Culture and Identity Envoy homesickness Temple Semester

A certain homesickness of self

grieving my old self    

Finding that as I was discovering a whole new country, in a new atmosphere, a journey I made completely alone, without knowing anyone, I was almost forced to be a new version of myself that I didn’t even expect to become. Any perception of self that I had known, or was tied to my friends and family I’ve known my entire life was now suddenly gone. It was a type of homesickness that I didn’t realize came with homesickness, I just genuinely thought something had gone wrong inside of me. I grew up never feeling completed by just living in the States. I knew I wanted to travel, and I still hope to live somewhere in Europe come my graduation. However, my first month here, I surprised myself so much with how I was falling in love and grieving this old version of myself. A version that just got to come home to my two roommates, Marie and Casey, and the most difficult part of my day was deciding if we were all free for a movie night. My first taste of culture shock was before the plane even landed. When I looked down as the plane descended, the lights of the city looked like big crop circles. Orange glowing lights in spherical shapes unlike any city in the United States that I’ve seen. It was beautiful, and I was excited, but I instantly knew that everything around me was changing and I would probably change with it. I’m excited to see how I learn, grow, and explore inches of my identity and see those around me evolve as well. 

My entire life I have used poetry and prose as an outlet to express myself. As a Temple Rome Culture and Identity Envoy this semester, using my experiences I’ve had within the program and overall here in Italy, I decided that the best way to emphasize parts of my identity I will always have is through the way I always have. Alongside the words I’ve written, I have included events, symbols, and moments that have defined my experience so far. In the top right corner I included a bunny. When I was born I had a bunny birthmark that went away as I got older; during my time in Rome I decided to get a bunny tattooed on me to always have that birthmark. The ticket on the bottom left corner is from when I visited “The Birth of Venus” at the Uffizi Museum in Florence. Immediately underneath that is a handwritten message from my partner. We are in a long distance relationship, and he has been by my side watching me grow. To the right of that is a text my mother sent me after she said goodbye to me. And finally, the song under the message from my mom is a song sung by two of my favorite artists. The song’s theme deals with aging as a woman and feeling the constant reinvention of yourself as a part of the female identity. 

All of these are things crucial to my journey during my time in Rome thus far. I am looking forward to sharing more art that connects me and Italy through the program here. There is so much that is different, but I’m slowly finding the flow of the bridge between.

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