Thankful.

I walked into the study abroad office at Wartburg a year ago.  As I entered the small room at the end of the hallway in the business center, I was greeted by the study abroad advisor.  I looked at her and said, “I think I want to study abroad.”  She looked at me, smiled, and handed me a thick catalogue with the name USAC across the front.  She assured me that I came to the right place and that studying abroad would change my life.  Little did I know the impact that conversation would have.

I took the lengthy catalogue she gave me and thumbed through it.  There were two things that I needed to consider when deciding if studying abroad would be possible for me. 1) The timeline of the program needed to align with Wartburg’s semester and 2) the classes needed to get me closer to graduating.  I looked through the book putting tabs on the dreamy places that I wanted to explore and came across Torino, Italy.  I was intrigued because it seemed like a hidden gem.  I had never heard of Torino before, yet it is home to nearly one million people.  Italy was included in some of my top choices to study abroad because of my family background.  My grandmother, who passed away the year I was born, was about as Italian as they get. I wanted to learn and explore her culture to get a better sense of how my family described her.  I wanted to feel the weight and importance of my middle name which came from her.  I wanted to explore this beautiful country and have the means to travel to other European countries.  When the time came to make a decision it was easy, Torino would be my home.  Out of the thick, 300 page catalogue Torino had the exact dates that I needed and allowed me to take a full course load to keep me on schedule to graduate on time.  It’s like it was the perfect fit.

It’s amazing to me how time becomes more precious as the moments left are falling through your fingertips.  I have spent the last four months very much enjoying my time, however wishing to be home. I would give myself a half second pity party and then tell myself to move on because when the time came to leave, I wouldn’t want to go.  Today I lived my best day in Torino and I think I owe it to the fleeting time.  I wanted to follow my normal routine and get coffee from my favorite shop, so I did.  I sat and did my morning journaling and reading when my eyes became foggy with tears that were ready to spill.  The brioche, the cappuccino, the smells and the sounds.  The language (that I never mastered), the older lady who smiles at me every morning when I sit down because she goes to this coffee shop every day too.  These moments were so much more beautiful when I allowed my mind to be fully present.

Intentionality has become a word that has shaped the way I live.  When time was dwindling during my European adventure I knew that I needed to have intentional conversations with my new friends before I said goodbye. I needed to be intentional with the way I spoke to those around me and encouraged them through their day.  I wanted to be intentional about how I spent my time because the countdown home was coming.  With intentionality came thankfulness and a changed perspective.  When I started my days with thanking the Lord for the way he has provided for me through this experience, I noticed a complete change in my attitude and outlook.  Those last days were bittersweet, however I am thankful for the moments I was able to spend strengthening those new relationships I had formed.

Here is my semester in review!  I traveled to six different countries including Italy, France, Switzerland, Spain, Austria, and Czech Republic.  I traveled with my grandparents for a weekend which was such a special, memorable experience.  My mom and my sister took a trip out to visit Torino for a week and we were able to see Florence, Rome, Pisa and Venice during their time.  They were great backpacking partners 🙂 I went swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, skied in the Swiss Alps, ate loads of pasta, drank too many cappuccinos, visited the Christmas markets in Vienna and Prague, took many Flixbus rides, a few flights, and managed to (hopefully) pass all my classes.  I cannot begin to describe what it feels like leaving Torino after four months.  I am so ready to see my family for the holidays, however feel like I’m leaving part of myself behind.  I am entering into a time of transitions again.  Transitions back to America, to Wartburg, to work, etc and know it will be an adjustment but am excited to see what the future will hold.

Lastly, I wanted to send a sincere thank you to those of you who followed along reading my blog, looking at my pictures, or sending me encouraging messages! It has been so cool and encouraging to receive so much support from family and friends who have been following along on my journey.  I simply could not have done this semester without my parents being as supportive as they are.  They have always allowed me to dream and work hard to earn the things I want.  I am grateful for the jobs I’ve had where I was able to work and earn money to be able to go on this adventure.  I am thankful for USAC and Wartburg and the support they gave me throughout this process.  I cannot adequately describe how I feel, but I know that I have been changed into a young woman who can love more deeply, encourage more boldly, and live more generously.  My heart and perspective are forever changed and for that I am grateful.

Ciao, Arrivederci, Buona Giornata,

xo,

Olivia

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I live in a community.

