I distinctly remember one of the first days in Italy I was standing with a group of fellow Belles in Assisi and up comes this tall, giddy, frizzy haired blonde quite literally bounding with joy. “Guys!” she said with her big blue eyes suddenly wider than before, “there is a place down there that monograms fanny-packs!” In the moment, still suffering from hellish jetlag, I’m pretty sure I gave her the most horrified look. All I could think was who was this girl?! Who in this world comes to one of the most beautiful, historically relevant, iconic Italian villages and finds the most thrilling thing to be monogrammed fanny packs?? Her name was Sophia, and she became living proof that first impressions are total rubbish.
Living and learning together in the heart of Rome, Sophia and I would see each other often. She’d quickly become besties with my roommate Fran so it became commonplace to come home from class to find her lounging across my bed, watching cat videos on YouTube, and completely losing it over Cuteness Overload.
One day Fran was absolutely passed out in a late afternoon snooze, so by default Sophia and I, both of whom it turns out have incredibly ferocious appetites, decided to go out to dinner together. We laughed and talked for ages over our delicious dinner, realizing we had a ton in common and having such a blast that I completely forgot I was scheduled to go to my weekly job of opening the chapel and preparing it for mass. It’s just as it sounds … a best friend love story.
For the rest of the semester we bonded and when we were stateside again, finding ourselves in the same horrible Bio class, we became completely inseparable. Just like all of the other incredible Rome Girls that semester brought into my heart and this blog, Sophia became more than a friend – she’s a sister-from-another-mister, a confidant, a there through thick and thin kind of bestie that is far closer to family than friend.
The Rome Girls, as I always call them, are one of the greatest testaments I have to the study abroad experience. Whenever someone is questioning whether or not to go abroad I can’t help but reference stories like these, stories that showcase the power of friendship that can only come about when you’re taken away from your family, home, and all things familiar and tossed into a foreign land.
So, what’s the point of this outrageously long walk down memory lane? Well this weekend, Sophia and I were finally reunited after far too long. It seemed before I could post about our little weekend reunion it was all but necessary to share a little back story. Stories to follow!