Our time in L’Arca Bologna is coming to an end. Amanda and I leave this coming Saturday, July 27. I am starting to think about the things I want to do and make time for as I reach the end of my volunteering experience here. I am also reflecting on the challenges I overcame during these past 2 months like the language barrier, learning how to communicate via body language to the core members, and even what/how to help around the house. I definitely think that I have learned a good portion of the Italian language. I am very basic when it comes to speaking it, but I can understand directions and instructions given to me. Unlike when I first came here, I was completely lost in both aspects of speaking and understanding. Living in the community with the people I work with and the core members was honestly hard at first. I lost my privacy and I had to get comfortable with becoming a family with people I barely knew but grew to know. With this, I learned to embrace the importance of togetherness. L’Arca has really taught me how to enjoy the company of others without having to do anything in particular. I have learned to enjoy sitting down with core members and just resting and relaxing. Some days, the core members and I (specifically Alessandro, who loves to sleep) would take a nap on the couch. I have made really deep connections with the assistants and the core members here and it makes me really sad to have to start preparing my goodbyes.
For my last week here, I would really like to treasure my time and the activities we do here. Over the course of the two months, I feel that the daily tasks I did started to become tedious and I overlooked them. Sometimes I feel like I wasn’t really living in the present while other times I felt like I was living too much in the present. I want to be able to spend time with the core members without focusing on things I need to do to help around the house. Although that is important as a volunteer, I would really like to spend my last days here with the core members and make more memories with them, whether that be making bracelets, dancing, or singing. During my first weeks here, I didn’t think that I could be so attached to people I would only spend 2 months with, but here I am really attached to them. I am really going to miss everyone here. They have all taught so many valuable life lessons and I am really glad to have spent my summer here learning about how to be present with others as well as with myself.