by Kellie Bramlet (Marquette University)
I FEEL THE MOST AT HOME in big cities. I love the busy streets and the crowds of people. There is always something to do, so many things going on.

Cagli couldn't be more different from Milwaukee, where I go to school. The narrow cobblestone streets are so quiet, nothing like the freeways I know, full of honking SUVs. Here, each day I throw open the shutters to my window to see the sunlight cast its rays onto the well-dressed residents running to the Wednesday market or to Caffe d'Italia for a small cup of espresso. It's different from my view of Milwaukee— a vista of a busy street skewed by bars that cover the windows. I know I could never live in Cagli for a long period of time. The peaceful lull would leave me feeling restless after a while. But in the past month I have come to love the quirks of this quiet community.

My favorite time of day is breakfast. Each morning I stroll to Caffe d'Italia, where Jake, the owner, greets me with a smile and motions for me to go sit down. He has my order memorized, a cappuccino and an apricot croissant. I love just sitting back and sipping my coffee the whole town shuffle through the piazza. It's so quiet and relaxing. I know that as soon as I leave that is what I'll miss the most — the friendliness of small town Italy. I love the Italian lesson I get from the lady at the pizza shop at lunch or the cheerful "Ciao," from the man who works in the wine shop as I pass him on the streets.

Just days away from a plane ride back to the States, I can't be more happy with my decision to come here. I know I learned so much more than had I come to some big city like Florence or Rome. I've been able to try out my Italian on many occasion. I've endured the insulted stars when guilty of "brutta forma," and I've formed many connections with many of the people that live here. And it's those people who have taught me more than I could have learned in any classroom. Those are the memories I'll take back with me. And while the pace of my life in the United States will speed up as soon as I step off the plane, I will try to find peace and quiet each morning as I make time to slowly sip my coffee each morning and appreciate everything that surrounds me. Even if it means I have to wake up a little bit earlier to enjoy it.