I'm sitting in my hostel in my last night in Florence, the last night of my whole trip, and I am feeling something quite strange.
I am not sad to leave this city. It strangely has nothing to do with my initial negative feelings when I first arrived. Instead, it's something quite different: I believe this is called being content. How novel.
I sat on Ponte Trinita with a lovely friend this evening and realized that I have done all this before. I have lived abroad, I have worked my way through another language, I have gone to and fro. It sounds quite snobbish until you think about it terms of practice. Being in Florence, being abroad, is not novel, as bourgeoisie as that sounds. It's not high-brow, but it is the way I have chosen to live my life--partly abroad. I am getting good at this.
And so it makes sense that I could feel contentment on my last night in a beautiful city that has loved me and that I have loved like a secret. This city holds my heart, my past, and knows what I'm after in the coming years. This city is a friend.
Yet it's become a friend that I need a bit of a break from; it, and all its European friends. It's time to go back to life at home, the real home, and start something new. I know I will miss my aimless days abroad. It's like longing for a childhood comfort buried deep in boxes in the basement. It's there and can be dug out when necessary.
But mostly, I think I'm not sorrowful because I know I'll be back at some point, hopefully playing tour guide and translator with someone I love. I want to share this deep city, this labyrinthine experience with someone else. It's like taking another's hand and placing it over my heart and saying, "Feel what I feel."
This trip has been wild. Bewildering, eventful, studded with mild epiphanies and staggering self-realizations. It has been hard. But this is the best gift I could have ever given myself.
Someone dear to me was once said something that has stuck with me for years: it is important to allow ourselves and others the grace to be and the space to become. I think that's what this trip has been about, and I think I finally let myself live in that.
It's late, the hostel is quieting down, and I'll shut down my computer for my last night abroad. I came in calmly, and I'll go out in a rush. Tomorrow's itinerary: wake at 7, check out by 7:45, quick cappucino, friend and I wend our way up the duomo steps to the cuppola, eat a last panino and inhale a quick gelato, and I am off to the airport by 11:30. I wouldn't have it any other way, and for that, I am thankful.
I am thankful.