Saturday, December 09, 2006

Kyle's Italian Experience

So since I just posted my paper, I thought it would be fitting to post Kyle's as well. So enjoy... I know I did!

My Italian Experience
Beginning this journey was something of a Herculean task. Vanessa and I knew that we wanted to study abroad. The question was how in the world we were going to be able to afford it, academically as well as financially. She was in her last 2 semesters of school and I still had some major requirements to fulfill to graduate so it is nothing short of a miracle that we were able to come. That said, it was undoubtedly divine intervention that brought us here. I am increasingly grateful to have been given such a wonderful opportunity to have experienced such a place with such people as these. We all had our ups and downs but even the downs seemed somewhat higher than they are back home. There is so much here that I am going to miss but I will never forget so many things as they have hit a part of me that will never let go of them. It’s hard to put into words the feelings I have for this incredible journey. In a word this trip has been…enchanting. Italy has a magical way of making every care in the world seem somehow insignificant. Time continues and things keep growing and the best you can do is squeeze the grapes when they are ripe and enjoy the cheese when the milk goes bad. There will always be another season. As things wrap up I feel a sense of responsibility ominously hanging over my head and while I know that many more wonderful things lie ahead in my life, I can’t help but feel it would be easier in Italy. I will miss the streets with few cars and the innumerous trees that have spread like wildfire through the valley. The vespas, the truckcycles, the gelato, the trendy teenagers hanging out at the playground, the local drunks staring at us at Rogiro’s, the pizza, the pasta, Rome, Florence, Arrezzo and the jousting, Sienna, Cortona, Orvieto, Montepucciano, Piensa, Pisa, Cinque Terre, scarfs, sunglasses, illegal venders parading through the crowds. Wild boar, gnocchi, bruschetta, olive oil, balsamic, and of course Santa Chiara with it’s hard bread that badly needs salt, it’s stinky bathrooms that you can squeeze into on good days, the somewhat functioning internet, the ping pong table that sometimes has a ball lying around, the TV room that is seldom unoccupied, and the studios that are never unoccupied, and the dead tree that stole our courtyard from us for so long it hurt. The turtles stuck in their corner, the laundry that never gets dry, the wonderful cooks and cleaning ladies that never get mad to our faces. The ever helpful, all knowing RC’s, the incredibly gracious Paolo and Garnet, and the cool but sometimes moody Marco. Above all else, I will miss our people, my new familia. While we all are going back to the same place, I feel that things will never be the same as they were here. It will always be just short of Italy. I am taking with me broadened horizons, having been instilled with a new found appreciation for art and architecture that I may not have found with lesser gods than the ones that taught me here. Wink! I will always see things in a new light now that I know what has come before. There is nothing greater than to learn from those that love what they teach. If there is anything I would change it would be to have more time. It goes by so fast here. The trips were probably the best thing about the entire experience. It felt so nice to have experienced Italy enthusiasts as our guides. I feel that the most valuable difference this experience will have made in my life is to make me so much more receptive and infinitely more interested in other cultures and has made me stunningly more aware of how other fellow humans view us Americans and the importance of that perspective. I know feel compelled to spread this knowledge and instill in others the same since of unity that I experienced here. Am I a better citizen of the world because of this course? Undoubtedly, but not without a feeling of cynicism. I’m not very confident that other fellow Americans are capable of achieving the sense of responsibility that I have acquired. Call me crazy but I’m not quite sure we care enough. If nothing else I would hope that all who travel throughout the world will take back home with them a sense of caring about the rest of the world. Without that I truly fear for our future. Nothing in this world is worse than a society of apathetic ignorants. At least one American is coming home ready to take ‘em all on!

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