April 13th, 2014

Life abroad, attempting to carve a niche into a foreign place, amidst foreign people is a difficult and ever exhausting task. Every day is a struggle, one of the best struggles I have ever been blessed enough to take part in, but still a struggle all the same. Every day is a battle, some more successful than others, but even the battles lost are they in themselves a victory. Making the leap over seas is a thousand steps forward, to lose a day is maybe ten steps back. No matter how many days don’t go my way, I am still over 6000 miles successfully out of my comfort zone. Every step I take treads new ground. I am stretching and growing and that can be a painful process, but one I gladly undergo knowing I will emerge a different person forged by fire.

Exhausted is a word I don’t think I have ever used as much as I have this last week. Mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted. It is easy to say that, but hard to explain that I have probably never been happier. It is the exhaustion of a day well spent. Bone tired, fall into bed with your clothes still on exhausted, but all the while knowing, deeply satisfied in your heart that the exhaustion comes from not a second wasted. This is my everyday.

Today is the mark of my first week completed in Rome. Today was the third day of my intensive Italian Practicum class. Today was the first time I got to take a break. It has been raining almost all week and today I decided to just take a breather. Go home, make myself a cup of coffee and read Moby Dick while watching the rain fall outside. It was a glorious day.


It is so easy to forget to breathe when there is so much to do, so much to see, and so much homework waiting to be done. Sitting in my living room, in my apartment on Cola di Rienzo, leaning on the window sill looking down the street that I now call home with a cracked tea cup full of coffee, I am able to sit back and realize how great the exhaustion is. It has been hard at times to feel excited about being so drained, so tired at the end of everyday, fighting to stay awake and go out and explore. But running my finger across the coffee stained crack in my tea cup I began to understand. This mug was used before me by the previous owner of the apartment, Americans, Romans, I do not know. The remnant of their presence left in the few dishes they left behind, in the earthy colored crack that scarred the porcelain cup. It had seen hardship, it had been marked by whatever had made the crack, some experience unseen and unknown to me that I now saw the aftermath of in a slender mark. It was changed, altered, by what had occurred, but it did not break. It survived as I will survive, even when it gets tough and I feel like I am falling apart at the seams, I will be changed, but never ruined.

So it is with my coffee in hand and a week in Rome behind me that I continue forward excited and anticipatory for what is to come. For now the rain will fall and I will sit, taking in every raindrop as a token, a well appreciated gift.


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