BASSANO DEL GRAPPA, Italy – I’m back where it all began 984 days ago, Paderno del Grappa, Italy!I had no idea what I was in for at the time.
But now, more than two and a half years later, I’m a changed man and only for the better in every way possible.
My return to Paderno del Grappa has been anxiously awaiting me after traveling through 12 countries and with just one week left until I fly back to New York, I could not think of a more perfect time to be back and reflect on the journey I’ve had.
As I think about some of the better decisions I’ve made in my life, a few come to my mind quickly: my decision to go on this two-month adventure, my rather last-minute decision to study abroad through the CIMBA program and my decision about five years ago to attend West Virginia University.
Each of these decisions has brought me tremendous happiness, friends for life, memories I’ll cherish forever and has benefited me immensely from a mental and physical standpoint and my outlook on life.
In a way, it seems all too perfect that after taking numerous planes, trains, buses and taxis all over Europe, I get to simply relax in a place I fell in love with a couple years back as I eat my favorite gelato in the world in Bassano, visit my favorite Tabacchi owners, Bruna and Diego, to have an (or many) amazing panini in Paderno and stroll through the Crespano del Grappa market on Sunday morning.
Oh, will this be a fun time.
Paderno and CIMBA did more than just give me a study abroad experience, both exposed me to life through a different perspective – a perspective I’m blessed to say I now see through daily.
This week has been quite the nostalgic one for me.
From listening the music myself and my other 125 classmates in Italy rocked to and looking back on many, many pictures from our time in Paderno and throughout Western Europe – wow does it bring an instant smile to my face.
As I finish writing this post on the train from Venezia to Bassano, I simply can’t help by shake my head in disbelief of where I’ve been and where I am on my way to.
Seeing the northern Italian countryside from the train makes the memories come back in a heartbeat and once again makes me realize how lucky I am.
To a weekend filled with happiness,