To say I am devastated is putting it lightly. I have come to love Italy as my second home. My family here has welcomed me with open arms and they are not ready for me to leave. The only thing keeping me from sobbing is that I know I will be back. These people have become my family; I feel so at home here. My brother, Giacomo, and I have been coming up with reasons why I just have to return. There's Verona, Rome, Pisa, more gelato, etc. My dad, Marco, told me last night that I had no choice; I had to come back. I'm perfectly okay with that! Last night, the family joined me for pizza and gelato with the group. I was sitting with them eating gelato when one of my professors came up to me. He told me, "If you smile any more, your face will break." I told him I was just so happy! It's so true. I absolutely love being with my family.
The other thing that breaks my heart is that I will not be able to see my students or teachers again. Like I said on a previous post, school was cancelled after the earthquake on Tuesday. I didn't realize that was the last time I would see my students and teachers. They cancelled school for the rest of the week, and they are debating canceling it for the rest of the school year. The school is open from 11 to 1 today so that anyone can retrieve their things if they left them in the building. I think I am going to walk to the school and see if any of my students come. At the very least I will be able to take a picture of the school.
There are so many exciting things that were happening in the last week of this trip:
- Family weekend: Marco booked us a room at the sea for the entire weekend, starting this afternoon.
- My class party: There is a dinner for the teachers, parents, and students.
- Carlotta's recital: My sister had a violin recital the last day of our trip. (For those of you who don't know, I also play the violin so it was something special we shared.)
- The farewell party for our trip: All of our families, schools, and the people we came in contact with were going to be there. We had little speeches written for our families and there was going to be a lot of delicious food.
I am going to spend today with my family, just trying to enjoy their company as much as I can. My oldest brother is currently in surgery right now for his thumb. He is building an airplane and the propeller sliced his thumb last weekend. (Please pray for quick recovery for that.) My mom gets home from work around 2. We are going to go on a bike ride through the city and will have our last dinner here at home. Ugh that makes me want to cry just typing that. I am still in shock that this is my last day. Everything was just so sudden!
The positive side of leaving early is that I will be able to see my real family. I have missed them, despite how much I absolutely love it here. When they pick me up from the airport, we are headed straight to Chick-fil-A. I'm already planning my meal. Some of the other things I am excited for:
- Buildings/cars with air-conditioning
- Driving my automatic car (inside the lanes at a normal speed)
- Cheese dip...all Mexican food really
- American music
- Speaking normal English
- Normal toilets (as opposed to holes in the ground or toilets without seats)
- Trash cans in every room (my house only has one tiny trash can in the kitchen)
We are leaving Modena at 1 AM tonight. We have a three hour bus ride to Milan, where we will sit in the airport until 12:15. We will land in JFK at 3:30 and will wait for our next flight at 6:30. We will finally land in Atlanta at 9:30. This is going to be a long day of travel. About 27 hours to be exact.
Crazy to think I will be back in America tomorrow night. This has been the experience of a lifetime and something I will never forget. Our group was saying last night that there will be many sentences about the trip ending with "...but then the earthquakes happened." None of us could have predicted this. As much as I hate to leave, I know God has it all under control. I will be back. Of this I am sure.
Here is an article if you want to read a little about what is happening here after the earthquakes:
Ciao! See you in America!