I would have never imagined that my study abroad experience would end the way it did. For a while we would hear about the virus yet we all felt so disconnected from it, concerned yet unbothered. It was in China we thought, so there really is not much to be worried about. Boy were we wrong..Living in the states you sometimes feel disconnected from everything else that is going on around the world and somehow the same stayed true in Italy, at least for a while.
My first couple of days in Italy were greater than I could have ever imagined. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little apprehensive about spending an entire semester in Italy at first. I was scared to see what challenges I would encounter and how I would overcome them. I kept reminding myself that this was a natural feeling and I would be fine once I got there. The memories I got to create in Italy are more precious than I could have ever dreamed and putting them into words will never do them justice.
Italy allowed me to meet some amazing people and I am so grateful to have had the chance of experiencing this with all of them. They made Italy so much harder to leave, I never thought I could form such close bonds with people in a month but we did and I miss them so so much. I miss their silliness, sweetness, laughter, affection, our late-night conversations, family dinners, trips, nights out, learning and exploring together, I miss it all. I hope the universe grants us the opportunity to one day be reunited again whether it is in Rome or not, I would really appreciate getting to see their beautiful faces together one more time.
Remembering my last days in Italy brings an indescribable heartache, a type of pain I’ve never really experienced before. I still struggle with feeling so out of control and so helpless in this situation. I understand this pandemic has brought so much pain to people around the world with many lives being lost. I feel guilty for grieving the loss of my semester abroad. A lot of people might view our response to this as being over exaggerated but we all share this terrible experience of having something so meaningful being taken away in a blink of an eye.
I don’t want to end this on such a sad note. Although cut short, I am still very thankful for the experiences I did get the chance of having. I left Rome as a different person, changed but for the better. Rome was my temporary home and it will forever hold such a special place in my heart. It was so different yet so beautiful, I couldn’t have picked a better place to study abroad.
Rome, I miss you!