BRESCIA, Italy — One of the most remarkable feelings I’ve ever felt washed over me on Sunday when I glimpsed my real American mother and brother stepping down from a Trenitalia train at the Brescia station on Sunday afternoon.
They were finally visiting me after nearly nine months apart. As soon as I saw them – my mom, Molly, and Griffin – I ran to them as fast as I could and we wrapped up into the most magnificent three-way hug the world has ever seen.
I don’t think there’s much in the world that can beat being reunited with people you love. Skype makes distances so much easier, but actually having the people you’ve been oceans away from right there in your arms is something different.
It was enough to make me cry happy tears. The only thing that could have made it better would have been to have my daddy, William, there too, but he had to stay home to work.
The first few minutes were the most surreal. Griffin, who is almost 13, was a good bit taller than when I left, but for the most part they were just the same. It didn’t take long to feel like we’d never been apart.
For their visit, they’re staying two nights in Brescia and we also went to Florence for two nights. In Florence, we visited the NYU campus where I’ll be living next year, which is like something out of a dream.
A cypress-lined street leads to the main villa, which houses an amazing art collection and is surrounded by gardens. The dorms and classrooms are across an olive grove. It’s all completely beautiful.
During the rest of our time in Florence, we visited some of the most famous attractions, like Ponte Vecchio, the Piazza della Signoria and the Basilico of Santa Croce. We ate gelato at Vivoli and dinner at Osteria de Pazzi. It was brilliant.
In Brescia, they want to see the main sights and also the places where I hang out the most, so I’m showing them all my favorite parts of the center.
We’re having cappuccinos (hot chocolate for Griffin) at the best café, going to the castle, walking inside the two duomos, meeting up with my friends and host family and checking out the Mille Miglia museum.
I’m having a great time. Honestly, I would probably still be having a great time even if we were sitting around doing nothing, just because I’m with these people I’ve missed so much and have so much to talk about with, but being in a beautiful place with loads of things to do certainly doesn’t hurt.
Chandler West is a Rock Hill High School student who is spending her senior year in Italy. She writes about her adventures abroad each week in The Herald and heraldonline.com.