just the beginning

goodness, so much to catch up on. being computerless makes life hard, that’s for sure. but christmas happened and the bank account is looking a little happier now so a new computer is now in my foreseeable future. which means we can all heave a big sigh of relief cuz the tense moments are behind us now. sorry for all the scatterbrained phone posts and the half-thought out rants.

between christmas festivities, advent services, a weekend trip to venice, our three-day pilgrimage, papers, two final exams, the culminating exhibition, a lot of dinner parties, and all the last group meetings and information and packing and wrapping up and cleaning and checklists and itineraries and goodbyes, the last month in orvieto was a little bit blurry. but beautifully so. sometimes we faced tasks that seemed insurmountable – like getting out of bed in the morning before the heaters were working – but we all made it through together. the final exhibition was the most wonderful way i could imagine to sum up our incredible semester by opening up the space we’ve called home for four months and letting the community see just what it is that we did in our convent (see, we don’t just play sports all the time. or jump rope forever.) plus the band was really great and the skit was funny and briana didn’t commit a serious cultural faux pas when she read her poem in italian. so i think everyone would agree that the night was an overall success.

the strangest part about the last weeks was the realization that i’d soon be doing so many things i’d grown accustomed to for the last time. the last run on the rupe. the last meal at locanda. the last walk to san giovenale. the last market day, the last sack lunch, the last mimma meal (she outdid herself with that one, no question). the last class, the last hug from sharona, the last chapter meeting, the last episode of friends. they added up fast and kept on coming. soon it was impossible to remember them all.

i didn’t write much in those last few days, mostly because i was too busy just living them. i don’t regret that. and i’m not sorry that i didn’t walk around and take more pictures before the last day, when a really thick cloud decided orvieto would be a good place to sit for a whole day and then apparently got hungry because it ate the clocktower and the duomo, because then i got to spend that day just being, just soaking up orvieto life and how it felt and smelled and tasted – the kinds of things you can’t remember with pictures or words anyway. i write down memories of poignant moments when they come back to me, like the unexpectedly earnest hug goodbye marie gave me and luke’s spot-on impression of prof doll during one of the several final chapter meeting[s]. they’re not forced that way, and i like that.

there’s still so much to think about. so many new ideas to ponder deeply and maybe arrive not at conclusions but more questions. so much to look forward to, and so much life to enjoy right here, right now. i’m not sure there’s any place more suited to teaching a disillusioned college student how to soak in moments than that little hilltop town that seemed to us to have emerged from a fairytale when we first arrived. it was an honor and a privilege to call orvieto home for four months, and while i already miss it and the phenomenal people i met and grew and changed with, the best part about the semester abroad was coming home excited for what comes next – both the known and the unknown. and in the very immediate future as in lunchtime what comes next is vegetables. lots of them. raw. without a drop of olive oil or a preceding course of pasta.

which is a very exciting prospect indeed.

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