Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I still can’t believe I’m in Rome. It hits me at the weirdest moments, and at other times I feel like nothing has changed.  Although my Italian hasn’t improved much, living in Rome is definitely starting to feel a little more comfortable. Most people speak a little English, so I can manage. Sometimes I even forget I’m in Italy because 99% of the time I still speak English. But there have been some obstacles, and most people that you run into on the street don’t speak English, or they won’t put the effort into speaking English to talk to you. So there have been multiple occasions I’ve felt like an idiot because someone has spoken to me in Italian, and when I inform them that I don’t speak Italian, they grumpily walk off. But I’m picking it up a little at a time and hopefully by the end of the semester I will know a lot more than I do now!

My usual week consists of school during the day, and exploration at night. Some of these explorations take us to the local bars, where we stay up way past my usual bedtime… and sometimes it’s just a nice stroll around the city as we look for a good, but sill inexpensive place to eat. Our school building is in an area called the Jewish Ghetto. It’s not the ghetto like we think of in the US, it’s called the Ghetto because it’s a term that was used back during WWII and it stuck. It’s actually a really nice area of town right next to the river. All throughout Rome there will randomly be gold squares in the ground that have names and dates on them. At first I didn’t pay much attention to them, probably because I didn’t know what they meant… But they are markers of people who were taken during the Holocaust. In fact, there are two right outside the front door to our apartment complex. I (obviously) wasn’t alive during WWII, and it wasn’t fought on US soil so I’ve always thought of it as this war that happened long ago, far away... I’ve never really connected. But here, these constant reminders of the past have really caught my attention. I’ve always loved history, but here it’s not just history, it’s a part of everyday life.

These last couple weeks have been pretty low key. No trips or big plans. A couple days ago I walked around Rome on my own (Mom and Dad, forget you read that :)), and was pleasantly surprised at how well I’m starting to know the city. It was nice to spend some time strolling around, trying to permanently burn the images into my brain. I realized that 4-5 times a week I walk by a big landmark. Usually it’s the Pantheon, and as I was wandering I realized that people actually live their whole lives like this. I wonder if they have pictures of themselves making a wish at the Trevi Fountain. Probably not… it’s one of those things where you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. It made me so very thankful for this opportunity and all the people who supported me and helped make it happen! I still have several months, but I know it will go by too quickly. One of my professors lives here in Rome 6months out of the year, and lives in New York the other 6 months. I think that’s the perfect life! A villa in Italy to use as a summer home, or winter home… Sounds amazing!

I’m taking advantage of every opportunity to enjoy all things Italian, like pasta and gelato, but there are definitely some things that I’m starting to really miss! First of all, green chili. It’s crazy how much I miss it!! There’s not really anything spicy here. I did have some nachos the other day that had those pickled jalapenos, and that was nice, but there’s nothing in the world like a green chili cheeseburger. Which brings me to another point: cheeseburgers! I haven’t had one yet, but I’ve been told of several places that have really good burgers. So I’m going to have to try them out here pretty soon! I’m also really missing Starbucks. Here I’ve had the best Cappuccino I’ve ever had in my entire life, but there’s nothing like an iced caramel macchiato from Starbucks. There is no Starbucks in Rome, but I’ve heard that there’s one in Florence, so I’ll have to make a stop when I’m there! I had some oreos the other day, so that was a nice little treat!   

Last night was the Super Bowl, and being proper Americans, we had to watch it! So we found this Irish Pub that was playing the game on all the TVs in the Pub. The only problem is that due to the time change, they game started at 12:30am here… Which means that when I came home after Madonna’s amazing half-time show, it was at 3:00 in the morning. So I think my brain is a little bit fried from that late night! That’s all for now, I’ll post more again soon!

*One last note… It snowed here the other day! Which was really exciting! The last time in snowed in Rome was in 1984!! The schools were shut down and this whole weekend kids have been out in the streets throwing snowballs and attempting to go sledding. So it’s a little bit colder here than it usually is this time of the year, but it’s so beautiful!

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