Last weekend, I finally watched The Assisi Underground, the movie adaptation of one of the books I read while researching my honors thesis at Kenyon and then again just before I left for Assisi last year. It was a very good adaptation, but more than that, it was really interesting to watch the movie, which was filmed in Assisi, and say, over and over again, “I’ve been there. And there. And there. Wow! That’s where my favorite restaurant is now.” Granted, I made a point of going all over Assisi in search of the important places in the book, but I still didn’t expect the movie to strike me quite in this way.
I have been home from Italy for about two and a half months now. I’ve tried several times to write new posts for this blog about various writing topics, but obviously I wasn’t all that successful, so I decided to talk instead about what I’ve been up to this summer.
I spent most of July catching up on the doctor and dentist appointments I’d been neglecting, which was a good thing, because I also managed to get every kind of sick I can possibly think of that month. I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo as well, trying to get myself back in the groove of writing, and though I got pretty behind thanks to being sick, I caught up and completed my goal. It’s been a while since I’ve felt that surge of energy that comes with some real momentum on a writing project, but unfortunately I didn’t keep that momentum up in August because I have also been studying hard for the LSAT. I’ve been improving steadily, and I’m feeling pretty confident about the test at this point. I’m taking the test in the beginning of October, and in the meantime I’m going to keep doing practice tests, refining my list of prospective schools, and starting the application process.
I’ve also been talking a lot about my experiences in Italy. I wrote this Facebook post for the U.S.-Italy Fulbright Administration for the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I gave a presentation at the New Hampshire Association for the Blind about living independently and self-advocacy abroad. And last week, I was interviewed by Mobility International USA (I’ll post the link to the article once I have it). And, of course, I’ve been catching up with friends and family and talking with them about my year.
One of the questions I have been asked most often is, “So, are you glad to be home?”
And yes, I really am glad to be home. Reliable air conditioning and hot showers and internet are still amazing to me, and I definitely don’t miss feeling like cars are chasing me down the sidewalk.
But watching The Assisi Underground and seeing the city where I lived for nine months made me realize there are some things I definitely do miss about Italy. I miss being five minutes walk from the center of Santa Maria debli Angeli, and I miss how active that town center is. It’s so rare to see people in America walking downtown just for the sake of walking, and the couple of squares downtown where I live are virtually unused, unlike the main piazza in front of the basilica. On nice days, I would sit in the piazza with a book, and there would be people sitting talking all around me. Kids played soccer in the center of the piazza or rode bikes in great loops around everybody else.
I miss the food, especially the gelato. And even though I said I wasn’t going to eat pasta again for a long time because I had so much of it in Italy, that resolution lasted all of a week. I’ve been trying out some recipes my Italian friends have given me, with some success. I’ve gotten pretty good at the gnocchi with black truffel sauce, mostly because I brought a lot of truffle sauce back with me. Other recipes I’m trying I feel like something is missing.
I miss speaking Italian. I’ve pretty much switched from speaking a lot of Italian but not writing to only writing Italian and not speaking it at all. Except with Mopsy.
Most of all, I miss all the people I became friends with in Italy. I’m keeping in touch with a lot of them, but the time zone makes it difficult—I’m not sure if it’s harder being here or there—and it’s just not the same.
When I was in Italy, it was hard. There were plenty of times when I was lonely or angry or een I just wanted to turn around and go home. I haven’t forgotten that. But I also gained some perspective—something everyone told me I would do—something I even told others I would do. Because there were a lot of good things about this past year, and on the whole, it really was a valuable experience.
So yes, I’m glad to be home. I’m very glad to be home. But I’m also glad that I have this perspective and that I am now truly able to appreciate the incredible year I just had. And I am glad there are things that I miss.