The final Roman Holiday wrap-up.
In the name of a busy week (and busy 3 months really), I dedicated Friday and Saturday as strictly lazy days of packing, playing and stocking up on pasta, pizza and espresso for the winter months to come. Dedicated to daily life in Rome. It took until Wednesday or Thursday for my departure to really sink in for VA. It still doesn't seem 100% real to me. Is it strange that I made best friends with a 6-year-old this fall?
Saturday was a day of extra hugs and celebrity status. When Virginia hugs, you get a two-for-one deal—one squeeze with her little arms and the other with her soft cheek up against yours. Giulio gives great hugs too for a boy who is convinced all females have koodies. We spent my final hours making stovetop espresso (my favorite) and gnocchi for lunch (another favorite) and went out to our Neapolitan Pizzeria in Ostia beach. This one, a family favorite. Back home for limoncello toasts and kind words, I felt honored to tears…literally. This has been a very special experience with very a special family. I feel more than blessed than words can say. And I told them so.
I hate saying goodbye--maybe more than most--and saying goodnight on Saturday was the one of the more difficult things I’ve done in a while. If we’d had our way, there would’ve never been the last cuddle, or the last drawing, or the last Violetta song for me and Virgi. For Giulio, there was rejoicing in the final English lesson. He showed few signs of sadness that I was leaving (he’s a middle school boy, go figure). None except for announcing (certainly not asking) multiple times each day that he would be accompanying me to the airport at 5am Sunday morning. It didn’t matter how many "NO's" he got from his parents, he was up and joining me in the kitchen at 4:45am. People say goodbye in different ways. Virginia was emotional and Giulio thick-headed. Both displays meant the world to me and left me helpless to know how best to show it. And so I didn’t say, “goodbye." I said, “see you later.” Cliché as it is, it was the best I could do. Besides, it's probably true.
And just 22 hours later, I was back home in Virginia. The above picture was taken at hour 8 in London Heathrow Airport. I'm not usually a huge Starbucks person in the States, but after three months of naked shots of espresso and baby cappuccinos, a tall, watery American coffee was calling (screaming) my name. I had no idea what the pound-dollar conversion is, but it didn't matter. I was almost home, I could taste it!
Flowers, flowers everywhere! My mom has always had a knack for dressing the house in cheerful seasonal flora, both inside and out, and my homecoming was no exception.
Falls Church Farmer's Market
Monday through Thursday, I spent time visiting friends and family in both Lexington and Harrisonburg, Virginia. I think fall is most beautiful in the Shenandoah Valley.
Reunited with my very hairy, and slightly overweight baby bro...
Whoops, caught him during an embarrassing snooze.
I support this company.
Above, my sweet old friend, Mae, back from the Peace Corps. SO glad to have her home.
And below, my sweet new friend, Elliott. We'll be spending lots of time together in the next few months.
He's not so sure about me yet...