Goodbyes are always difficult…
As I’m writing this, my friend and co-volunteer, Alessandra, is on her way back to the United States. I, on the other hand, am still in the confines of Quarto Inferiore at the L’arche community trying to figure out how to fit everything in my suitcase. Thanks to a delayed flight, I still have three more days in Italy and with the community. With so much time in hand, I’d like to reflect on this amazing and life-changing experience since I think it’s the best possible way to close our chapter as Summer 2019 volunteers for the community.
On our last day, July 26, the members of the community threw us a party to say their final goodbyes. Throughout the party, I couldn’t help but remember the memories as I looked at each community member, volunteer, and assistant. It was such a fun and wholesome way to end our experience as we were able to take pictures with everyone, talk to them for the last time, and recall our favorite memories with each person. Alessandra and I each received a gift, a handmade frame with a picture. My picture was the one taken during one of my favorite days I spent with the community members I became really close with. It was the day where we had our field trip to Vergato, an Italian mountain village, where we had the best Tagliatelle Alla Ragu. Opening our gifts and knowing that we were saying our last “ciao’s” to everyone was such a heartfelt and emotional moment for me and Alessandra because we’ve grown so close to everyone here. I consider the community as my home away from home now. I can’t thank them enough for helping me grow spiritually and teaching me how to live a life filled with passion and purpose.
Not even going to lie, a few tears were shed as Alessandra and I reflected and looked back at our wonderful time in the community and in Bologna. Our little walks to get gelato with the members, our songs before we eat any meal, our “Buongiorno” greetings every day, and even our dreaded kitchen duty. Words can’t express how thankful I am to experience life in L’arche and life in Italy. I definitely feel that I’ve grown and become more open-minded as a person in the last two months as so many lessons were taught and learned. Working in a community such as L’arche, traveling all over Italy, and meeting new people from different countries (shoutout to my German girl Paula and my Brazilian girl Giuliana) made me see life in a different light and perspective.
One thing I will say is that I will definitely back. The relationships I’ve made in the community are so close to my heart and will be with me forever. Even just stopping by to say a “ciao” when I come back to Italy will make me the happiest person because seeing the community members smile makes me smile as well. Thank you to Daniela, Michael, and Tyler for helping us organize our time here in Italy. Thank you to all the community members who I’ve gotten to know all their stories and unique personality traits. A big thanks to all the assistants and other volunteers who translated for us in the first few weeks. Thank you to Alessandra for being my sister throughout our time here and now my life-long friend. Every little memory and moment in the past two months will stay forever close to my heart. And for the last time… “Ciao tutti!”