Community was hands down the scariest thing when I thought of being abroad for a semester.  Would I sit in my apartment for the next four months and not make any friends?  Would I feel at home throughout my time?  Would I be able to communicate and navigate my way through a city with basically zero Italian skills?  I had a conversation with my sister about these fears before leaving and she reassured me that I needed to expect the Lord to show up, and man did He.  I live in a community.  I am surrounded by loving friends through the USAC program.  I feel loved and encouraged through the family I babysit for, my voice teacher, and the barista down the street.  Torino has become such a unique, yet loving community to be a part of.

I hear the little kid who lives in the apartment upstairs play his recorder *insert earplugs*.  The old lady that passes me on the street greets me with the absurdly long hello of, “Buona giornata, Arriverdici!”  The coffee shop owner greets me with, “Buongiorno, un cappuccino?”  (My dream of becoming a regular at a coffee shop has now come true 🙂  The group of old men who stand on the same street corner across from my apartment everyday and chat with one another smile at me as I walk by.  The grocery clerk at Pam smiles at me when I switch the language setting to English in the self checkout lane.  This is community.

I look at the people around me and notice that this isn’t their four-month-abroad-program, this is their life.  They live, shop, go to school, and work in this community.  The kids have their rolly backpacks and their parents walk next to them with their rolly cart for groceries.  It is so cool to experience such a different concept of what a family unit looks like.  My friends and I have created our own community in Torino.  We have weekly dinners, karaoke and wine on Wednesday nights, and stop by each other’s apartments just to say hi.  We have become familiar with the city and with one another and confide in one another through hard times in life.  We rejoice through the job and internship offers and help one another process through the rejections that also come along.  To say that the Lord showed up through this experience would be an understatement.

I have exactly three weeks left which seems like no time at all.  Many conversations I have now are about the transition home and how we will all adjust to being back in the United States.  We talk about how we will miss one another but have plans to visit in (hopefully) the near future.  I have been incredibly blessed with such hard working people to be surrounded with.  Every single one of these people has worked hard academically, financially, and mentally to be able to be abroad for a semester and I haven’t seen anyone take the opportunity for granted.  We went around the table at our Thanksgiving dinner and shared what we were thankful for.  Every person at the table talked about their support systems back home and how amazing the opportunity is to be here.  I think I am pretty darn blessed to be surrounded by such thankful and generous community who see the value in one another and in this experience.

xo,

Olivia

Life happens.

Two months down.  It’s crazy to think that I have lived and survived in a foreign country for two months (I’m considering that a major victory!!).  Every day is a new journey and this blog post is going to shed some light on the things they don’t tell you about study abroad.  You will get lost physically and emotionally.  You will feel alone yet embraced.  You will feel guilty for missing moments back at home and in the life of your family.  You will go through the process of becoming a new person and wonder if your friends and family will embrace the new you or wonder what happened.  You will simultaneously be at an all time high and low about most things in life.  You will have panics about your four year plan and then have a panic about how you can’t even read the computer screen in front of you because it’s all in Italian.  You will desperately want to have a “normal” cup of coffee and to speak English in a store.  You will fight with yourself to enjoy every moment abroad yet still think about home and the life that you love back there.  And most importantly you will continue to discover what this crazy world is about and how to get through it as a 21 year old broke college student who trying their best to live with a servant heart.

I would consider myself a very confident, independent, and strong individual and I have cried once a day over the last three days.  Day one, I missed home.  Day two, I let myself have anxiety about things that haven’t even happened in life yet.  Day three, I was sitting in a coffee shop and was thinking about all the ways I could screw up my travel plans when my family comes to visit and that they would hate their time in Italy if I did.  Basically a lot of thinking and not a lot of living.  I think it is safe to say that most people see study abroad as a means of “escaping” life back home and going on this crazy adventure.  That is partly true, however life is still there.  I think one of the biggest blessings of studying abroad is the fact that life doesn’t go away, you are just given the gift of time to work through hard times.  I have been blessed with whitespace (thinking space, time to reflect) on this journey.  I am not stressed to the max with rehearsals, readings, projects, and work.  I do have school to work on, but I have freedom to invest time into my heart.  I have time to invest in myself.  I have time to be selfish in this season of life and being abroad has helped me work through deeper struggles that I have.

Throughout this time of change and adventure I am counting every blessing.  I am thankful for the trials.  I am working my way through life with such a conscious and intentional heart.  I have been refreshed and renewed and I cannot wait to live out the rest of my time here.

