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  • Writer's pictureLizzie Palma

As I Prepare for Study Abroad...

Updated: Jul 8, 2020

As 2019 begins and the countdown to my flight quickly winds down, I am slowly beginning to prepare for the next big adjustment in my life. I am flooded with nerves, emotions, excitement and dreams.

As I begin to mentally pack my bags and decide which outfits to pack and which shoes to - painfully - leave behind, I'm realizing that, like my clothes, my thoughts are exploding at the seams of, not only my suitcase, but my brain. How will I live out of two suitcases for a span of five months? What if I get homesick? What strangers will instantly become friends, or perhaps family? Will I get along with my roommates? How quickly can I pick up Italian?

These are the few thoughts that have been wandering so freely in my head. I have been a whirlwind of overthinking; but, mostly, I have become incredibly reflective and humbled as I begin to mentally and physically prepare myself to embark on this next chapter life has brought me.

I have reflected greatly on the past twenty years of my life, and am so grateful for my parents. What tough decisions have they made in the past 20 years that have brought me to where I am today? My parents have given me more than I could ever give back. In giving me luxury, blessings, love and support, they have also given me tough love. Have our screaming matches taught me invaluable lessons about life? Have all the moments I swore my parents had no idea how to relate to things I was going through as a teenage Madonna, fought them back under my breath, rolled my eyes and walked away actually meant something?

For all the times I immaturely thought that my parents would unreasonably tell me "no" among the thousand other "yeses" they gave me in life. For all that they are. For all that they have done. For all that they continue to do. I am eternally grateful. They have coddled me when I needed to be, they have supported me even when they didn't agree and have given me tough love when it was appropriate. I am strong because the foundation from which I am rooted is concrete.

In just a week and a half, I'll be across the pond following my wildest dreams. I have dreamt among the clouds my whole life. How lucky am I to have parents who have, not only, always told me to reach for the stars, but have always made my stars feel in reach even when they once seemed lightyears away?

I am thankful that I have parents that allow me to enjoy the fruits of their labor. I plan to turn this fruit into a garden, and give my parents back even just a half of what they have given me my whole life.

I am so humbled by the cards dealt to me in this lifetime. I understand this next journey in life is not a privilege, but a blessing. I am excited for all that is still to come, for all that is still yet to be, and for all that I am still destined to become.

These are my thoughts as I prepare for my departure.

10 days. In ten days time, I'll touchdown in Italy and I'll begin the best five months of my life. I'll eat all the pasta and pizza I can, drink as much Italian wine possible and dance my heart away in the streets of Europe. As I twirl my way along, I'll remember to pause every few moments, look around and take some mental pictures. I'll want to remember the good ol' days while I'm still in them.

Follow my blogs and travel diaries, and keep up with me in Milan. Amongst all the emotions and chaos, together we'll laugh, we'll cry and we'll talk lots of Italian wine.

Lastly, if it wasn't obvious enough, here is my special shoutout:

Mom and Dad,

You have given me more in the past 20 years than most people get in a lifetime. Thank you for this dream. I love you both, and I'll carry you with me as I travel the world.




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