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.
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!!!