Arrivederci, Italia.

As my time in Italy is down to 12 hours, you can imagine all the reflecting going on. I realized I haven’t thanked my fellow Bernardi siblings enough for all they have done for me these past four months. This one’s for you:

Mi fretelli e sorelle,

I have been incredibly touched hearing you share all of your graces, memories and affirmations of one another. I have truly grown to love each and everyone of you as family members, for better and for worse, and I am beyond grateful for having shared this experience with you. As I briefly mentioned before, last semester was a rough one for me–I doubted a lot of things, including what I believe as a Christian or just in general, and coming to Rome I only thought and cared about what I could get from the semester, all the Lord would do for me and my life and how I would grow. But it took 33 of my closest friends to draw me outside of myself and look at all the Lord was doing for me and through me thanks to all of you. I never understood the concept of love within a marriage. You mean you have to choose to love someone even when you don’t feel it? How is that even possible? You have all shown me and taught me what love truly is and what it means.

Every time you asked me about fashion. Every time you gave me chocolate. Every time you asked me to sew something. Every time I tried to pay for something or pay you back and you responded “Don’t worry about it.” Every time you invited me to a meal. Every time you touched my spiky hair. Every time you complimented me on my combination of neon pink jacket and red pants. Every time you left an affirmation in my mailbox. Every time you cleared my dishes or got me coffee. Every time you thanked me for the tickets. Every time you laughed at my less-than-perfect jokes. Every time you indulged me in late night cookie and milk breaks. The list could go on and on. But every time you loved me, you taught me how to love better, and proved that I am loved.

Thank you for being so patient, loving, caring and accepting of my blunt, unabashed, stubborn and very sarcastic self. The time you took to get to know me, hear my many thoughts and opinions, but more importantly share your own, meant more to me than you will ever know. Thank you for putting up with my 100 “Kid Snippets” quotes and references every day. Thank you for showing me Christ through your selfless, fun, caring and generous acts. Know I pray for you all each day, that you will continue to grow ever closer to Our Lord and Our Lady, and that one day we will be reunited in Heaven. You are now family and will be treated as such. Therefore, when I need money, am in jail, need you to vote for me or give me a job, be prepared to get a phone call 😉

Tonight I went to Mass and realized it would be my last in Italy. I prayed to God to come up with some reason I would have to stay in Italy, or to give me a job so I can come back and live here. I am positive a huge part of the reason I love it here is because I associate Italy with my Bernardi family. Grazie mille a tutti.

I love you all, and am eternally grateful and indebted to God for the second best gift a girl could ask for. (Clearly the first being His Son).

Ciao, but only for now.

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