Here we are on the other end of “i’m studying abroad in Italy for 4 months,” it feels like just yesterday I was arriving here but at the same time it feels so far away. When I look back on the person I was when I first arrived and compare it to the person I am now, I am shocked to discover how much I have grown. The end of this beautiful experience didn’t feel real until my roommates bedrooms were all packed up and empty and I watched with tears as they headed toward the taxi with their lives packed up into two suitcases (maybe more if you’re my roommate Gaby, hi Gaby – love you). We’ve met so many amazing people and have done so many amazing things. It’s difficult to believe all of that has come to a close. I’m currently typing in our apartment on Via Costantino, it’s silent and it’s empty. There are no clothes hanging from the drying rack (or the wine bottles), and there is no food in the fridge. Saying goodbye to my Rome-ies was the hardest goodbye I think i’ve ever had to make. It’s difficult because i’m still here and all of my friends are now 4,358 miles away. I don’t want to be stuck on thinking about our goodbye though instead I want to focus on all of the amazing things that we did here together.
So yes, I know i’m staying longer but it’s different now. It’s different when all of the people you’ve become close with are no longer in the place you’ve been in for months. I just want to take a step back for a second and think about where I was prior to coming. I began this blog hoping to discover the land my family is from and to also be able to meet my family that still resides in Vasto. My goal was to get my family to come visit and for my grandmother to be reunited with all of her cousins after 20 long years of not seeing them. I can tell you that two weeks ago I was stressed about finals, finishing my research, wondering if my family would come, and unsure about everything happening with me going to Perugia. All of a sudden finals were over, my research was completed, I received all the information I needed about Perugia, found out my traveling for the next week with Alberto in Campania and got a surprising FaceTime call from my mom telling me they are coming to Italy! I couldn’t even believe it. I was stressing for so long, and now all of the stress is over and everything sort of just fell into place. I began my first blog talking about how I felt like my fairy tale was over and I was heading into the real world of boring adulthood, but then realized my fairy tale was only just beginning now that I was going to Italy. My good friend told me that this is a story. Without a beginning and without an end. Even though this part of the story is over it will still be in my library, always waiting for me to open it back up and read again. I could read this story over and over. In particular, I could read our story again and again, but that’s maybe a blog for another time…
In my previous blog I said “I know how it feels to land in a place unfamiliar, but a part of me feels like I will land in a place feeling quite at home.” I’ve never experienced something so true. Rome is truly my second home now and everything feels so comfortable. It’s funny reading my posts from before I got here and hearing me talk about my nervousness and my expectations and my excitement, and now all of a sudden it’s over. When I read those old posts it doesn’t feel like it was coming from me because it seems so far away. We embraced our changes along the way and have ended this experience as different people than when we first started. It’s actually really difficult to sum up the past four months in a blog post like this that could depict everything I feel and everything I experienced. Perhaps instead I can explain all of the things i’m going to miss by the time I get back to America and even while I’m in Perugia, to give you an idea.
I’m going to miss my roommate coming home and saying “Ciaaaaao” imitating the voices of our Italian friends we met while we were here. I’m going to miss the sundays I wake up and the entire city is quiet, the sleepy sundays, the hungover sundays, the sundays we come back from a weekend trip, the sundays we have plans early in the mornings, and the sundays we sleep in until 1pm. The dinners we have together and we get to practice out italian. The dinners we make together, or all of us trying to cook at the same time and having to wait for 6 people to wait for their separate dinners to be made. I will miss going out and eating antipasti, primi piatti, secondi piatti, and still having room for dolce or going to see gelato man after dinner. I will miss the gelato man and how he reminds me of my grandfather always giving us free treats and fresh fruit to take home. I’ll miss hearing “Buon Giorno” when walking by the market and getting discounts on the wine that already only 7 euro. I will miss wandering the city streets with my roommates and still being in awe of this city we’ve lived in for 4 months. I will miss the feeling of getting off at the metro at Basilica San Paolo. I will miss hearing Maureen laughing from the next room and Gaby forcing everyone to go out even though she was passed out on the couch 5 minutes just before. I will miss Kaylin coming into my room and jumping on top of me while i’m still in bed and when she leaves the room to go to sleep she says “Door open or closed, light on or light off.” I will miss how some of the songs we’ve listened to so many times while here will remind me of all of my friends. I will miss how “Work” reminds me of Gaby dancing in the kitchen before going out, how “Gold” reminds me of Maureen, and how “California” reminds me of Emma, how “Locked away” reminds me of Austin and all of the nights I would look around the room at scholar’s seeing everyone laughing, dancing, and singing together. I’m going to miss hanging out and drinking at Barrone Rosso and everyone asking “what place is that?” even though we go there almost every weekend. I will miss climbing the steps of the Vittoriano and the feeling of almost falling down all of those steps even though you know you’re not going to. I will miss the family I tutor. Massimo always wearing his cool glasses and cooking dinner, Carla’s bright red hair and how she cuts up fruit after dinner. Matteo always wanting to watch Pirates of the Caribbean, in italian with english subtitles for me, and how Sarra always draws and likes to watch youtube videos. I will miss the feeling of getting off the metro at Piramide to walk to my internship and greeting everyone in the office with a kiss on each cheek. I will miss riding in the car through the city staring at all of the monuments that pass by listening to the songs i’ve heard so many times on Alberto’s playlists. I will miss going out at night with everyone together. I will miss Sarra and Chiara in the office always asking me how I am doing. I will miss Paola, Dr. K, Stefania, and Angela. I’m going to miss Jeannette and Gisella and Francesca. I will miss Maureen, Gaby, Jaime, Kaylin, and Emma (even though I will see her in two months at home). I will miss Giacomo, Niccolo, and I will miss Alberto.