Believe it or not, one of my favorite memories in Rome was not in a church decorated with pearls or a restaurant with mozzarella balls tied with pirate rope hanging from the ceiling. It was on a late night bus driving back to a convent.
Two years ago, I went to Rome with a big group of people from the St. Paul’s Catholic Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While I was standing in the back of the bus, I was looking at all of my beautiful friends. I was smiling, yet a flood of sadness hit my heart. My eyes filled with water like the Trevi Fountain.
This spring Rome trip was the first time I was seeing my friends in three months. I was at home for a bit before the trip because I was sick. While being sick turned into this beautiful gift of being able to spend more time with my family, I missed spending time with my college friends. In the back of the bus, I was left thinking about all of these people that I have been in college with and what a gift they are to my life.
As dramatic as it seems, all bus rides come to an end. The Rome bus ride did not last forever. Eventually, I did make it back to Madison—that is why I am writing this article!
Holding onto the bus rail tightly looking at the group of twenty in front of me, the reality of the bus ride of college coming to an end hit like a fast car slamming on the breaks.
Here I was in Rome, in the back of the bus, pondering life and the people that have journeyed it with me. Through the crowd, I made eye contact with one of my tall lumberjack friends. With tears strolling down my face, we both smiled at each other and shook our heads. Saying goodbye to a trip or to a four year college adventure is hard–but if the goodbye is hard that is how you know the trip was well worth it. The hardest thing is getting off the bus and walking out the door into the unknown.
My Rome adventure was amazing–we walked twenty miles a day, prayed in crystal cathedrals and had seven different kinds of gelato. At the end of this bus ride, we reached the final destination. It was time to say goodbye to Rome.
The bus stopped and it was our turn to get off. I walked down the cobblestone streets reminding myself that when things come to an end, there is another adventure around the corner.
Life is like a bus ride. It is full of many stops. Many people come and go. Yet, memories of riding the bus are treasured souvenirs.