No but seriously, there's more to life in American than vapid consumerism, and I know that now. And there's more to life here in bella Roma than sipping cappuccinos and taking in the sights (and smells) of a summer in full swing. But all things considered, I'll gladly swap one for the other.
I have been so blessed during this time here in Rome. And as I may have mentioned here once or twenty-seven times before, I've also been challenged and stretched and tested beyond my level of comfort. As I sit and type this, the shades drawn and the AC cranked against July's last stand, I'm still being tested. Because I just said goodbye to my cleaning lady for the last time and I'm really, really going to miss her. And not just because she does my dishes for me once a week. Okay, mostly for that. But she is also a huge sweetheart. And deep cleans my entire house in 2 hours for only 20 Euros.
That, my friends, is a luxury that I never knew I was missing out on. And one I've actually come to rely on quite a bit. And even though it is, for some reason, far more humbling and feels much more ostentations to admit "I have housecleaning help" than "I hired a babysitter for the morning," I think it's one Euro-luxury that I'm going to try my darndest to replicate, Stateside. Because while I am uniquely qualified to take care of my own children (not that I am opposed to a night off now and then. Hell no I'm not), anyone can clean my bathroom...and I'm happy to pay them to do it, if the budget permits.
Another thing I'm refusing to settle for upon our repatriation? Bad coffee. And you know what qualifies as bad coffee? Anything that you can't drink black, or with a bit of sugar. And if you have to pump flavor of some sort into it to help it go down? Fail. So yes, basically, I've become a huge coffee snob. Espresso for me, or a double cappuccino if the weather permits. Starbucks, we had a good run, but my forays back into your arms during our air-capades last month showed me the light: you don't taste that great.
I'll still be lining up for my annual first-of-Fall pumpkin spice latte, though. Because I still have a heart.
Finally, I'm really going to miss our beautiful church ... and the roughly 803 other beautiful churches around the city. This one in particular:
But all the rest of them, too. It's a beautiful thing to be able to stumble into the most beautiful church you've ever seen, just because you took a slightly different way home from the grocery store. But it's also a really beautiful thing to be able to drive to the grocery store. And to have it not be the size of a Circle K. So.
Italy, you've been good to us. Hard, but good. I'll miss the friends we've made, the espresso habit I've developed, and the subconscious hope that anytime I'm walking near Vatican City, I might stumble across Papa Francesco out for a surprise and unexpected public appearance. But I'm ready.
I'm ready to come home.