Allora amici, ciao per l'ultima volta! It is so hard to believe this is my last column. When I look back, our trip to London, our time in Florence and even our first couple weeks in Rome, seem as if they were so long ago.
It was sweltering with the heat of a brutal summer and the world seemed much different then. Yet, when I look back as a whole, I swear I have been victim of a time warp. These three and a half months have meshed together into one mass of amazing experience.
It was such an odd feeling during my last day in Rome. Walking around the city that I have come to know quite well, visiting places that I frequented during the semester for the last time - all of it gave me this unsettled feeling in my stomach.
I'm so excited for my Northern European adventures, and I am so very excited to come home and be with my family. However, I know that after spending some time back in the U.S., I'll be ready to go back again, yet I can't. It was odd saying goodbye to Rome not knowing exactly when I will be back, yet it wasn't completely sad because I know that I will indeed be back some day.
So, in the middle of the night, I closed the door to our apartment for a final time and headed to the airport.
Airport travel is always an interesting feat. From Rome, my first stop was Sweden, then into Norway via Oslo, then on to my final city. Getting to the right gate, on time, in an airport you have never been to before can prove to be quite the challenge when planes are delayed, etc.
Fortunately for me, English is extremely common in Scandinavia, and every airport staff or person I asked for directions from could easily communicate with me in English. It fascinated me how people would begin by speaking to me in Swedish or Norwegian, yet when I answered in English, they instantly switched to near perfect English.
I find myself, however, switching into foreign-language mode when talking to people. I've already broken into Italian a couple times, only to realize that people here will not understand me.
So, here I am in the winter wonderland of Norway. I am so excited and interested to get to know a completely different side of Europe than Rome. Two very different places yet one can travel between them in such a short amount of time. It fascinates me how accessible everything is from Europe.
On the plane coming over here, there was the screen again that shows our airplane's progress during the flight and I love watching to see where we were flying over and what we were close to. Destinations that are such a haul for us to travel to from the States are just a short plane ride away here and it amazes me every time.
Europe has certainly treated me well. I had such an invaluable experience in Rome and I feel so very fortunate to have had the opportunity. If ever you get the chance, I more than highly recommend paying a visit to Roma. If you're feeling adventuresome, travel, travel, travel!
Getting to know the world is an experience that facilitates personal growth in ways that nothing else really can. The world we live in is a beautiful and highly diverse place. We only have one life to live - let's get to know our world as well as we can.
Thank you so very much for journeying through Rome with me during this semester. It has been an absolute pleasure and I hope that you have enjoyed traveling with me on my Rome Adventures.
Buon natale e felice capo d'anno! Ciao!
LACIE GOFF is the daughter of Janice Gualdoni and the granddaughter of Louie and Beauella Gualdoni, all of Herrin. Lacie is a junior at California Lutheran University in Los Angeles, majoring in communication and journalism. She is spending this semester in Rome, studying Italian, history and art history.