After the stress of midterms, the only thing I wanted to do was to get away and relax. I had four tests to study for and due dates for research papers looming. My only solace was the knowledge that I would be on Fall Break soon. I was so excited to go backpacking through Croatia with my friend Paige. We planned on taking a ferry from Ancona to Split and then make our way through Plitvice, Zagreb, and then loop back to Trieste and Venice in order to take a train back to Rome. I wanted nothing more than to get away from the crowded and overpopulated city life.
Croatia was gorgeous…
Croatia was absolutely beautiful. I seriously had the time of my life there. But as the week wore on, I started to grow homesick. Not of Chicago, but of Rome. I think this week was very important for me in that aspect. Beforehand, I had a hard time thinking of Rome as my home. I thought of Rome as a vacation, a time to enjoy myself and just go crazy. It was just a place for me to stay for 4 months before I got back to “real life”.
I guess I’ll call it Study Abroad Inception. I went to Rome for a semester instead of staying at school in America, and then traveled to Croatia during my time off in Rome. It seemed kind of like a vacation within a vacation. My traveling made me realize that I missed Rome. A lot. I missed my bed and my cozy apartment. I missed a shower that I could call my own. I missed the 24 hour bakery (more than I’m willing to admit). I missed the relaxed nature of living in Rome.
…but I still missed lovely Roma
There is a comfort to returning to a place you’ve settled down in, wherever that may be. Studying at Temple Rome is not just a sightseeing vacation. I have homework, a routine, and the opportunity to go at my own pace. It is so much different than just being a traveler, trying to cram so much adventure in such a short amount of time. Being away for just a week made me realize that Rome has truly become my home, and traveling out of my comfort zone has let me appreciate my time in Rome even more. Just like living in Rome makes me miss Chicago, traveling to Croatia made me miss the comfort of Rome.
Don’t get me wrong, I fell in love with every place I traveled. My whole Fall Break exceeded my expectations, and I can’t wait until my next adventure. I had such a great time, but I missed the little things about Rome that I might have taken advantage of before. I am so amazed that I can call Rome my second home. For anyone who plans to travel or study abroad at any point in their life: Appreciate every second of your time there. Don’t waste any time. My time in Rome is fleeting, but hopefully the memories I make will last forever.