Goodbye. See you soon. Until next time. These are phrases I’ve used all too often in the last week or so. As I close out this amazing, eye-opening, and revolutionary semester, I am forced to look at my choices both good and bad. I laugh at the times when I was foolish. Where I spent too much money or said the wrong pronunciation of an Italian word (It happened a lot). I cherish the times I won’t forget, like when I got to see the Pope or when I visited Padova with Julia (my editor-in-chief). However, the time has come to leave “my” precious Roma. It’s hard, but I’m extremely grateful for the culture and lessons I’ve learned over the course of this semester.
On a personal note, I bought a journal before coming to Rome. I promised myself that I would write in it and make the most of this experience. During the semester, I poured my heart out into this bright green journal that I took with me almost everywhere. I’m proud to say that I filled up half of this gloriously biased book of thoughts and personal history. On January 29th at 5 a.m., a very jet-lagged Cameron wrote his first entry. I expressed that I wanted to be empty. I wanted to be a blank page. An abyss. A box. In turn, I wanted Rome to fill me up. Let me tell you, Rome is very generous. I am certain when I say Rome is my second home. I love its history, monuments, people, espresso, wine, culture, dangerous mopeds, and very annoying tour solicitors. But hey, that’s Rome.
On May 8th and 9th, I said goodbye to people who entered as strangers and transformed over an IES Abroad semester into important people in my life. Y’all know who you are! Love you dudes. On May 10th, I had dinner with my host family and my mom! It was a lovely exchange. We talked, laughed, and at the end we hugged like families are supposed to. I turned in my keys that night. Those keys provided my entry to asylum for four months. They helped me enter a place of love and acceptance. It was a tough walk down those stairs at night. However, it’s not a goodbye, it’s a see you soon. That’s a promise and I intend to keep it.
May 11th, I got to show my mom the city through my eyes. After an early visit of the Vatican museum and the Sistine Chapel, we “Rome-d” the center. (Had to do it.) We stopped at a cafe where I received the nicest compliment a barista could give me. “Your Italian is very good!” Although she said this phrase in English accompanied by a surprised look on her face, I will gladly accept it. Next, my mom and I had lunch at La Salumeria (best panino in the center) topped off with some Frigidarium (favorite and affordable gelato). Then, we walked and saw the market in Campo di Fiori. Piazza Navona concluded our walking tour. Finally, I took my Mom to my favorite restaurant in San Pietro. What a day.
During the tour, I realized how I’ve grown as a person this semester. I am someone who can lead people, or at least close family members, through Rome. I can maneuver a foreign city using its metro. I can tell the difference between a good and bad panino. I can handle a conversation in Italian. I can handle getting lost in Orvieto. I can handle anything now. So thank you Rome because of you, I can...
A presto, Roma!
P.S Here is my host family and my Mom.
A very special thanks to my editor and identical twin Julia Cohen. I’ve had the pleasure of making this intelligent, strong, and vibrant human being laugh for the last semester. Thanks to her my blog and life has been better.