Talk about blessings people…I found a teacher to take voice lessons with here!! I am so excited about this!  I was nervous at first, but this one hour a week gives me such a warm feeling of comfort and home.  I get to sing and work on techniques to improve my craft.  I left my teacher’s apartment last week with such a big smile it hurt my face.  Music has been a way that I have connected to my heart as well as my family over the years, and it has been amazing to continue that here.

Here are some fun stories if you want to continue reading:

Two weeks ago I went on a run. Whoop whoop so exciting.  Except, I pretty much did everything in the book that you are not supposed to do.  I went alone, towards dusk, without a phone, and without warmth (it is getting colder here, but I was going on a run and so of course I was going to sweat).  I started running and was feeling amazing (not sure why because I usually am in a place of wanting to stop within five minutes).  I got to my usual turn around spot and decided to continue going straight because “Lets push yourself Olivia!!” As I was running I was seeing new sights.  The smells were new and I was finally exploring a new area of the city.  I went to turn the block to the street running parallel, however there was no street to turn on.  So I kept going.  I kept looking for a way to turn right or left to turn around but oddly enough I couldn’t find a through street.  Weird.  I have my senses in full force when I go on runs because unfortunately that’s we live in.  As I continued to run I finally found a street winding right and I thought was the way I would be getting back.  HA.  As I was coming around the bend I was getting tired.  I had been running far longer than I ever anticipated that day and wanted to be done.  I continued around the bend and saw a sign that represents that I was entering Torino.  I stopped running immediately.  I looked behind me and saw a sign that meant I had left a different town.  At this point I knew I was in trouble. I had literally left Torino without a jacket, without a phone, and completely alone…  I continued running then walking and then running and walking again desperate to find something that looked familiar.  I was too far to go back the direction that I came at this point.  So, I kept going and finally I gave in to needing help.  Of course I had told myself that I would not ask for help because I didn’t want to put myself in danger because I couldn’t communicate and because I am an enneagram type three and definitely didn’t need help from anyone.  I gave in and asked the first person I felt comfortable asking and thankfully he knew a little English.  I asked how to get back to the street I lived on and he looked at me like I was a crazy person.  He laughed a little and then gave me directions back.  After he gave me directions back to my street I laughed with embarrassment.  I was a long ways away.  This day I was lost physically and I was scared.  This situation made me think about being lost emotionally as well.  How incredibly easy it is to go the wrong direction and feel so confident in that path.  Throughout my journey in Italy I have been blessed with time to reflect and have spiritual moments.  I have been having fears and anxieties of going back to school, going back to my friends and family, and about other obstacles that I will need to overcome when going back to “normal” life.  It’s an amazing journey to be lost because that’s when you learn the most.

Next stop on the journey is Milan.  Milan was absolutely stunning and full of rich architecture.  I fangirled over the Alla Scalla Theater, the Duomo, and of course the first Starbucks Reserve in Italy .  Each experience was breathtakingly beautiful.  My two friends and I spent the day wandering around before the Jason Derulo concert.  It was almost concert time so we decided to take the metro to the venue and get our tickets.  We were ready for such a fun night!  We got off the metro and at the top of the stairs were police officers.  They were all saying how they needed to check our metro tickets (because a lot of young people in Italy will try to pass through the metro without paying for tickets).  We all pulled out our tickets and handed them to the officers and they immediately pulled us over to the side and said that they needed to see our identification.  They said that we had the wrong metro cards because technically the last stop on the metro (where we got off) isn’t in the city of Milan anymore.  We were getting fined for having the wrong metro card and there was nothing we could do.  We were mad and frustrated because obviously we did not intend to ride the metro with the wrong card.  We reluctantly paid the fine and went on with our night.  Moral of the story: pay attention to the fine print when taking public transport in Italy 🙂  The concert ended up being an amazing time and I am so thankful we ended up going!

xo,

Olivia

 

Whirlwind of emotions.

Wow.  The last few weeks have been something else!  I have been busy with school and traveling, but I am making the most of every moment. I think I have reached the point in the study abroad semester where life has a nice routine.  There are still things that I struggle looking past in the European culture, but am trying to embrace the differences.

Fall is finally here and I couldn’t be more thrilled.  It was really hot in Torino until about the first day of October, and has since been sweater weather (in my opinion the best weather).  In the last few weeks I celebrated a friends birthday in an Irish Pub, toured the Maserati and Abarth factories, paid rent for the second time in my life, traveled with friends and lastly traveled with my grandparents!  I have been busy but I am beginning to notice how fast the semester will go.

