I have learned to be more confident and proud of how well I have done in music. I have always enjoyed singing but I never really felt like I was good enough to go anywhere with it. After spending time in Italy with new people and new teachers I really have come to understand that with hard work, like every other singer, I can do great things. My teachers have all been very encouraging. I have learned new methods to practice and to look at a song. My patience with myself has grown tremendously as well. Instead of letting my perfectionist take over and getting frustrated when I can't do something immediately, I simply relax and understand that maybe it just is not the right day for me.
I have spent time with all kinds of people while here in Italy. I have become friends with Americans from different back grounds, Indonesians, Turkish, Japanese, and Italians. Although we differ in culture and how and where we were raised, everyone wants the same thing: Acceptance and happiness. We all get joy out of the same things: honesty, accomplishment, and genuine care from other people. I see that everyone will not always agree with me but it is ok. Surrounding myself with diverse people has taught me patience, love, and understanding.
I will have to say, I really was not that nervous coming to a new country with all new people for such an extended period of time. I think maybe I should have been more nervous, but it was something I really wanted to do. Now I see that it was something I needed to do. I was nervous about learning Italian. I really thought it was going to be impossible because I did not have much confidence in my ability to learn a new language. I did very well and actually feel quit comfortable speaking it. No, I am not all that advanced but I have learned enough to be able to carry on a conversation with people that do not know any English at all.
Friendship and Family:
I feel like I have grown closer to my family since being overseas. It has given us the opportunity to share experiences with each other and not have to be in the same room. I realized how important my ENTIRE family is to me and how much I love being with them, not just on holidays, but throughout the year. I know that I will definitely spend a lot more time with everyone in my family when I go home. With friends, I have learned who my real friends are at home and have made several very good friends here in Italy. My new friends here have taught me what it means to look past each other's flaws and genuinely accept people for who they are. Knowing and understanding that people are imperfect are two totally different things... but now I understand rather than just know. Any bitterness and hostility I held toward people before I came to Italy is gone now. I understand that people make decisions, good or bad, and there will always be consequences but it is not up to me to enforce those consequences.
I am not saying that living in Italy has made me perfect, by any means. I am saying that it has made me less likely to throw the first stone.
Thanks for following, I hope you have enjoyed my experience as much as I have. Maybe it will even encourage you or someone you know to travel abroad for an extended period of time. I know it has been one of the best decisions of my life.
Love in Christ,
Valerie Joy Wilke