Addie’s not in Italy anymore.

Italy was my never land. I managed to move to another country to postpone the idea that I had to grow up and figure out what the hell I was doing with my life. For four months I tested the limits of just how much trouble I could get into without speaking the language, lived without a care in the world and never thought about what was ahead.

What was ahead was graduation, a functioning car, a job, an apartment, an adventure just as big as Italy.

I thought it was appropriate to move on now. I’m not in Italy anymore. I look out my window at the parking lot next door not Palazzo Signora over the rooftops. I can’t find a train that will take me to Venice on the weekends, just Cleveland and piazza doesn’t come in the shape of a heart anymore.

I’m no longer living in Italy, I’m not in college anymore, I’ve moved onto my next great adventure and that’s experiencing what life has to offer when you wake up before noon. For the first time in a long time a sunrise means the start of a new day, not the end of an evening and my morning alarm is no longer a choice.

This blog is now for everyone that has forgotten the constant struggle of being in the most awkward part of their life and for those of you who get to look forward to a daily fight with an alarm clock, not knowing what you want and figuring out who you really are.

I’m not going to pretend I have it all figured out but I’m learning to piece it together one day at a time.

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The Real World

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Don’t worry, I know my life seems much less exciting from the outside now that I am no longer living my fairytale in Italy and getting into trouble on a regular basis but on my end of things life remains exciting settling into northeast Ohio. So here’s the update:

I finished off 2014 with a bang and now I’m proud to say that I started the year off on the right foot. At the first of the year I decided to get very serious about finding a job as my bank account was being admitted into intensive care, Barney (my car) decided to have a new problem every day and I’m pretty sure my parents began to love me less each day I was at home all day, every day. (Although my relationship with Netflix had never been better.) 

After nearly a week of rigorous job hunting (clicking “apply” on every single job that sounded like they would hire me and a few interviews for what I’m convinced is a cult) I got my big break – a job offer from Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics. For those of you who don’t know, I was an intern for PPL over the summer and loved every second of it but it turns out that telecommuting interns are frowned upon so I had to stop working prior to leaving for Italy. But don’t worry, because I’m back at it. I have a job, a title and a desk, (I even fashioned my own “office” with a “window” overlooking the “beach” – see photo) as far as I’m concerned it doesn’t get more official than that.

I’m now as grown-up as I’ll ever be. I wake up well before noon everyday, shower and get dressed – pants and all, I drink coffee because I need it not just because I feel cool walking around with a Starbucks cup and I talk about my day at the office (mostly because I feel cool).

I’ve got big things behind me but a lot of wonderful things to come. With a job will come a new car, the first apartment my parents won’t pay the rent for and, well, the rest of my life.

The past six months have offered me Italy, college graduation and my first job; I can’t wait to see what the next six months have in store for me.

In case you were wondering, I miss Italy more than words can describe but I still talk to a few Matteo’s, I start sentences with “allora” and say “va bene” instead of “okay”. Also, I’m eating pasta again.

Here’s to you, 2014

Yes, I am 22, unemployed, and living at home. It’s not exactly how I planned to round out my year but I couldn’t be happier about it.

2014 has been one of the most amazing years of my life and I don’t feel the need to brag about why I’ve had such an incredible year but I’m going to take this opportunity to outline the most important lessons 2014 has taught me.

5. I don’t care what people think of me. This has never been a focus in my life but somehow it has always been lurking in my mind. I’ve tried to be cool, I’ve tried to be a rebel but what works best of me is me. I’m weird and nerdy and quite possibly the most sociably awkward being alive but it is what it is and I am what I am. The best part about it is that I love what I am. From singing at the top of my lungs when I know full well I’m tone deaf (to say the least) to broadcasting my italian love life over the internet I’ve learned this year that I have officially grown to not give shit about what someone thinks of me.

4. I learned that my parents may just be the best in the world. I know that I was far from perfect growing up (and possibly even farther from perfect now) but my parents have never lost faith in me. I’ve asked for many things in life that I’ve never gotten but there has never been an experience I have been denied because my parents have always been there to encourage me, to support me and to love me. Above all the thing I’ve come to love most about my parents is that they have raised me to be nothing other than myself.

