A Year In Florence: Bittersweet



I can't believe that it's been a year since I left Cebu... and I can't believe that I've been staying in Florence for a year now! Living here has been a privilege. I can't complain. Italy is such a beauty! My younger self would have never imagined that I would stay in Italy for a certain period. Nor did I expect to win a design competition and earn myself a scholarship for a Master's Degree! 

With Jesse. He played a very big role on everything and helped me all the way, even up to now. :)

with Deniece and Kat

I remember when I saw the competition, I said to myself there is no way that I would win. Then I said to myself, there is no harm in trying. So I made my entry in 3 days. Just in time for the last day of submission of entries. Last year, when I got the news that I won, I still wasn't sure if I would be able to obtain a student visa for some reasons. While I submitted my visa application, I said to myself that I will start studying Italian when I get my visa back. I waited for my visa for days, and then weeks, and then months, until my school started. I lost hope and thought that they might not grant me my visa. A few days after, they finally released my visa! Since I was already 2 weeks behind my classes, I decided to have my flight a week after. It's just enough for me to prepare my documents, visit the bank, the dentist, and pack my things. It was a hectic week. The day of departure came. My close friends dropped me off at the airport. I was feeling fine at first but when I finally said goodbye and turned my back against them... my heart was so heavy and tears started rolling down my face. I was heart broken. 

My first photo of myself in Florence. I look so lost. XD

I had two stop overs, Bangkok and Switzerland, before reaching Florence. My Bangkok to Switzerland flight was the longest flight. While I was on the plane to Switzerland, something suddenly came into my mind. I said to myself, "What the heck am I doing? I don't know anyone in Italy, I didn't study about Florence on how it works there, and I don't know how to speak Italian!" I wasn't prepared at all! I got so anxious, scared, and also excited at the same time. Moving to Florence unprepared is probably one of the craziest things that I did!  Read about the 10 things I learned from the Italians.

with Mia, Luca, Rie, and our teacher, Mr. Bicci

with Laura, my first roommate

Finally, I was able to catch up with my classes in school. I made a few new friends at school. Also, my roommates and I got really close. I explored other parts of Italy, went to UK to see my mom, and also visited Spain. I traveled so much during my school year, and I was really happy! Until late January. It was the coldest month in Florence. I haven't been going out because it was too cold, my roommate wasn't there, and so I started to feel so lonely. I thought I had a seasonal depression. It was the first winter in my life. I'm not sure but I was really sad and uninspired. I started to feel homesick, I missed my family, my friends, everyone that I care for so much. I guess it's normal for someone who's alone in a different country to feel this way. Luckily, I made new friends again who are very outgoing and Florence started to feel like home. It was in late March when I decided to stay longer in Florence. 

with Jesse and Kat

Everything was going well. I finished my studies and I enrolled myself to a language school to seriously learn Italian. Then all of my friends, like all of them, left Florence. Again, I felt so lonely. Even when I was with my Italian friends, I somehow still felt so lonely. It's really hard to express yourself in a language that is very new to you and I found it really hard to connect with them too. I even had thoughts of going back to Cebu because I miss my friends back home. But then again, I said to myself that I should keep going and work towards my goal. What keeps me going are my friends and family. They are always telling me how proud they are of me. I may not have everyone here but I have everyone around the world. 

Finally got my diploma!

Right now, I already got my Master's Degree Diploma. I have my internship with an Italian Furniture Designer, Leonardo Rossano. I also have a part-time job that really pushed me to work hard. When I get home and don't feel tired, I try to continue studying Italian or work on my own projects. I know my schedule is really packed right now but I know this is only temporary and this will also help me reach my dreams. 

with Marco, Maurice, Tommaso, and Xiao

with Elizabetta, my second roommate

with Kristin

I won't lie. I struggled a lot during my stay here. From the language barrier, to the paper work, up to being totally independent in a totally different country. Despite the struggles, I learned a lot of new things that I didn't know I was capable of before. I was able to build friendship to people from different parts of the world! 




There will always be uncertainties specially when growth seems to be unapparent. However, I realized that you won't grow when you're comfortable. Everything is always difficult at first. It's always a matter of not giving up. Looking back at myself from day one up to now, I have to say that I've learned so much and I've grown so much. Bittersweet because I miss everyone that I love but , then again, I am very grateful because living in Florence gave me so many opportunities in life. This wouldn't be possible if I didn't try in the first place. :)




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4 comments

  1. miss you, chup!!!

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  2. It is plain indeed that in spite of later falling-out Hobbits are relatives of ours: far nearer to us than Elves, or even than the languages of Menfolk, after their own style, and liked and disliked much the same things as Males did. But what exactly our affiliation is can no longer be discovered.

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  3. I'm in my usual state up here in the interpretation box: high tension, heart beating like a trip hammer, whatever that is. I never did say that you can't be a nice guy and win. I said that if I was in performance third base and my momma rounded third with the winning run, I'd trip her up.

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