this week that i’m in rome also happens to be the end of the semester for all the students here, so it’s of course filled with studying and final exams, packing, and saying goodbyes. a few nights ago the professors at the school here held a going away dinner for everyone, so naturally, the guys (JJ and his two roommates, jesse and tristan) decided that i should tag along and get in on the free food.

before we all headed off, a group of 7 or so people got together at the apartment to have a few glasses of wine and reminisce on the semester. it was weird to see them all doing this because just a week or so ago i myself was doing the same exact thing. i loved hearing all the crazy stuff they did while roaming around the city and how awesome their wine appreciation class was (jealous about that class!).

at last we headed over to the school, which is housed on the 4th floor of some random building over near the colosseum. it takes up the whole floor, sprawling out with 4 or 5 classrooms and a computer/printing lab and a small library. it was far more school-ish than mine was in greece, so it didn’t come as quite a surprise now that their finals were so intense (meanwhile i performed a play and showed my photography in an art show, hoorah!).

it was hilarious walking in with a whole group of students and pretending like i was totally supposed to be there. teachers and other students alike were giving me the most bizarre “who ARE you!?” looks as i filled my plate with amazing home cooked italian food and poured more wine into my cup. i don’t know if the teachers ever found out who the heck i was, but i introduced myself to all the other students during the meal and chatted contentedly with them.

i was amazed at how nice and welcoming they all were. it made me think back to my last week in greece and how annoyed i would probably be if one of the other HISA people had brought a friend along to everything. back then it felt like i had to hold on to every moment, enjoy all the time i had left with the people on the island and i’m sure that i wouldn’t have appreciated it if some new person had come along and disturbed that, though that’s because i am quite territorial. i was so impressed and shocked at how quickly they invited me into their conversations, asking about greece and then telling me stories of their own travels.

they took me in so much that once the dinner was over a whole group of us headed out to walk the streets of rome at night and buy some wine (always). welp, that ended up turning into everybody coming back to our (the guys’) apartment and having what we thought was going to be a chill last get-together, but then (as marc o’reilly would say) shit went downnnn.

the first hour or so was lovely: the cheap 5L of boxed wine was flowing like water, paulina and i were chatting tons more, an indian girl was inviting me to come and stay at her house in NYC, and good music was keeping up the chill party atmosphere. i only had a few glasses of the wine since i had to be up semi-early the next morning, but a few choice people didn’t have quite the same idea that i did.

elmo (the indian girl) kept throwing back her glasses of wine like they were extremely large shots; she was going at it like a champ. the more she drank the more her indian accent came out and the more she offered food and a place to stay in NYC and now in india (if any of us ever happened to make it that far). from the living room i could hear her yelling in her native tongue (the more she drinks the less english she speaks) and looked out to see her cornering poor JJ and telling him all about her amazing house just 20 minutes outside the city and how great it was and how they had a fully stocked bar, how awesome! that was pretty much her peak, because 5 minutes later she joined us in the living room and passed out in a chair, pretty much motionless.

it was at this point that her friends decided that they should probably get her blacked-out butt home, so they slowly stood up pulling her with them.. and before i even knew what the hell was happening she was turning slowly toward the stairs (where JJ and tristan were sitting and talking), hunkered down and projectile hurling in a circle around her, before dropping to the floor and collapsing under the table. it all happened so fast that i almost didn’t know what happened, but JJ and tristan (who had her puke all over them) certainly did. they sobered up pretty quickly after that and hightailed it to their rooms to change clothes and then wash all their belongings that were now soaked with a mixture of cheap white wine, homemade pasta, and jalapeno pringles. i, on the other hand, hightailed it over to the front door and yanked it open to breathe in some fresh air before i barfed everywhere too. thank god jesse stepped in and started cleaning right away as elmo’s friends led her to the bathroom where she continued puking for a good 20 minutes or so.

after all that the party sorta went downhill so 4 of us decided to end our night on a good note and visit a local bar (named something like “large helga’s” or “chubby helga’s”). on our way there we ran into a group of english speaking people and randomly paused to have a quick convo. us english speakers always tend to huddle together, especially when it’s 2 drunk and desperate australians asking us for directions because they had no idea where in rome they were. winners, obviously.

we brushed them off and continued on to the bar.. as they casually followed behind. we hurried and grabbed a table in the back hoping to hide from the drunk party boys, but soon they found us and tried to join (almost spilling 2 pints of beer in the process). it was at this point that paulina lost it. it was amazing, she yanked their beers out of their hands and basically told them “this is my last night in rome and you idiots are ruining it. i want to hang out with my friends and you’re being total asses. fuck off.” she was brilliant! our night after that was pretty chill. the 2 australians sulked over to another table and the 4 of us (paulina, tristan, JJ, and i) relaxed for an hour or so sipping our drinks and talking about the amazing experience of studying abroad.

it was an insane night, but as soon as i think of it my face splits into a huge grin and i can’t help but chuckle. oh rome!

JJ carrying around his box of wineee

JJ carrying around his box of wineee

paulina and i :)

paulina and i 🙂

JJ and tristan right before the puke hit..

JJ and tristan right before the puke hit..