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre was the trip I took through USAC (my school) where I was able to visit five costal towns in one day.  We left early Friday morning and traveled to Genova by bus and then continued to Santa Margherita Ligure where we ate Focaccia in the streets and enjoyed each others company.  Friday night was one of my favorite nights in Italy so far, because my friends and I found a great restaurant in Santa Margherita that had very fresh seafood at a reasonable price (college :).  The meal was amazing and we followed it by joining a bunch of friends on the beach for some night swimming and champagne.  I think back to that night and my mind is blown that I was swimming in the Ligurian Sea sipping on champagne and listening to the waves crash and some music in the background.  We were all laughing and enjoying the night and before we left, we made sure to get some gelato!

On Saturday, we went to each of the villages in Cinque Terre.  Each village was uniquely beautiful and showed different landscapes along the coast.  We decided to take the train in between each stop, however we could have hiked if time allowed.  The day was long and hot but well worth the trip!

Sunday was a day unlike any other.  Our group took a boat out to the coastline of Portofino and  were blown away by the traditional Italian views off the coast.  The buildings were bright and close together, however what made this part of Italy unique were the people who own property in Portofino.  Armani has a villa at the top of the hill, and I jumped into the sea about 100 feet away from Dolce & Gabbana’s villa.  We visited Castello Brown which had incredible views of the sea!  The trip was once in a lifetime and I am so thankful to have spent that time with close friends.

Arona and Stresa

The next weekend I was blessed with the opportunity to get to travel with my grandpa and grandma who have been in Italy for the last two weeks visiting family.  I felt so blessed to be able to spend time with them while being here and they reminded me of how loved I am.  I have never met more gracious hosts then Allen and Jodi.  Some of the beds that they ordered when moving into their house in September still hadn’t arrived and Allen and Jodi gave up their master bedroom so I would have a place to be comfortable.  There was no reason that I deserved that, and I am still in shock about the way they served my grandparents and I.

Friday night we took cable cars up the side of the mountain to see five of the lakes that were surrounding the Arona/Stresa area.  The views were stunning and it was at the top of the mountain that I tried my first spritz (a typical Italian pre-dinner drink).  I really enjoyed it!  We made our way into the restaurant at the top in true American fashion which means about 7:00 pm (Italian’s don’t eat until much later), so we had most of the place to ourselves.  I was treated like a queen and savored every bit of my food and dessert.  The owner of the restaurant brought limoncello (typical post-dinner drink) to us after our dinner and we sat and enjoyed that for a bit.  I was not expecting limoncello to be as full of alcohol as it was but it was very strong (and good)!

We drove to Stresa Saturday morning and took a boat to Fisherman’s Island where we had nice lunch.  The island was quaint and had such a beautiful landscape of the coast.  We went to the next island where we explored Palazzo Borromeo and that was the most beautiful place I have ever been.  Every detail from the chandeliers to the floors to the ceilings were full of ornate detail.  The garden was just as beautiful as the building and I felt like I was in design heaven.  We finished off the night with some more spritz and limoncello.  Take a look at the pictures I post below because those are the only things that will explain the trip well enough!

I have been working hard at school and have made a new best friend while hanging out with the girl I babysit.  I get together with her once a week and help her with English homework as we sip tea and eat homemade treats.  I am so thankful for the relationship with this family because they are beyond generous and have welcomed me right into the family.  My friends and I have a weekly tradition where we get together and make food and drink wine and it has been such a fun part of my week.  I have been humbled by everyone’s generosity and support through studying abroad.  There are too many emotions that I feel and struggle to express because of how these experiences are shaping my life.  I am so thankful and will write again soon!

xo,

Olivia

Feeling right at home.

The last few weeks have been a blur.  I have begun Italian school, met new friends, and have eaten more pasta than any human should ever be able to consume.  I have been enjoying my time here (almost an entire month now!) and cannot wait to see what I learn and experience the rest of the semester.

I’ve had many friends and family members back home ask about what a normal day looks like for me.  Before coming to Torino, I had this idea that I would keep my normal routine aligned with what I usually do at home and I have not been following that reality at all!  HA.  At Wartburg I usually wake up pretty early to be able to get my workout in, grab some coffee, and usually review a little before I go to my classes for the day.  In Italy, however,  I wake up about thirty minutes before I need to be in class and take the short four minute walk to campus to hopefully grab some expresso before I enter the classroom.  (The coffee here is great, but it lasts about 5 seconds.  Man oh man do I miss my full black coffee in an actual mug.) The days here are pushed back so much later than what I’m used to.  So, most days I will go to class and then fit in a run by the River Po.  Then I come back and do my homework so I am able to spend time with friends for dinner or enjoy a relaxing night in Hannah and I’s apartment.  Most Italians would never consider eating dinner before 7:30 pm (most people eat around 9 pm) and that gets me to sleep pretty late.  There are major differences in the culture, but I am continuing to see the goodness in these things and experience the Italian way of life as best as I can.

