Tomorrow is the day that I have been dreading since I first touched down on Italian soil nearly four months ago. Tomorrow I will board a plane and be forced to say farewell to Rome. They say time flies when you’re having fun, and having lived in Italy for the past four months has definitely warped my sense of time.
I did not experience a winter this year, or at least one that I am used to. Instead I experienced LOTS of rain, a typical Mediterranean winter. The fall season essentially flowed into what now seems like summer in Rome, which is why my sense of time is so altered. Italy is more or less Europe’s version of Florida, and it has been a blessing to escape what turned out to be a snowy winter in New England.
While I will always be from Boston no matter where I go, where I live or who I meet, part of my story now belongs to Rome. I arrived in this city four months ago wondering if I had made the right decision to spend four months of my life in a place that I did not know the how to speak the language. Now I leave, still rusty on Italian, but with this city being my “home away from home.”
I have been doing a lot of reflecting this week about my time abroad. I asked myself if I have any regrets about my semester in Rome. The answer is a resounding NO. I set out to Rome to see the sights, make new friends, learn a new city, and become more cultured. And I did all of that. There were a few cities that I did not get to travel to in Europe, but I can always go there another time. I came here with goals, and for the most part I accomplished them. This semester was my no means perfect, easy, or completely a vacation. The experiences that I’ve had here can never be replicated anywhere else or at any other point in my life. I am proud to say that I did something that not many people could do. When I think about all that I have witnessed in Rome this semester, including the first pope to resign in modern times, the election of the first pope from South America, and a grid-locked Italian election that is changing the face of this nation, it almost doesn’t seem real. But it was, and I was there, front and center, to witness it all.
Today I have plans to say goodbye to the city by visiting as many of the sites again as I can. The weather today is perfect sunshine and in the 80s. And based on weather reports from Boston, I don’t think I’ll be getting weather quite like this for a few more weeks back home. So I leave you with my last post in Rome (more will be coming once I’m back in Boston) with the Italian phrase “Arrivderchi,” which simply means “we’ll be seeing you later…” This does not suggest an ending, but rather it invokes a promise that we will meet again. So, to be as cliché as possible, this is not goodbye Rome, it is until we meet again.