Chaos and Comfort





After an amazing and picturesque weekend in Venice filled with gondola rides and impromptu photoshoots, I was ready to go home. I could hardly contain my excitement because some friends and family were visiting. Although, I knew this week to come would be filled with so many fun activities and happy moments I also knew they would leave during my midterm week. With my family and friends visiting, I was able to learn a lot about myself and how to work through problems while finding a way to manage my time correctly, which is something I have always struggled with.

This week, I had two visitors coming, the first one that came was my friend Michelle from school and the second visitor was my Thia (aunt) Stacy who brought along two of her friends. I was very excited to see them both and spend time with them as well as showing them around Florence and what my life here is like. At the same time, I knew I somehow had to figure out an exact plan of what we would do and see in order to manage the time I spent with both of them, and so the planning began.

Michelle arrived two days earlier than my aunt, during my class week. I was really happy to see her and catch up with her. It was also very nice that all my roommates had left for the week on trips except for one who is also friends with Michelle. This allowed us to really get some quality time with her. I had suggested to my aunt to spend a day or two in Rome since she was landing there in order to see some of the wonderful attractions I did. I was glad that she did decide to explore Rome because I knew she would love it and it also meant I could spend more time with Michelle since she was leaving earlier.

My friend Michelle and I at Piazzale Michelangelo for the sunset.

While Spending time with Michelle brought me joy and happiness, getting to see my aunt, however, was the highlight of the week. She is like a mom and best friend all in one for me and seeing her felt like home. I spent the day showing her and her friends around Florence giving them background on the Medici Family as well as other historical attractions within the city. She loved everything about the city and my life here. After a day around town I decided to meet up with my friends again and later that evening, both groups joined into one for a night out. Overall, it was interesting having the two types of visitors, where my friends were interested in the night life, scenic views, and food while my aunt and her friends were interested in the history and arts in Florence.

Lunch from a famous sandwich shop in Florence with my Aunt and her friends.

Even though I really enjoyed seeing everyone, the weekend felt really chaotic and rushed because there were so many people to see and so many things to do. I was happy that I had a general idea of all the places where I wanted to bring my friends and family, but it was hard to accommodate that many people and their different preferences and needs. This weekend, I learned a lot about compromising and finding ways to create the best possible outcome so that everyone involved is happy. However, for me it was a little more stressful because on top of accommodating everyone’s needs and wants, I also had my midterms the following week and visitors were visiting right through Tuesday.
Preparing for my midterms was really the testament of how I was able to use my problem-solving skills in order to coordinate enough time to prepare for these exams. Although I was extremely stressed at the end of the visit and simultaneously during my midterms, I was still very grateful to my aunt and Michelle for coming to visit me. I knew that I worked well under pressure, all I had to do was truly focus and gear everything towards my studies when they left. That is what I ended up doing along with prioritizing my work and which allowed me to feel confident in the end.

Overall this week for me was about learning to balance situations and using my critical thinking skills to help me through some challenges I faced along the way. I can now see that my abroad experience has been consistently improving my problem-solving skills and I am grateful for that. I learned that I don’t have to choose to do just one thing either spending time with my visitors or studying, I just had to find a good balance and enjoy myself. I was happy to share my experience here with my friends and family and I was glad that through my planning they got to see everything I had wanted them to see. They had a great trip and it made me more excited for my sisters visit in the next few weeks!