Docking in at Dartmouth Again!
Over the summer, I had the opportunity of a lifetime: living in Rome on study abroad! And as someone who's never traveled abroad before, this was a HUGE deal for me. While I can't do the experience justice with a brief summary, I'll save the full story for a future post—stay tuned! ;)
Long story short, we traveled across the country, seeing the differences in dialects, customs, cuisine, and interpersonal relationships present in the different regions. We pushed our memories to the limit by learning 2 Italian courses in ten weeks. We saw the most beautiful structures built by human hands (with most looking like they were built by some divine being). My favorite part about the experience was the communal aspect of living with friends in an apartment, where we cooked together, watched Italian movies together, and even staged a fake wedding for two of the people on our program! While it was definitely my favorite summer on the books, by the end I was feeling a little homesick; I wanted to sleep in my own bed, with my childhood comforter that smells like home, and I wanted to hear the familiar sound of the dinner bell as my dad finishes cooking gumbo for the family.
However, when I returned home, it wasn't as comforting as I thought it would be: the days passed too quickly, and before I knew it, I was traveling back to campus again. On the plane, I wished I had more time at home to regain my footing back in the US before classes started. That is until we drove up to campus and the wave of nostalgia surged through me.
It wasn't long before I was running up to my friends in FOCO, our main dining hall, to give them the biggest hugs after being apart all summer. Joy flooded through me while seeing something as simple as people playing spike ball on the green or having picnics together. After some reflection, I've realized that Dartmouth is that grounding, homely place I was yearning for. After being back for only a week, I already feel my familiar routine kicking in, my adventurous spirit returning, and my Dartmouth community encircling and accepting the person I am after a momentous change like living abroad. Dartmouth, I'm so glad to be home!