I leave for the airport in four hours…I can’t believe I leave for the airport in FOUR HOURS!!!! This was my last day and I just…wow, I can’t believe this was my last day. I mean, in my head I know that today was my last day and in four short hours I will awaken to shower and head to the airport but part of me still doesn’t fully realize that I am leaving tomorrow—does that make sense? It’s almost as though I am simply headed out for the weekend but will return shortly. I can’t picture life without the back alleys, cobblestone streets, lunch in the piazzas, the street market outside my door or St Johns Basilica across from my terrace. I just…I can’t bring myself to realize I am going to be leaving and not coming back.
Yet, in my head I know today was it, so I lived it up! I woke up this morning and met up with Gloria outside my house to exchange her money and take one final loop of the Via Sannio market on my street. Apparently banks in Italy are not open on Saturdays. Yes, this does seem like something we might have realized earlier in the semester but, to be fair, we have yet to truly need a bank in general let alone on a Saturday. This proved to be a problem. But, Gloria had a little money so we went shopping anyways and she ended up spending EVERYTHING she had on a leather jacket. Oh how I wish I’d saved for a real leather jacket—next trip for sure; but from Florence since it’s what they are famous for.
Oh side note: I had my last cappuccino before we did our final shopping spree on Via Sannio. Yes, I about cried at such an occasion and the bartender looked at me strange until I explained why I was crying over my cappuccino and then her response was “che carina” which means “that’s so cute.” *sigh* I’m going to miss this. And, you will be so proud of me, I purposely only brought two euro with me into the market so I wouldn’t buy anything. Well, I ended up buying a two euro bracelet for one euro because it’s purple and says “I Love Roma” in rainbow colors and I only had an euro left after my cappuccino. It happens.
After shopping we went back to my place real fast so I could finish packing and, HOLY MOLY BATMAN I have so much stuff! No seriously, I came with one suitcase slightly over the limit and I am leaving with two that I had to sit on to close. Please note, this is AFTER I already sent Doom home with one suitcase packed full back in October. Yea, I might have had a slight shopping addiction while here—but, to be fair, there is a street market outside my house so it isn’t entirely my fault. Just saying.
Anyways, once I shoved everything I don’t need in the morning into my bags, Gloria and I set out to see my city one last time. We caught a bus to Via del Corso—man am I going to miss those short buses—and decided to shop our little hearts out for last minute souvenirs. And by “shop our hearts out” I mean that Gloria was looking for things and I simply bought a bottle of Limoncello to bring back to my family. It took some shoving but I got it in. Anyways, it was absolutely beautiful to see Piazza Navona and wander my streets. Gloria was tired and I had a meeting at school at five so the two of us parted ways around 4pm and planned to meet up later.
May I just say that one thing I will NOT miss is waiting for freaking ever for the buses to come. I swear I saw so many pass by that were the same number and not mine I was about to go crazy! So, I did the only sane thing to do and took a bus I didn’t know where it was going and got off when it deviated from the route I needed. Yes, this lead to a bit of necessary backtrack by foot but, I got to walk my city more and I followed the Tiber River to school again. It’s absolutely breathtaking!!! I am going to miss being able to wander down the river on cobblestone as the sunsets. *sigh*
By the time I got to school I had just enough time to print out my boarding passes for tomorrow—well today since it’s so late—and they took FOREVER!!! I was slightly more than frustrated but I managed. I then went to my meeting and well—to say I was disappointed would be putting it lightly. It actually frazzled me to the point where I needed to come back home and gather myself before going out again. I had called Gloria to tell her that I needed to get out and she had said she’d call me back when she was ready. So I waited, waited, and waited. Then she walked into my room…You see, my phone here likes to randomly shut off without being touched and while having a full battery. This is what it did at some point between me calling her and her walking through my door. Yes Gloria, being the AMAZING friend she is, realized she could not get ahold of me though she tried many times and decided to come ALL the way down to my place (a thirty minute commute) show up at my door and knock so my host family let her in all because she knew I needed a friend at that point. She is absolutely the BEST!!!
The remainder of my night was her cheering me up, us looking for a scarf for her cousin, and LOTS of wandering Rome at night. We walked from Piazza Venezia all the way down Via del Corso (at least twice) over to the Spanish Steps, then to Piazza Navona, and we even went by the Trevi Fountain one final time. We had dinner near the Pantheon at 11pm and were thoroughly exhausted by the time we finished and reached Piazza Argentina just after midnight. There is something so magical about Rome at night and part of me wanted nothing more than to stay out and wander her streets until the dawn broke and I had to return here to gather my things and go to the train station. But, given my lack of sleep and need to pack the last of my things, I returned. I took my night bus one final time, sat in front of St. John’s Basilica as it lit up against the night sky, gazed upon the Aurelian Wall, and wandered my way back to my house one…last…time.
I packed, Skyped, took pictures with my host family and got everything set for my departure. And here I am—it’s 1:30 in the morning, I must wake up in4 short hours, shower, and walk with my two oversized suitcases and stuffed backpack thirty minutes to Tuscolana train station then take the FM1 to the airport where I will board a plane to Zurich, then San Fransisco, then Salt Lake City. It will take me over twenty hours and I will arrive in Salt Lake to the loving arms of my parents and three year-old baby brother at approximately 9:28pm. Wow. You know something though, as much as I am going to miss Rome and although a part of my heart will not be leaving tomorrow but rather, will live here forever with my wonderful host family, Piazza Navona, the Trevi Fountain and Via del Corso—I think I’m ready to return.
I love it here, I really do; and I am sure that when it hits me that I am leaving for good that the tears will flow abundantly. I have made the absolute most of my four months here. I have lived with an Italian family, learned the language, taken adventures with strangers, volunteered at the homeless shelter, taken the time to just get lost, and I have been blessed to do more in these for months than many will do in their entire lives. I have had my Italian experience and I have had it to the fullest. But there is a family who loves me, friends who miss me, and so much more awaiting me back home in the states. Roma, I love you but I am closing this chapter of my life and in four short hours my journey back to the states begins—I’m coming home.