I can honestly say that even though I leave for the airport in less than two hours, I cannot believe that my time here in Italy is already over. The past 6 weeks of my life have flown by so incredibly fast and while of course I am excited to see all my friends and family back in the US, the past few days with all of their good-byes have really made me see how much I got out of this whole experience.
To back up a bit, though. Monday we had Art History - classroom portion in the morning, saw Bascilica di San Fermo and some Veronese gardens in the afternoon. Beautiful. Tuesday and Wednesday in Florence were amazing. I had so much fun with Brenna, Colleen, and Krista - we saw a lot (including The David!), but there will still be plenty to see when I go back (and I do mean WHEN, not IF). So in addition to seeing the David, we climbed the bell tower and got a beautiful view of the Duomo, went to Santa Croce, and I got a gold cross from Ponte Vecchio. It was a great final trip for the semester.
Yesterday's goodbye dinner was bittersweet, which was really to be expected. I feel like we all connected in one way or another, and it's just so interesting because some of these people I never would have known at U of I otherwise. We went to the same restraunt we had our welcome dinner at not so long ago, then afterwards went to the very same German bar. It made our whole experience feel like it was coming full circle. Today I walked around for a while and just said goodbye by myself to this city, this place. People keep asking me what my favorite city was that I've been to and I always start going through the list of the cities I would visit. In all honesty, though, while I liked visiting other cities, I loved coming home to Verona. Tonight when we were all at the opera Aida (yay! It didn't rain!!!), we kept saying that Verona really was our home now. Only 5 of us stayed the whole 5 hours, but we still got to say goodbye to some of the others whose apartment was near the Arena. I'm already looking forward to the reunions I know that we will have because we share so much now. I didn't cry, but my heartstrings were being pulled to their limits.
So I should probably wrap up this post for now, seeing as it's 3am here and the bus picking me up to go to the airport is coming at 4:30. I'm done packing, just got to clean up a little bit and get changed out of these opera clothes.
Ciao ciao, Italia! Ti amo! Sono Libera e felice! Grazie!!