Greetings From Florence

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

It's a crazy feeling when something you have been waiting for finally happens. I knew from the beginning of my freshman year at TCU that I wanted to study abroad. I saved certain credits that would be easier to do aboard (like electives and my fine art credit vs. trying to do a science credit. Since I can’t take education classes aboard, I had to get certain classes done before I left. Even though I had been planning for the possibility of study abroad, I went back and forth between doing a semester or just a summer trip. I also went back and forth between studying aboard in London or in Florence. Once I decided on Florence and got my acceptance into the program, it became a little bit more “real” but I always saw it was something happening in the distance. Well let me tell you, that it became very “real” these past few days.

Everyone asked me if I was excited this week, and I hated answering for fear of disappointment. Honestly, I was far from excited this week. Which I also felt guilty about…. how could I not be excited for study aboard in Italy?? People would love to be in the position that I am in, and I am truly thankful to have this opportunity.

I think why I was not too excited because I finally realized what I was doing…saying goodbye to my home for 16 weeks. Saying goodbye to my home is something I have never had to do if you think about it.  Sure I left “home” for college, but TCU is closer to my house than my high school!! It’s not like I go home all the time but since I am in Fort Worth I always have the option to come home.

I don’t think I cried when I left for college, but I have certainly cried a lot this week! I guess it is the fear of the unknown. But then I just want to laugh at myself for having this fear. There has never been a moment in my life when God has not been by my side or blown away my expectations. Why would I think He would leave me now?

After all my emotions and thoughts this week, I kept telling myself, “I just have to get there.” I just have to sit on the plane and know I can’t prepare anymore for this trip and relax. Well the journey “to get there” started this morning. I woke up, packed some last minute things, and headed to the airport! I made the family stop at Whataburger for one last meal and Dr. Pepper (my vice) and boy did it taste good! Getting to the airport seemed liked it took forever, and trying to get a decent “going away” picture also to forever (#kayleighprobs). There was a TCU advertisement on the screen behind me. It took us multiple shots to get the “TCU” in the background….it moved so quick! Checking in went pretty smooth, my luggage was only 6lbs over! This was a proud moment for this over packer. I hit 50lbs mark on trips just for a week, and to only miss the mark by 6lbs for a whole semester made me happy. I was able to transfer some things over to my carry on to avoid the fee. Next came the hard part…….my final goodbyes. This moment was really hard for me, I felt like such a mess for crying and I’m pretty I almost had a mental breakdown walking through security. While I’m thankful we have safety measures, going through security was a workout with all my stuff!! After saying my goodbyes and trying to quickly get my stuff in and out of my bags I was a little flustered. Once I got to my gate, I was lucky to be able to check my (stuffed to the brim) duffle bag in. This was such a blessing to not have to lug it all around the airport!

The flight to Atlanta went quick! I slept for most of the ride there. We arrived 30 minutes early, which gave me extra time to get to my next gate. Finding my way through an airport by myself was something I was nervous about. I easily found my next gate and had plenty of time to spare!  I looked around at the shops then settled in at the Starbucks till it was time to board.

From Atlanta I headed to Paris! I watched The Last Ride, the new Disney Cinderella, Top Gun, and currently The Notebook (I’m a sucker for anything Nicholas Sparks). They provided a free dinner that wasn’t too bad and I actually had the whole way on the plane to myself. It’s nice not having to worry about being in anyone’s personal bubble for the long flight. The screen on the back of the seat has a map that shows where the plane is and the time to arrival.  I have 2 hours and 17 minutes left on this plane. I then hop on a plane to Florence! 

Once I got to the Paris airport, I had to go through security and customs before my next flight! Both went smoothly. I did forgot I had some water in my water bottle that I had to chug down real quick! One I got to my terminal, I got a little treat from the Ladurée cart. When I approached my gate, I ran into some of my TCU friends! It was nice seeing some familiar faces! The flight from Paris to Florence was quick and we even got a chocolate croissant (Made me think of my mom!). Once we landed, grabbed our bags (Praise they didn't get lost!), and found a taxi we headed to the ACCENT center to check in. Once I was given our apartment location and keys, I headed to my new home!

At the apartment, it took me a few minutes messing with the keys to open the door to my building. Once inside, I lugged my bags to the third floor. In this moment I wish I had that Italian boyfriend that everyone thinks I will find! (No worries Tim Tebow, my heart still belongs to you!) When I got to the third floor, It came to my attention that I went up the wrong flight of stairs. My heart broke a little in that moment. I carried my bags back down the stairs, and down the hall to the correct flight of stairs. When I got to my door, and got the key to work (user error?) I felt like I had just finished a race and I probably looked like it too! I was the first one to get to the apartment. It's nice and roomy! I started to unpack and waited for the other roommates arrived. Once two of them got here and settled (they made the same stair error as me) we headed out for lunch and some street walking. We found a little bistro with some yummy pasta! We then went on a search for some shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. We then came back to the room to wait for Madi to arrive. Later on, we ventured out again for dinner... this time we found pizza! 

I'm now in my room ready for some sleep! (been going since 4:30am on Tuesday and it is now 10:30pm on Wednesday here in Florence. I managed to only take a quick nap earlier when we were waiting for Madi. I'm clean and in my new bed for 4 months looking over the schedule for the next few days. I was happy to finally take a shower, I felt so gross and my skin looked it too! Tomorrow we have orientation, apartment visits (for instructions), and a welcome dinner on the schedule and who knows what other adventures! 

Hugs and blessings,


  1. LOVE THIS!! And love you!! Thanks for keeping us updated! Hope you're getting some sleep! :)

  2. Looks like so much fun! So glad you got there safely! Sending hugs from TCU!

  3. This is awesome, I look forward to reading more. Love ya, Sandi


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