A Tribute to Reggio-Emilia

In the wake of adapting to my first week back in Fresno, I can’t help but look back at the past four months and feel as if it were all a dream. To say “I had the time of my life” is almost an insult to the way I actually felt during my time in Italy.

Sydney and friends in Italy

After spending time with some friends and family, I’ve come to realize that my experience isn’t one I could ever accurately portray. So, upon being asked, “How was your trip?” or “Oh my gosh, you have to tell me everything!”, I’m stuck between a thousand overwhelming memories and my inability to express every wonderful second.

Along with my ineptitude to describe the wonders of the past 4 months, I’ve also been dealing with the subtle approach of homesickness. While it might sound ridiculous to call a place I only lived in for a short amount of time my home, it is absolutely true what they say… home is where the heart is. And I definitely left part of myself back in Reggio.

My heart and soul were absolutely wrecked as the plane lifted off the ground and made its way out of the country I had grown to love so much. And while I hope to one day return, deep down I know life is full of uncertainties and the plans I make are still subject to everything that is meant to be. And even if my dreams turn into [another] beautiful reality, a part of me still aches knowing I will still never be with the same people who, in January, were strangers, but now hold a permanent place in my heart.

USAC students enjoying a soccer game

Despite the sorrow that could so easily plague me in this time of homesickness and uncertainty, I am forever thankful for that season of my life. Reggio Emilia was so much more than my home; it was also every cliché as you could imagine. I grew, I explored, I loved, I laughed, and I experienced so much more than I expected.

So, here’s to Reggio Emilia! Thank you for being everything I could have ever wanted, and more importantly, thank you for being everything I needed.

Where we love is home — home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.

Sydney Earl attends Fresno City College. She studied abroad in Reggio-Emilia in Spring 2018. You can read more about Sydney’s time in Italy on her blog.