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Stop. Save the Drops. (and Other Words of Wisdom)

Updated on December 1, 2019

When I was in Florence, Italy, completing the TEFL Practicum, there was someone very special who helped me with everything along the way. I am not talking strictly about helping me with the practicum, but about everything in between. When I got to Italy, I was like a baby who didn’t know how to do anything, but Nicoletta took care of me as if I was her own family…and she did it with the biggest smile on her face. She was a true ray of sunshine.

Always smiling, always finding the best in others, and always a positive, cheerful soul. That’s just who she is…one of the most selfless, giving, passionate and compassionate people I have ever met. Without her, my time in Italy would not have been so memorable. She taught me some things about myself and the world that I will always cherish. Sometimes it was as if she knew me better than I knew myself. As she inspired me, I wrote down some of what she said. These are five quotes that provided me inspiration while I was in Florence, and will continue to inspire me for my whole life.

Dedicated to Nicoletta. You helped me in more ways than you could know.

  1. “Stop. Save the drops.” – This phrase made me laugh after I had been crying for at least an hour. You said this to me the night of the adult classes when I couldn’t stop crying. Even though I was acting ridiculous and needed to calm down, you just took my arm and stayed next to me until I was okay. Even after the class was over, I was still having a hard time, but you told me that I should always rely on myself and that I was a beautiful person. You treated me like family, and I will never forget how you took care of me.
  2. “I do not know why these things happen to you. I call it ‘Amazing Adventures.’” – You told me this after what happened in Rome, when I missed the bus five times, couldn’t see anything I planned to see, and had a toilet explode on me. You were the most cheerful person, and I am so thankful that I spent every week day in Florence with someone as kindhearted as you.
  3. “I think you can create a whole new way of teaching! I am sure.” – I was talking with you about how I didn’t even know if I wanted to teach in the future, and about how confused I was about the future. Your response about creating a new way of teaching caught me off guard. You were referring to me still being able to use my psychology background, but I never expected someone to take the approach that you did to my confusion. What you said was so simple and confident, and it made me feel more confident as well, and really changed the way I see my future.
  4. “You can do everything that you are passionate about. You don’t have to give anything up. All these things that you love…they will always be a part of you, and are shaping you into who you were meant to be.” – When I was talking with you about all the different paths I saw for myself and my future, about how I had always wanted to be a marine biologist, and that I left my psychology major, and how I want to be a novelist, you said those words to me. You didn’t know it at the time, but I was holding back tears. What you said was one of the most beautiful things anyone has ever said to me. It completely changed the way I felt about my future career life, and you provided me with a sense of clarity that I really needed.
  5. “Certain things they should stay the way they are…but other things are meant to grow and change, and I have seen you do this.” – You wrote this on my weekly reflection. You took one of my favorite quotes, from my favorite novel that I have read over 10 times, and you made your own quote from it. When you did this, it showed a deep level of care. I am not always good at expressing myself in the moment, but I will never forget this. This quote that you made was beautiful, and it spoke to me in a way that showed you really knew me and understood me.

I still don’t have my future all figured out, but I no longer have the doubts that I did before. I know I am on the right path, and that’s because of you.

© 2019 Jillian Cleland


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