June 28, 2016

Dear Giovanni,

Earlier this morning I said goodbye to a boy that, at this time last year, I had no idea existed; a boy that I now cannot image ever forgetting. I am not one who takes a goodbye easily, yours especially. As the day progressed, I could not get my mind off the fact that you were at the airport, set to travel 2,252 miles back home.

I reflected on all the memories we shared, looking back through our pictures and our text messages. A smile snuck across my face as I recalled the time we sat in the "dawg pound," after the referee called a foul against us, you hollered a word or two in Italian. The monitoring teachers imagined but could not prove that you were not saying "good call." Then, of course, I remember at my graduation party how you won over my entire family with your charming personality. My grandma was not kidding when she said she would be making a trip to Italy to visit, and neither was I. My smile remained as I thought of the smile I would see as you would throw your arm around me, pulling me in to pitch your best pickup lines.

The fact that you will soon be back home, and that it could be years before we meet face-to-face again saddens me. Aside from my selfishness, I cannot help but be happy for you and your family, as you will be reunited. I could really tell how much you missed everyone after showing me countless pictures of them.

You do not realize all you have done, and for all you have done, I want to thank you. Thank you for being someone I can call a forever friend. Thank you for showing me the importance of relationships. Thank you for locating Italy on a map for me. Thank you for helping me cross "kiss an Italian" off my bucket list. Thank you for being someone I could count on to always make me laugh. Thank you for opening my mind to the fact that there is more to the world than what we are accustomed. But most of all, thank you for making me realize that our time with some is limited, and should not be taken for granted.

As you travel across the Atlantic Ocean, I hope all the memories we have all made over the past year replay, bringing you reoccurring happiness. As you continue your life, I hope these thoughts are kept in your heart and mind. Until I see you again, I pray you remain yourself, the boy who makes us all smile with his presence and cry with his absence. Please never forget that you will always have a home back here, with us. I love you, and I cannot wait to see you again!


XO & best wishes,

Ashley Rose Corbin