Indiana University Overseas Study

AnnMarieS

My time left in Florence has dwindled to minutes. In just 125 short ones I’ll be waving goodbye to the Duomo from the window of a taxi, headed to the Florence airport. Over the past few days I’ve been frequently voicing my regrets about not having scheduled an earlier flight home so that I could spend more time with my family before heading to Bloomington for the second summer session—I can say now, I have no regrets.

View from the Boboli Gardens

View from the Boboli Gardens

Some of our group left yesterday to tackle the rest of Europe via plane, train and bus; others have family coming to visit and to travel elsewhere with them; I, however, am headed back to Indiana, where I will spend one day at home before heading to Bloomington. This morning, the other members of the group who would be returning home on flights that departed before the sun came up began shuffling luggage at 4:45am, and by 9am only a few of us remained in good old Hotel Villani—where we scrunched around one dining room table, savoring the last sugar-dusted croissants and Nutella. Now, an hour later, I am seated on a bench in the Boboli gardens reflecting on my time in Italy.

I’ve wanted to visit the gardens since the second week but haven’t gotten around to it due to weekend traveling and class throughout the week. Since I had time to drink in the last of Florence, I laced up my Nikes, filled my 2L water bottle and hit the road.

On the way here, I didn’t walk as quickly as I usually do. Typically watching me navigate the city of Florence by foot is comparable to watching someone play Mario bros.—I jump over things, sprint around people, and trip on cobblestones every 20 steps. But today, I am not in a rush. I took time to notice little wonders like the fruit vendors, the smell of pastries and the tranquil stillness of an empty street. Florence finally caught on to the whole “summer weather” thing about a week ago, so I was sweating when I reached the garden—the perfect reason to claim a bench and just relax for a minute.

Yesterday was a rush-rush hurry-hurry day with finals and packing and trying to squeeze in last-minute must-sees. So my mind and feet are really appreciating this load off—this time on a bench, essentially in a park. It’s the little things that I’ve begun notice and fully appreciate which make these past 6 weeks so beautifully worthwhile.

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