I can’t believe the day is here: the day I write what will be my last post from my beautiful Roma..
The toughest part of this is finding the words to describe what this semester has meant to me. Just as photos have never done this place, and others, justice; words will never capture my experience in a way that anyone else will be able to understand. I know the people who have now completed this program alongside me will have an idea. But this semester has been such a personal journey, that I will never be able to do it justice through words. But here is me giving it a shot..
When I got here my first day, I wanted to run right back home.. I remember feeling terrified. Upon arrival, it was nothing but stress and more fear. I couldn’t help but ask myself once things got settled that first day, “What in the hell are you doing here? You can’t do this.. but don’t have a choice anymore.”
People told me that I would change over the course of this semester and my God, were they right. What did I learn? Well for starters, that I can tackle anything. As the semester went on, I faced more and more challenges that I never would have imagined I could have tackled. But I did; we all did. The sense of accomplishment that I have felt since day one has been overwhelming. To be able to say that I did this, with the help of my friends here of course, but on my own, is so rewarding. I moved to a foreign country where they speak another language. I learned about their culture and their ways. I learned the city and can easily call it my home. I hopped on planes, buses, and trains that took me to places I never would have thought imaginable. I did it. I made it through.
The memories I have made here have been some of the greatest I’ve ever had. And I owe the majority of them to the people who have made this the best 3.5 months of my entire life.
To the friends of Temple Rome: thank you for getting me through with a smile on my face. I hated some of my classes but I made some awesome memories while sitting in a basement getting ink all over myself, in the most awkward art history class of my life, in the worst drawing class where nothing I did was ever right, and sitting in the mud while I paint one of the most romantic spots I’ve ever been to (as my roommates get their brushes stolen by a bird). I did a lot of smiling amidst the stress and frustration and that’s what I’ll take from this. Thank you guys..
To the amazing and beautiful girls of Giannone. We took a risk by moving into an apartment. I went in not really knowing you guys all that well and I was scared to death that we were living on our own.. From the first moment when the damn landlady was babbling on in Italian while we looked on with blank stares, to our exploration of Italian television, our first dinner (and that amazing bread we never found again), our first night out…. no comment…, me yelling at you guys daily to wipe the damn counter, of course all of our adventures in Rome and all the “Where’s Courtney”s, all the way to where we are now, we have come a long way and I am so blessed to have had you guys to share this experience with. Mariya, Courtney, Kristina; I love you guys..
Now for the friends, old and new, who have become my family. I wasted a lot of time at the start of this and it was when I met all of you that things really changed and picked up for me. Started with the greatest 10 days of. my. life. Spain was a game changer, as we well know and I owe so much of my happiness here to each and every one of you. I think about leaving tomorrow and my heart breaks. Yes, it has to do with leaving Rome itself and all the galavanting through Europe… and of course the living like 21 year olds should ;) But it’s the thought of never having things the way they are right now that makes it break the most.. But as I was sitting through my first meltdown today from thinking about having to leave, moments from this experience flashed through my mind. By the time I was ready to get back up and continue my day, I had a smile on my face (don’t be fooled, I was still weeping haha) and I have you all to thank for that. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have been so fortunate to have spent this time with such an amazing group of people. So to each and every one of my new family members: Charlotte, Nickee, Kelsey, Brandon, Corey, Ian, Papi, Joe, Kristen, Miranda, Leah, and Margeaux, I love you guys and really.. thank you <3
People have been asking me what my favorite part of being here has been… It’s really impossible to say.. I have loved the travelling, my friends, the art, the partying, but my favorite part of this all is simple…
I have never said ‘I love my life’ so many times in such a short period.
I have never been so consistently happy and as a result of these past few months, I have a brand new lease on life.. I am young. I am independent, and this is my time to live it up. My biggest fear is going back to the States and never finding this kind of happiness again, but Rome has left enough of an impact on me to inspire me to find it.. no matter what it takes.
I have changed; people were right… I have become a stronger, more driven individual with a new passion for life.. and living it to its fullest. I have become a better version of myself.
My last thank you goes to Roma. Thank you for opening my eyes to show me the potential that has been living within me for 20 years… Thank you for letting me call you home.
I know I’ll be back someday; I’ll make sure of it…
Buonanotte Roma. and ‘fucking ciao’. xoxo <3