And suddenly its all finished...
The books have all been read, assignments completed,the presentations given, the tests taken and I find myself sitting at my desk in my empty room, letting my fingers run across the keyboard of my laptop at frantic pace. The laptop is the only thing in the room unpacked now. Drawer and Wardrobes are emptied. Erin flew to Tanzania this afternoon, and her half of the room is bare.
I wonder where the time went.I wonder what else I must do to make myself ready to leave. Yesterday I turned 20 and three friends and I took one last trip to the Trevi Fountain and tossed coins over our shoulders in act of saying goodbye, as well as promising to come back. M, C and I ate pastries as the sun rose over Campo di Fiori this morning, and we watched the flower vendors cover the piazza with blooms and the air smelled sweet despite the December chill.
The streets were filled with students today. December 11 is a day for protesting, declared the posters covering the graffiti on Rome's stone walls. We found ourselves in the middle of a Communist rally, banners waving and crowds shouting. Traffic was at a stand still and the police were everyone, blocking roads in full uniform, bullet proof vests on.We jumped off the bus we'd been on and walked the rest of the way back to the convent.
Its funny to think that I'll be home tomorrow. Today I was at St. Peters in the Vatican, and tomorrow Ill be in Uganda. The closer I come to seeing my family again, the harder it becomes to pretend I haven't missed them dreadfully. As the hours tick down to when Ill see my Dad again, the harder it becomes to fool myself into thinking that a year really hasn't been that long. A year is very long. Its far too long.
Everyone is singing that "Home" song by Michale Buble, " Another sunny day has come and gone away in Paris and Rome, but I want to go home..." Were it not sch a cliche at the moment I might sing along as well. Not that I mean to complain. I have no desire to turn this post into a whining monologue of unsympathetic grief. I cannot even begin to understand all that I have learned and seen here in Italy...over the entirety of the semester. There is so much of Italy I have yet to see...there is so much of Rome I never even laid eyes on. I don't want to leave. I want this semester in Rome to continue on unending...this family that we have created is one I never expected, and I don't want to stop arguing over the definition of beauty, debating the talent of Marchal Deuchap (who is not talented), eating gelato,riding on trains, stealing each othothers Nutella and singing songs we composed to help us better understand our Italian homework. Pronto? Ciao Ciao Ciao. I think inside jokes are one of the greatest blessings God gave to us.
But that said, I want to go home.
There is a longing for the smells of Africa and the heat on my face as I sweat beneath the Equatorial sun. burnt thatch and grass. Blue skies and green hills. I must continually remind myself that Karamoja is not how I left it. But memory contradicts my logic and I keep thinking that I know how it will be to be home. But home has changed. Its always changing. There are new people on the mission whom I have never met. New faces, new lives, new work. They will have those wonderful inside jokes...and I will not understand them, because I have been away for a very long time, and while I've been making memories of my own, they have also moved on.
Its funny to think that on Sunday I worshiped in a church and sat beside a statue sculpted by Michelangelo, and next week I'll once again be worshiping under a tree, where flocks of goats abide and the hot wind makes holding your Bible open challenge.
God has been so very good to me. I cannot begin to understand why.