In just under two weeks, the semester RILA program will have completed its maiden voyage. When we left on February 9th, all of us were nervous and not sure what to expect. We were all certainly very excited, but the  anxiety was definitely pervasive. Now, just about two weeks from returning to SMC, our feelings have flipped and we are all incredibly excited to return, but that happiness is tainted by a feeling of early onset nostalgia and sadness. Everyone is looking forward to seeing their family, friends and pets, but leaving Rome behind is going to be bittersweet. Returning to the familiarity of Moraga will be enjoyable but there was something fun and exhilarating about living in a city without really knowing the language or how to get around.

Some highlights from the past few weeks include:

  1. We had lunch and seminar at our seminar tutors’ house! Our seminar is led by Brigid and Scott Strader, friends of Tutor Zepeda. They recently had a son and invited us all over to their house for lunch and seminar on Richard III.
  2. The weather has been fantastic! It has consistently been in the high 70s, which is amazing because studying outside in Rome is quite nice.
  3. Last Tuesday Tutor Pihas took us all to Palazzo Barberini, a 17th century castle-turned museum. In that museum we saw two Caravaggio paintings, the Narcissus, and Judith Slaying Holofernes. Earlier that same week, we saw the Conversion of Saint Paul and the Calling of Saint Matthew, both by Caravaggio, as well.

Since we have about a week and a half left, everyone is scrambling around to get last minute trinkets for themselves and family and friends at home.  We are also also trying to see the last few things that we have not seen yet. Some people want to visit the “Mouth of Truth” while others are interested in seeing the Vatican Museums once more.  There are a few people who are planning on remaining in Europe to travel once the RILA program ends. Carli and Megan are planning on starting their travels in Barcelona, while Somnath is going to head up to London.  The rest of us are heading home and starting jobs or internships!

Today is our last excursion, and we are heading to the Galleria Borghese!