After 117 days which translates roughly to 4 months, the expiration day for my life in Firenze came. I only had one more day in the city that saw myself living away from home for the first time and I wasn’t planning on letting it go to waste.
I decided that this day was going to be all to myself. I wanted it to be all about being in touch with what feeds my soul.
I wake up at 6AM without even setting an alarm (Who am I?). Considering it all, I got ready pretty quickly and so by 8AM I’m already having breakfast at what I now call the most beautiful coffee shop I’ve ever been in. I begin my day by treating myself to the sweet taste of pancakes and the warm feeling of a cappuccino.
As I eat my breakfast I read a story from my most recent purchase: “The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis”. I bought this book back in Greece during Spring Break at the most quirky, ironic, cozy little book shop I’ve ever been in. This story is about a man who goes away to Germany to study german and some of the things he goes through while he’s at it. It reminds me of this semester.
Three girls about my age arrive and sit at the table besides me. They’re talking about their plans in Firenze for the summer and about how it’s their first week here.
They remind me of my roommates and I. Four months ago we were exactly like them: full of excitement about making the most about our (which now seems like very short) four months here.
As I leave the coffee shop I can’t help but feel nostalgic about this place. I whisper a last Ciao ! and let it disappear into the distance as I walk away.
One thing I never did by myself was really walking the streets of Firenze and letting myself become enchanted about what was in front of me. This day was for this too.
With no earphones on the architecture , trattorias, cathedrals, café bars, little terraces, tiny passageways and of course the people are more alive than ever. I let myself be immersed in the Italian lifestyle one last time.
During my walk I enter as many bookshops as I see. Some are large, others little and some appear in the form of little carts. Walking slowly by each section I fall in love with books I’ve never seen before. I also am reminded of how much I love the curiosity that arises from reading and learning and I struggle not to buy the books I see.
Firenze is known for its artistic atmosphere, which is what I like the most about it. During my semester here I loved weekends because I could see the city transform itself into an art museum: every piazza was filled with painters and sculptors alike showcasing their most recent work. Watercolors, oil paintings, acrylics, and sculptures all in different sizes, mediums, and done with contrasting styles were what filled the streets with color.
This last day I also walk by several artists and decide to buy a watercolor from one of them for my collection. As I’m paying for my piece I can’t help but compliment the artist’s work. We talk for a bit and I tell him about how I’ve been studying here for four months now and how I always saw his pieces and so today I was fulfilling the promise I made to myself to buy one. His face illuminates the same way anyone’s face does when they talk about the things they love. It’s in this moment that I realize that we as a society don’t compliment one another often enough and about the positive impact this could have in all of us.
On my way home I say goodbye to the Duomo, the cathedral, the carrousel at Piazza della Republica, Ponte Vecchio and the Arno River. I slow my pace so I can take it all in. This is my last day walking by Via Faenza, which was my every-day path back to the apartment I called home for the last four months.
The next day, at 4:30AM I’m leaving my little florentine apartment in the third floor of the building that I became so used to seeing every day. Nostalgia comes again. While I’m very happy to see my family again I also I’m a little sad about leaving this stage of my life behind. This place made me realize how home is not a place, but a feeling.
I promise myself to come back and make even more memories.