My weeks in the Cretan mountains have come to an end and it’s time to head to my next destination. I am half Greek, so I have always felt a connection to Greece and am sad to leave before having a chance to explore more of the islands. (Transportation between islands is still on the highly reduced winter schedule, and — without getting a special visa — my time is running too short to make it work.) I absolutely, positively will have to return.

But, as a person who was raised with an Italian-American stepfather and ate spaghetti pretty much every Sunday of her youth, I am also filled with excitement over the fact that I am heading to Rome. This will be my first time in Italy (a place I have long-wanted to visit), so it helps take away the sting of saying “Goodbye for now” to Greece.