For 3 months, last September till last December, I was living in Umbertide, Italy to do an internship with my grad school. I was working with Italian patients, with Italian mentors, and living the Italian lifestyle. It was a complete cultural emersion! I was constantly surrounded by the Italian language, the Italian cultural and social norms, and the Italian mindset. Without realizing it, this lifestyle crept into my entire being, and it is there to stay.
The biggest changes I’d say I saw and that others saw when I came back were:
- Becoming more carefree
- Not worrying over the little things or the things I can’t change
- Italian gestures while speaking (GESTURES)
- Italian time (not rushing, late like 8pm and later dinners)
- Italian meals (always got to have that wine with that dish!)
- New found love for ESPRESSO
- Italian fashion (crazy right, but everyone dresses super nice so guess it rubbed off on me a bit, especially in the LEATHER department)
- Subconsciously picking up a fake Italian accent while speaking English
- Shrinking my personal bubble to almost nonexistence
I’ve been back in the U.S. for about 3-4 months, and sometimes, I’ll still find myself doing or saying things that I know came from my short time in Italy. I still have a smaller personal bubble than before, I worry less and am more carefree (so good for better mental health) than before, sometimes I say phrases like I would have back in Italy (just in English and not in broken Italian), and I guess I kept the fashion changes as well.
When my boyfriend first saw me after 3 months, he said I was like a totally different person (physically and mentally) to him. ;D I found that so funny since I wasn’t aware of how much had changed. But, I’m not upset about it. I actually love it and I continue to embrace it. <3
However, the readjustment phase was hard, especially for the first month. I was jet-lagged for about a week after coming back. I would get tired at 8pm and wake up around 7-8am. That’s crazy for me since I’m a total night owl. I think one of the biggest readjustments for me was the food. In Italy, I was able to eat a lot without feeling bloated or super tired. However, when I came back here, I’d get full super quick and my taste for butter was almost gone. I don’t think the Italians use as much butter as we do, so the first time I had theatre popcorn when I came back was a kicker. I also miss the relaxed lifestyle from Italy and not rushing about everyday. With graduation coming up soon, I have a lot to think and worry about, so I’m definitely missing that freeing feeling I had over there.
After being back home for awhile now, I feel like I’ve gotten back into the groove of things and I’ve accepted the fact that my priceless, dreamlike experience is in fact over. I’m holding onto all my memories as best as I can, but I’m ready to move on to the next adventure in my life. Italy will always have a piece of my heart now, and one day, I’ll make it back to you <3