It has been over a month since I celebrated my last day in Viterbo with my friends.
I remember that night so well, I found it suspect that I hadn’t already written about it. So last night at work I felt compelled to publish my experiences, alive and uncensored for the first time.
Interestingly, the day leading up to the night wasn’t as much fun as it should have been. I had my last final exam in Italian Gardens at 5:30pm that night so I spent the entire day before it studying myself to near exhaustion for this 60-question short answer exam, yes I meant 60 questions.
After a double shot of espresso, I was jittery and anxious, I couldn’t focus on studying, and I just wanted the day to be over. I eventually ordered a mandatory work stoppage and went to get gelato for the last time with my friend, Hannah because I owed her some after losing a bet. Then, after a little help from my friend, Vivian, I got through the exam with relative ease.
After the exam, I convinced Vivian to join us at dinner being that she became one of my closest friends in Viterbo. She obliged and we made ready for this local restaurant where Kevin, Mike, Nicole, Hannah celebrated Henal’s birthday a month prior. I missed her birthday because I took the wrong train from Assisi.
Once there, we laughed and cried and reminisced for hours about the good times and the bad times. Being splashed in Paris, soaked in Barcelona, baked (in the sun) in Greece, and so much more. We had a three-course meal with wine, inexpensive, too. We told stories of jumping from trees, hiking Mount Vesuvius, the rain in Sicily and the list went on. We laughed so much – I don’t think I’ve every laughed harder that night.
Sitting all around me were the friends I made along the way of an incredible journey that is now immortalized in memory and on the World Wide Web. What I did, what I saw, what I felt – I’m not sure I’ll ever experience those same feelings ever again. That’s why this night was so special to me. If you asked me in January if I thought I would have met as many exciting people as I did sitting around the table at the restaurant with me, I’d have said you were a lunatic.
Towards the end of dinner, Vivian coaxed me into another bet. Remember the bet at the garden in Florence? She said she would give me five US dollars. All I had to do was swallow a spoonful of crushed red pepper flakes. I did it, but I didn’t enjoy it. My mouth was on fire. I ran out of the restaurant and towards the fountain outside. I was going to drink some of the water, but I realized it was green, moldy, and dirty – it looked incredibly unsafe to drink.
I took this opportunity to splash Vivian with water and soon enough it was a water fight. We splashed each other and looked like crazy people in the dead streets on that warm May night. After dinner, we went to Kevin and Henal’s for the “after-party.” Along the walk back, we stopped for photo ops and risky climbs of unstable walls. Perfectly normal. We drank some more and laughed some more. We talked about our highs and lows of the trip and what we would do when we got back to our homes.
I took this time to acknowledge, maybe internally, how much my friends meant to me and all the good times I had. Especially with Mike, with whom I wouldn’t have made it out of Viterbo, maybe even literally. He was the source of nothing but good times and better memories. Mike was the best roommate I ever could have asked for. Kevin, well, Kevin is Kevin. He’s seen me at my absolute worst and didn’t go running. That’s how I knew he was a good friend.
Hannah, Henal, Vivian, and Nicole also had a profound impact on me as a person and my growth. My last semester of college was the absolute best semester of college. I’m so incredibly blessed that my last night of college was spent with them.
My friends made my trip special in their own way and I can’t ever imagine redoing it without them. In fact, I won’t because I want to remember this and all the other days that electrified me. I made best friends, friends that I intend on keeping in touch with for the rest of my life. We’ll see each other again, someday.