Dear Hannah: A Letter

In the beginning of my semester here in Rome, on a beach in Campania (surreal, right?) we were asked to write a letter to ourselves. In it, we were told to:

1) List a “Moment of Awe”, or two/three things that we MUST DO by the end of the semester.

2) Personal Growth: something we want to strengthen or deepen, improve, etc.

3) Spiritual Life

Here is my letter:

“Dear Hannah,

Before leaving Europe, you must see/do/have:

1. The Coliseum

2. The Palace of Versailles

3. Find a Boccacchio

4. The best meal of your life

I really want to improve on accepting myself and not feeling the need to constantly adapt to other people’s expectations. I know who/what I am, and the most important thing is to accept it, and then love it, and then share that love with others, especially new people. I can’t let people effect how I feel personally so much.

I hope to improve on my Daily Examen. I want to reflect on the positives and negatives on every aspect of my life and be able to understand and embrace how this is making me evolve. Every moment here is a moment I want to remember forever, the good and the bad.

Good luck,



How funny I was.

My letter to myself clearly was not ready for all the changes I experienced in the last four months.

1) For starters, I was unable to see the Palace of Versailles. In fact, I was never able to get Paris. Sure, Paris will always be there. I was a little sad, but when I realized that I have been to so many incredible places: Barcelona, Budapest, Amsterdam, Venice, Florence…the list goes on. Paris will always be there. And I will have the chance to eat as many macaroons I want one day.

– As for the Boccacchio…no such luck. That is my great-grandmother’s maiden name, but Florence (Firenze in beautiful italiano) is much bigger than I ever thought it would/could be. Also, I didn’t try all that hard.

– Every meal I’ve eaten here? Best meal of my life. Food in Italy is made so well…there is so much love and care that goes behind it, a rich history of family recipes tweaked and altered to make the most perfect dish on earth. Even the appearance is incredible.

First Dinner in Rome Homemade Tiramisu


Everything about food in Rome is incredible. So can scratch that off.

2) When I came to Rome, everyone told me I would come back a new person. I had the decency to ignore their warnings completely. They were completely right. My whole life has changed. Though I am still a work in progress, I am proud of who I become. I am proud of the traits that make me different, because they make and have made me who I am today. I am strong, passionate, confident, dedicated, loyal, adventurous, stubborn, and I have learned to be patient and take in the beauty all around me. But I am only 20. I still have a ways to go.

3) Still working on it. Being in Catholic Italy has been quite the interesting experience. For example, many churches in Rome (and Europe) are made for ANYONE who seeks meditation or prayer of some sort; that is the effect they want to give to you. The churches are ornate, highly decorative, and massive in size: this is to feel the magnitude of a higher being, no matter what you believe in.

This is what living in Rome has truly done to me.

Ci vediamo,



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