Although it's only been four days since I last posted, I have to admit that I feel like I've been putting this off for much longer. It's been a rough few days. As some of you know, my Papa (my dad's dad) was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) in October. It's been a tough time for my family, as the disease has progressed rapidly, enough so that I knew when I saw him at Christmas, I was seeing him for the last time. I was able to write a goodbye letter to him, and my grandmother has actually asked if it could be read at his funeral, which is comforting for me to know, since I won't be able to fly back home and be with my family for it.
The day that I flew to Rome, Jan 2nd, Papa was admitted to the hospital, where doctors found early signs of pneumonia. Things have worsened since then, and my whole family (my dad has 4 siblings, and I have ten cousins- there's a lot of us) has realized that it's time to say goodbye. Now Papa has been moved from the hospital, where he started receiving end of life care, to his home, according to his wishes. He's been given about a day.
As you can imagine, it's a really tough time to not be with my family, especially right in the middle of the first week of classes and only just starting to know everybody in the program. Everyone has been really nice, but what was a real God-send was that my friend Karin, from home, was actually on vacation in Italy this week, so I was able to spend the day with her on Wednesday, which was a much-needed reunion. Showing her around my neighborhood, and taking a beautiful tour of the park Villa Borghese, really took my mind off of things and lifted my spirits.
In the meantime, classes have started and I'm starting to settle in here in Roma. I'll post again soon with details about my neighborhood, what classes are like, and my mission to find a wine that I can actually take more than one sip of! (I promised myself that I would try every glass...so far nothing has made it past the first sip...)
Please keep my family in your prayers.