Old Goodbyes and New Hellos

Goodbyes have always been hard for me, the anticipation of missing someone is unsettling and scary. But leaving for Rome was different than normal, still hard, just different. I was overwhelmed and excited, there was so much to do before I left and the goodbyes were the last thing on my mind. I didn’t have time to be sad about leaving, and honestly I didn’t want to be. “See you in December” felt weird to say when it’s still 85 and sunny, but before I knew it I was on the plane headed to Rome for 4 months.

The hardest goodbye was yet to come. My mom was able to come fly to Rome and spend a week with me before I moved in. I could not be luckier to have her here with me. Adjusting to a new country is pretty difficult. Culture shock and language boundaries are just some of the things to get used to. Not saying you need your mother with you when you’re studying abroad, but I know myself and I’m not sure if I could have done this without her.  My mom is fluent in Italian (she didn’t share that secret with me) but having her by my side helped me adjust to being in Rome.

I am not ashamed to say that I needed her at all. She makes me a stronger person, she made me who I am today, and she will continue to help me grow as a person. I am so happy that we were able to explore Italy together. We went to the Vatican and saw the Pope, walked 300 steps to the top of the Cupola, and even we went to Tuscany for wine tasting. We had so much fun together. It was the perfect way to celebrate this new experience and chapter in my life.

Me and my Mom in Tuscany on a wine tour

If growing up traditional Italian family I was taught one important thing it’s that family is everything! And to me it really is. My family is extremely close, we are always looking out for each other no matter what. We all bond and catch up during our Sunday dinners and nerd out together while watching Game of Thrones. My family is my comfort and I know being away from them for 4 months is going to be difficulty. But along with having a big Italian family, that means that I’ve got lots of cousins. Lucky for me some of them live here in Rome. Although I will be missing my parents and brothers during my stay here I know I’ll be in great hands.

Saying goodbye to my mom was hard, I didn’t want her to leave, but with classes and orientation starting it was obvious it was time for her to head home. I knew I would be fine once she left, and I was. My Aunt JoMarie has already taken the position of Mom, she came by my apartment today with groceries and house supplied for me and my roommates. My cousins Giulia and Valerio have taken me and my roommate Tori under their wing and showed us around the authentic parts of Trastevere. I am so lucky to have them here with me.

Tori, my mom, and me at the Coliseum

Studying abroad can be tough. Moving to a new country is a big deal.  Everyone only posts about all the places they’ve traveled and all the great things they have seen, which is great, but it is so much more than that. I can already tell that this trip will test me. Being a home body is hard. I get homesick even when I’m just at Marymount. Now I am in a completely different country. I can’t just get up and go home for the weekend, not like I would want to leave Rome, but the option is not there.  I am nervous and excited, I can’t wait to see how I grow from being here. Being abroad will not only teach me about the world and different cultures, but it will help me learn even more about myself and who I really am.

Julianna Carfaro

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