Conclusions

Last day in Italy! Can you believe it? It’s hard for me to digest, honestly. It’s been both forever and not at the same time. That concept is hard to explain to anyone who hasn’t been on an extended vacation like this.

I have been in Europe for 36 days. I have seen countless works of art, museums, videos, people, gypsies, souvenir stands, gelato counters and pizza slices. I have lived out of a suitcase and showered in thumb-sized showers. I have been around the same 25 people for 24 hours a day, and grown to love each of them. I have made new friends and I have conquered some fears as well.

I literally have never felt so lucky.

I came on this journey thinking perhaps I’d come back to the States with a little more acceptance of myself. Anyone who knows me at all knows I am hard on people, but most of all, myself. I have extremely high expectations of life/people/relationships, but those expectations hit no one harder than me. Whether or not that has changed is hard to say from where I’m sitting. And since where I am literally sitting is on a Eurostar train headed for Roma Termini, I’d say whether or not that changed, I know I have in some ways, for the better.

People are people, is what I’ve learned. Yes, Italians are rude and pushy. At least they’re upfront about it. There are no apologies here; it’s each man for himself.  Despite culture or language, every person on Earth just wants to establish an area where he feels comfortable, wanted and needed. Is that so much to ask?

I’ve learned that I can be pushed out of my comfort zone and still come up with the same qualities I’ve heard make me, me. I never wanted to be in charge of our group on the way to Cinque Terre, but who was it calling out track numbers, train times and when to get off? This girl. Do I hate it? No. I’m actually proud that I turned out to be a leader in a foreign country with a public transit system I had never been familiar with before.

I have also decided that no matter where my life takes me in less than a year when I graduate from college, I can handle it. Until now, I had been saying I wanted to find a job close to home. Dallas, Austin, Oklahoma City. Somewhere familiar, with people I’m used to and places I’ve seen. Would I still take a job in those cities if offered? Absolutely. But I decided I am not going to limit myself when applying. I could take on Atlanta, Charleston, Memphis, Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Boston. I could do it, because I found my way around Italy and Switzerland and that’s an entirely different language. (Although I would dare say Yankees definitely don’t sound like Texans). It’s a big world, people. I may as well take in as much as I can while I’m 21 and naïve.

So there’s my sentimental post. On the flip side, I’m very ready to be in the United States. I miss eggs and bacon, gentlemen holding doors for ladies, BBQ, driving, my puppies (yes, rowdy and molly), talking on the phone without mentally adding up outrageous fees, Thomas, Biz, Natalie, Dad, Grandpa and Grandma, steady wireless Internet, my dad’s coffee /singing in the mornings (although, sorry Dad, nothing’s nearly as good as Italian espresso), the gym, my bed (both in Norman and in Lubbock) and electrical outlets that don’t require unnecessary ingredients. As much as a 12-hour transatlantic flight sounds like hell, being in America sounds like heaven. Americans may not have public transit or healthcare figured out, but I do love America. And I love travelling to these places and I will travel as long as my salary and life allows, but I will never live anywhere else. Go USA!

So we get to Rome at 1:45, and have to take the train to the airport because our hotel is near the airport. This is my last Italian train! This one is pretty nice compared to the various trains I’ve seen. I’ve seen smelly, graffiti’d, empty, SO FULL, no luggage space, plenty of luggage space, smelly, uncomfortable seats, huge seats, trains where your ticket gets checked, trains I could’ve ridden for free, trains that go slow and stop everywhere, trains that zoom right where you want to go. I feel like Dr. Suess.

We’re staying in Fiumicino tonight, right outside of Rome near the airport and the beach….totally fine. Rome is too much for me at this point.  I have blistered feet, full suitcases and souvenirs for everyone. Time to go home! I am leaving for the airport as we speak and I should be in the US by 4 p.m. CST.

Biz, let’s get pedicures Saturday. You’re buying, I’m broke! 😀

Ciao, Bellas y Bellos!

Chelsie

PS:

Places I have decided I need to see:

Croatia

Greece

Turkey

London

Spain/Portugal

Berlin

Australia/New Zealand

If anybody would like to join me, come on!

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