I had plans!

They were good plans, too. Well-written, well thought out, outlined in one-hundred-fifty-words-or-less for a proposal: plans for a blog to document the entirety of my joint summer internship/abroad experience. I would start writing before I even left home, reflect on my goals, take those pictures of luggage that would create the impression that I had any idea how to pack for my first time leaving the borders of the United States.

Image of an open suitcase with a stationary set, Latin dictionary, and blue bag in one compartment, and various towels and purses in the bottom section.
I *did* end up getting one suitcase picture in. (Spot the Latin-English dictionary!)

And what happened instead? Three weeks of side jobs; washing dishes; outings for fish tacos; biking for miles and wheezing my way through running much less than that; burying myself for hours in books or oldies music; attempts at learning Italian; turning twenty–in other words, re-acclimating to life after exam season. It was nice to not think about time–until I suddenly realized that I had to think about time. So nearly a week ago, slouched over a journal in an airport waiting area–a guilty procrastinator til the last–I began trying to think of how to begin:

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June 8th, 2019

By the time I post and you read this, I will ideally be in an apartment in Rome, a few blocks away from a pizzeria and post office (rather than, say, drowning in the Atlantic Ocean, or kidnapped and trapped in the underground train tunnels of the Dulles Airport, which I had no idea existed until now–cool!). As of the time I write this, I’m caught in a delay, having relinquished my big black suitcase tagged with the plastic Red Devil everyone was sent after being accepted to Dickinson. For now, I’m armed only with the contents of my travel backpack: my wallet and passport, The Odyssey, the journal which I’m writing this in, a phone with a half-drained battery, my laptop, and bags of Clif bars and gummy bears (quickly diminishing). Also: whatever’s left of my wits, which have quickly diminished in the weeks between finals and sleeping in til 10am.

…and I just got a text that we’re leaving in forty-five minutes!

For what reason am I flying out of the country with a suitcase that is probably my body mass (according to my dad’s judgment) this summer? Thanks to the generous support of Dickinson’s internship fund and classics department, I’m interning with the Paideia Institute‘s offices in Rome, Italy! Paideia is a nonprofit working to increase appreciation of the classical humanities, especially through Greek and Latin. …when I’m not consigned to this terminal, I’ll try to add some info to my about page explaining the incredible work this organization does, especially with high school and college students. As someone who bounced around outside the “mainstream” of classics in high school, acting as the sole delegate from my school at national conventions for Latin–and who still isn’t sure if she wants to take a straight-and-narrow path into academia–the work that they do with people of many backgrounds means a lot to me…

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Image of an Alitalia plane ticket with rows of airport seats in the background.
Not pictured: my full hand white-knuckling this ticket from first time solo plane travel paranoia.

The delay ended, and I boarded a surreal overnight flight, leaving this entry unfinished. I arrived in Rome the next “morning”–traveling across international zones has permanently warped my perception of time–and now I sit and create a more detailed explanation of what I’m doing in a room with spotty WiFi. The following day, my internship began, in a week of many firsts–some of which you should be able to read about here very soon…

 

June 14, 2019

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