My goodness, it has been a while. I’m sorry about this, but things have been quite busy. Last week there was a bunch of art shows to put up and attend, and this week was finals. Oh mama mia!
Its strange, to think about leaving. My last few days in Florence are going to be spent walking around, crying, thinking...I don't know. I'm so terribly sad. Not in a depressed way, but in a quiet, calm way, as if it is a calm, deep stream that flows within me. I feel like I am leaving a lover, in a way. Not in a violent way, but in a way that must happen when both parties know it must be done. It is so strange. My heart feels strange. It is all just a dream and I'm about to wake up.
It’s also very strange for me to think about how much I’ve changed. There are things about me that are so much different than before. I deal with unpleasant situations so much better than before. I can let go of things so much more easily. I freak out a lot less (I still have a long way to go with this though). There are also things that are different about me that are the result of living in a city. I’m completely desensitized to the homeless. I can remember being a little girl and being afraid of homeless people when I was in LA. I rarely see something that makes me jump due to despair or fear these days. I’m also much more assertive and pushy, compared to how I used to be. Only because I’ve had to become this way; when you come face to face daily with about 400 people trying to sell you something, or saying inappropriate things, or begging for money, you have to be able to say no firmly, push around a person, or simply walk away. There are many positive things that have come with living in a city, too, though. I love living in a city, for so many reasons. Every day I look out into the same courtyard and walk on the same streets and every day it is different. Every day I come into contact with human beings. I smell them, brush past them, and accidentally end up in their photos. I come face to face with people I will never see again, and these simple moments are so beautiful and have made me so deeply aware of how interconnected we all are.
Coming here has really helped me to simplify my life, something I have been working on for the past two years. I don’t text people constantly, I don’t watch television, I’m not on the computer often, I don’t online shop, I don’t read tons of magazines, and you know what, I don’t miss any of those things. This simplification goes much father than no longer wasting my time in front of screens, though. I find joy in simple things: cooking, reading a good book, writing, taking walks. I am so much more aware and open to the simple beauty all around me. I no longer (most of the time), waste my time with negative thoughts, self-destructive thoughts, and habits that go along with such thoughts. I’ve become, not more self-confident, but more self aware, accepting and loving of who I am. I hope, I sincerely hope, that once I am home I continue to keep my life simplified. I am so much happier than ever before. I think that the American way of life really goes against simplification, in many ways. But it is so important for all of us to really earnestly search, within ourselves and our experiences, to find the lives we are supposed to lead. We get lost in what is the culturally and socially acceptable way to live, but that is not how we are all meant to live. I believe, in fact, that most of us are not supposed to live that way, and yet we do, because we do not know how to live another way, because we have not taken the time to find out what our own constitution is, and how it leads us to live. Or we have figured that out, but we have not worked to live that way. I am now, since coming here, beginning to see the way I am supposed to live, what my system and constitution is. And I am going to work hard to live my way.
Since coming here I’ve been able to really feel what my priorities in life are. People are the most import part of my life. My friends and family really are the most important things to me. I also really do love travel. I want to learn, I love to learn, I want to experience as much as I possibly can. I don’t know what I want to do when I graduate. I have no idea. I don’t know that I want to try to get into the art world. I don’t know if I want to find a career path. But I do know that I want to travel, as much as possible. And not just hostel through places, I want to experience life in places. I want to live in Morocco for a spell, I want to live in France, I want to live in India…I want to experience life in places, not just look at famous things.
I know, of course, that I have changed quite a bit, and that I won’t see the half of it until I’ve been home for a while. I might not see the full effect until some time next year. I don’t know. That is very exciting, and is a big part of why I wanted to study abroad. This whole experience, I don’t even know what to say, what to think!
You know, its funny, I came here to make art and become a better artist. I don’t really know if that’s happened. I’ve learned a lot about Baroque art and Italian Opera, two subjects I am much more interested and in love with than before. Oh! I love Opera now. And I love Batik, as well. But I haven’t become much better of a painter. I am more aware of why I paint and what painting means to me, which I suppose is good. I’ve grown a lot as a person, so I think in the long run that will make me a better artist.
All my love,