I arrived home via plane on May 6th. My mom met me at the airport, where she patiently waited for me to say goodbye to the people that I had grown close to over the past four months. There were no balloons, posters or fanfare, but I didn’t want any of that anyway.

Directly after leaving the airport, my mom took me to one of my absolute favorite places to eat: Portillo’s. So, yes, I was back in the States for an hour and I was already sitting down to have a cheeseburger, fries and chocolate shake. Do you have a problem with that?

My family isn’t big on making a big deal out of things. Yes, they were excited to see me, no it was not necessary to have a party. I was just happy to be home and give my dad a hug and pet my dog and see the look on my sister’s face when I gave her the beret I bought her in France (she loved it. I wish everyone was as easy to shop for as her!).

I guess that I assimilated back into life in the U.S.A. relatively easily. I mean, I kind of had to. A week went by and before I knew it I was moving into my apartment for the summer. I’ve since settled in, started my internship at Healthy Schools Campaign and also started my job at Gap as a sales associate. Summer has started and it feels somewhat strange to ride the el downtown every day to go to work. But this is what growing up is all about, right?

However, I must admit that I’m Romesick. The slight grasp that I had on the Italian language is fleeting, my cravings for Nutella and cappucini have yet to subside and I miss all of the wonderful people that I met and lived with for four months.

I miss being able to travel with ease from one European country to another. I long for the days and nights spent talking, laughing and running around without a care in the world. Yes, I was a guest in Italy. But I do have to admit that it felt like home.

There isn’t a way for me to summarize  my entire semester abroad in a way that would do it justice. If you have been reading, you know that I  traveled to eight countries (including Vatican City) and countless cities, tried new foods and spoke different languages than my own. I maneuvered public transit in each city and problem solved when it came to getting to and from the airport, figuring out ways to save money and trying out ways of communicating in languages that I did not understand. I learned that by traveling  with someone,  you see their true colors. I become accustomed to hostel beds and little personal space.

What did this teach me though? Studying abroad taught me that, like anything, the experiences you have are what you make of them. Some people sulked all the time and focused on the negative things. I immersed myself into the culture of Rome and Italy and made new friends. I learned that students will fully embrace the lower drinking age while abroad. I learned that in spite of the aforementioned fact, I kept my promise to myself (I promised myself that I would never taste alcohol or try any kind of drug… simple, right?).

This is where I end this blog. I’m still conflicted about how I feel being back in the United States. I missed my family and friends so much. Now I just have to figure out how my these two separate parts of my life are going to fit together.

I’d like to personally thank everyone that has read this blog and provided feedback about my writing style and content. It was nice knowing that people were interested in the things that I had to say.

Well, ciao for now, readers!


About Austin Sears

I'm a junior at Loyola University Chicago majoring in sociology and minoring in urban studies and photography. The purpose of this blog is to document my semester abroad in Rome!
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1 Response to Finito.

  1. grandma marge says:

    I absolutely loved reading your blogs and some I read twice. My brother Ray and his wife Janice loved reading them also, and we would discuss them over breakfast on Wednesday morning at Perkins in Kenosha. They live in Kenosha and my sister Barb and I then go shopping to Woodmans. I know your busy but I’m going to miss hearing what your doing. Your pictures were great!!

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