I attempted the market the other day and was so successful!  I usually go and get intimidated because my Italian isn’t great, so I end up getting about half of what I had planned for.  This time I went to the first stand and got all of the produce I wanted and called it a day.  Going to the market sounds like an easy task, but it can definitely be scary and difficult to understand the Italian being spoken to you.

The last few weeks have been filled with a trip to Nice, France and Aosta Valley (Italian Alps) which were incredible experiences that I was able to share with some of my new friends.  It is amazing to me that cheap buses and trains aren’t too difficult to figure out and they can get you pretty far in Europe.  My friends and I laugh often about the “casual” trips we are able to make in such a short amount of time.

One of my favorite parts about life in Italy is the pace.  I rarely know what time it is or feel pressure to get something done that minute.  I make the most of my free time by journaling, having my personal God time, and grabbing gelato with my friends.  I always have homework that needs to get done, but I find a way to make it work instead of worrying about it until the next class period.  I feel like this semester has been a great mental break from “normal” college life and has given me real life experiences that will shape my future.

I have some exciting news!  I have connected with a family to babysit for.  I met with the mom and daughter this week and think babysitting will be an incredible experience.  I get to connect and begin relationships with this family that I’m sure this connection will last a life time.  I will begin meeting with the girl next week to help her with her English and bring her to her tennis and voice lessons.

I am encouraged with the community I have here as well as all of the support from home.  Some days I feel really far from home and others I feel like I fit right in.  I have missed some experiences back at campus and that makes me sad to be away.  However, I know the short time I have here will be worth the personal growth and memories.  I am so appreciative of the supportive friends and family members back home and have been able to be in contact often.  For now, I am going to continue discovering Torino and getting to make memories that will shape the way I view the world.

xo,

Olivia

The gelato is no joke.

The last few days have been a whirlwind!  I have arrived in Torino, Italy and have legitimately eaten gelato every single day that I have been here.  The traveling felt like it took a lifetime but I eventually made it.  The first day I met the other people in my program and we explored a little bit of Torino on our own which was fun and exciting to see the new place we would get to call “home” for the next four months.  Torino, along with much of Europe, is rich in historical architecture which is absolutely stunning.  There are intricate details on the balconies and along the cobblestone streets that make you feel like you are in some kind of storybook town.  After exploring the city a little bit, our group ate at an authentic Italian pizza place and finished off our meal with gelato (of course).

We have done a lot of sightseeing throughout the city and we have been thankful for the time that we have had to get ourselves settled.  Our group moved into our apartments the second day, and I am living with one other girl in a one bedroom apartment near the university.  On Friday we were supposed to meet with our group at the hotel for a bus tour.  Hannah (my roommate) and I both woke up late (jet lag) and were trying to figure out the Italian metro and bus system.  We were at the point where we were definitely going to be late and were definitely lost.  Hannah and I both stayed really calm because 1) there was nothing we could do about our current situation and lack of knowledge besides prepare better next time and 2) we knew we would find our way eventually.  We probably should have been freaking out because we were stranded in a foreign country where we don’t speak the language, but we just focused on getting to the hotel instead of getting worked up.  Hannah and I ended up getting off the bus way to early (we were supposed to take the metro the whole time) and walked about a half an hour to the hotel where we were meeting the group.  At this point we knew we were about 30 minutes late but thought we should go there anyway and check.  When we arrived we started to see other students from our program and they told us that there was a problem with the busses so they hadn’t left yet.  We were completely surprised that we actually made it and now didn’t have to worry about finding our way to the group.  I most definitely knew that was God showing up in big ways.

A group of friends and I wanted to explore the markets, so on Saturday we went to the biggest market in Europe called Porta Palazzo.  We were blown away by the amount of fresh produce and by how cheap you could purchase fresh fruits and veggies. I bought avacados, tomatoes, peaches, bell peppers, and zucchini and probably spent about 7 euros total.  The market was extremely busy and you could barely push through people to look at the other stands, but that was just part of the fun.  One of the vegetable stands we stopped at thought we were from Switzerland and we all just laughed and said “We are American” and they loved that we were from America.  We weren’t sure how people would react when they knew we were from America because of our political climate.  It was nice to get to laugh with them and feel welcomed by the Italian culture.

