AllisonAllison. A girl from California who goes to school in Wisconsin... and LOVES it. Which definitely made my day because of my homesickness for the midwest. She is probably one of the craziest girls I've met in that she is always up for anything! This girl's spontaneity sometimes pushed my OCD anxious self, but its something I'm trying to overcome and was thus necessary. I truly envy her ability to get up and make a fool of herself, such as by singing karaoke in a bar full of drunk Italians. Her Californian "I don't really care what you think about me, I'm going to be who I want to be" is one I really wish I could adapt into my persona. Inviting Allison always means you're going to have a good time, especially since 99% of the time it meant Marlo was coming, too! ;)
AlyshaThis girl is who I talk to when I want to eat something other than Italian food, being as she chose to study abroad in the one culture whose food she does not like. Though this was not her fault, its pretty dang funny. This girl is strange in the best of ways, and she has no fear with being herself. She is the first person I have been able to discuss issues such as gay marriage with who has an opposing view as me yet we can come to a consensus on how it should be done. Anyone I can talk politics without wanting to strangle is a good friend in my mind. I don't know if I've laughed as hard this semester as I have at some of the ways she tells stories, and I am definitely going to miss that.
I randomly met this kid one night at Scholars, the same night I was proposed to by a drunk Irishman. It is because of Ben that I had to say no, for the Irishman thought that Ben and I were dating. This is something I will never forgive Ben for. Anyway, Ben and I began a very interesting friendship, one I was not expecting to make while here in Italy. We spent many nights having deep conversations about life and death, religion, politics, etc. over hookah. Ben is not the type of person I would initially tag as being someone I would get very close to, but I can say that I was proved very wrong. He became one of my favorite people to talk to while in Italy, and I will really miss him. If I make it to Philly while he's still there, I fully expect him to be my tour guide around the city; its my new life goal to go on his bus tour. Thanks for listening to my crazy self talk about things most people don't want to hear about, and thank you for being there. I also expect EVERY SINGLE DETAIL about Israel this summer, since you're going somewhere that I'm actually now allowed in until my passport expires! You lucky bastard, you.
BradI met this kid only once at Gustavus, but it was only to say, "Hi, I'm going to Rome, too!" We have basically no friends in common, and have never even heard of each other's roommates. This kid unknowingly piqued my interest in Roman history, for in our first on-site class together he was talking about a famous statue of a famous emperor, neither of which I had ever heard/seen before. It made me feel really stupid, not on purpose, but it really got me wanting to learn about these people and these events. I feed off of other people's passions, and this kid is very secretively passionate about a lot of wonderful things. I almost took Latin next semester because I could tell how much he enjoyed it. Brad doesn't fit any one stereotype; he'll go out partying in Rome one night and stay up reading Lord of the Rings another. I'm really glad I met him, and I'm really glad I get to run into him on campus next year!
KarishmaWhat to say about this girl?! I first knew her as the "Indian Princess", which was not my nickname for her, but... hers. She's unlike anyone I've ever met, and I love it! She's so much fun; we randomly met for coffee once and went to get piercings. The piercer was busy so it never happened, but I love the spontaneity that comes with her! She's a bundle of fun, but I can still sit down with her to have a heart to heart, something I find really important in a friendship. I love her so much, we literally ran into each other's arms on the Italian beach. It was romantic and it was wonderful. Be jealous. I see a lot of myself in this girl, which made it easier for me to talk to her when I wanted to cry or when she did. I love her and am going to miss her so much!
LukeLucas, my Buda buddy! Luke is probably the most fun you will ever find in one person, nor will you ever know what to expect with this kid. I'm lucky enough to have been able to see both sides of him, the serious and the fun, and I can't wait to see how crazy we get in Budapest! He's up for anything, and really is just up for having fun with great people. I am definitely going to miss Lucas and his chain smoking ("I'm not addicted!"), as well as his willingness to be Conservative. As a conservative college student myself, I know how much hatred we get, but he's willing to just come out and say it! And I love it! I'm so lucky this kid is in WI, so I can see him when I go out to Milwaukee for Summerfest. And yes, I will make sure I stay late enough to see you, Luke.
MaheenMaheen one of my two friends who is not American, and I love it! I came thinking I was going to be spending my semester surrounded by Italians, but instead I got hundreds of American and this girl from Pakistan. She's so much fun, and I'm so glad I was able to meet her by chance! She's a published author, something I strive to be, and her book is fantastic. She makes saying goodbye so much harder because she's a degree seeker, and she gets to do what I only wish I could do and stay at John Cabot (but more importantly, Rome) for another few years! I hope I can someday meet up with her again, whether it be when she's visiting the States, when I come back to Rome, or someday in Pakistan!
