Home is everywhere

Finding comfort in a foreign land

“It’s getting late,” my friend shouted in my ear at a noisy, sweaty discoteca. I looked at my phone. It was 3:47, and I had to be up in less than five hours. It’s time to go home, I thought.

Home. The long walk back gave me a lot of time to think about that word. Home. As I stumbled through the dimly lit Piazza della Repubblica, I wondered, is Florence really my home now?

My first few weeks here were as rocky as the cobblestone streets. I cringe thinking about how proud I was when I successfully asked a woman for directions in Italian. “Dov’e’ il Duomo?” It was right behind me. How naive I was, filling up on pasta when two more courses were cooking in the kitchen.

But my host parents, Gloria and Antonio welcomed me into their casa with open arms, and I barely had time to miss my home back home. 

In Gloria and Antonio's kitchen

I got to thinking about what my family was doing just then. Minus six hours… 9:47 p.m., my mom was probably dozing off to the Home Shopping Network, while my dad was working away in his office.

What were my friends doing at school? Putting the finishing touches on their makeup, ripping shots…and strapping on the black-leather-studded choker? There was a biker-chick themed party tonight.

A Vespa sped by and I jumped onto the sidewalk. My heart was pounding. Home is where the heart is, and right now, my heart is entirely in Italy. Maybe it was the vino talking.

My entire life, I’ve called the same yellow house my home. But in the past few years, I probably have slept there a cumulative total of only a couple weeks. I spent more of my time in a dorm on South Campus, a high-rise in Midtown Manhattan, or more recently, a one-floor apartment on via Masaccio in Florence.

Every weekend, I jet off to a new city to discover something new. Strasbourg, Prague, Amsterdam (now that was new). After getting to intimately know a city for a weekend, I start to picture myself living there. Now I could call this home.

Come Sunday evening, I jingle the keys in the keyhole and fumble through the front door, a bursting overnight bag slung over my shoulder. Home again, in Florence.

I kick off my shoes and collapse onto my blue and green bedspread that has become so familiar. I think, an adventurous heart is at home anywhere.

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