It began with an acceptance email, which was later followed by a countdown of weeks, days, hours, and minutes. Now, the time has arrived. I'm enveloped by stress, in the instance that I realize I forgot something, and will notice it, the moment I aboard the plane or that my 48lb (you never truly realize just how much, or in my case, little, 50 pounds are when you are forced to meet it or pay a hundred dollars for going even an ounce over) weighed luggage will read at a heavier weight when placed on a different scale. Excitement, for never have I been so daring to travel apart from my family for such a long duration. And fear, of the unknown occurences that may occur while I am abroad. I yearn for this adventure, however, emotions have enveloped my rational (as my poor family witnessed yesterday in aiding with my rather extrenuous packing). There are many facts that I am just beginning to accept, despite the times over I have been told them, such as the knowledge that if I am to find myself without a necessary item, IT CAN BE PURCHASED ABROAD. For all you future travelers departing for long durations, accept this as soon as you can, and it will set your mind at ease prior to leaving. Once past this, I could definitvely express my enthusiasm for all that I am to experience. I recognize that the minute I walk through security to my terminal and enter the plane, I will be overcome with relief and every moment spent worrying up to this point will have been worth it. That's what I have to keep reminding myself until then. I have created this blog not only to document my time abroad, but to hopefully encourage and advise others in their own future expeditions. For those of you uncertain as to what and where I am going, please allow me to explain.
I am going to be spending the next 6 weeks working at the Poggio Civitate - an archaeological dig whose focus has been on an Etruscan settlement that was discovered in 1920 and where excavations have been reccuring since 1966. I will be working M-F, with weekends off for travel, with two additional weeks to travel around and visit old chums (I will be accompanied by my mother and sister at this point). I am hoping this will even be enough time!! Last summer, major progress was made for the dig with the identification of a series of non-elite domestic structures that the team was able to, for the first time in the region, compare aspects of daily life across a range of social experiences. Following up this summer, and what I will have the opportunity to participate in, we will be returning to and expanding that same zone of excavation, as well as returning to the Piano del Tesoro for the first time in many years. For those of you wondering why I am going...I am currently a triple major in English: Language and Literature, Photography, and Classics, and all three of my degrees, I am hoping, are to be applied during this experience. I will be working with archaeologists to develop and refine skills in the field for excavation work, documentation of artifacts (including photographing of said artifacts), and preservation of artifacts. Who are the Etruscans you ask? They were a civilation just North of the Ancient Romans (they sound a little familar at least?) in the region that is now know as wonderful Tuscany! For many years the Etruscans fed inspiration to the Romans in the form of art, architecture, religion, and even politics. Ever heard of the Syballine Books or haruspices (Etruscan Diviners)? Both of which were brought from the Etruscans to Rome and played quite the role on their religious and political realm. For more information on the civilation, please research, for they are worth reading about, however, are not well-known because of our lack of information on them in relation to other Classic Civilizations such as the Greeks or Romans.
While I am abroad, expect me to try and post at least one entry or photograph (minimum!) A day. I have never used this blog website before and am using my tablet and a bluetooth connected keyboard for all of this, so this should be an interesting experience for me on that regard. Please bear with me while I am trying to figure out all this new technology! Those who know me well will understand my many issues with technology (we don't get along very well), however, I promise to do my best. I will also be available via skype, email, and facebook, however, to thoroughly enjoy my experience, will not be readily accessible at all times of the day, especially when I am out in the field. PLEASE KEEP IN TOUCH THOUGH!!! I do want to thank many people before I leave...My parents, grandparents, professors, siblings, friends, aunts, and coworkers (sorry for not being terribly specific, seeing as there are many many people who have helped me get here, been inspirations to me, encouraged me, and have been my shoulder to lean on when the stress level rose too high). I can't express my grattitude enough to all of you for what you have done. It has all been more than I could have ever asked for, and for that, I thank you all from the bottom of my he/art.
Now it is time to leave as I board my plane in a few hours. Stay tuned for more.. good bye America, and hello Italy!!!