I'm now on my last full day in Florence; I've got one (possibly two) more quick work-related stops to make here tomorrow morning, and then I'm going to get on the next train to head "home" - back to Milan. I'll probably have to grab one last gelato here, though, before I go back. The gelato really is extraordinarily good in Florence.
It's funny, I've been calling the Milan apartment "home" now for awhile, mostly in conversations with Chris, but it hasn't been a purposeful thing. It just feels so comfortable here, it's hard to not think of it as home already. I can't believe I've been here nearly a month already - this is the longest trip I've taken since my four-month study abroad in college, during which I felt serious pangs of homesickness regularly. This time, no homesickness. Sure, I miss my family, my friends, my cats - and yet I don't feel the usual "I wanna go home" thing that I usually do after a couple weeks of vacation. I've been so busy during much of this trip, that may be part of the reason for my lack of homesickness, but I'm not sure. It could also be that the immediacy of things like email and Skype make the world seem much smaller than it used to, too. I'm in regular contact with most of the same people I communicate with regularly back home in Oregon, so it doesn't feel like I'm an ocean away.
That's not to say this has been easy, however. I've gotten better at the whole "travel writer" thing as the trip has progressed, and I feel more comfortable in my role... And it's a job that really wears me out. I've crammed a lot of it into this trip, with visits to Venice, Rome and Florence in the space of three weeks (something I wouldn't try to do again if I could help it!), and if I lived here in Italy I'd definitely space these trips out more so that I had time to recuperate between them. I'm proud to report, however, that I've gotten a lot done, even if I feel like I could sleep for a week as a result of it!
At this point, I'm really looking forward to being back in Milan in our cozy apartment, where I can relax all day (well, while working at the computer, of course, but not running around visiting hostels and hotels, anyway), do laundry, and not eat out for every meal. As much as I love Florence (and I really love Florence), I'm going to be happy to be back on a train to Milan tomorrow. At the moment, however, I'm not sure how I'm going to feel about having to get on a plane back to the US about a week later...