Camila F. is currently a senior at SYA Italy and a blogger for the Campus Reporter program. She comes to SYA from Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.
If I closed my eyes I could almost feel like I’m home.
I’m humming along to the soundtrack of “The Greatest Showman” on my way to an amusement park, and as I do I can't help but think how this specific scene seems all too familiar. I’m suddenly transported back to the memory of early morning road trips with my family to Orlando, listening to my dad sing along to Hugh Jackman and the picture is so vivid I can pinpoint every last detail.
But before I get the chance to bask in my nostalgia any longer, the song changes to one by Ultimo, one of my host family’s favorite Italian singers, and when my eyes open to see towering mountains out the window instead of the flat grassy land I’m used to, I’m briskly reminded that I’m thousands of miles away from that memory- a memory that feels like home.
Since I’ve been in Italy the topic of home has been a prevalent one.
Being homesick, making new homes, what the concept of home itself means to each of us.
As I’ve wondered about each of these, I've begun to realize how little a physical place has to do with having a home, but instead, how much people and memories are what make a home, a home.
When I think about this in terms of my experience in Italy itself, I start to think about the many moments, little experiences, each one like brick, that have stacked on top of each other, and have slowly but surely laid the foundations for a new home.
Watching Gilmore Girls, one of my favorite tv shows, with my host mom and sister as part of our nightly ritual.
Getting to cook Mexican food, for the first time, for my entire family.
Getting to spend weekends at the beach with my family and Thor, our golden retriever.
And the smaller, nearly unnoticeable ones.
Finally feeling comfortable enough to add my toothbrush in the family toothbrush holder in the bathroom.
The way it felt when my host family’s faces became the faces I sighed in relief at the sight of.
How my phone recognizes my address in Viterbo as “Home.”
Each of them, I’ve noticed, although reminders that I’m no longer in the physical place I’ve always known as home, that feeling of home, the same one I’ve always known, is still present despite my surroundings feeling, at times, foreign and unfamiliar.
Because then, there are those moments that do feel familiar, like singing along to “The Greatest Showman” on my way to a theme park where I can start to sense pieces of my old home meshing with my new one, and it’s because of the people, the experiences, the memories I’ve been making that I realize that my heart can be split between two places that are becoming- equally- home.
So as I reflect on my first month here, and I deal with missing my own home while building a new one, I realize that if I closed my eyes I could feel like I’m home but if I opened them, I would see that I am.
- Campus Reporters
- SYA Italy