It is mindblowing how much things can change in a few short months. Now, I feel that I have truly "charted" Rome. My entire apartment has been in total denial about leaving for the past few days. We can't imagine life anymore without daily supplis (fantastic breadcrumb coated rice and mozzarella balls) from the pizza shop at the top of the hill from our apartment. What will we do without the Pantheon and St. Peter's basilica practically in our backyard? And how about Frigidarium gelato and handmade gnocchi? How will I transition back to American coffee from delightfully bitter espresso? What songs will I jump up to dance to when American discos aren't playing Don Omar's Danza Kuduro? And I have to stop saying disco in the US because people will think I'm talking about Saturday Night Fever, the musical or Danny from Grease, not just your average dance club. How will I practice my Italian without the guidance of Susanna and her friends? I can no longer hop a train to another historically rich and vibrant Italian town or book a last-minute flight to an awe-inspiring country. Abroad has spoiled me, but I have also grown from it.
It hasn't just been food and wine and picturesque panoramas. It has been making lifelong friends and singing in the streets in the middle of the night. It has been learning to navigate foreign environments with language barriers and cultural obstacles obstructing the path to success. It has been missing trains, taking walking tours, taking bike tours far less gracefully, learning the importance of history and rediscovering religion. It has been sleepless nights and movie nights, laughing until I can't breathe and drinking more espresso than any human should. It has been learning who I am inside and out, what I need, what motivates me, how I can help others and how I can make the most of any situation. It has been transforming a far, far away city into my city, imprinting my insights and experiences on this town and absorbing all of the history, beauty and lessons it provisioned me. It has been making a home away from home. It has been dancing until 5 in the morning or calling it an early night after chatting at Bar San Calisto. It has been Vespas and smart cars and walking until our soles are as red as Merlot. It has been meeting Susanna's extended family and eating a hybridized Roman and Philippino pranzo that was absolutely beyond delicious. It has been doling out 5 euro Secret Santa gifts on the top of Gianicolo our last night together, tears in our eyes, love in our hearts, Rome's wisdom filling up our insides. It has been real.
Roma, I'll miss you beyond belief. Thank you for all you have taught me and all of the happiness you have brought me. I can only hope that as I continue my life's journey, there are more moments in store as magical as the ones I've had with you. You've made me more independent, grateful and whole. I see things with new eyes; it's as if this city has given me new contact lenses (and I thought I had 20/15 vision). It's been the best, but now it's time for the next chapter. Grazie mille per tutto.
|ABV (my apartment-mates, minus Susanna) at our IES farewell dinner.|
Dre's mom bought us all Chicago hats! :)
A domani (Stati Uniti!!),