MarloIn Marlo we trust! I'm an extreme planner, but for some reason when I travel I like to just wing it. Thank God for this girl, of I would have gotten off the plane in Prague, Barcelona, Ibiza, and Madrid with no idea how to get to my hostel. Nor would I know where to go to eat. She is going to be an amazing travel writer someday if thats what she choses to do, for she notes everything she does and all of the places she goes. She always knows where has the best food and the best deals. How she does this, I have no idea. However, I am good for making sure this girl is awake for her 6am flight! I just hope her and Allison make it on their flight home since I'll be in Budapest... but I'm sure she wouldn't have any issues with having to stay in Rome longer!
MitchI was sitting at the gate, waiting to get on my plane to Amsterdam, when I see a kid wearing a St. Norbert sweatshirt. If my creeping of the SAI Rome page did me any good, it taught me that a lot of kids from St. Norbert were coming to Rome. So, the minute he got off the phone with his mom, I turned around and asked, "Are you going to Rome?!" And thus the bickering friendship begins. Mitch was the first friend I made on my trip, a relief to my worried self about having to make it all the way to the Hilton in Rome all by myself, and it's crazy that we remained friends. He just happened to be roommates with Brad, who had asked us to go out the first night in, so we ended up being in the same group of people for awhile. Our friendship is one of making fun of each other, but it's all in good fun!
NikkiNikki is one of my best friends in the entire world. Despite that fact, I was very unsure of how I felt about her coming to Rome 'with' me. Our plans were never made together, we made the same decision separately. We didn't see each other that often, surprisingly, but she was definitely the piece of home I needed at times. I love this girl with all of my heart, and if you had told me in high school when we became friends that we would be biking down the beach of Barcelona together one day, I probably wouldn't have believed you. But we did, and it was amazing! We have so many memories that I never thought we would, like getting hit by lightning on a flight home from Venice, and they are memories I will always cherish. I love her so much, and I look up to her in so many ways. I am so lucky that I get to go back to White Bear and still have this girl only be a twenty minute drive away from me.
ReedThis kid. Not only does this kid go to my school back at home, but he lives in the neighboring town as me in MN. So, how did it take me going to Rome to meet him?! I don't understand the universe sometimes. Anyway, like Brad, we have basically no friends in common. We're also very different people. The majority of family dinners toward the beginning ended with a spat between Reed and I, because we have very different opinions on a lot of issues. However, what causes these debates is the fact that we have very similar passions. We both really just enjoy learning, and we both just want to explore the world. We may have different ways of expressing these passions, but I feel like I've learned a lot about myself and what I want by hearing him talk about his side and his points of view. Basically, I find myself very lucky to have been able to spend this semester arguing with Reed. And I mean that in the best of ways!
SarahSarah, what is there to say about this girl?! Most people who know Sarah know that she is so full of energy and life and she is always the life of the party. However, I feel that I am truly blessed to know the real Sarah. She was a girl friend to me the minute I needed one; our friendship instantly went to that deeper level, something I really needed. Sarah is crazy in the best of ways, but she is what kept me sane while I was here. She was always willing to listen, to emphathize, and, especially, tell me when I needed to buck up and deal with something. She didn't baby me, and she taught me a lot that way. She has taught me so much about what it means to accept yourself for who you are, about how to be myself and love myself and do my best to not compare myself to others. She has taught me how to understand others. She has helped me learn to trust God and to accept things for as they are; things will work out in the end. She is truly a blessing in my life. I love her so much, and I can't imagine how I'm going to get through next year without her there!
What can I possibly say to give this girl justice for the impact she's had on me?! I've already committed an entire post to her, because she means that much to me. Victoria is, as my friend Brad once said, "a genuinely nice person, through and through, to the core", and I could not say it better myself. She has such a beautiful heart and I cannot imagine a better roommate for the most emotionally stressful and physically draining semester of my life. She has taught me to see the good in people, something I thought I was already good at, but was proved otherwise when I realized that I had a lot more hurtful things to say about people than she did. I really look up to her, and I hope someday I can be even half as loving and giving and wonderful as she is! She was my rock while I was here, and I can't thank God enough for putting her in my life!
Also, we're both really big Papa Francesco fangirls, hence the picture with the matching shirts!
The FamilyI've talked about the majority of these people, plus this picture is missing a few people, but I just wanted to let my Roman family know how much they've meant to me this past semester. I truly feel that we turned into a family, that we were a part of the family, no matter what. People got sick of each other and frustrated, but we were still a family, and that meant enough to keep family dinner going. Yes, we got busy during the semester and it didn't happen for awhile, but we made it happen in the end. Having this group was what kept me sane at my most homesick times, because I knew that I had this entire group of people there for me if I needed them to be. No, I didn't get on a deep level with all of them, but if I needed a laugh, or to just get my mind off of being home, then I had them. This group started by accident, and I am so happy that Victoria and I were too nice to uninvite people to a dinner we didn't think we could handle. It ended up beautifully!