When people ask me where I went to high school and I tell them “In Rome, Italy. My school was very close to the Circo Massimo.” They are in awe and tell me how lucky I am.
Yes I was very fortunate to have grown up in Rome. A city that has held on to its past, though sometimes a little too tightly. A city that boasts centuries of culture and can prove it to this day. A place we call home. Where we know that anytime we go back the pasta will taste just the same as it did 20 years ago; perhaps a bit more expensive. The smell of the bakeries only seems more intense and makes you remember when you were a little kid walking around your neighborhood. The blaring horns of impatient drivers reminds you why you chose to learn to drive there and why you can fit a full size car in a parking slot made for a compact. I could go on and on about what Rome means to me, but I do not want to veer off of the most important part: my high school friends.
A few weeks ago I went to my friends wedding in Cagliari, Sardegna. I have known him since 1995, so 22 years! To be invited to someone’s wedding that you met over 20 years when you were a kid is not necessarily something that happens all the time. We grow up, we drift apart, and we lose touch. We may run into each other now and again, we may not. So how did this come about?
As corny as this next part will sound, it is 200% true. We are a family. We always have been. Our classes were small and groups even smaller. We spent almost everyday of our lives together for 4 years! Fair enough, that is still not a good reason. Most of us would come back to Rome for holidays and breaks from university at first and even that stopped eventually. Some of us kept in touch, some of us took breaks from each other and reunited even stronger, and some of us remain distant forever. Again, I do not seem to be making my point.
No matter what happens, where we end up, who we end up with, if we get married, have babies, change lives, disaster strikes us, etc. Whenever we are together, it feels like time has never passed. Whenever we are in contact, it feels like time has never passed. If someone is in need, we are there. If someone just wants to say hello, we say hello back. We could have been the worst enemies in high school and could be the best of friends right now. We are constantly in each other’s lives no matter what.
That wedding weekend I was surrounded by several friends that I had not seen in over 20 years! Friends that I had not seen in over 10 years! Friends I may have seen a couple of years ago. Friends I had seen only a week ago. It didn’t matter how many years, or months, or weeks had passed; when we were all together it was as if we were back in high school. To be fair, 20 years older, but back in high school.
I am not lucky because I went to high school in Rome, Italy. I am lucky because I went to St. Stephens’s School in Rome, Italy. I have not done any justice in explaining the bond that we have because it is inexplicable. Only we know and understand what it is. We even have our own language for fuck’s sake! Not that we created it on purpose, but it just happened. It is a mix between Italian and English where one sentence is comprised of both languages. It is instinctive since we all speak English and Italian fluently and think in both languages therefore interchanging them as if they were one language.
It is actually very funny to experience.
For example if I were to say [in English]:
Hey Simo listen. Have we figured out what the plan for dinner is? Have you spoken to anyone else yet?
In our Italian-English it could possibly (possible because it can come out very differently at any given time) sound something like:
Simo, senti. Allora have you figured out che si fa for dinner stasera? Hai sentito anyone yet?
What I want to say is this: I love my SSS people from the bottom of my heart. I know that no matter what I have going on I will always be ok because I can reach out to anyone of them at anytime, and vice versa. Whether it is to say hello. Whether I need to vent. Whether I need to take a break for a while. Whether I need help with some random thought or question that has popped into mind. Whether it is someone else asking me some random question. We are so culturally and intellectually diverse that we are our own version of Wikipedia. Seriously! Who needs Google when you have friends from SSS???