Well, it's almost over. Two years of swanky cocktail parties in Rome, where I, the writer-husband, downed martinis and tossed off bon mots like they were commas, while my diplomat-wife charmed intransigent foreigners with her beauty and wit. Er, that's how I thought it was going to be, anyway. In fact, we spent way too much time at home watching downloaded episodes of Top Chef and America's Next Top Model on iTunes. (Martinis, however, were still involved.)
But we did get out occasionally, and over the past week we've been saying goodbye to some of our Rome friends: the checkout guys at our local supermarket, the waiters at our two favorite restaurants (Olimpia and Sacro e Profano), the guys behind the counter at our bread-and-cheese place (just called Pane Formaggi), and, of course, the girl at our local wine shop, who always plied us with multiple free samples.
I've been telling people that the things I like about Rome, I like a lot. And the things that I hate about Rome... It's not a city that inspires ambivalence. It inspires frustration and awe in equal measures. There are a lot of things about Rome that I won't miss. But what a trip it's been to run errands and pass the Spanish Steps, or Trevi Fountain, or, most remarkable of all, the Pantheon, a building that has been in use for 2,000 years!
I've had my ups and downs here in Rome. My second book was published while I was here, and I am just finishing my third. I also spent a month in a neck brace because of a herniated disc. And then there was the root canal.
But living in Rome has been a remarkable experience, truly one of the highlights of our lives. It's hard to believe we lived here.