This goodbye letter didn’t come easy. I have had the idea for weeks, but every time I began writing, I was greeted with tears. I didn’t want to say goodbye to my semester in Rome — I still don’t want to say goodbye. I love this city in a way I have never loved before. I love the chaos and the calm. My time here is ending so soon, so I have to give Rome what she deserves; the thanks that she deserves.
Goodbye to Rome.
Goodbye to study abroad.
Goodbye to friends who made me feel so safe.
Goodbye to laughter in our tiny kitchen with our blocks of cheese,
to karaoke nights at scholars,
daily high & low check-ins,
traveling somewhere new each weekend,
pasta so good my belly hurts from eating too much,
gelato so sweet it makes you smile,
pizza so amazing it doesn’t even need ranch,
all of the shoes and socks I brought,
the nights in Trastevere,
Goodbye to my amazing life here.
You were so loved and so appreciated.
You were what I needed and before I even knew it you changed me.
For that I’ll never be able to give back to you what you gave to me:
a new sense of hope,
a new sense of self-worth,
a new sense of peace of where I am in life,
a new appreciation for the small moments,
a new love for taking chances and making life an adventure every single day.
I’ll love you forever and dream about you every night.
I’ll forget some things, like the stress of walking through the market or the tourists blocking my way home,
but I’ll never forget you. I’ll never forget how you made me feel when I would lay in bed and hear the ambulances go by, or when I would cross the river and smile because I finally felt home. I will never forget how you made me feel when I finally felt alive.
100 days, come and gone.
I will love for 100,000 days more.
I pray these memories will never leave me.
This post was contributed by Meredith McLaurin, a student from Mississippi State University who is spending her spring semester studying abroad with AIFS in Rome, Italy.