Wednesday, June 15, 2011 as the Romans do. Never leave.

"Veni, vidi, vici." - Julius Caesar

My last two weeks in Rome were filled with lots of homework, lots of projects, lots of exams, and lots of tears. I don't think I mentioned this before, but back during my trip to Greece I had a terrible nightmare in Athens. I was dreaming that I was back home and it was summer time. I was in my bedroom at home and was so sad to be away from Rome. Then, in my dream I woke up and could not get rid of the sadness that I felt because I was missing the past semester. Finally, I woke up thinking that I was back at home. I looked around the room and was really confused at first as to where I was. I then realized that I was in Athens on spring break. I still had close to two more months left. It was an amazing relief.

The last two weeks in Rome I continued to have similar nightmares. I woke up every morning so happy to still be in Rome, and then got sad thinking about what I was going to feel when I finally woke up in my bedroom at home...

I had to make sure I made the most of my last two weeks in Rome. It was kind of hard considering I was completely out of money at this point. But I did get to make it to a few more places on my list of things to see in Rome. One Wednesday Dom and I went after class to go to this church that had rooms completely made out of monk bones. When we got there at around 1:30 p.m. we found out that the church was closed until 3 p.m. Typical Rome. So we had an hour and a half to kill. I remembered that down the street was the U.S. Embassy which Dom hadn't seen yet so we went over there to look at it and take pictures. It was wonderful seeing the American flag again. It was beautiful and made me start to miss home just a little bit. This trip definitely helped me to realized just how amazing our country is. I appreciate so much more about America. When we got to the U.S. Embassy we wanted to go in but unfortunately we didn't have our passports on us so we figured there was no way they would let us in. After walking around there for a while we went to the Hard Rock Cafe. At this point it had been months since either of us had eaten a really good burger, so I was totally craving one. I don't know whether or not it was because it had been so long since I'd eaten a great burger or what, but this burger was the best burger I had ever had. Tasted completely American. And there was free water served with it. And Heinz catchup. So tasty!

Right at 3 we went to the bone church. Inside were several small rooms all covered with human bones--monk bones. It was crazy. Here is link that will tell you all about the history of the church if you're interested:

The next day was Cinco de Mayo. No one had classes the next day because it was a Friday, so we got almost all of our friends from AUR to go to this Mexican bar in the city. The entire bar was packed with people I knew, all American students, a lot of them from Maryland, and it was one of the best nights I had in Rome. It was one of the "last hoo-rahs!" we were all able to have together. We all took pictures wearing ridiculously huge sombreros and had a great time laughing and dancing. We all wanted that night to last a long time. By the end of it I was actually in tears because I realized in a week I was going to have to be saying bye to all of these new friends and to the city I came to love and call my home. Rome was my home, and I'll never be able to forget it.

The last week went by very fast. I went back and visited as many places in Rome as I could while trying to find time to study for finals. The weather was great so I spent most of my time studying outside or at the park. (That's where most of my tan came from for those of you who keep complimenting me on it ;) good ole' Roman sunshine..haha. Thanks!)

On my last day in Rome I made sure that I said goodbye to my favorite thing in Rome. If you don't know this by now, then clearly you haven't been doing a good job following my blog because I know I've said it multiple times. Want to make a guess?? Yes, exactly--Fontana di Trevi. I could stare at the Trevi Fountain for hours. So that last Friday, Blair and I headed to the Trevi, making sure to stop at Giolitti on the way and get a big thing of gelato (banana e fragola), and we made our last wishes at the fountain. I'm sure one day my wish will come true, and once it does I'll try to remember to come back to this blog and let you all know! We sat in front of the Trevi for a little bit, took a few pictures, and then with a tear in my eye I blew a final kiss to the Trevi. I turned around without looking back and I swore to myself that that was not going to be the last time I saw the Trevi Fountain.

That night was our last night out in Rome and it was fun being with everyone one last time. What was even more exciting was getting to the airport the next day and surprisingly seeing almost all of my friends there! I flew home with a bunch of Maryland students so I was expecting to see all of them, but I got to see people who were flying to Michigan and Philly and New York also! It was a nice morning and I was happy to be with all my friends. It was great knowing people on the flight home, too. I made my friend Scott hold my hand during take off because I was crying so much because I was so sad to be leaving Rome. "It's okay Phife! We're going back to the US! How can you be upset?!" I finally calmed down but throughout the whole flight I would randomly tear up. It was a long flight.

When we finally all arrived in the U.S. I was really, really excited to be in America. I wanted to kiss the ground when I got off the plane, but I probably would've been trampled. Everyone was so excited to be home. We spotted the American Flag and everyone cheered. Amuurica!! It was a pretty great feeling. I loved the over head announcement welcoming us back home to the United States when we got in the line to check passports. It took a while to get through, but I finally made it out and met up with my parents. It was great to see them again. I hadn't seen my dad in months! I was so excited to share everything with him and my mom.

They say "All roads lead to Rome." I am certainly glad that my path lead me there so early on in my life. My Roman adventure was an experience I will never forget and will always cherish. I learned about a completely different culture and lifestyle. I learned another language. I made a lot of new friends. I traveled a lot. These were all of my goals going into the semester and I truly feel that I was able to surpass all of them.

It looks like this is the end of my story. Thank you so much for following me through this journey! Just like how "Rome wasn't built in a day," well neither was this blog. I spent a lot of time making it so I hope you enjoyed it. Ciao ragazzi! In bocca al lupo!

Tutto il mio amore,

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