Flashback to mid-April. May was right around the corner, which meant my birthday would be coming up soon as well. I started having some seriously mixed feelings about my impending birthday- because it would be the first one I would spend without any of my family with me. I had no plans for celebrating. I wasn’t sure who I would celebrate it with. All I knew was that I did not want to spend my birthday alone. When there are big life events for me, or for the ones I love, that’s when I feel the distance the most. I feel the massive ocean separating me from Lancaster.
So continue through April and I started praying about it. Just begging God that I would be okay for my birthday. That I would celebrate my birthday instead of wishing I was home. April 25th I received a text from one of my close friends from home, Casi, saying her and her dad would possibly be in Rome the 23-24th “would you be around to meet us in Rome?” I could have cried with excitement. May 23rd is my birthday and here was Jesus saying, “Hey- I’ll take care of you. I love you.”
I ended up having one of the best five day stretch of birthday joy and friends. I was reminded again how lucky I am to have found a second family here with my Italian family. And how lucky I am to have met so many great people here in Milan. Friday night I went out with a group of girls for dinner and drinks. The weather has been warming up and evening strolls along Navigli canals make for a perfect night.
John and Casi had a slight ah, delay, with flights. They ended up arriving before me in Rome. Sunday morning I took a train from Milano and met up with them by afternoon. We had all day Sunday and Monday to see as much as possible of Rome. The weather was beautiful both days. I made sure that they tried a proper Italian pizza, along with coffee and pasta dishes. It was SO FUN for me and such an HONOR to get to show these two around Rome for two days. This was my third time in Rome, and I must say, Rome is even more magical with people from home. It was an incredible birthday spent with these two. I talked with my parents a little, and didn’t cry (holla!). Tuesday morning I headed back home, excited and refreshed from the weekend and mini holiday.
That evening I celebrated my birthday with my Italian family. My host mom made a special dinner for me, ending with a cake. The boys sang happy birthday to me in English (unfortunately wordpress doesn’t let me upload videos-but you can find it on my Facebook or insta) which made my heart melt into a puddle. I realized that night that I did celebrate my birthday with my family, my Italian family. This place. These people. I’ve been so fortunate and I feel so blessed by them. It has become my second home.
Also, THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to wish me a happy birthday. Especially to my friends and family back home, thank you. I miss you all.