I keep thinking back to the girl who landed in Frankfurt at 4:30 a.m. last January, completely alone and simultaneously terrified and excited to catch the final flight that would take her to Italy. "You had no idea," I think now. "You had an inkling of what was to come; people told you that this was going to be life-changing. But you really had no clue--the friends you were going to make. The experiences you would have. The people you would be heartbroken to say goodbye to."
Words cannot describe how much I miss it. Reverse culture shock, for me, has been far more real than culture shock was. To be completely honest, I felt like I grew and learned so much in Italy, only to take ten steps back as I returned home. How am I supposed to fall into the routine of my regular life after everything I saw and did?
Move forward, but never forget. That's how. Especially with everything happening right now, it's more important than ever to expand our worldview and grow in love for one another, in understanding of different cultures and beliefs. I miss Italy terribly, but I'm so grateful for the lessons traveling and living in another country taught me. Whenever you have the opportunity to travel, whether during college, before, or after, take it. I am proof that you can never be too shy or quiet to explore and be adventurous.