Ciao amici! As I sit here and write this today, I am reminded that we have three weeks and four days left of our program. I don’t know where time has gone. I’ve already started my Christmas shopping.

Each week has felt full and complete, yet looking back now, it all seems to run together. All of the memories are still present in my mind, but the time lapses together in a big whirlwind blur.

Our school is putting on a Thanksgiving dinner with an Italian twist for us. I’m anxious to see what that will be like, and I’m quite excited for some turkey.

All that is left of school this week is to write two research papers, then the week I have two finals, and the week after that two more, and then it’s all over.

This semester hasn’t even felt like a real semester; it has been so fantastic to learn about Rome in Rome, out and about in the city. Having our history class in the Coliseum the other day was definitely one of the high points of the semester, and conversing in Italian is truly rewarding.

One thing that has been more fascinating to me than anything is just getting to experience the European culture.

I love even the smallest nuances. There are elements of emphasis here, on taking time for small moments, on food and on living life to the fullest.

One afternoon, I went to a piazza and sat on the steps of a fountain in the center while eating a piece of pizza. It was so fulfilling to just sit there and watch my surroundings, taking it all in. I felt like I was living a scene from the Rome part of “Eat, Pray, Love.”

In Rome, I am often reminded of New York because of all the artistic culture that is present here. I have a huge passion for the arts — music, art, photography — and there is a very large artistic culture here. Life here seems so rich and so very refined.

Then, heaven forbid I forget about the fashion. Woe is me, I can never get enough of it. I feel like Rebecca Bloomwood in “Confessions of a Shopaholic” in that I just get so excited about it all. Zara, a store out of Spain that is also in the United States, has become my wonderland.

Walking to and from school every day has become slightly hazardous because down the main street in front of my apartment, there are outdoor markets from morning until evening every day, and everything is so adorable and so cheap. I’m completely in heaven because Italian women seem to have the same fetish for boots that I do.

In short? I am going to miss life in Europe, and I am going to embrace these last three weeks to the fullest. I have connected with a different side of me than I have before. I had a hunch it was there, and it has only been amplified during my time here.

However, I have no fear that I will return to Europe, at minimum to visit. So, as a friend likes to say, it isn’t going to be “goodbye,” but only “see you later.”

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. 

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