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As the end of our Mediterranean cruise approached, we spent a few hours in Florence touring the city. While my family was on our walking tour, we listened attentively to what our guide was saying about the basilica we were looking at. I happened to zone out for a couple of seconds and my eyes wandered about the beautiful ancient city where art + architecture screams everywhere… figuratively speaking. I spotted this girl, noticeably in her late teens, sketching. Thinking about how much I had to sketch in my drawing/ design classes, I, with such curiosity, walked behind the curb on which she was sitting and looked over her shoulder. She was sketching that same basilica into her sketchbook. I thought to myself, “She’s not from the area (by judging her appearance). She must be studying abroad.” I have always wondered if that’s what it would be like I ever studied abroad. You know, just sitting on a curb drawing. How strange, yet awesome would it be to draw in a middle of a city in Europe?? Minutes later, I told my dad about what I saw and he eventually looked at her work as well. We nodded in agreement that she was good. The rest of that day, all I thought about was that particular, fleeting moment while inconsistently keeping brief conversations with my mom and aunts about how awesome it would be to study abroad. My mom was all for it, as well as the rest of my family. I told my mom that I’d definitely look it up once we would get back to Maryland.

It’s October 27th now. A month ago, I had plans of studying abroad spring 2010. October 1st, two days after the deadline to sign up to study abroad this spring, I was asked by my friend in my studio class if I wanted to study abroad with her THIS coming spring. I said I was going in 2010 then we debated a bit. That’s how this all started.

To make a super long and crazy story short, we both talked to our advisor (he said it’s best if we went now because the classes are equivalent — if I went in 2010, I would be a semester behind at MU after my return), talked to the director of the program, found out it wasn’t too late. Then I applied, got accepted, discussed issues with my parents about everything, turned in required forms….and here I am now. This process has taken a little less than a month and it’s just starting to finally kick in, now that most of the paperwork was submitted and now that I’m officially registered for my classes. Come January, I’ll be flying out to Florence, the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. I’ll be enrolled at the Lorenzo de’ Medici School, taking four classes (3 out of 4 are interior design/art courses). I’ll be living on my own, taking care of myself in a different country. It’ll be a huge challenge, considering the fact that I’ve commuted since the start of college. I’ll be living in an apartment 10 minutes away from the school, walking distance. All in all, I’m certain that the learning experiences will be phenomenal and I’m ready and willing to accept whatever comes my way.

I’ve only told a couple of people, mostly because I didn’t want everyone to know since it didn’t feel for real. Now that I’ve turned in pretty much everything (still waiting to apply for my visa though), it’s now starting to really hit me. I’m studying abroad in Florence, Italy? What the? How in the world did this come about? Yeah…pretty crazy. It’s so sudden, too.

I find it rather funny. I only spent about 3-4 hours there, probably one of the shortest excursions of our whole trip. It’s like He wants me to go back now for some reason since my last time there was brief. But why so soon? Guess I’ll just have to wait and see. God truly answers prayers. Believe me through my life, through my stories. He has a track record in my life! :) I’m incredibly blessed. God is so good.

Please pray for me. Thank you.

Here’s to Florence, my future home from January 28th to May 16.

By Fatima

wife + mom. sustainability strategist, interior designer, writer. sharing faith and our growing domestic church. creating a slow, sustainable, low waste home.


  1. name is paolo. i’ve come to whisper sweet italian nothings into your ear. come now, i show you the city at night when love is at it’s strongest.

  2. halo.. my name is also paolo. my nickname is the italian stallion and i’m here to sweep you off your feet as i give you a tour of my lovely country on my vespa.  by the way do you like speghetti?

  3. i read this the day you wrote this but i was at school and didn’t want to log on in a school’s computer. buy anywaaaaayy i read this and started crying. i’m pretty sure the people around me were like “saddest girl in the world, why are you crying??” hahaha

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