After one of the longest days of traveling I’ve ever done, which included a 5am wakeup, hauling too many enormous bags from Orvieto’s train station to the Fiumicino Airport, and eventually landing in Phoenix to be warmly greeted by my parents and cousin. My baggage arrived safe and sound, and we ate Mexican food and admired my 2-year-old second cousin’s expansive vocabulary before finally making it back to Tucson at 8am Italy time (midnight here). It was a long day, and parting is such sweet sorrow.

However, this is my time to acknowledge the things I will miss (and already do) about Italy, but the things that I am excited to return to.

I will miss fog. Its mystery and eerie beauty really captured my imagination, and although Tucson weather is amazing, especially right now, there is no fog.

I will miss the language. Oh, the language! Rolled “r”s and so much gesturing, slang and figures of speech that we do not share. Really wrapping your mouth around sounds.

I will miss adventuring, just taking walks through town and around it, the natural beauty of the rolling hills and the turning fall colors, now winter.

I will miss easily buying fresh produce and bread. I think I will begin to attend farmer’s markets just to buy tomatoes right off the vine.

I will miss the excessive amounts of good olive oil. And figs. Figs were good, too.

I will miss all our Italian friends, of course, who taught us so much about la dolce vita.

Here are a few things I am happy to see/eat/experience:

Wireless internet in my home. I am such a spoiled American girl of my generation, but I am being honest here. I missed internet at home.

A variety of food. Don’t get me wrong, I love Italian food and I always will. BUT, I also relish foods from other countries (I better hit up Sushi Garden, Zemam’s Ethiopian and as many Mexican venues as possible in the near future), and I also missed good old fashioned American cooking. What is that? That just means lots of salt and fats and juicy burgers and moist cakes and chocolate chip cookies. I know that American cuisine is hard to define, but it exists, people, and I have missed it.

American television. Horrible, I know, but Italian TV was not my cup of tea. Now I can return to easily watching The Office and Top Chef and discover lovely new shows like Glee.

Best of all, though, is that I get to return to my family and friends.

I’m sure I’ll be making a lot of trips to Roma Imports this spring, and seeking out Italian speakers and doing my best not to lose the cooking skills I’ve gained. There are many things I will miss about living in Italy, but there are also many adventures to have here.