Saturday night we got to explore some of the Italian night life which was really interesting.  The bars in Torino are very casual and many people spend time sitting outside with friends.  It is very uncommon to have people over to your apartment in Italy.  Your home is seen as your personal and private space, so you do not invite people over for dinner or have gatherings at your house.  Friends and family often meet downtown or at a park to spend time together which is really different that our culture.  The night life was no different; people met their friends out in public places to spend time together.  The first place we went to was called Alibi and they loved Americans! Hahaha they let me choose what songs that we listened to on youtube (they listen to a lot of American music) as we sat and enjoyed each others company.  They even gave us some free drinks (score)!  You could tell that it is very common for young people to go out together on the weekends and either sit around outside or spend time in the bars.

Hannah and I took a walk around our neighborhood today and saw the school and the park near our apartment.  Gym memberships are very uncommon for Italians to have because they are expensive so many people workout in the parks.  I thought it was funny because you would literally seen grown men doing pull ups for their workout five feet from a child playing on the jungle gym (hahaha you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do I guess).  I went for a run this morning through the park by school and I saw families teaching their kids how to ride bikes and others enjoying the morning together.  Life is slower here and I appreciate that.  I have considered it a blessing to not keep track of the time or what day it is because it’t not as important.  Life feels different here but it was fun to see that they still do similar activities as we do in the US.

So, the first week has been crazy busy but I have already learned so much!  1) jet lag is the real deal 2) people are people wherever you go.  They want to feel loved and appreciated 3) the gelato is no joke.

xo,

Olivia

Hi grandma.

Y’all it’s happening.  I am beginning my journey to Torino, Italy and am going to plan on doing a blog while over there.  Many of you have asked about pictures and stories, so I will try to post on here every so often!  It’s hard to commit to reading a blog religiously, but I know my grandma will, so I thought it was fitting to call my first post “hi grandma.”

I love traveling and have been blessed to travel to different leadership conferences in high school and to Europe last spring with the Wartburg Choir.  Those are all experiences that have changed my perspective on the world and that have given me the confidence to make this study abroad journey.  Many people have asked if I know anyone or if I am meeting up with anyone when over in Italy and then give me quizzical looks when I say “no” with a little smile that is somewhere between terror and excitement.  (Lol) That is the reason I think my parents are a little nervous for me.   I am also the middle child, my zodiac sign is a Leo, and I am an enneagram type three so…they knew I was going to be an interesting child. So, to answer the above question a little better, I am doing the traveling part alone and will meet up with about 80 other students from across the world when I get over to Italy. It’s going to be great.

I have a flight from Chicago to Paris, France and then will connect from Paris to Turin to meet all my new roomies and friends.  A few days ago I was imagining how I would deal with certain circumstances and situations and at this point I have determined that there is nothing I can do except roll with the punches.  I fully expect this journey to be hard, but I am expectant that God will show up.  I had a conversation with my sister last week and was explaining some of my fears such as loneliness, language barriers, and not having a faith community to rely on.  She just looked at me in all of her 22-year-old wisdom and goes “Well, Livi, have you prayed about those things?” I looked at her a little confused and go, “Well of course I have.  Praying is the only way thing I can do about those things at this point.” And Lex responds with, “Well then expect God to show up in mighty ways.  You have prayed and that’s all you can do.  Expect that our God is big enough to show up and provide for you.”  I take everyones advice with a grain of salt, but I knew she was 100% right.  Good job Lex, thank you.

I was envisioning my journey earlier today and was almost in tears about the opportunity that I have in front of me.  I am reminded and humbled that studying abroad is not something that everyone gets to do.  Studying abroad is an immense privilege that I have the opportunity to take part in.  I am honored to be able to go over to Italy for the semester and get a broad view of the world.  I get to learn.  I get to travel.  I get to make blog posts.  I get to have loads of fun.  I get to be challenged.  I get to create new relationships.  I want to take things as they come and truly be present throughout my time.  Many people have blessed me with their prayers, finances, and support and that means the world to me.  Thank you for your genuine kindness and support for this next step in my life.

I am so thrilled and will be in touch through different types of social media throughout my time in Torino, Italy!  Bye grandma 🙂

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The biggest thank you’s go to my parents. Thank you for trusting me, challenging me, and encouraging me through life.

 

xo,

Olivia