It’s January now, and I’ve been back in the States for a couple of weeks. My jetlag finally wore off, the holidays are over, and I’m getting ready to start my last semester on my home campus this week.
My last few nights and last aperitivo in Rome were great, but I think at that point, I was feeling a mixture of being ready to be back home combined with wanting to see everything just one last time. It’s hard to see *all* of Rome and harder to do so within a couple of days, so I wandered through some of my favorite parts of Centro Storico and considered how lucky I was to have called the city my home for so long.
Getting back into the American swing of things has felt weird but familiar. For the first week and a half, the only thing I felt was weird. After having spent almost four months in a different continent, it makes sense – there were some things to have to get used to, such as not using Italian etiquette when ordering food/coffee. It was weird (but nice) to realize just how polite Midwesterners are when compared to Europeans, or maybe it’s a different kind of politeness.
It’s different to not have the eternal city always there to be explored and wandered through when I’m bored. Or have the metro system always by my side. It’s also different to pay $2.50 for a single espresso versus ninety cents. I do love a lot of things about being back: free water at restaurants, cheddar cheese at my disposal, bigger varieties of food, real winter weather, and lack of language barrier for example. The idea of to-go food containers as a norm is also a great thing to which I’ve returned. I can say that I’m happy to be back and that my time abroad was a perfect amount of time spent away. As I adjust into campus life, I’ll be reflecting and making comparisons on my own... and probably telling stories about my adventures to those who ask about it.
This semester was much busier and much more than I thought it would be, and I’m grateful to have survived so much time in a place full of differences from what I’m used to being around. I’ve gained a lot from this, and I’m glad to be back home with this experience under my belt.