July 1, 2005
Today I had to say goodbye to our dear young friend Helena who returns to Switzerland tomorrow. She spent two months studying at the Universita per Stranieri (she already speaks German, Swiss German, French and English and can read Greek and Latin and now has Italian under her belt! At 19 years old she is one of the sweetest people I have ever met in my life. She was in our class in May, and, along with Eva and Anne, (who we also fell in love with!) continued at the Stranieri for the month of June. We had all three girls over for dinner once a week during that time, trying to give them a home cooked meal as an alternative to eating out or eating alone. Originally it was to be an Italian lesson in exchange for a home-cooked meal but really it was just an excuse for all of us to get together and talk! We enjoyed their company and we think they must have enjoyed ours too because they kept coming!
On Wednesday we went over to the classroom to say our farewell to Eva who was going home to Holland on Thursday. She promises to send us information about visiting The Netherlands in the spring to see the tulips and we will look forward to that very much. I'm sure her family, who we met a few weeks ago will be happy to have her home, not to mention her boyfriend who she talks about all the time!
Anne, from Berlin, will be here through the month of July so we will be able to spend more time with her before we leave for Paris on the 20th of this month. A charming German girl, she reminded us in many ways of our "German daughter" Andrea and we are happy that she's not leaving us now too!
Sweet, sweet girls, Anne and Eva were roommates during the month of May but then Anne had to move (a miscommunication with her landlord who thought she was only here in May and rented her apartment out from under her!). They became very good friends and went many places together, including to the discothèque to dance and the lake to sunbathe.
And so now the time has come for us to bid farewell to sweet Helena. We really hit it off and became very good friends. With our age difference you would think I would have been more like her mother than her peer and I suppose there is an element of that in our relationship. Our personalities are similar and we think alike about many things so we were a natural to become friends. For such a young person she is quite serious and old fashioned in many ways, qualities we found endearing. Which is not to say that she doesn't have a wonderful sense of humor and enjoyed teasing back and forth with Bob at every opportunity, all in good fun. She loves books and reading - her mother says she "eats books" and I witnessed that each time I lent her one and she finished it practically overnight! Her dream is to work in the famous old library in St. Galen in Switzerland and she is starting University at Basel in the fall (where I want to visit because of its famous design school.)
We spent yesterday afternoon with her, seeing some of the sights she did not have time to see since she has been in school for two months. She came to our apartment for dinner and we planned to get together for coffee in the morning and to go to the Tempio St. Angelo. This ended up being just a girl's day out as we left Bob behind and hung out together all day. We went to the Tempio, up to the top of the Porta Sant' Angelo with its amazing views, and spent the afternoon window shopping while she picked up a few gifts to bring home to her family.
The day ended with both of us crying our eyes out saying goodbye and promising to write and to see each other again. I promised we would come to Switzerland and I intend to keep my promise. Next spring we will have to make a big loop of The Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland! We hope that all of them will come to see us in the States when we return home.
Farewell Helena and Eva! And too soon we will say farewell to Anne. May good fortune smile upon you all, all the days of your lives! We will miss you here in Perugia but we know that we are richer for having met each of you.
Rosemary & Robert