After the last exam, Italian 102, which I managed to finish in 20 minutes. I went outside with my friends to enjoy the sunny afternoon Florence was gifting us at Piazza Savonarola. The view of the children playing soccer, some of them approaching us and being friendly. “Dove e la mia mama? (where is my mom?) “ – a bambina asked us. “Eccoliqua” she said, after making a 360 degrees round with a smile in her face. She faces back to her mom, and walked away dancing. For a while I was appreciating the silence of the Piazza, followed by the whisper of the wind and the inconsistent rumors of the kids, the bouncing of the soccer balls, and the doves following the leftovers of food. No cars, no rumors, no industrialization, just the appreciation of its patrimony.
Later after a few hours, during the last dinner with my host family, I realized how blessed I have been. Emma, the daughter, brought the fact that it was raining, just like the first time I met them. While having a piece of my last focaccia with pomodoro crudo, prosciutto and Philadelphia, I looked back at my experience. I thought about good and bad moments, and could not find any bad ones. So many people have asked me if I want to stay or leave, and yes, I must confess I miss my family, friends, and I am looking forward to my summer internship, but deep inside I know that my answer would have been “I want to stay, this feels like home”.
After dinner, the majority of the students from Syracuse shared our last night together at the Piazza. As the night went on, I saw my friends who I now call sisters. I saw Maricelis keeping her promise of not drinking alcohol regardless of being the last night in Florence, because of her voice. I saw a girl who has been successful as a result of her passion and hard work, and who will become even more successful as a professional singer and actress. I saw her dreams about to be accomplished. And then I saw Gaby, a girl who plays it strong, but whose heart is as sensible as a leaf. I saw her working in everything and everywhere, and in each place, being focused and successful. I saw her in Apple, with a curriculum of six languages and skills from literature to technology. I did not have to look hard to find Arianna. She is just everywhere, dancing around and smiling, just as that bambina from the Piazza in the afternoon. In Arianna, I saw a mother, a businesswoman, a traveler of the most exotic places (and by exotic I mean the contrary of modernized locations) and I saw the most immature big sister that somehow will take the most mature decisions. Then I saw Laura, socializing with every single person, joining me to dance salsa even though it was embarrassing, because she knew that it would make me happy, and she would do anything to see everyone happy. I saw the most open person, who would listen and never judge someone’s acts before knowing the true causes. The girl who cries not because it is over, but because of happiness, because it happened. And Jenna, our New York girl. Never thought that I could become so close with her. The NY girl who walks so fast because she is used to the streets of NY. But no, she is not the typical NY girl, or the typical artist. She will be honest and show you a pallet of perspectives, and yet remain tolerant, sensible and grateful. Jenna who has a career so bright in front of her, that I even kept a restaurant receipt with her signature as an autograph. The most sarcastic, random and never-boring friendship you can ever have, of course, if you can keep up with her pace.
From Salamanca, I walked back home, around a 45 minutes walk full of thoughts. Through the streets I could smell the baking of the bread for croissants, sweet and warm. It was already 4am, and the owners were already ready to produce. From home I took my luggage, and called a taxi to the airport.
And now I am here, at the airplane, having a Starbucks coffee and wishing it was cappuccino from Florence, and watching a movie in Italian because I don’t want to let go of the language. I thought it was yesterday when I moved my clock 7 hours forward, and now I resist to set it back again…