This week has been a week of many ‘lasts’ I wanted to go to all my favorite places for one last time, as well as do a few new things. Sunday started with our last journey back home to Rome, I don’t know if I’ll ever again be able to say “I’m going home” and have that home be in Rome. But Monday was actually a first, Natalie, Caroline and I met Father Joe Farrell who used to work at Villanova and he gave us a tour of the OSA HQ in Rome and took us out to lunch which was awesome. Later I had my last class in Rome, Performance in Rome which was actually such a nice relief, but the work wasn’t over yet. After class some of us went to our last aperativo at Doppiozeroo, one of our favorite places for dinner.
Tuesday I spent all day pretty much working on my last assignment, a 10 page research paper for Performance, finished it and turned it in a day early so I could enjoy my last few lasts in Rome. For dinner, the Benzoni Girls (our whole apartment: Care, Pallavi, Meghan, Caroline, Natalie and I) went for a last roomie dinner at SPQR….it might have also been our first…haha it was so cute having our whole apartment together! Later that night Natalie, Caroline and I celebrated our papers being done by going to one of our favorite bars that is in Garbatella called Why Not. We hung out had a few drinks and talked with the bartenders (no one was there since it was a Tuesday). We got some pictures with the awesome bartenders there and had a fun night for our last time at Why Not.
Wednesday I went to my last Papal Audience with Pope Francis, I have now been to 11 and this was the first one that I wasn’t working at, I could just enjoy the atmosphere in the square. This was my last time seeing Pope Francis (for now at least), after 15 events with the Pope, starting at week one with the Prayer for Peace. I’m going to miss Wednesdays here, they have been crazy, it’s always my busiest day with work, class all afternoon and a usual night to go out with everyone. This Wednesday after the audience Natalie and I went to the office to say goodbye to TJ and Jose Miguel and everyone in the office. We said bye to Monseigneur Tighe and Archbishop Celli. Archbishop Celli was so sweet, he gave us rosaries blessed by Pope Francis, and wished us and our families well in the future. He then asked us if we had boyfriends and said, “you have to start thinking about these things.” Such a funny way to end a wonderful experience there. It was sad saying goodbye to everyone, especially TJ and Jose Miguel, but it was an amazing experience and I’m so happy I got to work with them this semester. After, we went to Piazza Navona and Campo de’ Fiori did some shopping around and taking it all in again. We walked that route so many times this semester, from the Vatican to Piazza Navona and then Campo and it’s always been a blast. Wednesday night some of us girls went to Dar Poeta for dinner for once again another last. Dar Poeta was my favorite pizza place in Rome hands down. We all split a dessert which I elected myself to cut into 8 pieces since it was right next to me…clearly my counting skills were off becasue I somehow managed to only cut 7 pieces…no one should have trusted me with that job haha. After we stayed out in Trastevere and went to the bars there for one last time. We went to Almalu, a bar with another one of our favorite bartenders, Alessio. We took an absurd amount of pictures there, went behind the bar, we really made ourselves at home. Jess started to create her own mixed shots and the other bartender let her make us all a drink! We hung out for a while and said our goodbyes to Alessio.
Thursday I went on my last run to the Colosseum, I really took the time to enjoy it one more time. It was actually one of the best runs I’ve been on here, it wasn’t too cold or too hot. There weren’t many people around and I could just go, it was therapeutic. Then Jess, Barrie, Natalie and I went to walk around a few places. First we went to a new place, the mouth of truth thats in the movie Roman Holiday, you stick your hand in it, in ancient Rome there was a ritual where you put your hand inside the statue and if you were not telling the truth you couldn’t take your hand out and it would be bitten off. We stuck our hands in the mouth (luckily we kept our hands), took some photos and went into the church that its in the courtyard of, Saint Mary in Cosmedin and saw a medieval crypt. Then we went to the Orange Garden that we went to our first night in Rome, we hung out and enjoyed the view. Everything has come full circle, we started out there all as literal strangers, and we went back after a semester and getting to know each other as great friends, it was sort of poetic. Our next stop was this keyhole garden, you look into the keyhole and you are supposed to be able to see Rome, the Vatican and Malta a small country off the coast of the Mediterranean. It was really beautiful but I didn’t see Malta. The other girls went back and Barrie and walked around Trastevere for a while going into shops, into the Santa Maria church there and just walked around and chatted about the semester and how weird going back home and to school was going to be. That night was our farewell dinner and the Museum class’s exhibition. They also had on display the photos from the CLC as well as showed the Video CLC projects. Our Performance class was supposed to do our performances but sadly only half could fit in and I didn’t get to go…I did not mind one bit. It was nice to get everyone together one last time because not everyone was going to be around on Friday.
Friday was my last day in Rome, I wanted to walk around and take everything in one last time. I walked around Testaccio and Garbatella for a few hours in the morning before taking some time to pack. Later I went to Basilica San Paulo, or Saint Paul Outside the Walls, it is a Papal Basilica in Rome only one metro stop from Garbatella. The basilica was so incredible, I felt so small inside. Lining the top of the inside , there are mosaic medallions of each Pope, Pope Francis was just put in a few weeks ago. The front facade was so beautiful with painted scenes and statues in the portico. Later for our last dinner about half of my program went to SPQR, then we went to the Colosseum to hang out and take it in one last time. There were some tears, but no ‘goodbyes’ only ‘until next time’. I can’t imagine not seeing the people I spent the past four months exploring Rome with, we have a shared experience that not many other people will understand. I made some incredible friends these past four months and had an amazing time. After two hours of sleep I went to FCO airport for one last time for my long journey home.