This weekend is Daylight Savings Time, which I am very excited about!! Yes, it is unfortunate to lose an hour of sleep, but we are gaining an hour of sunlight! Recently, I have been thinking a lot about the idea of “chasing the sunset.” What does that even mean, really? How can one “chase” the sunset? I think everyone has their own definition of that phrase, but for me, it has meant seizing all of the day that I can. When your time in a certain place is limited, you want to see everything you can while you are there. Often, this means that you are working against the clock, which by nature’s standards, is the sunset. So for me, “chasing the sunset” means I am trying to fit in all I can before there is no more light to guide me—essentially, before there is no more light to illuminate the city. Of course, Rome is beautiful at night, but there are certain things you miss when you no longer have daylight: the structure and outline of buildings, ability to enter certain museums (because visiting hours are over), and of course, the feeling that the time in the day is endless.
As we get closer to having only one month left in this magical place, “chasing the sunset” has also taken a more metaphorical meaning for me. A while ago, I wrote a blog post about having been in Rome for a full month, but now that it has been over 2 full months, I feel completely different. It is an interesting place to be in, sort of like an in-between; I feel like many of us are caught between different emotions. There is a part of us that is excited to know we will be reunited with friends and family soon, a part of us that has forgotten that we cannot stay in Rome forever, and a part of us that is in denial about having only a little more than a month left. I know that I am definitely experiencing all these feelings, but I am also feeling a new surge of excitement and energy. We are at the point in the semester when end-of-semester papers and projects are beginning to pick up, which is a bit tiring and overwhelming, but I am feeling really good about what is happening here in Rome. As you all know (since I wrote about it), I definitely had my own struggles with homesickness, but I am in a place of feeling very comfortable here in Rome. Life feels normal, and I don’t feel like a tourist. Yes, I still blubber my way in Italian, but I am getting better each day. My roommates have become some of my favorite people, people I am excited to come home to each day. I can sit in Villa Borghese and feel like I belong here, which is not something I could have said a month ago.
So, back to this idea of chasing the sunset. We have about a month left, and I want to fill it with everything I can. I am feeling very “YOLO” at the moment, you know that whole “you only live once” thing? Of course, it is a very classic reaction to the anxiety I am feeling about having to leave, but I’m going to embrace it. I am going to let this excitement for Rome shape the rest of my time here; in every spare moment I have, I want to make the city more my home than it already is. This means spending more time in my favorite places, but also seeing parts of the city I haven’t already. It means remembering that opportunities like this do not come around every day, and therefore not a single day should be wasted. A couple days ago, one of my good friends reminded me that we shouldn’t take a single day here for granted. Especially in the wake of what has happened in Brussels, this sentiment has taken on a completely new meaning for me. As unfortunate as it is, we cannot be guaranteed that in the coming years it will be safe for us to travel anywhere we want to, and therefore, we should hold tight to what we have now.
Before we know it (as unfortunate as it is to admit) the sun will set on our time here in Rome, and we will be back home, in our respective homes, schools, and cities. I want to look back on this last month here knowing I did everything possible to live authentically, joyously, and contently in Rome. I am smiling now, thinking about all the good that has happened thus far, and all the good that is to come. Grazie, Roma, for the past two months.