Well, I officially am no longer in Rome. And I hate admitting that to myself. At the present moment, I am in Northern Ireland, visiting one of my roommates who is also studying abroad. I’ve spent the past week in the UK, and will be here for one more week before I return to U.S. Of course. Based on my surroundings, I know that I’m no longer in Rome, but I have to keep reminding myself that at the end of these two weeks I won’t be returning to Rome. This isn’t just a fun extended spring break or something like that—I am going home at the end, and this is real. It’s scary, and I don’t like it at all. It’s kind of like a state of limbo, an intermediate state where my mind is no longer in Rome, but also not in a “home” mindset. I’m simply just existing right now, and I think I’m okay with that.
Leaving Rome was a blur of emotions. When packing, last minute errands, and endless goodbyes happen, it can be easy to get caught up in the flurry of everything, and caught up to the point where you forget to process everything. I found myself in this state up until about the last 16 hours I had left in Rome. Once things had sort of settled down, I was able to take a step back and let it all hit me: “I’m leaving Rome.” For my last day in Rome, I made sure to do all of my favorite things. Instead of filling my day with last minute grand adventures, I chose to do the things I knew meant the most to me during my time in Rome. I went to my favorite park, where I could see my favorite view of the city, went to my favorite pasta place for lunch, visited the Cat Sanctuary at Torre Argentina, and finished the day with a gelato outing with a friend. When you are walking around doing all these things, it’s important to savor each moment, but I also found that I tried to look at each thing with a “this is my last ___ for a while,” rather than “my last ___ ever.” I have to hope and trust that I will be back to Rome one day, and I can’t wait to see which things (both with the city and myself) will have changed and remained the same once I get back.
Being in the UK has been an odd experience. It’s been great to see my roommates (one is in Oxford, and the other is in Northern Ireland), and to see what their abroad experience looks like, but it is also so difficult not being in Rome. I find myself being extra pretentious about pizza and pasta, and I scoff whenever I walk past a restaurant that claims to be Italian. I miss the sights I would normally see on my way to school, and I miss hearing Italian being spoken (it’s taken nearly every fiber of being not to say “mi scusi” or “ciao” during my interactions with others). While I miss Italy, I am also preparing for my return home. It’s been nearly 4 months that I’ve been abroad, which, when you look at it, is actually a fair amount of time. I’m excited to see my family, and I’ve already made a list of foods I want on my return (this Texas girl wants tacos haha). I’m taking things one day at a time. For now, I’m okay with being in limbo, because I know it will feel even stranger to be back in the States. Stay tuned for my final blog about my return home, but for now, I’m just going to enjoy the final days I have left in this abroad adventure!
P.S. check out this photo below- before we left Rome, my roommate and I watched the sunrise at the Campidoglio Hill, which overlooks the Forum. It was truly breathtaking!!