Struggling with Post-Europe Depression

It’s now been three full days since we returned from our two-week long trip to Italy. And while at the time I was excited to come home, now that I’m here I’ve fallen into my usual post-Europe depression.

I’ve been lucky enough to go to Europe a handful of times the past two years (and it will continue into a month-long trip in January), and I’ve loved every trip. The hard part is coming home and readjusting to everyday life again.

I took a grand total of 2600 photos in the two weeks, a number that has yet to surprise anyone that knows me at all. And it’s the process of going through them that has made me the most down. I get bogged down with “wow remember how beautiful these flowers were?” and “that was the best pasta dish of the whole trip” and “I had forgotten how surreal the Tuscany area was.” Soon I find myself just going through the photos rather than actually weeding through them. Soon it all just seems like a wonderful dream.

I kept a journal the entire trip (I’m actually still an entry or two behind so I’m still wrapping it up) in order to help myself remember the details. The different couples we met and ate with. The strangers that we connected with and separated, never learning their name but knowing their story. It’s filled with plane ticket stubs and museum passes, business cards and brochures. A recounting of the wine tasting we went to and stories about our Italian driver who plays in a cover band for Green Day. The little things that didn’t make the camera but will always remain an essential element to our Italian fairytale.

When you spend two weeks without a car, relying on only trains and buses, it’s rough to come back to the grid system of suburbia. Sitting in traffic in a car weighs you down even more than it used to. Walking everywhere, restaurants, museums, grocery stores, etc., seems so easy and active and then you find yourself sitting at home debating that fifteen minute drive to Target to pick up two things. Having simple meals (I’m ruined for American Italian food now) and stopping for a gelato to eat on the square seemed like the perfect relationship with food, and combined with the walking led to a personal five pound weight loss. Going from feeling content there to feeling stuffed here seems like chaos as my stomach mourns for fresh pasta and bread.

It was truly a different world over there. I’m so honored that my parents included me on their 25th anniversary trip because it was truly the trip of a lifetime. From hiking the Italian coast line in Cinque Terra to watching the sunset over the river in Florence, it was one of the best Europe trips I’ve been on. But now I’ve come home to work and prepping for my junior year of college and I find myself dreaming of escaping back to Italy. And I know that in time the feelings will fade and talking about it will be with excitement and not longing. But for now Italy will be on my mind as I continue the narrowing down process of the photos I took, and get ready to share them with family and friends.

Ciao Italia, until next time.