I’ll admit it. I’ve been wallowing a bit since I’ve been back from Rome. Don’t get me wrong—it is wonderful to be home and to reunite with family and friends, but I find myself longing for smaller coffee cups, wine at lunch, more art, churches at every corner, hearing Fr. Carola’s homilies, and speaking Italian. One of my fellow Bernardians coined the term “Romesickness,” and I believe that explains my state perfectly.
But setting the coffee cups and art aside, I think the main reason I miss Rome is because it truly was a home for me. The phrase “at home in Rome” travels around a lot in Catholic circles, I think, because it’s so very true. Because what is most “real” in our lives is the spiritual, as Catholics, Rome is our home. St. Peter’s is our parish and Pope Benedict XVI preaches weekly to each of us. Rome is where faith and history combine and come alive for us, in viewing bones of saints over 300 years old and visiting extant ancient sites that were pivotal in the history of the faith we proclaim today.
Even more, Rome was cemented in my mind as home because it is there that I became a part of another family, a Bernardi family. I now have 26 new brothers and sisters whom I will cherish and keep in contact with for the rest of my life.
It’s never easy to leave home; it’s never easy to leave your family. And I don’t think it should be. Granted, I have to keep my self in check sometimes, (for goodness’ sake, Ali, just drink the coffee and don’t complain), but I think my Romesickness is justified because, at its core, it’s homesickness. However, it’s comforting to know that I can look at hundreds of photos, recall countless memories, chase down the few Italian speakers on campus, and meet with my new family to get me by until I return home.