This past weekend with the program was bittersweet and full of “lasts.” My friends and I went to our staple restaurants together, walked through our favorite neighborhoods, and did some last minute shopping. Emily and Abigail and I had plenty of late nights sitting on each other’s beds, chatting and reminiscing. Adira and I got in our last hysterical laughs of the semester before saying goodbye. The last four months flew by, and while sometimes the days went slowly, I can’t believe it’s truly coming to an end.
Some of these things never got old for me. Walking to school past the Vatican every day, making dinner with my unbelievably wonderful Italian Student Companion roommate Cristina, even the “Uscita, Lato Destro” subway announcement. I learned far more Italian than I thought I would, and Cristina and I have promised to write each other letters and texts so that I can keep it up. One thing I definitely never tired of: the food. I’m not sure I’ve gone one day since January 29th without having some kind of pasta or pizza, and I am extremely pleased about it. I loved learning about Italian politics, and my Contemporary Italian Politics class ended up being my favorite. My IES Abroad Professor did a great job of introducing us to the foundations of the system and then explaining the complicated political situation in which we find ourselves today. I look forward to bringing these lessons back with me to my political sciences classes at GW.
My last few days at IES Abroad included plenty of fun activities, like a cooking class – now I can make my mom and dad a lovely Italian meal upon my return – and the farewell dinner with our program. Now that my sister Ruthie is coming, I’ll get to take her far away from the tourist sights and introduce her to places like my favorite bar Four Green Fields where I religiously watched Red Sox games all semester, sometimes convincing a Sox fan friend to join, or my favorite neighborhood with great shopping, Monti. The thrift shops remind me of my friends Maia and Cece who always find a molto figo balance of wearing vintage and brand names. I’m sure between Ruthie and I, we’ll have plenty of thrifting to do! I’m glad my good pal Emmet stayed late too because now he gets to meet Ruthie and the two of them will have the chance to gang up on me mercilessly (in a hopefully loving way).
In Italian Class, my teacher Monica asked us what we won’t miss and I could really only thing of two things. Firstly, I’m looking forward to getting tap water at restaurants again. Secondly, I won’t be sad to stop getting strange and unexplainable charges from my Italian phone company for a variety of services I’m unsure were real. But those are the only things that really come to mind. The truth is, I’m very, very sad. I have a tough time with transitions and I already knew that coming abroad, but I never thought it would be such a shock to me that I would have to leave this home I had come to love.
A huge highlight to look forward to is the wildly fun sisters Euro-adventure Ruthie and I are going on (before she drags me back to the reality of New York with her). It’s been a tough few days coming to terms with it all. Monica offered to have us write letters to ourselves about how wonderful we feel and the great lessons we learned here, and then she’ll send them to us in several months when we might need a reminder. I took her up on the offer and look forward to getting it.
Ruthie and I are doing three days a Roma so that I can show her my home, followed by travel through the south of Spain (Malaga and Seville). Then, we adventure onwards to Lagos, Portugal, for a few days and head up the coast to Lisbon. I’ve never been to any of those places and I’m really glad I can do it with one of my best friends. It seems like an ideal balance of beachy hang out time and touristy walking around time.
My heart sighs as I sign off because the next time I write I’ll be far from the Eternal City. I know that one day I will return, but the reality of it is that studying abroad is a unique experience unlike regular travel. It is a much like a fantasy world (one where I can afford a fantastic single bedroom in a beautiful Prati apartment). I will miss my friends, my teachers, and my walks through the cobblestone streets. IES Abroad gave me some of the most once-in-a-lifetime field studies I could imagine, and I am so thankful for that. I’m glad I can show Rome to Ruthie and I hope that all my IES Abroad friends are enjoying their new chapters wherever they may be. Thank you for an unforgettable semester and life experience.
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I’m a Jersey girl raised on lasagna and The Godfather. I’ve always liked learning about Old Italy and I’m excited to experience it this spring. I study Political Science and History at George Washington University, and I’m still on the hunt for the best cannoli in D.C. Talk to me about reading, running, and The West Wing!