As my departure date draws near, I have been thinking about the things I will miss the most. Naturally, being an American citizen brings many benefits and capabilities. I can go see a movie, go to a sporting event, a concert, a natural museum, take the transit system — anything I want, any time I want without a problem. And all of these things might be available to me once I establish ground operations in Italy, but not everything will be as it is. Culture shock is sure to set in unless I shed my shell and savior the time I spend in Italy.
So when I thought about what I might miss the most, excluding family and friends (because that’s a given), when I leave on January 7, there were many things that came to mind.
1. Local American Food
I know what you’re thinking. How can you possibly miss the greasy, cholesterol-loaded foods that contribute to the obesity problem in this country. Put simply, I don’t know if I’ll ever enjoy anything better after tasting some of this food for 22 years of my life (that is a lie and I know it, but refuse to believe it.) I’m definitely excited to try new foods and authentic Italian cuisine especially during my cooking class!
But there are some things I’ll just miss during the next five months.
Kimball Farm Ice Cream (currently closed for the season.)
The ice cream sold here is delicious. It is creamy and tasty and melts in your mouth. I have been going there since I was a kid and have been known to take all my friends there. I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of it either. Kimball’s has four locations — three in Massachusetts and one in New Hampshire. I live about eight minutes between the Westford Kimballs and the Carlisle Kimballs. Kimballs is great for first dates, its very laid back and low-key there.
Five guys recently made its way into Massachusetts and has been populating suburban towns with every chance it can. Seems like every couple of months a new franchise opens up. This time in Westford. Five guys offers delectable burgers and hot dogs with its signature fries. Cajun fries or regular fries — both are amazing. Their burgers are so juicy and thick that you can’t go wrong ordering one of these.
Ok, so who can argue with a .99 cent 24. 0z can of half lemonade and half iced tea. The company produces the original drink with different spinoffs. Including iced tea and pink lemonade, green tea and lemonade, honey lemon tea and lemonade. The company also has low sugar drinks and alcoholic mixed drinks in a can. Truly a luxury.2. New England Sports
Living in New England is a sports fans dream. Any sports fan would kill to have the success that our teams have had. Every major sport, (NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB) won at least once championship in the last decade. How’s that for success. Every sports team in the nation would love to have our fan base. Most fans support the team through the good times and the bad times. Its all about the experience. Having a good time at the games, tailgating beforehand, running into crackers with that authentic New England accent — it never gets old. I love my sports, I love my teams, and I love going to games. I’ll miss the super bowl, spring training coverage, the second half of the NBA season …. it won’t be the same having a spring without New England sports.
Ok, not gonna lie here. Xbox is great stress relief. In life you seek to find something that acts as a natural stress reliever. For me, its Xbox, because it allows you to either spend time by yourself , maybe you are refelcting on the day or thinking about how you might handle your family problems. Even though there can be many bad habits that form from playing (poor vision, anti-social behavior, and apathy), the benefits, for me at least outweigh the consequences. If alcohol should be consumed in moderation, so should Xbox, or anything you do for that matter. Too much of anything, maybe with the exception of exercise is not good for your mind or body. So make fun of me as much as you want, folks. But before you do, consider what relieves your stress.
I have spent the past three years of my life in Amherst during the school session. Seven semesters in the biggest college town in America has been a blast. There is so much to miss about the area. From bubble tea at Lime Red to pizza at Antonios or a late-night run to the Sub and Pizza for the “Two large subs and a small cheese pizza combo” for about $18, to watching the leaves change in the fall. I’ll miss the classes I have taken, the friends I have gained, and the extra-curricular activities that made life in Amherst transform from unenjoyable to unforgettable. Studying abroad during my last semester of college is both a curse and a blessing. On one side, I get to have the experience of a lifetime in Italy — one that I will never be able to replicate. The other side, I won’t get to further the bonds I have made with new friends in what will be the last time I might see some of them for a couple of years. You don’t know what you’ve lost once you’ve lost it.
Believe it or not, working gives me a purpose, a direction and a set of goals which measure my progress. I love working probably due to my dad instilling such a work ethic in me that rivals his own. Ok, maybe not like his, but his version of having fun or hanging out with friends is working with or without them. I love the opportunity to work, to feel motivated and engaged in whatever I am doing because there is not a more satisfying feeling. Getting my paycheck every week is my validation for working so hard. I love it, and I love taking on new opportunities and new challenges. Give me a challenge, I’ll take it. Give me a goal and I’ll exceed it. Give me purpose and you’ll see just how dedicated I am to my job. Working is also a stress reliever. There’s an old saying we use in the food service industry and it goes like this: ‘Hang your problems on the chair when you get to work, and make sure you take only yours when you leave tonight.’ This teaches us to leave our problems out of the workplace. Don’t come to work to complain about what should be yours, or about how mad you are at your husband. Come in, do your job, then leave. And bring only your problems home with you, no one elses. My last day of work was last week , and I won’t work another day until the end of May. For someone who has been working full-time while in school for five years, that’s a drastic change.
So there you have it. The top five things I’m going to miss when I leave. I know I’ll be making new memories, new friends, and new interests when I get to Italy, though. When I leave Italy and I do this again, it’ll be interesting to see how this list changes when I leave.
Stay tuned for my next post, the “Top five things I am looking forward to!”