Day 5: Cleaning Up, Giving Thanks

Jo, Final Post:

The past four weeks have flown by, and I woke up today, attempting to recollect the memories I had during the excavation. Downstairs, a crowd of students were already gathering to clean up the convent, our home. From sorting and labeling the last pieces of pottery to taking out the trash, each member of the dig completed chores.

I headed down the hill to the photography lab, making final shots and cleaning the space—mopping the floor, taking out the lamps, folding the photo sites, and more. With Professor Rulman, I wrapped the artifact boxes and brought them to the cars to be taken up to Cavita 254, where they will be stored during the offseason. Thus, although I had said my goodbyes to the city of Orvieto earlier, I drove up with Professor George one last time, and reminded myself of its beauty.

Orvieto, Italy—this city is most definitely the most beautiful city I have visited thus far in my short but amazing 16 year old life. With dainty shops decorating each wall and the clock tower standing tall above the view, Orvieto has everything I would want in a city. Rather than being a complete tourist attraction like most of Rome, Orvieto has a tint of genuine Italy. As I told my parents, if you are to visit any city in Italy, please visit Orvieto—you will not be disappointed.

Afterwards, I drove back down to the Obelix and said my goodbyes to some of the close friends I had made on this trip, namely Joe, Kally, Kelsey, Tina, and others. Some of the team (besides the staff, they head home next week) were leaving today, some tomorrow, and the last on Sunday. Everyone had a sensation of bittersweet, since it was exciting to finally go home, but sad to leave the memories and friends we had made.

Now, as I look from the first floor of the convent, just one night away from departure to Fiumicino airport, I can recall when this dinner table was full of loud, post-dig college students, when I played catch in the cloister with a yarn ball with Joe, when the Wi-Fi became extremely slow immediately following the work day because of the influx of cell phones, when Bliss and I watched Germany battle Wales in a tight soccer match, when I sat down after a hot and arduous dig Monday and caught my breath, when Professor Mary Kate Donais lectured us about chemical analysis in archaeology, and—of course—when I came down to write my blog entry each night.

And now I sit here, quiet, calm, and alone, having done so much, learned so much, and experienced so much during these past four weeks. And I think about, and give thanks to everyone who made this experience as enlightening as it was—to Kristin and Glen, Tania and Paolo, to all the staff, to all the older college friends who invited me in like one of their own, to the PEA Classics Instructors and PEA friends, to Professor George, and to all who have been reading about my adventures.

GRATIAS EIS ET VOBIS AGO.

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