Limited Time

Phebe O. is currently a senior at SYA Italy and a blogger for the Campus Reporter program. She comes to SYA from John Bapst Memorial High School in Maine.

As I am writing, we are exactly one month away from the day I will get on a plane and fly home. To be honest, this is a time I could never truly imagine arriving. For months, I thought about our Italian spring break as a marker before the end of the year; a vacation I could look forward to, that was also reassuringly far away. But the break arrived all too suddenly, and the end of my time in Italy is approaching quickly behind it. 

Spring break was the first time any of my American family could visit me during my year here. My father arrived in Rome a few days into the break, and my entire host family got up at 6am to drive to the airport so we could pick him up together. They were thrilled to meet him. 

Driving with my dad back to the Italian city and house I call home, I immediately began to appreciate the differences in who I have become over the past months. Chattering about scenery and evening plans and radio DJs in Italian in the backseat, I paused to notice for the first time in months things as simple as my ability to speak fluently with my host family, or recognize half the cities and roads on the way to Rome. Arriving back home in San Martino, my own comfort, lying sprawled across the couch with my host mom, was suddenly apparent through the eyes of my dad. Going to a large Italian family party for Easter, I realized how much a part of the family I felt, in respect to my American father. It was my dad who got all of the new attention, the references to American actors, the jokes and comical background commentary in Italian. I could just sit back and joke and laugh with my Italian family. When my dad and I spent a couple days touring small cities in northern Italy, I was suddenly the one who had to navigate, order at restaurants, pay at bars, and figure out which trains we had to take. I felt older, more experienced, more responsible. And at the same time so incredibly young. 

Spring break eventually ended and my dad took his flight back to America. It was bittersweet to see him leave again, and difficult to face the countdown of days before I will be the one on a plane home. But his visit left me more excited to treasure my final moments here. The intersection of my two families, and the perspectives of their different cultures and worlds, left me with a greater understanding of how much I have grown and learned and changed in these past months. My time left in Italy is quickly fading. I have one final month to enjoy the confidence and freedom I have gained during my time here. And with a new appreciation for all that the past eight months have been, I am looking forward to every final moment. 

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