The time now is 12:47A.M. (or 00:47 if we’re adapting to military time) and this normally isn’t a big deal, but right now I should be sleeping. Tomorrow I have to get up at 6:00A.M. to complete my permit to stay, whilst still having a complete day of classes ending with my internship at C.R.E.T.A.. Us Temple Rome students are now into full swing of our post spring break adventures and are in a trance from the beauty that was just everyday life for the locals we got a glimpse of. As for me, I am in an obscure position where I can go anywhere and have it feel like a home, but whenever returning to Rome it’s as if coming back to a childhood memory. It is something that is comfortable and familiar, but yet so foreign and misplaced from my natural state of being.
I recognized that a lot of students here are starting to Rome “home”, or calling a croissant “cornetto”, and even America “the states”! All of which I am definitely guilty of… and this made me think of what is going to happen when I actually go back to my house back in the good ol’ suburbs of Philly. This whole experience is absolutely going to feel like a dream suspended in my memory to be lost in time and photographs, but instead of thinking about the future let’s jump back to the present day of Europe. Occasionally as I walk through the lucrative monuments and buildings that are older than even the States a slight shiver rolls over me, just a minute one and a memory pops up. Headquarters runs wild via my five guiding emotions, and this can be triggered from seeing a McDonald’s or a certain type of candy. It’s weird because I’ve never felt this anxiety of missing someone or object and never truly understood longing for a person to be here in the moment until now.
I miss driving on the open streets at 3:30A.M. when the roads are eerily quiet, as if waiting for you to slice that barrier of silence with your headlights. Sometimes while I am wandering the streets I think of some of the people I wish I could transport over. “What are the odds” and/or random just silliness would ensue to the point where I would go home with a drop of pee finding its way out of me. The late night bubble tea runs, or simple impromptu late night talks that lead into the unsophisticated tasks of going to grab a meal and not grand plans to go to another country with them (which in all honesty is not that hard here). I miss when the humans that surround me are more exciting than the plans themselves.
On the other hand I love so many things about Rome that I can’t express in just one simple blog post. However I’ll try to name a few, starting with the beauty of it all. The whole city seems so cohesive with its building style and pastel colors. Every so often it hits me that “yes, I am in Rome” and I just take a seat and watch people fluttering through their lives, or when in doubt, grab another gelato. I love how relaxed the people here seem to be, never in a rush… besides when they are driving. But their driving styles not coincide with my mentally as a pedestrian, which just proves that I belong. Everyday I find something new to be surprised by, as if little gifts were left in the city for me to discover. I love how the people in this program all seem to help one another when in need. The Temple Rome Facebook group is
one of the most informative, communal, and helpful forums that I have been on. Everyone came here because they wanted to and you can see in a lot of folks by how they’re enjoying every moment here, even the ones where we have to get up at 6:00A.M.
Yes, I do recognize that this isn’t a perfect city, but some wabi sabi never hurt anyone. The guys are very touchy and do not take the first no as a valid response, and I hate to say it’s their culture, but it is. The Italians barely let me at least TRY to speak Italian to them, but the makes sense because I would be horrendous and probably couldn’t even comprehend anything they would say. I would then be left in a mess where we would have a standstill as to what is going on and I eventually would slip back into the public where I could disappear amongst the masses. Plus, it is extremely hard to find a meal and/or dessert with a low amount of carbs (honestly, this isn’t that bad of a thing because an effect of this cultural phenomenon the 24 hour bakery is present), but sometimes I need my Korean food. All in all, Rome is the experience of eating foie gras and truffle risotto, but sometimes you just miss that good old fashioned take out Chinese food that is now just nostalgic memory to you.