Three weeks in! I’m really not sure how to hold the reaction. On one side, I can’t believe three weeks has already passed, and on the other I can’t believe it’s only been this long.
I’ve been thinking about this time a lot in terms of layers. I am starting to understand the layout of the city, to know not just how to walk to Piazza del Campo (week one) or to the bus station (week two), but to feel confident walking to new places and allowing myself to test how much I really know.
Similarly, I’m not sure there’s anything that can put you back in touch with yourself as a toddler quite like being in a foreign country. There’s a tug of missing what it feels like to know- the codes, the cues, the language, the rules. Sometimes, the man at the pizza place addresses you in English before you even open your mouth. Sometimes, the conversation stops at your inability to continue it.
It is just uncomfortable to have to rely on others to communicate complex questions and ideas.
But it is so exciting to pick things up– to learn and try and to actually be able to catalogue that growth. It’s not just directions or language, either. Places are gaining significance, such as Orto Dei Tolomei or even our studios. Each time I go there I bring a little more to the space: more memories, more feelings, more awe. Relationships are becoming more dimensional and emotional. The other day at lunch, a friend brought up how she already was sad to be leaving, for the goodbyes, for this to end.
It’s a little early for prolepsis, I know, but time happens. When we had only been here for a week, a day felt enormous. Now, a week is just a fraction. I can’t imagine how far this day will feel from one three months from now.
Frankly, I still feel like a toddler pretty often. But the fear has been replaced by something a little lighter, a little easier to move through. There’s an excitement to fill the gaps, to learn, to have the words.
Siena Art Institute student