bugger...

Wednesday will be my last full day in the States with my family. Jessi, Mom and Dad have taken the day off to be with me. Sofia will be working in the morning and will hopefully be able to hang out for a little bit. I will most likely be unwillingly packing and persuading everyone to watch movies with me.

I leave Cincinnati around 11 in the morning on Thursday. My flight does not leave JFK until around 8 for Zurich. I should be in Florence Friday afternoon around 2 their time. I will try and provide an update for you all while traveling. Wish me luck! I love you all - it means so much to have such a network of support!

Remember to post comments and send emails!!! Also, if you would like to connect with me on Skype, my username is nataliemarielima. I will be sure to add you if you provide your username as well!

Ciao for now!!!


Friday, August 14, 2009


I suppose I should fill you in on why I will be doing said adventure.

I have always wanted to study abroad. Always. I am completely obsessed with traveling. Ok, not really - but I do it every chance I get. The experience of being a foreigner is eye opening. That subtle panic you feel when you sit down at a restaurant and realize you have no idea what the menu says and better yet, no idea what the waiter just asked you is exciting. Walking along the streets admiring the antiquated buildings and the locals going about their business, you smile to yourself because you have a secret - you're not from here...act cool. Realizing that life is not so different than you had imagined it would be - we are all the same, possess the same humanity regardless of the language we speak. I appreciate that. Perhaps being an observer is my forte.

There is a certain magic that I feel when I am in Europe. It's like when I am in Barcelona, or Rome, or Florence, or London, for that time, I have that connection with all that makes those cities beautiful. History. Studying and reading about the broad subject is nothing compared to the thrill and absolute high you get from experiencing it. That personal recognition of the significance all around you makes me tick. And so, I made the decision to study history in Europe during a quarter of my college years when I was in high school. Thanks to Mrs. Butz's AP U.S. History class, I became committed to studying history. I entered Ohio State with a declared major and have enjoyed all of my history courses, without exception. During my junior year, I took an Italian Renaissance course designed to look at the 13th and 14th centuries. Professor Davis' sarcastic, crude and hilarious perspective of Italian history made it real for me. I immediately signed up for his sequel course during Spring Quarter. I was captivated by Italy and its story. During the middle of Winter Quarter, I decided to apply to study in Florence, got accepted, and slowly, my dream was becoming my reality. I now know that if I decide to further my education, I will surely focus on the Italian Renaissance.

Another key aspect of my decision to study abroad was selfish. I wanted to do it for myself. Only for me. So, I consciously decided not to study with friends or anyone I knew. The next four months will be entirely new. Entirely alien. Entirely mine. I don't know where I'm going to live and I don't know who I will be going with. On the surface, I love that idea. Deep down, it scares the shit out of me! I already know I will grow and develop throughout this experience - I will be way outside my comfort zone. I would be kidding myself if I did not recognize that.

I have exactly two weeks left in the states. Still waiting on my Student Visa - it's making me hella nervous. These past few days I have been real lazy and laying low and unsuccessfully trying to block all that I have to do out of my mind. Perhaps I'll get into gear tomorrow... (haha)

Well, I must get back to watching T.V. (wow).


Thursday, August 13, 2009

New Shoes

I just received my killer shoes! I bought them at ALDO and ordered them in my size. I fell in love with the black leather NIEVES and had to make it happen. I am wearing the beautiful things as we speak, or as I write. Paolo Nutini says it best, "I put some new shoes on, and suddenly everything is right." Perhaps it was just coincidence that when I sat down to write this first blog post, the doorbell rang and my shoes were delivered, or it may have been fate, and now my mood is lifted permanently. I think this is the most excited I have been in a while. Italy, here I come!

Ok, so Student Visa is nearing its final stages, tuition is payed for, flights are booked and three more weeks until I embark on the most amazing trip of my life. You know when you get that feeling that you are exactly where you know you should be? That's how I felt when I first visited Florence in 2006. My dream is coming true, and I made it happen - with the support of my parents, sisters and friends, of course!

So, I will be posting to this blog every now and then before I leave, updating you on my progress and my feelings before leaving. Once I am in Florence, I hope to post every day or so with an update on my experiences and life in Italy. I also want to post my pictures as they are being uploaded, so stay tuned!

I welcome any comments or emails from family and friends, so keep them coming! I will also post my address and phone number once I receive them. Also, if you are looking for a vacation spot from now to December, I will gladly host you!! Just let me know!

Ciao for now!