Concluding our adventures in Rome, this is Elena writing a late-night post before our departure at 3:00am to the airport.
I’d like to start with saying again, a very Happy Easter to all you readers and I hope you all enjoyed the holiday, shared it with people who matter to you, and thought on the meaning of this life and the love we share. We began our last day with a regularly early morning breakfast (the spread of options for which were probably one of my favorite parts – toast with jam or Nutella spread, cereal, cheese and salami, yogurt, a table full of varied pastries, and some delicious juice options I wish we had in the States, not to mention the cappuccinos and tea), and a few of us went to the nearby Santa Marria Maggiore for 9am mass. Not being Catholic myself, coupled with the service being in Italian, I was lucky to have Alicia keep me updated on what was going on. What I discovered, though, was that the experience of the service and the relationships you develop with the people around you are really what the importance of the message comes down to. When the people around us turned to shake our hands in greetings of peace, it didn’t matter who said it in English or who said it in Italian, or French, or any other language. In that moment, you are there together with a shared understanding of what brings you to that space.
This has been a prominent theme for this journey as a whole for me. To see the relationships between each of our group members evolve has been one of the best parts, made all the stronger to experience these amazing sites together. Everyone has brought something so unique to this trip. Spending each night discussing our spiritual journies and our life goals together, friendships take on an infinitely deeper understanding and meaning. I have learned so much about everyone I am spending this incredible experience with on this trip, but beyond that, they have helped me learn more about myself – and that is what has really made this trip a pilgrimage.
I think we could each say that this has been an incredible journey (I’ve checked at least three things off my bucket list by this point). Being an art history major, Rome is my bread and butter! I have seen so many things I’ve studied in class, I think I’ve almost cried a couple times from being so excited. But this trip has been so much more than monuments and famous paintings, or crypts and fancy churches, or even seeing the Pope (which we did both on Good Friday at Palatine Hill by the Colosseum and today for Easter Sunday at St. Peter’s, followed by a new appreciation for being squished with lots of strangers). This trip has been a quest in understanding ourselves, our friends, and how the world around us shapes us the way it does.
Hope to see you all at the shareholder dinner (date TBD), when we will gush all about our trip to Rome – complete with pictures – and serve you fantastic Italian food (or our attempts at it)! Thanks for reading!
Ciao, Rome, with all my love.