From Words to Pictures : Capturing Memories Abroad

Today’s post comes from University of Minnesota student Alex Lucke, who, when words were not enough to describe her time in Florence, recorded her stay through a series of photographs. We are happy to share her reflections below as she prepares to leave the city she has called home for three months.img_0679

Before I left for Italy, I wanted to make sure I wrote about the whole experience. I set up my blog, spent too much time deciding on a template, and conjured up the most Italian scenarios I could write about.

At the beginning of my time in Florence, it was easy. I didn’t know anyone in the program and used writing as an outlet, a reminder of something from home. All the pasta was fresh, the wine was cheaper than water, and every street I walked on was a new, cobblestoned adventure.

Then the program really started to set in. I spent my weekends all over Europe with people that were complete strangers just a few weeks before. We shared steins in Germany, crêpes in Paris, and sunny spots in Sicily. We were humbled in the Anne Frank house and comforted each other when home seemed too far.

In the midst of all this, I stopped writing.

I also stopped trying to over-analyze everything. I let my mind wander on my walk to class and paid attention to where it drifted. I started noticing that most of my pictures are of sunshine on yellow buildings, Italian dogs in equally Italian dog jackets and my friends while they’re dancing, laughing or enjoying our limited time together.

My documentation has evolved from words to pictures. I can’t explain how it feels to be at a dinner table with 12 people in an Italian living room for Thanksgiving. I can’t put into words how it feels to wander the streets of Florence, too excited to quiet down.

Nothing but moments frozen in time and shared memories with this group can do it justice.

Pictures are starting to explain more than I can. They reveal the things and people I love, what my time has been like here, and a semester I’ll forever miss.

In less than two weeks I’ll be back in the states. It’ll be a bittersweet ending, leaving one group of people I adore for another.

My mom always told me I was lucky to have people that made me sad to leave. The people I’ve shared my semester with are exactly who she’s talking about and I can’t describe how much they mean to me, so I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

~Alex Lucke, University of Minnesota

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