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January 2008


Final Thoughts

The final day in Rome has come, and we are going home. It’s a sad day—I know I will miss living here when I get back to Minnesota. But it’s also a happy day, because in ten hours I will see my family and friends, who I haven’t seen for four months.
Our last week in Rome was memorable. Everything we did was a “last time,” but at the same time we looked forward to being home in America. On the day of our last test, a local restaurant owner who some of the boys had made friends with gave us a going away spaghetti party. Although his restaurant had TVs tuned in to the soccer game, Micky did his best to help us celebrate our return to America, most notably by hanging an enormous American flag from the ceiling. It was the heartfelt gesture of a friend who is sad to see his friends leave.
The night before we left, everyone met at another one of our favorite restaurants for one last Roman meal. Everything that needed to be done before leaving had been done, so it was good to just relax and enjoy each other’s company.

Finally, the time came for our grand exodus from Bernardi. Around 4:00/4:30 a.m., everyone began stumbling around in the dark to get ready for the day and finish any last packing. It was almost unreal(but maybe that was because I was only half awake) when Fr. Carola celebrated our final Mass in the chapel at 5:30 and bid us farewell. No matter what time of day, night, or early morning Bernardians leave, Fr. Carola always comes to say a parting Mass. Nina, our women’s formator for the semester, came too, and it was good to be able to say a last hurried goodbye to her. Since the seminarians had the earliest flight, leaving at 9:00 a.m., Thanos ordered a bus to take us to the airport at 6:00 a.m.
How do you sum up an experience like living in Rome? Rome is a completely different culture from America, which makes it either difficult or an adventure. However, no matter how romantic one might picture the experience being, it is just like the rest of life—that is, we lived. There were hard times, and there were times of profound blessing. I think that one of the biggest things I learned was simply how to live, how to truly value life itself and get the most out of it. Not: take the most opportunities or advance the farthest in things, or even be the ultimate happiest. No, I learned how to acquire wisdom through my experiences, how to take the bad right along with the good—simply, how to value everything that comes my way. Granted, this is definitely harder to put into practice in America because our culture does not cherish living the way Italians do; but it is a lesson that I will try my best to remember all of my


Italian Cuisine

pizzaWe are now near the end of our Italian language program; and, while I would still describe my ability to speak Italian as “non bene”, I was able to carry on a two hour conversation with an Italian man on the train one weekend. Not a bad achievement! I found my vocabulary rather limited in most all topics of conversation with one exception: food. Though I would be put to shame by any Italian three-year old in a game of “What animal makes this sound?”, I am able to navigate my way around a menu as though I were a native Roman. Time spent dining happily constitutes a healthy portion of our life here in Rome, thus Italian cuisine is certainly deserving of a place in this on-line journal.

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