3. Life is what you make it. Sure, it may be a line from a Hannah Montana song but that doesn’t make it any less true. You could handed the most amazing opportunities in life but they will mean nothing if you don’t make the best of them. There is no room in life for negativity and bullshit. Make the most out of every day, every opportunity and everything you have.

2. You never stop learning. I’ve recently graduated from college and it is more than terrifying to me. For as long as I can remember the primary focus in my life was school, studying, cramming and learning. I would go to school forever if someone would keep paying for me, unfortunately since that doesn’t seem to be an option, I’ve had to learn one of the most important lessons ever and that is that I never have to stop learning, it’s just up to me now.

1. I learned to be happy. And I learned that happiness is not that hard to find. I couldn’t tell you why or how but this year I seem to have decided to see everything in a positive light. I don’t know that I was ever a pessimist before but I never saw the world this way. It’s a little change that has made more of a difference in my life than anything before. I’ve learned to find the positive in every situation, be grateful for everything in life and live every day the way I want to. It may have something to do with the fact that I have never cared less about what people think of me or that I’ve never been more thankful for anything in my life but each day is suddenly everything I want it to be and more.

2014 is a year that will be hard to top but I’m looking forward to everything that 2015 has to offer. So, here’s to you, 2015. And a huge thank you to everyone that made 2014 the amazing year that it was.

Just Hold On, I’m Coming Home.

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“I’ll be home for Christmas”

I’m “Homeward Bound”

“Goin’ Home” today

“Mamma, I’m Coming Home”

because I “Feel Like Going Home”

The plane will “Take Me Home Tonight”

Alright, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, today is my last day in Italy. I’ve packed all of my stuff into four of the now heaviest suitcases known to man. The last four months have flown by and soon I will be boarding a plane in sunny Tuscany and landing in snowy Ohio.

I’m excited to see my family, be home for Christmas and eat something other than pasta. I can’t wait to cuddle with my cat and sleep in real sized bed but leaving my new life here is more than bitter-sweet.

Leaving Ohio wasn’t nearly as emotional for me. When I left Ohio in August I knew the date of my return. I knew when I would see everyone again, when I would be back to sleep in my own bed and when I would return to life as I left it. I left Ohio feeling nothing but excitement for what was ahead. Leaving Florence isn’t like that. I don’t know when I’ll be back. I don’t know if I’ll ever get the opportunity to come back. Today I have to say goodbye to everything I’ve come to know and love in a city that I can now call home.

I’ve said goodbye to David and Venus, Palazzo Vecchio and Santa Croce. I’ve stood under the dome for one last time and crossed the Ponte Vecchio once more. I’ve been all over the city saying goodbye to everything and experiencing my favorite things for a final time. I’ve said goodbye to the friends I have made here and I will miss seeing them and talking to them everyday.

This semester has been everything I could have imagined and more. I knew that I loved Italy but I was not prepared for just how much I would love everything about being here. I’ve met wonderful people and have had a lifetime of once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

I never expected that saying goodbye to my professors, my classes and KSU Florence would be so difficult. I’ve learned more here in four months than I did in my four years of college in Ohio. I don’t think I’ll ever really be ready to leave. There will always be a special place in my heart for Palazzo dei Cerchi and everyone there.

I could not have asked for a better way to close this chapter of my life. Now I’ve graduated from college and am starting out on a blank page. I don’t know when I’ll be back but I know someday I will have to return to visit my home away from home in Florence, Italy.

My Rules for Dating in a Foreign Country

I’ve noticed that my most popular blog posts are the ones where I outline just how awkward my life is, whether that be a story about drinking gallons of beer or dating a band of married men. So I’ve decided to give the people what they want.

These are my rules (that you probably shouldn’t follow) for dating in a foreign country. But hey, I’ve got a better track record than Amanda Knox.

1) Tinder works around the world. For those of you who don’t know, Tinder is an app for your smartphone that combines my two favorite things; judging people and people pay attention to me. This miraculous invention has one up on Netflix because it actually works around the globe.

