1. As much as I love Italy, USA always has my heart. 3G networks mean I don’t have to ask for Wi-Fi passwords in every restaurant I enter. I don’t have to worry about frying my computer charger or hair straightener with Europe’s stupid plugs. And central air conditioning is a godsend.
2. There are some people who you just click with, and others you never do. And that’s okay. Not everyone is going to be your friend.
3. Never judge someone from a first impression. This should already be a given, but you know that girl from California with the annoying Valley girl voice? Yeah, she could end up being one of the people you’ll miss the most from your trip.
4. You may think that the Italian guy at the club who came up behind you, danced with you and then walked with you around Florence calling you cute in his broken English is charming and romantic, but really he just wants to get in your pants.
5. The cats in Italy are more adorable than American cats. (Okay, maybe I just missed my two cats at home a lot).
6. Back to point #1, I take a lot of things for granted at home. Laundry takes about half the amount of time to do here than in Italy, ELEVATORS, free water at restaurants, the streets are (usually) even and easy to walk on and I don’t feel like my feet are constantly going to break in half on cobblestones…
7. David has a nice backside. He could use a little work on the other side though.
8. If you’re going to be a tourist, please don’t be the ones in a huge group blocking the view of the Trevi Fountain with headphones on and chunky listening devices around your necks following around some man or woman holding an antenna with a fluffy loofah on the tip of it.
9. Every one of the locals knows you are an American. There’s no masking it.
10. If you’re on any kind of diet, just stop. Don’t torture yourself. Eat all the gelato your heart desires.
11. Art museums are cool and all, but HOLY CRAP is the Uffizi Gallery in Florence overwhelming. It’s okay if you don’t stop and look at every old painting of Jesus. You’d be in there for a week if you did.
12. Getting lost is a scary concept, yes, but try not to walk around with your face in a map every time you leave your apartment. You’ll miss out on all the beauty around you. Or you’ll get hit by a bike.
13. Drivers, motorcyclists and bicyclists are merciless and unforgiving. If you hear the ringing of a bike bell coming up behind you, watch your back and jump to the side or you will be run over.
14. You will shop a lot.
15. Your food intake will mainly consist of pizza, pasta, lasagna, raviolis and paninis. And you will love every second of it.
16. THERE ARE NO FAT ITALIANS. How do they eat so much wonderful food yet still remain slim? One will never know.
17. There is a lot of walking to be done in Italy, however. I walked 20 minutes to my class in Florence every morning and I climbed probably about 50 steps every day to get to my apartment on the top floor. My legs got a serious workout. And I was seriously out of breath every time.
18. Florence has a lot of Chinese restaurants, sushi places, kebab shops, a Mexican place (actually really good) and an American diner or two. Wasn’t expecting to find any of those things at all, but hey! The more culturally diverse, the better.
19. Kebabs only taste good after a night of drinking.
20. No matter where you go, Italy is beautiful. A random alleyway in Florence? Gorgeous. The rolling hills of Tuscany? Breathtaking. The city center of Rome? STOP BEING SO PERFECT, ITALY.
21. Twenty five days may seem like a long time when you first set off on your adventure, but it’s not. It’s going to go by faster than you think. And before you know it, you will have one full day left in Florence and you will be scrambling to do all of the things you said you were going to, but sadly realize you just don’t have enough time.
22. You may never feel as independent and free as you did in Italy. Flying somewhere on your own for the first time, navigating foreign streets on your own, choosing what to do daily, what to eat, what to buy. Why worry about the little things? You are capable of so much.
23. People can be mean, they can be fake, they can be rude, they can be irritating. All you need to do is find one or two people who you know will stay by your side and you can make it through anything. You can do anything solo, but it’s always more fun to have a sidekick.
24. I am extremely lucky. I had supportive friends and family, enough money to go and enough money to spend. I can’t believe it’s all over now. It’s just a memory. Maybe it was the best 25 days of my life, maybe there will be even better trips in the years ahead. I don’t know what the future holds. All I know is that it was an experience I will never forget. An experience that opened up my eyes, that taught me things I didn’t even know existed, that showed me who I am and who I am becoming, and I miss it so much already.
25. I’ll be back.