So, today is my last day in North Carolina before I head out to Florence, Italy! Part of me is still not grasping the concept that in a day, I will be almost halfway around the world (from Los Angeles); and the other part of me is literally about to jump out of my skin from excitement. (And then a really really little part of me right now is sad about how I won't be able to listen to Pandora outside of the US because I am such a Pandora addict). Ever since freshman year of USC, I wanted to participate in the study abroad program that our animation department offers for students, so now that I'm finally about to head off to Italy I can barely contain myself.
To be honest, even after taking a semesters worth of Italian, I still know very little about the country and culture, so I'm not quite sure what I should be expecting. My time in Hong Kong this past winter has taught me to put aside my "american" standards and upbringing, so I hope that I will be able to do the same here. Going to Italy will be more of a challenge though, because even though I still had to go through adjustment in Hong Kong, my Chinese upbringing has made it fairly easy for me to transition. Italy, on the other hand, is a world that I have only begun to explore. I want to arrive in Florence with an open heart and mind and learn all that I possibly can about Italians, art, culture, history, and anything else I can manage to get my hands on. Despite the stereotype of Florence being a highly "americanized" and "touristy" city, I want to go out of my way to learn as much about the local life, culture, and language as I can. I mean, I'm not going to Italy to be American.
I do know what I'm excited about though! I'm so excited to attend a full-on art school for the first time, and I know that I am about to meet really, really amazing and talented people/friends. I cannot wait to immerse myself in the city that I have heard so much about through my art history lessons in high school, and traveling!!! Not only in Italy, but around Europe. I absolutely will not leave without seeing the alps in Switzerland, or the Christmas Markets in Munich. And the best part is that I will be sharing this experience with a good number of my animation classmates and friends from USC!
And before I head off to bed, here is a picture of my slow but sure progress in packing :)