Birthday wishes from around the world

Just a few hours after I woke up on my 15th birthday, I was greeted by a barrage of messages. When I checked them, I was shocked to see message after message from fellow AFSers around the world! They are the people who will be studying abroad with me in Italy this Fall.

Now, let me explain why this meant so much to me. I haven’t celebrated my birthday much in the past few years. For a bunch of reasons, it just didn’t really excite me.

But this year was different. This year, my Mom and I moved into a new house and started over. Our lives have turned around for the better, and we had been excited to really celebrate our birthdays for once.

The messages from my AFS Italy friends kept coming throughout the day. Everyone wished me a happy birthday in their native language and it was one of the coolest things I have ever seen! My mom and Grandmother were fascinated by all these messages coming in from people around the world who I hadn’t even met in person yet.

In fact, I barely knew most of these people. We are all in the same Facebook group for AFSers going to Italy, but I had only started chatting with them a few days earlier.

However, they are some of the only people who will have an experience like the one I’m about to have, and who will be able to truly understand what I’m going through. For that reason, we already feel connected, even though we live thousands of miles apart, speak different language, come from different cultures, etc. It feels like we're already a tight-knit group of Italy-lovers :)

I honestly can’t wait to meet all of these kids in Rome!

- Dani