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Landed in Nice I am finally reunited with my dad, even if just for a few days. He brought pizza and bread which he knows are some of the foods I miss the most living in the Netherlands. He asks me about my plans and I try to fill in the gaps as I haven’t really figured out much. I feel like I am rambling and I am relieved when we stop at the first highway bar in Italy. It’s a tradition, the barista somehow knows what we want to order without us even asking and we quickly drink the dark nectar of Gods, or at least that’s what I feel a real Italian espresso should be called.

My mum arrives with my nephew and we start playing as if I had never left. Very aware of what living in Italy means (it’s hard, and maybe it’s even harder for someone who has experienced northern Europe society), I dream of coming back one day. The many many pros on one part of the scales and the few very heavy cons battle in my head, but for now I decide I am happy where I am and I focus on the present day. I sleep for thirteen hours straight and I wake up feeling good.

My nephew screams “Goedemorgen!” (goodmorning in Dutch), one of the few Dutch words he has learnt from my brother. I pick field flowers, the most beautiful ones, for a friend who has recently passed away. I drive to the coast listening to Daughter and thinking about the time we spent together.

I meet friends at the beach and I run to hug them. It’s so nice to hear about their lives, their struggles, their moments of happiness and telling them about mine. We swim in the deepest water, we take pictures and part of me is back to being seventeen again.

I spend every moment outside, helping my mum to cook, taking photos, swimming and just listening to all the sounds I can hear all across the valley.

The last day I wake up early, my body knows I have to seize it. That feeling of melancholy starts hitting me intermittently; I don’t want to go and childishly I imagine that maybe there’s a way of staying here.