Friday, January 22, 2010

Introducing me, Gabby, and the events that bring me to Florence.

I'm Gabby. I'm a 19 year-old college girl born and raised on the Jersey Shore, but please, I implore of you, do not associate me with the reality show on MTV. I am moving in only three short days to Florence, Italy, for a semester abroad. I'm chronicling my days in this city so that you, reader, can experience this alluring new place with me. First, though, I think its important for you to get to know me, how I got here, and what I'm going to do to make this trip worthwhile.

I spent the majority of my time as a high school student striving for A+'s in order to get into a good college. I assumed that straight A+'s were my ticket to a successful future and therefore had nervous breakdowns just thinking about B's. I was so overly obsessed with being exceptional that I took all advanced placement classes (a.k.a. college jr.) and sacrificed my lunch periods to take more! I involved myself in every school activity I could get near to bank extra-curricular activity. I painted murals, entered writing competitions, did office work for my assistant principal, and became the President of the most prestigious society of other school-obsessed students ever created: The National Honor Society. I needed a good high school resume. I even managed to work full-time at, get this, Barnes & Noble. Leave it to the straight A student to work in a bookstore. By now it should be evident to you, my readers, that I worked my ass off for nothing. I, of course, did not get into a good college. You see, I have no prodigious talents, I was never able to donate 100 hours weekly toward volunteer services (although I did do that annually), my SAT scores were well above average but still not remarkable, and my skin is the one color that colleges scoff at: white. Women's Liberation dealt a swift blow to my one chance of being a "good addition to the community". Regardless of the fact that I am an exceptional student, hard worker, and well-rounded person, I was rejected from all of the big-league schools I applied to. FML.

I did what all students do in this situation; I settled for less. I moved to Manhattan to go to a school so small it's almost non-existent. I learned quickly that no matter how much I loved living in that city, thinking small just didn't work for me. I needed to find ways to stand out to become a successful environmental journalist and thereby travel around the world and climb trees for a living. That itsy-bitsy school was absolutely not the route by which to do so. Diversity is what those big-league colleges look for in their students and I therefore needed to diversify myself to make the grade. I transferred home and dedicated myself to doing something more with my college experience. I got my job at Barnes & Noble again and clocked full-time hours to pay for a study abroad trip to Little Cayman Island.

Let me tell you, going there was the best choice I ever made. I was young (which I still am), 18, and free for the first time. I spent three weeks on that beautiful island and managed to get myself into more trouble than I'd ever been in before. My adventures on that island could fill a book and are stories for another day, but I'll summarize them for you. I discovered I could have friends, have fun, and do those things I had abstained from in high school and still get the A+. I snuck out, danced, drank, got robbed, smoked pot (sorry, Mom), and made out with a MUCH older guy. Twice. I discovered that sometimes, I can be pretty. A once anxiety ridden, hopelessly awkward, and self-conscious girl turned loose on a small island makes for one hell of an adventure. Don't think, though, that I lost myself. Sure, the experience changed me, but it made me confident and strong, passionate and independent. I learned about the environment and how important being a part of helping to rescue it is to me. It helped me to realize I want to help people and help the world; to help make a lasting difference in this short life I have to live. I learned a freedom I'd never known before, and I realized that seeing the world, making interesting friends, exposing myself to new people and ideas, and seasoning myself with adventure was the best way to live my life. I want to turn myself into the diverse individual I need to be to make that dream, the dream of being the journalist who helps to save the world, come true.

And so here I am, studying abroad for the second time in my short college career and discovering an all new, fascinating place: Firenze, Italia. In the coming months I'll be painting, drawing, writing, learning to cook, reading, traveling around Europe, meeting enthralling people, dancing, drinking, and having the time of my life in one of the world's most beautiful places. Keep reading and tag along for what is sure to be my most rewarding, wild, and amazing experience yet! Arrivederci, for now.

Love, me.


  1. I am proud of you Gabby. The best of luck and safety to you on your voyage... and voyages to come in your life. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Why do they warn you that the blog spot I am entering may be unsuitable for children...what do I look like? I'm your oldest brother....It should've read: the blog u are about to enter may possess material that may slightly upset the eldest brother, yet at the same time make him extremely proud that his youngest sister has broken out of the cocoon of her teenage years and will be soaring across the golden semolina fields of Italy as sparkling butterfly. Well you know what the hell I'm trying to say. Love you Gab.

  3. I must say i can find a lot of myself in what you wrote, about school grades and stuff!