2) Create an alter ego. Adeline Smith is the all-American version of me that allowed me to hide every personal bit of information. I did not want anyone to find out where I lived, went to school or who my friends are so I had a Facebook that looked exactly like me real one without any information and a different last name. It allowed me to simply “delete” anyone from my life anytime I wanted – it came in handy.

3) First date = good food. Much like I used underclassmen for swipe dates in the dining halls, I used first dates as an excuse for someone to buy me good food in Florence. Here’s how it works: only go out with them once, after the first date they expect more from you and the food is considerably less delicious. (My favorite trick was to tell each guy that I had never had the famous Florentine steak – that I LOVE but don’t have the money to buy for myself – nine times out of ten they would say it was unacceptable that I had never had one and would buy it for me.)

4) If they stop you on the street to tell you that you’re pretty, they aren’t nice, they’re creepy. Don’t date them.

5) If they’re more than twice your age and try to talk to you, they aren’t nice, they’re creepy. Don’t date them.

6) Don’t take any “gifts” people try to give you. Nothing in life is free.

7) ALWAYS ask if they are married. I was naive enough to assume this was a given but I was proven wrong more than once. I’ve learned to ask first.

8) Better yet, ask if they are single. Monogamy doesn’t seem to be a big thing here.

9) Don’t worry too much if you’re dating someone that doesn’t speak the same language. There’s an app for that.

 

 

Prague, Amsterdam and Munich, Oh My!

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There is nothing I love more in life than going somewhere I’ve never been. This semester has offered me a chance to see a world I’ve never had the chance to see before. I’ve gotten to meet new people, learn new customs and see new things all around Europe.

I’ve gotten to venture all around Italy (thank God for trains), around Europe (no thanks to busses or cheap airlines) and I have loved every second of it.

This semester I not only got to live and learn in Italy, I got to travel to see places I had never seen before.

Munich – I’m not going to lie, Germany has never been one of my favorite places. The sky always seems to be grey, the buildings look ominous and I can’t stand the food. This time around I was pleasantly surprised by my appreciation of Germany. I traveled to Munich for Oktoberfest because, beer. Munich turned out to be a lot of fun, the people were more than nice and the sun was bright and shining that day. (I still didn’t find anything I liked to eat.)

Prague – it was the first time I had been to Prague, the first time in the Czech Republic and my first time in a formerly communist country. I wasn’t sure what to expect of the city but I loved it. Prague is made up of a mix of different styles of art and architecture and they all blend together to create one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen. (Also a plus, beer is cheaper than water in the Czech Republic.) It’s always a fun place to be with clubs and bars on every corner. Prague is even the home of the largest club in Central Europe. A club that is 5 floors, each with a different theme. My favorite was the “Disco” floor that featured a 50s American motif but played mostly Michael Jackson and Madonna.

Amsterdam – this city is better than Disney World. It’s a playground for young people avoiding all responsibility in life, a demographic I identify with too much at this point in time. It’s the most open and relaxed place I’ve ever been and the home of one of my favorite museums I’ve ever set foot in. I did learn two very important lessons in life, hostel life is not the life for me and all airlines are not created equally. It could have something to do with how cheaply I traveled, but my 30 euro flights each way did not exactly stand up to the United quality I’ve come to know and love. No presidents club or priority boarding for me. And as far as hostels go, fourteen of my closest strangers sleeping on bunk beds in one room does not exactly tickle my fancy. Just to add insult to injury I was one of the only girls in the hostel, the rest were boys and boys don’t smell pretty. There was no boys and girls bathroom, just the bathroom. I learned the cleaning schedule quickly and showered right after the cleaning staff in hazmat suits finished.

Times They are a-Changin’

In the immortal words of Bob Dylan: “you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone for the times they are a-changin’”

I have been putting off the idea that I will have to graduate college; I have been denying the reality that I will have to leave Italy and I have been avoiding becoming a mature adult more than one would avoid the plague in the 1350s. I can’t avoid or deny any longer, the countdown has begun.

Today I attended my last class of my undergraduate career. I’m officially done with school.

In the next 10 days I will go from being a college student in Italy, to a college graduate living the glamourous life of an un-employed adult living with her parents in Ohio.

In other words: I better start swimmin’ right about now.